The Bourke Parrot, commonly known as the Bourke Parakeet, was discovered in Australia and takes its name after General Sir Richard Bourke, Governor of New South Wales in the 1800’s. It is a mild tempered bird of light weight and measuring about 8 inches from beak  to end of tail. It is known to be an aviary bird that could easily live in colonies with other mild birds like English Budgies, American Parakeets, canaries, finches and so forth. Some hobby breeders take the time to hand feed young babies and turn them into wonderful sweet pets. The colors of the Bourke Parakeets are just enchanting! However, their plumage is not showing its best till 6-12 months of age or older. At two years of age, their feathers reach their full development and brightness.  The Bourkes on the market today come in a variety of colors thanks to the use of genetics. The color of the Bourkes as found in the wild is referred to as “Normal”. Normal Bourkes are a light brown with blue flight wings and their chest carries the colors of our U. S. Flag: red chest, blue belly and white tail. If males, Normals will develop blue feathers on their forehead, which makes them even more beautiful. Females will not. This is an easy way to sex the Normals but the other colors require DNA. The other colors are Rosie, Rainbow-Rosie, Pinks, Creams, Rubinos and Lutinos. There is also a very rare blue color. All these colors are enchanting. It’s just a matter of personal preference on what to choose. At Friendly Bird Aviary we breed the Normals, Rosies, Rosie- Rainbow, Rubinos and Lutinos. We hand feed the babies since very young and we tame them just like the other parrots we breed. We teach them not to fear human hands, to step up and to stay on people’s  shoulders. We recommend this species of birds especially for children and older adults. For children because they are very gentle and rarely bite and for older adults because they are very easy to bond and take care of. Also, calm and relaxing, lacking all the drama of an Amazon Parrot. Their personality varies from being very calm to more active, chirping and whistling. They are not much into toys. Parakeet toys are fine for them. Even if very calm, I recommend a cage that is at least 30 wide and 40 tall. That’s because they like to fly in circles and sing at sunrise and sunset. It’s a beautiful dance to watch! Supposedly, they can’t talk but many of my customers have made these birds talk from single words to short sentences! Their diet is based on small seeds and millet at the bottom of their cages because they belong to the grass parakeet family but it should  be implemented with egg food, sprouts, dried mealworms, and especially green veggies like spinach. They are very sensitive with their digestive system so I recommend a balanced diet and  the use of probiotics. Veterinarians recommend deworming these birds once a year but I believe it to be a rough practice that I think is avoidable with a good diet and probiotics. Careful for turning lights on and off around them at night or making loud noises while they sleep in the dark.  They suffer from “night frights” and could unfortunately die of heart attacks.

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