The Bourke parakeet is a type of parakeet native to some parts of Australia. This small parakeet is naturally brown, but several color variations have been achieved in recent years through selective breeding. It is often considered an easy pet bird to keep, due to its mellow personality. Some of these birds may even be tame enough to take food from a person's hand, and they will readily breed in captivity.
Until recently, the scientific name of the Bourke parakeet was Neophema bourkii. The name was changed to Neopsephotus bourkii when scientists discovered this bird is unable to successfully mate with other species of the Neophema genus. This bird is also known as the Bourke's parakeet and the Bourke grass keet. It was named after a governor of South Wales during the 1800s, Sir Richard Bourke.
At one time, the Bourke parakeet was common in the wild in parts of Australia, particularly the central and southwestern regions. Due to various reasons, including human encroachment, this parakeet was believed to be endangered in Australia. Its numbers have since increased in the wild, and it is also a popular pet bird around the world.
In the wild, the Bourke parakeet is mostly brown. It has a pinkish abdomen and breast, and a subtle blue can also be seen on the wings and rump. Mature males typically have a brighter blue hue on their body, and they also have a noticeable blue spot above their beaks.
As a pet, the Bourke parakeet can be found in a variety of colors. The rosie Bourke parakeet, which has mostly light to dark pink feathers, is a common mutation. These birds may also be mostly white, blue, or cream colored. To achieve these variations, breeders will attempt to mate two birds with a high concentration of one color. For example, two birds with more red on their plumage are more likely to produce offspring that is mostly red.
Bourke parakeets with unusual color mutations are usually highly prized in the pet trade. Compared to other pet birds, the Bourke parakeet is considered relatively easy to care for. It is usually somewhat small for a parakeet, and it will rarely grow more than 9 inches (23 centimeters) in length.
The Bourke parakeet also has a pleasant disposition compared to some other pet parakeets. These birds are usually more active in the evening, particularly around dusk, but they are generally calm and quiet for the most part. They also get along well with other birds and their human companions. Some Bourke parakeets may even allow humans to hand feed them.
Another reason this bird is popular as a pet is that it breeds readily in captivity. Females will usually lay three to six eggs in a clutch and incubate them for about 19 days. While she incubaties the eggs and takes care of the chicks, the male will bring her food.