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Lineolated Parakeet

Kristin Hitchcock

Lineolated Parakeets look similar to Budgies. They are commonly mistaken for them, though they do have different care needs and temperaments.

They are one of the quietest and calmest parrot family members, making them great pets for those looking for an easy-to-care-for bird. They are often recommended for first-time bird owners due to their docile appearance.

They do enjoy flying, as well as walking and climbing. Unlike Budgies, they walk with their bodies parallel to the ground, not upright. They are also a bit stockier.

While these Parakeets are often described as the “ideal pet,” that doesn’t mean they’re good for everyone. In this article, we’ll help you figure out if this is the best bird for you.

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Species Overview

Mazout 3
Mazout 3 (Image Credit: Weena, Wikimedia Commons CC 3.0 Unported)
Common Names: Linnie, Lineolated Parakeet, Barred Parakeet
Scientific Name: Bolborhynchus lineola
Adult Size: 6–7 inches
Life Expectancy: 10–20 years

Origin and History

This small parrot is found in the highland forests of South America. Their natural habitat ranges from Mexico to Panama. They are also found in Peru, Bolivia, and Venezuela.

While this may sound like so many places, these birds are actually picky about their environment. They only live in “cloud forests,” which are typically found among the mountains. Therefore, their actual range is relatively small.

There are quite a few breeding populations in the wild, which is usually considered least concerned on the endangerment scale.

They became popular in captivity relatively quickly. They have been bred in captivity for several years, so most captive birds adapt quickly to domestic life. Several color mutations have developed through captive breeding, though these are not found in the wild.

Temperament

Today, most Lineolated Parakeets are hand-fed as babies. This care causes them to develop friendly personalities. They are known for being one of the calmest and most laidback parrots around, making them easier to take care of.

Parakeets that are not raised in captivity are usually not as friendly or accepting of people. Therefore, we highly recommend choosing a captive-bred one.

These birds are incredibly social. They live for attention and love spending time with their owners.

Due to their quiet nature, they tend to be less intrusive than other birds. They will happily hang out on their owner’s shoulder as they attend to other matters.

They are about the same size as a Budgie and are commonly mistaken for one. However, they are much calmer than your average Budgie.

Many new bird owners benefit from their laidback nature, as it makes them easier to care for. They are also perfect apartment birds because they are rarely loud.

If you’re looking for a bird that isn’t needy but will enjoy being handled, this is the species for you. They are interactive without the loud, intrusive nature that often comes with other species.

Pros
  • Affectionate
  • Calm
  • Good talking skills
  • Quiet
Cons
  • Require regular exercise and mental stimulation
  • Socialization required

Speech & Vocalizations

The Lineolated Parakeet is quieter than other Parakeets. They tend to make a soft, chatter noise instead of the screeches commonly associated with parrots.

It isn’t that they don’t talk at all — their sounds are just quieter than most other parrots.

They are capable talkers. They can easily mimic sounds and whistles and enunciate words correctly. They aren’t quite as capable as some other parrots, though. Their vocabulary seems to be more limited overall.

Not all individuals will speak. The males tend to talk more than the females, but you will still encounter a quiet male now and then.

Lineolated Parakeet Colors and Markings

In their “default” coloration, these Parakeets are primarily green. There are technically two subspecies that display black and dark-green stripes across their back and wings.

The underside of their wings is blue, and their tail feathers are a darker green. Their eyes are brown.

Males and females look the same. They must be sexed according to genetic testing. Males may sometimes have more stripes than females, but this is not accurate enough to sex them.

Many different color variations have popped up over the years.

These colors are only found in captivity due to selective breeding:
  • Lutino: This bird has yellow coloration across most of their body.
  • Turquoise: As the name suggests, these birds are primarily turquoise. Their backs and sides usually show black markings as well.
  • Grey: This coloration is also known as mauve, and these birds are entirely grey. Their backs and wings may be black or a dark blueish color.
  • Blue: The usual green coloration is replaced by blue. They typically have darker-colored wings, backs, and sides.

Caring for the Lineolated Parakeet

Compared to other species, this Parakeet is relatively easy to take care of. They don’t require a large cage — a 2-foot square cage is acceptable as long as the bird gets plenty of out-of-cage time.

Of course, bigger is always better when it comes to cages.

These birds can function well in an aviary with other Linnies or similar species. Small flocks may make a decent amount of noise, though. We don’t recommend them for those trying to avoid noise as much as possible.

Lineolated Parakeets are not known for being destructive. Their high intelligence does make them rather curious, though. They like to chew and gnaw. Provide them with plenty of chew toys to prevent them from chewing on off-limits objects.

You should plan on letting this Parakeet out for several hours each day. The primary purpose of this time should be socialization and exercise. One-on-one time is essential.

Like many parrots, this species will go through a troublesome adolescent period. They are more likely to bite during this time. However, it doesn’t last long and can easily be waited out. Extra exercise can help, but this may be difficult if the animal is particularly aggressive.

These birds love water. We recommend allowing them to play in a standing water dish or a mister regularly. Be sure that the area is warm and that the bird can preen as necessary. Otherwise, they may become too cold.

Common Health Problems

When it comes to their health, this species is like any other parrot. However, their small size may make otherwise curable diseases deadly. They usually get lethargic faster and treatment is often more complex.

Most conditions are tied to diet. Vitamin deficiencies are widespread, as there are many misconceptions regarding proper nutrition. These health problems can be potentially deadly.

Even if a deficiency doesn’t kill the bird themes, it can make them more prone to other problems. Therefore, feeding your Parakeet correctly prevents other infections.

A varied diet is an absolute must. These birds cannot live on seeds alone. Parakeets are prone to fatty tumors. It is sometimes recommended to feed them sprouted seeds as a preventative measure. This is primarily due to the increased protein content.

Eye infections can also occur. Usually, these are the result of a dirty environment. Bacteria that grow in the cage can end up in the bird’s eye, causing an infection.

Like all birds, Linnies may be affected by respiratory infections. Drafts and sudden temperature changes seem to cause these infections, or at least increase their severity. Keep your bird’s surrounding at a steady and stable temperature.

Diet and Nutrition

Diet is a vital part of caring for your bird. Often, what your Linnie wants and what they need are two different things.

These Parakeets need a varied diet. They eat all sorts of different seeds, fruits, insects, and other vegetation in the wild. Replicating this diet in captivity as closely as possible is essential to their wellbeing.

We recommend feeding them a high-quality pellet mix alongside various fresh fruits and veggies. The fresh foods should be safe for birds and varied every time that they are offered.

The more variety that you add, the more nutrients your Parakeet will get.

Linnies are small and only require about 1 tablespoon of food a day. Fresh produce should be provided every other day

This may seem like a minimal amount of food. However, these birds don’t need much. Overfeeding can cause obesity, which is linked to various health complications.

Fruits don’t settle well in some bird’s stomachs. If you notice watery feces after feeding your bird fruit, cut back on it. Most birds enjoy eating fruit, but veggies are often easier on their stomachs.

You should also provide them with a cuttlebone or mineral block. These snacks will provide them with extra calcium, which is extremely important for preventing bone problems. Usually, these Parakeets will not get enough calcium from their usual diet alone, hence the need for supplementation.

You can generally trust your bird to consume calcium from a mineral block as needed. They’re good at knowing what their bodies need.

Exercise

Wild Lineolated Parakeets are active. They spend much of the day interacting with other birds, finding food, and hiding from predators.

In captivity, your bird doesn’t have to worry about many of these things, but they still need plenty of exercise.

Your parakeet will benefit from at least 3-4 hours of out-of-cage time per day. You can use this time for their exercise and socialization, especially if there aren’t any other birds inside their cage.

You must supervise the bird during this time. They may be small but they are still parrots. They will get into things. This behavior can lead to damaged furniture and other belongings, as well as health problems for the bird. They are prone to eating things that they shouldn’t, leading to obstructions and similar issues. Be sure to always supervise them closely during this time.

You should also be sure to parrot-proof their play area, though this does not eliminate the need for supervision.

Where to Adopt or Buy a Lineolated Parakeets

We recommend purchasing these Parakeets from a breeder. They aren’t well suitable for being kept in pet stores, which usually leads to unhealthy birds.

If you adopt one from a pet store, you’re likely getting a stressed and sick animal. Adapting to a new home may be a bit much for them.

A reputable breeder is the way to go in most circumstances. Be sure to ask the breeder about the bird’s environment and health history. You should see where the bird is being kept and check on the breeder’s other birds as well. Unreputable breeders sometimes have a “nice” cage where they keep the bird being viewed, while the rest are kept in sub-par conditions. Asking to see the parents and other birds is vital.

Know what to look for when adopting a bird. You want one that is active and alert. Bright eyes and clean feathers are essential. Sickly birds often don’t groom themselves properly.

The Linnie Society has a list of breeders that you can look at. However, just because a breeder is listed, that does not mean they are high-quality. All these steps still apply.

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Conclusion

For those who want a quiet and calm bird, you may want to consider a Lineolated Parakeet.

Though they belong to the parrot family, these birds are well-known for being much more docile and laidback. They chatter instead of making the characteristic screaming noises that other parrots make. They may be well suited to apartments, though flocks tend to make a bit more noise.

They don’t take up much room, though bigger cages are always better.

They do require a decent amount of attention and exercise. These birds require at least 3 hours of your time a day. Be sure you can provide this need before you adopt one. Otherwise, they can develop health problems and become stressed.

The cute little birds make lovely pets, especially for brand-new bird owners.


Featured Image Credit: Kasama Kanpittaya, Shutterstock

Kristin Hitchcock

Kristin is passionate about helping pet parents create a fulfilling life with their pets by informing them on the latest scientific research and helping them choose the best products for their pets. She currently resides in Tennessee with four dogs, three cats, two fish, and a lizard, though she has dreams of owning chickens one-day!