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The scarlet-chested parakeet, or Neophema splendid, is an Australian native. It is also known as the scarlet-chested parrot and the splendid parrot or parakeet. This bird is small and colorful with a quiet, melodious voice. This bird is not one of the talking varieties of parakeet. The scarlet-chested parakeet is usually not a good indoor pet, since it does not thrive in a typical bird cage.
Scarlet-chested parakeets are members of an Australian family of bird called grass parakeets. These birds are named for their habit of feeding on seeds primarily on the ground. In addition to the scarlet-chested parakeet, the turquoise parakeet, orange-billed parakeet, and elegant parakeet are considered grass parakeets.
Often regarded as one of the most colorful and beautiful parakeets, the majority of male scarlet-chested parakeets are feathered in a rainbow of colors. Bright yellow underneath with a rich red breast, this parakeet has a powder blue head and wing feathers with varying shades of green on neck, back wings, and tail.
As in many other bird species, the coloration of the scarlet-chested female is more muted; the same goes for the juvenile. This typically allows laying and brooding hens and young birds to hide more easily from predators. Scarlet-chested parakeets are some of the smaller parakeets, averaging 8 inches (20 cm) in total length and 1.5 ounces (44g) in weight.
Females produce two clutches of three to six eggs, usually in the spring and summer months. The eggs incubate for approximately three weeks. The scarlet-chested parakeet takes on its full feathering and coloration at 18 months and lives for 10 years on average.
The scarlet-chested parakeet is often described as temperamental and physically fragile compared to other birds of its type and size, but it is generally reported to have a soft two-note call. It usually thrives in bird rooms or aviaries where it can fly freely.
In the wild, scarlet-chested parakeets eat mainly seeds on the ground. When kept in home or zoo aviaries, these parakeets are often fed commercial feed mixes designed for canaries and quails. These birds often eat fresh, dried, or mashed fruits and vegetables, as well as seeds from these food items.
Scarlet-chested parakeet owners are usually advised to avoid feeding their birds avocados since this fruit is highly toxic to birds. Milk products are difficult for many birds to digest so dairy is also often advised against. Processed grains, such as bread and cereal, are also not recommended as feed for scarlet-chested parakeets.