Some Interesting Facts about the Bourke Parakeet
The Bourke parakeet, native to the southwestern/central parts of Australia, was named after Sir Richard Bourke who from 1837-37 was governor of New South Wales. Once endangered there for various reasons the Bourke has increased its population due to a number of conservation efforts.
The Bourke parakeet is the only species in the genus Neopsephotus, newly reclassified due to their seeming inability to breed with other Neophema. They are the only members of their family that do not have the customary green feathering. They sport a slightly different body as well as tail shape then other Neophema. A blue band of feathers over the nostrils denotes the male; otherwise males and females are relatively the same. Hens are slightly smaller with darker faces and scattered grey throughout the body.
Ideal for those just starting out as bird pet owners the Bourke parakeet has a calm disposition, is hardy and easy to take care of. They are peaceful birds with a pleasing voice and are not known for talking. They are not nervous or excitable and actually, some consider the Bourke to be boring because of its lazy nature. These gentle birds can be housed with other birds and are great candidates for those in apartments.
A mixture of millet, safflower along with canary and sunflower seeds should be included in the diet of the Bourke parakeet. They also enjoy such foods as sprouted seeds, apple and banana pieces, kale, broccoli, corn, boiled egg, and grated carrots. They love millet and would eat it exclusively if given the chance, so be careful with it.
The Bourke parakeet does not view toys or play the way other birds do. While many breeds like bells that jingle, mirrors and chew as well as foraging toys, the Bourke parakeet prefers paper or straw toys that shred or pull apart, preening toys, swings and/or bells. Just be careful to see that there is nothing the bird can get tangled in. Cuttlebone and mineral blocks should be available to help in the care of their beaks.
Not considered flighty the Bourke parakeet is generally active only around dawn and/or dusk, making soft, endearing and twittering sounds. In their natural habitat they are known to stay out chirping and twittering past sunset. Their only natural enemy is damp conditions over long periods of time. They can be successfully kept in a mid-sized cage-especially if they are allowed to spend plenty of time outside the cage. Keep the temperature between 60-85 degrees.
Those pairs that are established can breed often and at any time. When the female Bourke parakeet is ready to mate she leans forward on the perch. Making soft, inviting chirping sounds she waits for the male to accept her request. She lays 4-6 eggs-incubating them 18-20 days, and has an average hatch of 3-4 young. The young Bourke leaves the nest-box at about four weeks of age.
The male Bourke parakeet does not come to the nest-box with the female but he will visit bringing tidbits of food as she is generally a tight sitter and will rarely leave the nest. This behavior is indicative of a true pair who is gentle and loving with each other.