Although the Ringneck Parrot is classified as a parakeet, these birds are parrots through and through. Originating from India and native to Africa, Malaysia, and Indonesia, they typically are intelligent, social animals that can be trained to be family pets. They are medium sized birds, averaging 4.1 ounces (about 115 g) and measuring 14 to 16 inches (about 40 to 50 cm) long. A large portion of their length comes from their long tails, which are made up of 12 large feathers. The tails of some Ringneck Parrots measure 7 inches (about 17.8 cm) long.
A wide variety of color variants are available, including yellow and powder blue, although a wild Ringneck Parrot is typically apple-green. The sex of the bird is generally discernible by its markings — males have a black neck ring with pink and/or pale blue outer rings; females have shadowy, pale rings, if any. A young Ringneck Parrot has no rings until it get its full plumage upon reaching adulthood at 3 years old. Another difference between adult parrots and their young is the color of the hooked beaks. Adults have red beaks with black tips while young parrots have a coral-pink beak with a pale tip.
Some myths exist about the Ringneck Parrot being too hostile to be kept as a pet. These birds can be good pets if they are properly socialized and trained. Typically, they require ongoing obedience training and need to be handled regularly to avoid reverting to wild behavior. They are considered highly intelligent birds that can learn to perform tricks, whistle, and even speak, although they don't usually begin talking until reaching 1 year old. Talking and whistling typically should be encouraged to minimize the screaming and screeching of their natural calls.
Due to their intelligent nature, Ringneck Parrots require a variety of stimulating toys and perches to keep them entertained. They also need to be kept in an aviary or large cage because they are active fliers and do not do well in smaller cages. Generally, they require a diet of pellets and leafy dark-green and orange vegetables, along with small amounts of fruits, seeds, and protein. A Ringneck Parrot should also be given healthy items for chewing, as they are natural nibblers and will look for items to chew if no immediate options are available.
After being weaned, Ringneck Parrots go through an aggressive stage called "bluffing," which may be the source of their reputation as hostile birds. This period can last from a few days to a few weeks. The parrots may try to bite their handlers and become increasingly vocal in an attempt to scare their owners. Ignoring the attempts of aggression during this period and continuing to handle and train them typically will discourage this behavior and help move them through the bluffing stage.