Santa Barbara, California
Delaware, United States
Species group: Australian Parakeets
Other name(s): Scarlet-chested Parrot;
Scarlet-chested Parrot; Orange-throated Parrot;
Splendid Parakeet; Splendid Grass-Parakeet
AppearanceDetails: The Scarlet-chested Parakeet is a gentle seed-eater that doesn't offer many behavior challenges. They also tend to be a hassle-free addition to the planted or mixed species aviary, and the colorful adult male is often called the most beautiful of the grass parakeets. They are somewhat more active than most of the other Neophemas, and a bird with clipped wings will run around on the floor, but they are relatively quiet. One warning: Their health is somewhat fragile, and they must not be exposed to cold or damp. There are several color mutations available, but they are regarded as even more delicate. The natural wild form of the Scarlet-chested Parakeet is easy to sex. The adult males have blue faces and mostly green upper bodies, contrasting with the yellow undertail, yellow vent, and the vivid scarlet, orange, or orange-red breast. The females lack the dramatic breast color. Caution: The females can be easily confused with the female Turquoise Parakeet, N. pulchella.. Check the lores. It is a creamy color in the Turquoise female, while it's blue in the Scarlet-chested female.
Weight: 36 - 44 grams
Average size: 20 centimeters
Lifespan: 8 - 15 years
Diet: Like many of the other classic favorites of Australian aviculture, the Scarlet-chested Parakeet is a grass-eating bird from a relatively arid habitat, so it doesn't require a finicky or difficult diet. 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 Scarlet-chested Parakeet may refuse to recognize pellets as food, requiring you to bake a good birdie bread or to mix up a good eggfood 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 Scarlet-chested Parakeet may learn to accept live food or other healthy food by watching their companions eat it first.
Housing: A single pet Scarlet-chested Parakeet may be housed in a powder-coated metal cage at least 24”w by 18”d by 24” tall. They are not particularly chewy or destructive, so they can also be safely housed in a larger, mixed-species or planted flight. Be sure that all of the plants are bird-safe, and watch to make certain that the other birds are not harassing the gentle Scarlet-chested Parakeet. Do not house them with other Neophema parakeets, since they will hybridize. Instead, let them share the mixed aviary with non-competing species such as ornamental quail or doves, finches, canaries, or even cockatiels. They spend a lot of time on the floor, and you must pay attention to the substrate, keeping it clean to avoid infection or worms.It may be difficult to get the Scarlet-chested Parakeet to accept toys, but have perches or play areas out where you can bring your pet along with you to keep it sweet. That said, if you have a hand-fed baby, you are likely to be your pet's favorite perch, and the bird may simply enjoy riding along on your shoulder to accompany you around the house.
The Scarlet-chested Parakeet is endemic to the scrubby interior of southern Australia, and it seems to follow fire, appearing in areas that are recovering from a burn. Perhaps as a consequence, they seem to have a highly irruptive population, which may suddenly increase or crash, depending on how favorable the conditions may be for breeding.
The sweet, gentle, non-aggressive Scarlet-chested Parakeet is a calm bird that may demand some patience. For a single pet, you should get a hand-fed baby, and work lovingly with the bird every day to encourage its confidence. Your pet will probably never talk or perform any tricks, but it will probably never get involved in destructive chewing, and it would be very rare for a Scarlet-chested Parakeet to bite. They can learn to whistle back and forth with you, so focus on whistling lessons.They are sometimes criticized for being low energy, but they can be a very practical pet for someone who has to work. Besides, they are not actually quite as indolent as some of the other Neophema species. Some people report that Scarlet-chested Parakeets become lazy or depressed if they don't have enough room, so do provide the large flight you can afford. The Scarlet-chested Parakeet's usual gentle nature makes them good choices for the mixed species flight, but there have been a few reports of pairs harassing other birds, so always keep an eye on how the birds are interacting with each other, especially during breeding season. They have been kept successfully in colonies, as well as pairs, but monitor the situation carefully. Written by Elaine Radford