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The New "Small Bird": The Lineolated Parakeet

While the lineolated parakeet is often mistaken for a budgie, the linnie is a small bird with a sweet and calm personality.

Laura Doering

Blue mutation lineolated Parakeet

For many nonbird people "small bird” typically conjures up the image of a budgielovebird or cockatiel, no matter if the bird is a good bit smaller with a short, blunted tail such as a parrotlet, a stockier, contoured body with thick-barred feathering for the lineolated parakeet or a splendid pink bird such as the Bourke’s parakeet. Make no mistake, these colorful birds are redefining "small bird.”

Lineolated Parakeet
Most mistaken for: A budgie

What sets them apart: According to Kari Morton, owner of Indian Hills Windsong Aviary in Colorado
, lineolated parakeets prefer to foot it instead of flying. "In their natural habitat, they basically live in the treetops, and they prefer to walk on branches as opposed to flying.” Morton also pointed out that unlike budgies, lovebirds and cockatiels, these birds aren’t prone to being seed junkies; "If I put veggies on top of their seed, they’re going to eat the veggies before the seed.”

These birds might need more frequent toenail trims than other birds. "The have a tendency to have overgrown toenails, which can catch on things,” said Morton. "Keep them away from things they can catch the nails on; on bars, they can lose a toenail without you even knowing it. Certain types of rope are also a concern.”

Most likely to get along: Unlike lovebirds and parrotlets, lineolated parakeets don’t tend to be cage possessive nor are they likely to bully other birds. ”You can put them with birds of similar size, like cockatiels in a large aviary. They don’t tend be real aggressive,” said Morton. And unlike some budgies, a lineolated parakeet doesn’t have a tendency to be flighty. "You teach them to Step up, they’re going to Step up. You have to keep handling them, but that’s where they’re different; they don’t tend to be aggressive.”

What makes them happy: Linnies like to chew wood, tear apart plastic toys but they especially love untying knots. "They love undoing leather strips, anything that’s tied on and you can put it back together,” said Morton. Swings and spray baths are also tops on lineolated parakeets favorite lists. Linnies bathe much like larger parrots, Morton pointed out. "They will hang upside down from the top of the cage” when they are being bathed.

Lineolated Parakeet Cage Considerations
Lineolated parakeets need a 30-inch wide bird cage minimum with 1/2-inch bar spacing.

"They want to go back and forth on the branches, so the more natural branches are good. One good pedicure perch will help keep the nails worn down. Always have a grate on the bottom because they spend a lot of time on the cage bottom,” said Kari Morton.

A linnie will probably stay on a playgym. They’re more likely to walk down to the floor instead of flying, because they are not good fliers.

Want to learn more about lineolated parakeets?

Meet The "Linnie" Or Lineolated Parakeet

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Posted: November 5, 2013, 11:15 a.m. PDT

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The New "Small Bird": The Lineolated Parakeet

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Reader Comments
Wish you would remove the part about them not being good flyers. That is the biggest myth about linnies and just completely false. Linnies that get a proper chance to learn how to fly (eg are not wing trimmed or kept in small cages when young) are very fast and skillful flyers. My group of linnies makes flights together several times per day when the whole group starts chattering and then lifts of at the same time, just flying around in the house for the flight itself. They especially do this in the mornings and evenings. And between then they fly even very short distances, instead of climbing. Saying that they don't like to fly will only lead to people thinking it's ok for them to keep linnies in small cages crammed full of toys or branches or trim their wings, which just will make them worse at flying. They need space to learn how to fly when young, and then they will enjoy flying around just as any other flighted species of bird does.
Izzy, International
Posted: 4/8/2015 7:24:50 AM
nice little article
valerie, glen oaks, NY
Posted: 11/10/2013 9:01:29 PM
very interesting
joan, franklin square, NY
Posted: 11/10/2013 8:56:59 PM
they're cute!
Gabby, San Diego, CA
Posted: 11/9/2013 8:31:07 PM
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