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The "Linnie" Or Lineolated Parakeet

The lineolated parakeet, also known as the "linnie," might be hard to find, but they make a great pet bird!

By Diane Grindol

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The lineolated parakeet (Bolborhynchus lineola) has a small fanbase, but seems to be practically a secret to the general pet-owning population. Here is my attempt to bring the linnie to the limelight! If that name is a mouthful, you can refer to this parrot as the “linnie.” Bolborhynchus means “parakeet with a large beak.” Don’t be intimidated; lineolated parakeets aren’t prone to use theirs on you. It is also referred to as the barred parakeet because, in most color mutations, there are black bars on the feathers on their backs and wings.

A lineolated parakeet's natural call is soft and almost song-like. A linnie can learn to talk and whistle. You can keep a lineolated parakeet in an apartment or similar housing where you have close neighbors. Lineolated parakeets are about the size of a budgie or lovebird, with a calmer disposition than either pet bird. 

Lineolated Parakeet, LinneThe lineolated parakeet is also known as the linnie. 

Linnies come in lutino, albino, cobalt, blue and mauve color mutations, as well as the green color of wild lineolated parakeets and a dark green and olive green. They are native to Central and South America. One subspecies of lineolated parakeets, Bolborhynchus lineola lineola, is found from southern Mexico to western Panama. Another subspecies, Bolborhynchus lineola tigrinus, is native to northwest Venezuela and the Andes, Colombia and Peru. Linnies come from higher-elevation cloud forests and rain forests, though they also forage at lower elevations during the winter. In the wild, they are found in flocks of up to 20 birds.

Lineolated Parakeet Care
Keep your linnie in a spacious bird cage with close bar spacing. Linnies like to sleep in tents or huts, and they love to climb. Offer them swings, dangly toys and rope perches so they get plenty of climbing in. (As with other small birds, offer toys or perches that have rope strands only under supervision so they don’t get a leg caught in them.) Other toys include ladders, landing perches and dangly bells or beads.

Supervise a linnie if it is out of the cage at the same time as other birds. These are peaceful birds and don’t do well if confronted by more aggressive species. Never leave a linnie out of its cage alone with a companion dog or cat.

Give your linnie a shower or bath. They’re natives of the rain forest and will like being misted often, joining you in the misty bathroom air when you shower, or being offered a bowl in which to bathe.

Linnies As Pets
Linnie pet owners love the gentle, inquisitive nature of their birds. Some are shy, and very few are nippy. Shy birds can be won over with exposure to a variety of household activity, by feeding them outside their cage and by offering treats when you walk by.

Linnies hold food in their feet and like to hang upside-down. They walk with their bodies held parallel to the perch, unlike their more upright budgie cousins! They’re likely to have this posture when they’re at rest, too. Linnies express themselves by tail fanning and emitting soft, pleasant vocalizations. If you like lovebirds, but want a little more low-key pet bird, this is your parrot.


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Reader Comments
We went to a fish place looking for a tortoise for my daughter (which was probably not the best idea) but fell in love with this little bird that was playing with my kids. I asked what kind of bird & whether he was tame. The man at the counter said yes & brought him out. It turned out that the bird was hand fed & was so absolutely friendly, loving, & affectionate that we all fell in love with him. The man turned out to be the owner, Danny, who was an animal loving soul. He told us we should read about this kind of bird first, Lineolate, before making a decision. He wanted a caring owner since he bred these birds & raised them himself. Well, it has been 3 weeks & we love our new family member. Merlin is so smart he is like a dog. Supposedly, he should be able to whistle or say some words. If he ever does we will probably freak out. He is not quite 2 months old so we will see.
Tex, San Clemente, CA
Posted: 9/20/2016 11:19:49 AM
Have had a Linny for about 1.5y now, and she was awesome at the beginning (i have experience with training birds since i was young) Budgies, Sun Conures, etc.
However... as soon as i got a dog, she became an absolute jerk. She isnt scared of the dog, in fact she likes her, but she now hates almost all people. She constantly screams if shes in her cage, if we gently try to perch her to take her out, she just bites and bites and bites..
let me tell you, i have NEVER seen such a terrible bird in my life. Almost time for ye ol 12 gauge
Oscar, International
Posted: 9/15/2016 3:08:56 PM
I found a lineolated parakeet on craigslist. She had become hand shy because she wasn't being paid attention to. She was biting me and flying around like a crazy bird. I spent a lot of time next to her, working on the computer and reading outloud. Then I fed her treats out of a cup and then she started expecting treats out of me. I trained her to step up and I twist my finger a little if she bites, which she dosnt anymore. She gets a lot of fresh food and some rice and beans. Linnies are very shy and take a few months to get used to you and inanimate objects like food. Because of how long these birds live if your not willing to give a few months of training into your bird it's not going to be rewarding.
George, Chicago, IL
Posted: 1/2/2015 3:35:24 PM
There are no bleu linnies or albino
So also not cobalt or mauve
Johan, International
Posted: 11/24/2013 5:47:04 AM
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