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What is an Alexandrine Parakeet?

By Rhonda Rivera
Updated Mar 05, 2024
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An Alexandrine parakeet, also known as the Alexandrian parrot and the scientific name Psittacula eupatria, is a member of the parrot family. The bird is named after Emperor Alexander the Great, and is one of the oldest captive bird species known to man. It is large compared to other species of parakeet, usually primarily green, and has multiple subspecies that have become naturalized around the world. This bird is commonly kept in captivity and can live more than 40 years with a proper diet and care. In some countries, especially Pakistan and India, the Alexandrine parakeet is endangered and illegal to trade or capture, but these laws are not regularly enforced.

Green is typically the primary color of these large birds; the wings are a dark green color while the majority of the body is a pale green. The feathered parts of the birds’ heads mix these shades of green with a deeper, brighter green on the crown and forehead, and a pale green colors the neck area. They have a red mark around the middle of the outer portion of their wings, while the underside is primarily black. The dominant color of the beak is red, with a slight yellow tinting around the edges. As adults, the birds also have overlapping black and red stripes surrounding their necks and meeting in the middle, and their eyes are mostly yellow.

It is believed that the Alexandrine parakeet was originally found in Punjab, a Pakistani province. Eventually, the bird was exported to European and Mediterranean regions and cherished by nobles and royalty. Since then, the bird and its subspecies have become naturalized in a plethora of countries. It is especially common in southern England, Germany, and the Netherlands.

As pets, these birds are best suited for enthusiasts who wish to interact with a bird often because without proper stimulation they may engage in self mutilation and behave neurotically. Often, those choosing to keep an Alexandrine parakeet do so because of their highly regarded mimicking abilities.

A natural diet for an Alexandrine parakeet normally includes fruits, nuts, and flowers. In the wild, they can cause considerable damage to corn, grain, and rice crops. Their diet in captivity is typically quite diverse, including fresh flowers, vegetables, and grasses, and the birds are known to eagerly try new foods. They can also eat dehydrated fruit and some cooked foods.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is an Alexandrine Parakeet?

The Alexandrine Parakeet is a medium-sized parrot known for its bright green plumage, red patch on its wings, and a distinctive bluish-grey sheen on its cheeks and nape. Native to a broad range from South Asia to Southeast Asia, these birds are named after Alexander the Great, who is believed to have transported numerous specimens from Punjab to various European and Mediterranean regions.

How can you distinguish an Alexandrine Parakeet from other parakeets?

Alexandrine Parakeets are larger than most other parakeet species, measuring up to 25 inches in length including their long, elegant tail feathers. They have a robust build, a large head, and a powerful red beak. Males have a black and rose-colored ring around their necks, which is absent in females and young birds.

What is the natural habitat of the Alexandrine Parakeet?

Alexandrine Parakeets thrive in a variety of woodland habitats, including mangroves, forests, and woodlands near water sources. They are also found in agricultural areas and urban settings where fruiting trees and food sources are abundant. Their adaptability to different environments contributes to their wide distribution across their native range.

What does the Alexandrine Parakeet eat?

Alexandrine Parakeets have a diet consisting mainly of fruits, nuts, seeds, and berries. In the wild, they forage in the canopy, often in flocks, and may also consume flowers and nectar. Their strong beaks are well-adapted for cracking open hard-shelled nuts and seeds, making them proficient foragers.

Are Alexandrine Parakeets good pets?

Alexandrine Parakeets can be affectionate and intelligent pets, capable of learning tricks and mimicking human speech. However, they require a significant amount of social interaction and mental stimulation to prevent boredom and behavioral issues. Potential owners should be prepared for a long-term commitment, as these birds can live for over 20 years in captivity.

What are the conservation concerns for Alexandrine Parakeets?

While the Alexandrine Parakeet is currently listed as a species of "Least Concern" by the IUCN Red List, they face threats from habitat loss and the illegal pet trade. Deforestation and agricultural expansion reduce their natural habitat, while trapping for the pet industry depletes wild populations, necessitating conservation efforts to ensure their long-term survival.

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Discussion Comments

By anon135922 — On Dec 20, 2010

Excellent descriptive data of the "Alexandrine Parakeet". I have owned and studied my pet Alexandrine parakeet "Mittoo" since 1992 posting numerous videos and blogs.

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