Friday, January 30, 2009
The Derbyan Parakeet
By Jessica Pineda, Associate Editor of BIRD TALK and BirdChannel.com
Join her on her quest to learn about each parrot species in The Parrot Birder.
The derbyan parakeet (Psittacula derbiana) is a large, 20-inch long parrot and is native to Asia. Like many of the Psittacula, the derbyan is sexually dimorphic, meaning you can tell the difference between the male and female. Males have an orange beak, and a bright blue head, chest and stomach. Females are slightly duller in coloring. They have a black beak with a faint pink line on their lower cheeks. Young derbyans have dark orange beaks like the males, but their overall coloring is lighter than the adults.
I talked to Rosemary Low, who said the derbyan parakeet is not normally kept as a companion or aviary bird. Various literature says derbyans are loud birds, and Low confirmed this.
“Derbyans can be loud — on par with an Amazon,” said Low. They are, however, excellent talkers, as many of the Psittacula are. In terms of behavioral problems, Low said there was nothing distinctive about derbyans that can be considered an issue.
“Behavioral problems apply not to particular species but because the owner is incorrectly caring for the bird or because it was weaned too early after hand-rearing,” said Low.
I haven’t found much written on the species as a pet. My experience with Psittacula, such as ring-necked parakeets, has always been with sweet baby birds (which sound like the venom-spitting Dilophosaurus from Jurassic Park) that grow into adults with an independent and adventurous nature. I hand-fed a ring-necked parakeet named Brutus that loved shiny objects, like keys, and would do anything to get one. He was a very independent bird that ignored the blue-crowned conure and half-moon conure he lived with (in separate cages, of course!). He never fought with any of them — he was far more interested in the keys I kept in my work apron.
I met a chef who had an Alexandrine parakeet named Midori, and it was his pride and joy. He had a great relationship with his bird, but always pointed out that Midori didn’t like to cuddle.
If you get a chance to see a rare and beautiful derbyan parakeet, cross it off your parrot birder list!
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The Derbyan Parakeet