Bourke's Parakeets as Pets

These small, quiet parakeets are good pets for first-time bird owners

Bourke's Parrot (Neopsephotus bourkii, formerly known as Neophema bourkii), is a small parrot originating in Australia and the only species in its genus Neopsephotus.
Raj Kamal/Stockbyte/Getty Images

Known as a very sweet, gentle, and good-natured species, Bourke's Parakeets make good pets when hand fed as babies, which allows them to bond with their human caretakers. These are intelligent birds but are also mellow and quiet, especially compared to other parrot species. 

Bourke's Parakeets are an excellent introductory bird for those new to hookbills, both for their calm demeanor as well as their ability to entertain themselves.

They are small to medium-sized birds, measuring between 7 and 8 inches in length from the beak to the ends of the tail feathers. Healthy Bourke's Parakeets weigh slightly less than 2 ounces once they are fully grown.

Also known as Bourke's Parrots, or simply "Bourkies," these birds are named for Sir Richard Bourke, who was governor of Australia's New South Wales territory between 1831 and 1837.

Like other Australian parrots, Bourke's Parakeets living in captivity have relatively long lives, with many living as long as 25 years. They're small to medium-sized birds, measuring between 7 and 8 inches in length from the beak to the ends of the tail feathers. Healthy Bourke's Parakeets typically weigh about 2 ounces once they are fully grown. 

Natural Habitat of the Bourke's Parakeet

Bourke's Parakeets are native to Australia, which is the only place on Earth they're found in the wild. Their habitat spans much of the continent of Australia, including Queensland, New South Wales, central, southern and western Australia.

 

Successful captive breeding programs have made Bourke's Parakeets popular pets in homes all over the world.

Plumage and Colors of the Bourke's Parakeet

While they're not as vividly colored as some species, Bourke's Parakeets are still quite eye-catching. They have a dusty brown tint to their plumage, with pink feathers covering their chests and abdomens, and blue tail feathers.

The backs of their wings display a darker brownish-gray hue, with each feather highlighted by a lighter colored outline. 

Bourke's Parakeets are a sexually dimorphic type of bird, as evidenced by blue feathers on the forehead of mature adults in the species. 

Bourke's Parakeet Diet and Exercise

Bourke's Parakeets fall into the category of "grass parakeets," which means in the wild they forage for food among the fields and plains. Wild Bourke's parakeets consume a diet based mainly on seed, grasses, and other plant matter, interspersed with fruits, berries, insects, and other types of food when available. 

To properly feed a pet Bourke's Parakeet in captivity, owners should offer their birds a small parrot seed mix meant for Budgies and birds of similar size. This diet should be supplemented with a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables daily to provide the bird with balanced nutrition.

Bourke's Parakeets are less active than most other parakeets, but it's recommended they receive between 2 to 3 hours outside of the cage daily, in a supervised play area.

Bourke's Parakeets as Pets

If you're interested in keeping a Bourke's Parakeet, you aren't alone -- the desirable qualities of this species has made them very popular among pet owners everywhere. If you're serious about adoption, you should contact your local aviculture society or check for local breeders