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What Are the Different Parakeet Species?

C.B. Fox
C.B. Fox

Parakeets are members of the parrot family and can be found in tropical and sub-tropical climates throughout the world. In general, these birds are smaller than other parrots and have long feathers on their tails. There are about 120 parakeet species found around the world, a number that is difficult to pin down due to the fact that the term parakeet is does not necessarily indicate that the birds are closely related evolutionarily or genetically. A number of parakeet species can be considered either parrots or parakeets, depending on the classification system used. The three taxonomical tribes that parakeets can be found in are platycercini, psittaculini and anari, each with dozens of parakeets.

Birds in the platycercini tribe are found in Australia, New Zealand, and nearby islands. This tribe contains about 40 different parakeet species, including one of the most recognizable, Melopsittacus undulatus, the budgerigar, or budgie. In some parts of the world, including the United States, the term parakeet is often synonymous with this parakeet species because of the popularity of this sociable, easily tamed bird in the pet trade. Aside from this parakeet species, the mallee ringneck parakeet, Bourke's parakeet, and the Princess of Wales parakeet are also common species in the platycercini tribe.

Red-masked parakeets are native to Ecuador and Peru.
Red-masked parakeets are native to Ecuador and Peru.

It is also possible to find a variety of parakeets in Asia and Africa. These birds are in the tribe of parrots known as psittaculini. The ringneck parakeet is common in Asia an can be identified by the dark band around its jawline. These birds come in a variety of different colors and, like many other parrots, are social and playful. The plum-headed parakeet, emerald collared parakeet, and the Newton parakeet are some of the other parakeet species found in this group of birds.

Another of the parrot tribes, anari, comprises a number of parakeet species that are collectively known as conures. These birds look similar to one another, though they are not necessarily closely related. Conures are sometimes referred to as small parrots and sometimes referred to as large parakeets. Green parakeets, slender-billed parakeets, and gray breasted parakeets can also be found in the anari tribe. Anari parakeets are native to North and South America and come in a variety of different colors, though the majority of parrots in this tribe are green.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the most common species of parakeets?

The most common species of parakeets include the Budgerigar (often simply called "budgie"), the Monk Parakeet, and the Plain Parakeet. The Budgerigar is particularly popular due to its small size, vibrant colors, and ability to mimic human speech. According to the American Pet Products Association, budgies are among the top bird pets in the United States.

How many species of parakeets are there worldwide?

There are over 120 species of parakeets worldwide. These birds belong to the Psittaciformes order and are characterized by their long tail feathers and strong, curved beaks. They inhabit a variety of environments across the globe, from Australia to South America, each species adapted to its unique habitat.

Can different parakeet species interbreed?

While different parakeet species can sometimes interbreed, it is not common and often not recommended due to potential health risks and ethical considerations. Interbreeding can lead to hybrid offspring with unpredictable traits and possible genetic health issues. Responsible breeding practices typically involve mating within the same species to ensure the well-being of the birds.

What is the natural habitat of parakeets?

Parakeets have diverse natural habitats, ranging from the arid deserts of Australia, where the Budgerigar thrives, to the tropical rainforests of South America, home to species like the Sun Parakeet. They generally prefer warm climates and are found in regions that offer abundant food sources such as seeds, fruits, and insects.

Are parakeets endangered?

Some parakeet species are indeed endangered. For instance, the Yellow-eared Parakeet has been listed as critically endangered due to habitat loss and the pet trade. Conservation efforts are crucial for protecting these vulnerable species. Organizations like BirdLife International actively monitor and work to conserve bird populations around the world.

What should I consider before getting a parakeet as a pet?

Before getting a parakeet, consider the bird's lifespan, which can be up to 15 years for a Budgerigar, requiring a long-term commitment. They also need social interaction, mental stimulation, and space to fly. A proper diet, regular veterinary care, and understanding the specific needs of the parakeet species you choose are essential for their well-being.

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    • Red-masked parakeets are native to Ecuador and Peru.
      By: Maisna
      Red-masked parakeets are native to Ecuador and Peru.