The ring-necked parakeet, like all parakeets, is a smaller cousin in the parrot family. Several species of this bird are available. They have beautiful plumage and are larger than the more common Australian parakeet. Ring-necked parakeets are known to be highly trainable and great talkers. Generally very hardy in the wild, these birds are used to a variety of habitats. Domesticated ring-necked parakeets require time and commitment from their owners.
There are several sub-species of ring-necked parakeets, and the most common seems to be the Indian species. In the wild the Indian ring-necked parakeet has green feathers with hints of blue, but this bird has also been bred in a variety of colors including yellow, white and grey. Males have a black ring across their neck that females do not have. Some pet owners, however, claim that females have a light blue band around their necks. Other species of the ring-necked parakeet include the rose-winged or African, which has lighter green feathers and a lighter bill as well as the Abyssinian, which has green feathers and a black-tipped bill.
Ring-necked parakeets are larger than the more common Australian parakeets. The average length of the Indian ring-necked parakeet is 16 inches (about 41 cm) compared to seven inches (about 18 cm) for the Australian parakeet. Prized as pets during ancient Greek and Roman times, the ring-necked parakeet can be trained to talk at about a year old. Some say that these precocious birds can talk as well as cockatiels, though not as well as larger parrots.
Although ring-necked parakeets are native to Africa and Asia, these tropical-looking, hardy birds feel just as much at home in colder climates as they do in warmer climates. Many can be found in London, England, and in areas of the US like Florida. They are quite adept at acclimating to urban areas and to competing for food.
Raising a ring-necked parakeet can be a long-time commitment as they can live to be 20 years old. Pet owners should keep in mind that all parakeets are social creatures and require a great deal of attention and interaction. Ring-necked parakeets do better in large cages in which they can move around a bit. They need to be exercised outside of the cage as well in order to remain happy and healthy.