Asian Parakeets

Asiatic Parrots are all members of the genus Psittacula, in which each species shows a ring around the neck. This ring separates the often brightly colored head from the remainder of the body. Psittacula ranges widely with the Ringnecked Psittacula krameri being the most vastly distributed of the family. The Indian subcontinent is the center of distribution of the family Psittacula, having eight of the total genus originating from this region. The Derbyan Parrot, P. derbyana is found in China, and the Malayan Long-tailed Parrot, P. longicauda, is found in Malaysia, Sumatra, and Borneo.

In the wild, most members of this genus are found in small groups which congregate in large to enormous flocks to roost or where food is plentiful. In some areas they are considered as serious pests because of the damage caused to cultivated crops.

These beautiful birds are better known as aviary subjects than as pets. The two largest species of Psittacula, the Alexandrine and the Derbyan Parrot, are noted for their intelligence and the Malabar Parrot, P. columboides, is an extremely quiet and endearing bird. However, as they age, most will become less tolerant of human attention and some may even turn exceptionally aggressive. If handreared , as most potential pet birds are, they lack all fear and do not hesitate to bite. Another reason for not advocating an Asiatic Parrot for a pet is their need to fly,. If housed in a small cage, as is the case with most pet birds, it would be a cruel life for a bird that in the wild makes so frequent use of its wings and is accustomed to great activity.

Psittacula parakeets belong to the non-bonded category: there are non-bonded parrots, in which mutual preening is rare and when it occurs it is usually associated with nesting. Contact is normally slight, except when breeding, when the birds will sit next to each other, though not necessarily touching. A sign of this is seen in the female being dominant, in the breeding display, during which the male approaches the female with trepidation, and in the little attention bestowed on one another. Pets dislike being touched; they are content sitting on a perch or the hand and invariably try to ward off a hand intent on stroking their feathers.

Apart from lacking a pair bond, Psittacula is a distinctive genus. All of the Psittacula members possess a neck ring that separates the often brightly colored head from the remainder of the body. This ring widens near the lower mandible and attenuates at the nape, where it is frequently accompanied by a second, often pastel colored band; the neck ring is invariably black. The iris tends to be light colored and when flashed is very conspicuous. In most species the upper mandible is red or reddish black in the males and blackish in the females.

Apart from the diagnostic neck ring, Psittacula parakeets possess a long, gradated tail, the central feathers being particularly long and narrow. The immatures resemble the female.

Psittacula occupy a broad area that extends from African and Asia into Indonesia. The core range of the genus is Asia, where these parrots enjoy a broad altitudinal range.

Psittacula parakeets are very attractive birds; their demeanor is regal and color scheme subtle and attractive. But because of their lack oa pair bond, they are not suitable for every pet seeker, especially the person looking for a cuddly pet bird. Psittacula are independent and dislike such intimacy. They do not like to be touched and will bite your finger if you attempt to scratch their poll.

Some bird behaviorists have suggested that with modification training this behavior can be changed. We disagree. Some species (e.g., the African Ring-necked Parakeet Psitttacula krameri krameri) are more tolerant of handling, but this does not mean that they can be treated like cockatoos.

Psittcula can be kept as pets provided the owner is content with having a beautiful bird in an aviary or large cage where it can be observed and where periodically it can be coaxed to perch on the hand. They are ideal for the person seeking a talker but who lacks the free time to be able to fuss with the bird.

These parrots can be noisy and in close quarters it can be annoying. The worst offender is probably the Alexandrine Parakeet Psittacula eupatria and this means that an apartment dweller will need to seriously consider this habit before launching into a purchase. These parrots are also not suitable for a small cage, being dexterous and active fliers.