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African Ring-Necked Parakeet

Genevieve Dugal

The African ring-necked parakeet is similar to a parrot in miniature form. Its beautiful lime green plumage, tiny red beak, and famous black collar make this little parakeet a much sought-after pet. Discover its main characteristics and everything it needs to thrive in captivity.

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Species Overview

Common Names African ring-necked parakeet, rose-ringed parakeet
Scientific Name Psittacula krameri
Adult Size 16 inches
Life Expectancy 20 to 30 years

Origin and History

rose ringed parakeet
Image Credit: Namrata Verma, Pixabay

The ring-necked parakeet is a bird native to the rainforests of sub-Saharan Africa. It belongs to the Psittaciformes order, like other tropical birds such as parrots.

This exotic bird is ubiquitous in Europe today; they are even considered invasive species. On the other hand, the African ring-necked parakeet is relatively rare in the United States.

The first appearances of these birds in Europe seem to date from the 1970s, following wild or accidental releases. Some of these events can be dated with precision. In 1974 in Brussels, around forty ring-necked parakeets were released by a city zoo. That same year in the Paris region, a container in the Orly Airport area inadvertently let some fifty small parakeets escape. The same scenario happened again in 1990, this time at Paris-Charles-de-Gaulle Airport.

Since then, populations have continued to grow. The temperate climate that reigns in the coastal countries of Western Europe, especially in England and the Netherlands, has favored the survival of these birds of tropical origin. And to survive the winter cold, parakeets can rely on the food available in the feeders provided by the generous locals. Given how beautiful these parakeets are, it’s no wonder they quickly became well-loved pets by breeders and other bird lovers.

Temperament

african ring necked parakeet
Image Credit: sac_9977, Pixabay

Keeping this parakeet in captivity requires less demanding care than other exotic species. Known to be less demonstrative than other parakeet species, the African Ring-Necked parakeet is quite affectionate and playful. It also needs to be stimulated by games and interactions.

However, this little parakeet is quite shy. She is also very exclusive and tends to trust only her owner. She demands a lot of attention and doesn’t appreciate being left on her own for too long. It is, however, a pleasant bird to live with and can even learn to repeat a few words. Also, it is essential that you get your bird used to being handled every day; otherwise, she will become shy. But, despite all this attention, the African ring-necked parakeet can sometimes be aggressive, especially if it is afraid.

Pros
  • Affectionate
  • Playful
Cons
  • Needs to be handled a lot
  • Can be loud
  • Timid

Speech & Vocalizations

The African ring-necked parakeet is able to learn a few words and repeat phrases, but it cannot imitate the human voice as well as parrots. She can also be quite loud, screaming and chattering loudly when unhappy or excited.

Rose Ringed Parakeet side view_Pixabay
Image Credit: MabelAmber, Pixabay

African Ring-Necked Parakeet Colors and Markings

The African ring-necked parakeet has vibrant lime green plumage, with some blue on the tail and patches of yellow under the wings and on the belly. There is a sexual dimorphism in this species: the color of the plumage in the male is generally more intense than in the juveniles and the female. In addition, only the male has a black ring around his neck.

Here’s a list of the most common color mutations:

  • Turquoise
  • Olive
  • White
  • Blue
  • Violet
  • Grey
  • Yellow
  • Cinnamon

Caring for the African Ring-Necked Parakeet

This parakeet is quite hardy and easy to keep, unlike other exotic species. However, for the well-being of your bird, you may need to adopt at least two individuals, given their gregarious temperament.

rose ringed parakeet
Image Credit: Bishnu Sarangi, Pixabay

You will need to install:

  • A large aviary that must be at least 13 feet long for a pair of parakeets.
  • One or two birdbaths.
  • A few perches.
  • A few toys.
  • A nest of 20 inches high by 12 inches wide.

You can cover the bottom of the cage with wood chips.

Common Health Problems

African ring-necked parakeets are generally healthy birds. However, they can suffer from diseases common to exotic birds kept in captivity:

Diet and Nutrition

The African ring-necked parakeet feeds mainly on fruits and seeds. In its natural habitat in Africa, its diet is based on fruits, such as figs, mangoes and guavas, and seeds.

In captivity, the favorite food of this bird consists of various plants (almonds, peanuts, berries, cereals, edible flowers, fruits, seed and legume germs, vegetables, legumes, nuts, pasta, quinoa, rice, and some greens).

Rose Ringed Parakeet on the hand
Image Credit: TheOtherKev, Pixabay

Exercise

The African ring-necked parakeet needs to spread its wings daily and get enough exercise to maintain optimal health.

In addition to an aviary large enough for your parakeets, offer them the opportunity to fly in a closed room for a few hours a day; remember to close the windows and draw the curtains to avoid accidents. By working on your relationship with your pet, you can tame your parakeet and turn it into a “shoulder bird”, like parrots who like to perch on the arm of their favorite human.

Where to Adopt or Buy an African Ring-Necked Parakeet

Bird rescue organizations and other shelters are good places to start your research if you want to adopt an African ring-necked parakeet. Many ring-necked parakeets suffer from loneliness and health issues when left in the hands of irresponsible breeders. Indeed, unscrupulous breeders sometimes sell ring-necked parakeets that are much too young, which predisposes them to many health problems.

African ring necked parakeet on a tree
Image Credit: Martin Kolbenschlag, Pixabay

Also, note that the price of an African ring-necked parakeet varies between $400 and $700; that’s a significant asking price for a budgie. But, if you’re willing to pay that price to acquire this exotic bird, seek advice from your vet so they can direct you to a trusted breeder.

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Conclusion

The African ring-necked parakeet is recognizable by its beautiful green plumage, its long tail with bluish tints, its red and black beak, as well as the famous black ring around its neck. Discreet yet affectionate, it is a pleasant winged companion for any bird lover.


Featured Image Credit: Mabel Amber, Pixabay

Genevieve Dugal

Genevieve is a biologist and science writer. Her deep love for capuchin monkeys, pumas, and kangaroos has taken her worldwide to work and volunteer for several wildlife rehabilitation centers in Bolivia, Guatemala, Canada, and Australia. As a Canadian expat, Genevieve now lives in Argentina, where she wakes up every morning to horses and cows saying hello from the vast plain next to her home office window. She is the proud mom of three rescued dogs, Lemmy, Nala, and Pochi, and a frisky kitten, Furiosa. Having the privilege of sharing her knowledge and passion for animals of all kinds is what makes her fulfilled and happy.