Nymphicus hollandicus (Kerr 1792)

Description: Main colour grey, with paler breast and abdomen, some birds may have a tinge of brown. Crest, forehead, cheeks, throat yellow, large orange circle to ear-coverts, some white on shoulders and sometimes wings, tail lighter with darker edge. Bill grey, iris dark brown and grey feet. Females duller orange ear-coverts and paler generally.

Length: 12.5inches (32 cm).

Distribution: Mostly Australia

Aviculture: This parakeet is on the quiet side with a singsong voice; not usually noisy but may shriek if disturbed unexpectedly. They soon become friendly and they can be included in a mixed flight, possibly with budgerigars. They are hardy but need a shelter in their flight.

Breeding: They are very quick breeders, breeding can be any time in the year if they have indoor accommodation. They have a breeding display and song. The clutch size is generally 4-5 eggs the incubation takes about 19 days and the young fledge in just over a month. Many mutation colours have been achieved through breeding programmes.

Diet: A good seed mix containing canary seed - they love millet, wild seeds and oats; they need green-food; various fruit and vegetables should be offered although this is not their favourite food they do benefit from the vitamins they contain.

As a Pet: This parakeet has a varied character, they can be quiet and reserved or become an extrovert if kept as the only pet. They have several whistles, the males can make good talkers. They need to be taken out of the cage daily for fuss and exercise to keep them tame and happy. As with all pet parrots it's important to buy one as young as possible preferably a week or two after weaning, the best pets are handfed. Parent reared birds need to be trained if they are to make good pets. Make sure that the breeder/pet shop is reputable.

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