These birds are commonly known as Bourke's Parakeets, Bourke's Parrots, or simply "Bourkies." They are named for Sir Richard Bourke, who was governor of Australia's New South Wales territory during the 1800's.
Bourke's Parakeets originate in Australia, and that is the only place on Earth that they are found in the wild. However, successful captive breeding programs have worked to make Bourke's Parakeets popular pets in homes all over the world.
Bourke's Parakeets are small to medium sized birds, measuring between 7 and 8 inches in length from the beak to the ends of the tailfeathers. Healthy Bourke's Parakeets normally weigh slightly less than 2 ounces once they are fully grown.
When in captivity, it can be expected that a well cared for Bourke's Parakeet could live for up to 15 years. However, there have been instances where some Bourke's Parakeets have lived even longer. Sadly, it is also true that some may not even live to reach the age of 10. If you are thinking about adopting a Bourke's Parakeet, it is generally advised that you plan to commit at least 15 to 20 years to caring for your pet.
Known as a very sweet, gentle, and good-natured species, Bourke's Parakeets make incredible pets when hand fed as babies and bonded to their human caretakers. Those who own Bourke's Parakeets report that while they are very intelligent birds, they are also very mellow and quiet, preferring to chatter to themselves rather than screaming out like other parrot species.
Because of this, as well as their ability to keep themselves entertained for a good portion of the day, they are often recommended as a pet for those who are new to keeping hookbills, as they are a good introductory bird. People who live in apartment buildings, dormitories, or condominiums might also appreciate the fact that the Bourke's Parakeet has a reputation for being among the most quiet bird species. Keeping a bird that won't disturb close neighbors with its calls certainly makes things easier for owners in these situations.
Bourke's Parakeets may not be as brightly colored as some species, but they are still quite eye-catching. They have a dusty brown tint to their plumage, with pink feathers covering their chests and abdomens, and blue tailfeathers. The backs of the wings display a darker brownish-gray tint, with each feather highlighted by a lighter colored outline. They are a sexually dimorphic type of bird, as evidenced by blue feathers on the forehead of mature adults in the species. In captivity, breeding programs have also produced a number of color mutations in Bourke's Parakeets, including cinnamon, lutino, and cream.
Bourke's Parakeets are what is called "Grass Parakeets," meaning that in the wild they forage for food among the fields and plains in their country of origin. This leads them to consume a diet based mainly on seed, grasses, and other plant matter, interspersed with fruits, berries, insects, and other types of food when available. To properly feed a pet Bourke's Parakeet, it is recommended that owners offer their birds a small parrot seed mix meant for Budgies and birds of similar size. This diet should be supplemented with a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables daily, in order to provide the bird with balanced nutrition.
Bourke's Parakeets are reported to be among the less active types of Parakeet. Still, it is recommended that their owners allow them between 2 - 3 hours per day outside of the cage in a supervised play area.
Bourke's Parakeets as Pets:
If you're interested in keeping a Bourke's Parakeet, you aren't alone -- the desirable qualities of this species has made them very popular among pet owners everywhere. Because of this, it shouldn't be hard for potential owners to find out more about living with and caring for a Bourke's Parakeet. If you're serious about adoption, you should contact your local aviculture society or check for local breeders. Those who have had direct experience caring for Bourke's Parakeets will be able to answer any questions you might have, and help you decide whether or not the Bourke's Parakeet is the right bird for you and your family.