east meadow, New York
Lake Havasu City, Arizona
Species group: Australian Parakeets
Other name(s): Princess Parrot; Alexandra's Parrot;
Princess Alexandra's Parakeet; Queen Alexandra's Parakeet; Rose-throated Parakeet; Spinifex Parrot
AppearanceDetails: The pastel Princess of Wales Parakeet is an elegant aviary bird that looks good and is relatively hassle-free. They are a bit more vocal than some of the other Australian parakeet species, and a few individuals have learned to speak, although you're more likely to be able to teach your pet to mimic a whistle. They are relatively easy to care for and could be a good choice for a novice breeder's birds. There is a choice of color mutations available. There is no other parrot quite like the Princess of Wales Parakeet. Both the male and the female are long, slim parakeets with remarkable pink throats, but the male in particular has a long, almost streamer-like tail. The third primary feather of each wing will also develop a distinctive spatulate or scooplike tip on the end. The female is a bit plainer in color, her long tail is not quite as long as her mate's, and she lacks the “scoop” feathers on her third primaries.
Weight: 92 grams
Average size: 40 centimeters
Lifespan: 20 - 30 years
Diet: Princess of Wales Parakeets might look like sugar-spun candy, but they're tough birds of the sandy Australian interior, and they are relatively easy to feed. A high quality small seed mix is usually the backbone of the diet, but be sure to provide plenty of soaked and sprouted seeds, seeding heads, and millet sprays as well. You should provide access to chopped fruits and vegetables, with plenty of chopped greens. Do not offer avocado or chocolate, as these items are toxic to all parrots.Like cockatiels, the Princess of Wales Parakeet may refuse to recognize pellets as food, requiring you to bake a good birdie bread or to mix up a good egg food once in awhile to encourage them to enjoy some protein. They are ground feeders in the wild, and some breeders advise offering food bowls on the ground to encourage your picky eaters. Breeders who keep them in mixed species aviaries with quail or finches report that sometimes the Princess of Wales Parakeet may learn to accept live food or other healthy food by watching their companions eat it first.
Housing: The Princess of Wales Parakeet benefits from a large cage to accommodate the long tail, especially on the males. A small macaw cage might not be too much, provided the bar spacing wasn't too wide. A minimum size for a single pet might be 36”w by 24”d by 36” tall. However, the majority of pairs or colonies are undoubtedly housed in custom-built aviaries, to show off these birds to perfection and to give them the opportunity to move. They tend to spend a lot of time on the floor, so take care to provide a substrate that is easily cleaned, to prevent the spread of worms or other diseases.
Despite its delicate appearance, the Princess of Wales Parakeet is a tough native of the Great Sandy Desert of inland Australia and some surrounding arid habitat. They are a nomadic species that seems to follow the seeding of some tough Australian grasses, and their population may be threatened by destruction of their specialized habitat, including competition from introduced grass-eaters like sheep and rabbits. With less than 5,000 birds remaining in the wild, the Princess of Wales Parakeet faces an unknown future, and the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN) has listed the species as “near-threatened.”
While they are mostly kept as aviary birds, the Princess of Wales Parakeet is respected as a gentle, fairly easy-going bird who can make a great pet if handled from an early age. They can vocalize, and occasionally some people mention that they can be somewhat noisy. The upside is, of course, that their ability to vocalize means that some birds may learn to talk, and many learn to whistle.They can be affectionate and attentive to their owner if kept as a single pet. Of course, if kept in pairs or colonies, they will focus on their own kind. Here is a cute behavior to watch for during courtship: The Princess of Wales Parakeet pairs may press cheeks together and use their wings to attempt to hug each other. Written by Elaine Radford