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Meet The Australian Parakeets

Learn about the popular Australian parakeets, such as the Princess of Wales parakeet, the Bourke's parakeet, the rock pebbler, the rosellas and more.

By Diane Grindol

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We use the generic term “parakeet” in the United States to mean the budgerigar, or budgie. The word parakeet means “long tail,” and in avicultural terms, a parakeet is one of a family of slender, long-tailed, hook-beaked birds found throughout the world.

The budgerigar is one of the Australian parakeets, of which there are many. The budgie is an outstanding pet, but there are other Australian parakeets that you might consider as your next pet. There are at least 30 parakeets native to Australia, as well as five of six species of rosellas.

Woman with kitten
 Rosellas, like this crimson rosella, are typically kept in aviaries, but can be pets, too. 

The grass parakeets, or Neophemas, include the scarlet-chested, turquoisine, elegant and Bourke’s parakeets.

Members of the genus Psephotus include the red-rumped and hooded parakeet. Both are most often kept as aviary subjects.

Rosellas belong to the genus Platycercus, and some might be kept as pets, though most are housed most frequently in aviaries. The crimson rosella, (or Pennant’s rosella) is a stunning bird that can be kept as a pet if hand-fed. You can also look for the golden-mantled or eastern rosella (Platycercus e. ceciliae).

The Best Australian Parakeet Pets
The Princess of Wales parakeet is a fairly large, striking bird at 15 inches long. It has many shades of pastel colors. It has a gentle personality, and the males can learn to talk and whistle. If hand-fed, the Princess of Wales parakeet can make a good companion bird.

Rock pebblers are fairly large, active birds, reaching a length of 16 inches, and they can live to be 25 years old. It’s important to house a pet rock pebbler in a large cage and to give it time out of the cage to fly. They can learn to speak. One rock pebbler owner describes his bird as hardy, pretty and playful.

Bourke’s parakeets are unusual among the parrots in that in their normal color is pink and they are active at dusk and into darkness. They are gentle and quiet birds, but they might not talk. Bourke’s come in several color mutations, with the rosy Bourke’s being a favorite.

Barraband’s parakeets are pretty and make good pets, though they can be shy. Get a hand-reared bird as a pet, and be sure to handle it daily.

Scarlet-chested parakeets are vibrantly colored and quiet. They are not known to be good talkers, and their call is a quiet chirp.

The Eastern rosella, which is also called the golden-mantled rosella, can be kept as a pleasant companion, as can the Stanley or Western rosella. Offer your bird plenty of items to chew, water for bathing and time to fly. Don’t keep rosellas with other species. The crimson rosellas are relatively large birds that like to scratch in the dirt, so they should be provided with clean sand for this activity. They are beautiful in an aviary, and they will recognize and interact with a pet owner. Rosellas are capable of talking, but rarely do. 


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