The natural range of the Slaty-headed Parakeet (Psittacula himalayana) extends from the foothills of Western Himalayas to Arunachal Pradesh (Eastern Afghanistan to Vietnam). They migrate down to the valleys for the winters, usually during the last week of October.
The slaty-headed parakeet averages 15.5 - 16 inches (~40 cm) in length, with the tail being ~ 6 to 7 inches (~158 to 178 mm) long. Slatyheads are bigger than Plumheads. The hens are slightly smaller than the cock, the body approximately the same size as that of an Eastern Rosella.
A variety of mutations have been produced, including blue, olive, lutino & albino.
The original (natural) slaty-headed parakeet has a mostly green plumage. The head, however, is dark grey with a slight bluish hue, There are black stripes to the cheeks and a narrow band to nape, with an adjoining bluish-green band. There is a dark red patch to the wing-coverts. The under wing-coverts are greenish-blue. The middle tail-feathers are blue with a green base and yellow tips. The upper beak is red with a yellow tip. The lower beak is yellowish. The irises are whitish and the feet grey.
Females are either without or with a greatly reduced dark red patch to the wing-coverts.
Immatures have greenish head and brownish-green cheeks. There is a narrow green band to the nape. The upper and lower beaks are horn-colored with a brownish base to the lower beak. They attain their adult plumage when they are about 30 months old.
Slaty-headed parakeets make excellent pets for owners who understand and meet their needs. Some may learn to talk.
Ringneck parrots are less demanding than other parrot species, which makes them an excellent choice for someone who wants to "step up" from an easy-going and easy-care cockatiel or budgie.
They are rather active, and enjoy climbing and playing. To accommodate their need for exercise, they should be provided a roomy cage that allows them to move around freely and toys to entertain themselves with - preferably the size of an Amazon or even Macaw cage. Info on Housing Your Bird
A good quality small parrot mix, in addition to fruits, vegetables, soaked seed consisting of mung beans, milo, wheat and sunflower - and green food, such as dandelions, chicory and endives should be provided.
Sprouted or germinated seeds are usually more easily accepted by "seed addicts" than fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Sprouted seeds are healthier as the sprouting changes and enhances the nutritional quality and value of seeds and grains. Sprouted seeds are lower in fat, as the process of sprouting utilizes the fat in the seed to start the growing process - thus reducing the fat stored in the seeds.
- Sprouted seeds will help balance your bird’s diet by adding a nutritious supply of high in vegetable proteins, vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and chlorophyll.
- Soaked and germinated "oil" seeds, like niger and rape seeds, are rich in protein and carbohydrates; while "starch" seeds, such as canary and millets, are rich in carbohydrates, but lower in protein.
- It is an invaluable food at all times; however, it is especially important for breeding or molting birds. Sprouted seeds also serve as a great rearing and weaning food as the softened shell is easier to break by chicks and gets them used to the texture of seeds.
Training / Behavioral Guidance:
Consistent training and behavioral guidance from a young age is recommended to ensure potential owners enjoy a bird free of destructive and annoying habits.
Behavioral challenges that ringnecks present include:
- Chewing: Any parrot will chew. In nature, they use their beak to "customize" their favorite tree, to enlarge the size of their nest in a tree hollow. Doing this keeps their beaks in good condition. The problem is excessive and undesirable chewing. Undisciplined ringnecks may chew on electric wiring potentially causing house fires. The owner needs to provide plenty of "healthy" chewing opportunities (bird toys, natural wood branches, etc.) and training is necessary to teach a parrot what is "off-limits."
- Jealousy / Aggression: The ringneck parrots can be jealous of other family members and pets. They can develop a bond with only one human and refuse to interact with other people, even attacking them in some cases. Although this is a small bird it does not seem to believe so, and will attack larger birds and even dogs if it feels it or its human is threatened. Owners should be cautious in multiple-pet homes. Continuing to socialize the hand reared pet bird from a young age and letting many people handle and interact with it can prevent single-person bonding and allow it to become an excellent family pet.
- Noise: They can be noisy - albeit not as noisy as their larger cousins. Not everybody can tolerate the natural call of a ringneck parrot, and even though it can't (or should not) be entirely eliminated, there are ways to discourage screaming / screeching in your pet.
Continuous obedience training is recommended ...
- AvianWeb Resources: I put together web resources for you to help you understand your pet bird and properly direct him. Please visit this website for valuable tips on parrot behavior and training. If you found a way to resolve a "parrot behavioral issue" please share it with others.
- If you are, as I am, a visual learner and prefer step-by-step instructions to train your pet, I recommend:
- Procuring your Parrot
- Click here for a Breeders Listing
- The 3 Key Elements to Your Pet Bird's Happiness and Health
- Training Your Bird
- Bird Nutrition
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Breeding activities may begin at the end of July, August or early September. Average clutch size is 4 to 6 eggs and incubation lasts 24 to 25 days. Only the hen incubates, and the male feeds her in the nest. The young fledge at about 6 weeks. It is recommended to check on the chicks to make sure that they are properly fed and attended to. If the parents lack the necessary parenting skills, fostering may become necessary. However, in the rule, they make excellent parents.
- Advice & Tips on Breeding Birds.
Ringneck Parrots are generally hardy birds. However, the following diseases have been reported in this species:
Species: Scientific: Psittacula himalayana aka Psittacula himalayana himalayana ... English: Slaty-headed Parakeet, Black-headed Parakeet ... Dutch: Grijskopparkiet ... German: Schwarzkopfedelsittich, Himalayasittich ... French: Perruche à tête gris | CITES II- Endangered Species
The Finsch's Parakeet, also known as the Grey-headed Parakeet (Psittacula finschii) is closely related to the Slaty-headed Parakeet (described above) which together form a super-species. It occurs from the North-eastern states of India, into Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam. The binomial of this bird commemorates the German naturalist and explorer Otto Finsch.
Description: as himalayana - described above, but generally more yellowish; head less bluish; under wing-coverts dark bluish-green; middle tail-feathers violet-blue with yellowish-white tips; smaller, but tail as long as himalayana | Length: 36 cm (14 ins), wing length 140 - 152 mm (5.5 - 6 ins)
Species: Scientific: Psittacula finschii aka Psittacula himalayana finschii ... English: Grey-headed Parakeet, Finsch's Parakeet ... Dutch: Finsch' Parkiet ... German: Finsch Edelsittich, Burma Schwarzkopfedelsittich ... French: Perruche à tête gris de Finsch
Distribution: Ceylon, southern India north to about Hyderabad, Andhra Pradesh | CITES II - Endangered Species
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