The beautiful coloring of the Indian Ringneck Parakeet, along with its high intelligence and exceptional mastery of mimicking human talk, makes it a delightful favorite among bird lovers. These birds make great companions.
Originating from Ceylon, an area near India, Indian Ringneck Parakeets, also known as Rose-Ringed Parakeets can be found throughout Asia and parts of Africa, in forests and arid environments. This species is one of the most widely scattered among the parrot species and can also be found in China, Tibet, Nepal and nearby islands. However, despite their origin, this species does well in an urban setting and does make a great companion pet.
Although larger than most parakeets, and clearly smaller in size than a parrot, the Indian Ringneck is officially classified as a small parrot or parakeet. Growing to approximately 16 inches in length, this species has a solid build, not a slender one as most parakeets.
The most common coloration of the Indian Ringneck Parakeet is generally green all over, with a lighter green belly and the back of the head being a bluish tinted color. A very distinct black ring begins at the bottom of the beak and circles the entire neck, with a wider band of pink (like a collar) below the ring. The hooked beak is a bright reddish orange color, with the bottom mandible being much darker, sometimes black. The twelve feathers that comprise the tail are the greater part of their length (7 inches for males, 6 inches for females). The long center tail feathers are somewhat bluish with a yellow-green tip, while the outside tail feathers are mostly green. It is not unusual to see an Indian Ringneck Parakeet in a blue or yellow variety, as domestic breeding has produced some color variations from the original species. Immature males and females do not have the dark ring or the pink collar, and the beaks are generally much lighter in color, particularly in the African males.
These highly intelligent birds enjoy being intellectually stimulated and are extremely proficient when mentally challenged; looking forward to every opportunity to show how smart they are. Unfortunately, Indian Ringneck Parakeets are often misunderstood as being difficult to own because of their generally aloof nature, and the fact that they do not bond well with other Ringnecks. In reality, Indian Ringnecks (both males and females) do bond strongly with their owner or chosen person and are extremely loyal to that person. Females will even chase others away from their handler by lunging at them, while the males will simply stay way from people they do not like.
Though not overly affectionate or as willing to be handled as most parrots or parakeets, these birds can be socialized to be loyal and loving to their handler and even seek their attention. As with most living creatures, if socialized early enough and handled often, these birds will learn a more social behavior as part of their personality, as though it was natural. Even Indian Ringnecks that do not like or adapt to “hands on” handling still crave social interaction from their owners, and if provided, will respond heartily and happily.
Often adored more for their unusual and beautiful appearance, many people are not aware of their incredible mastery of human speech, often much better and with a higher level of clarity than many talking parrots, including quakers, greys and amazon parrots, who ironically are often chosen specifically for their ability to mimic talking. Although both males and females can mimic speech, the males tend to be more vocal and better talkers than the females.
In addition to their gift of speech, the Indian Ringneck is a quick learner, able to pick up tricks, behaviors and complex concepts extremely fast. European shop owners even use these birds to capture the attention of potential customers as they walk by their shops. One thing to note is that the Indian Ringneck may be delightful to listen to when it “talks” but does have an very piercing call.
HOUSING AND FEEDING
Because of their exceptionally long tails, these birds do require a larger cage than most parakeet varieties. Known to be excellent climbers, you should make sure you provide enough space to move around and place ropes so they can climb. Ropes are important as they not only provide entertainment for them, but also an efficient form of exercise. Because their beaks are hooked, and they are very proficient at using them, many of the toys used for most parakeets are not usable.
Indian Ringneck Parakeets enjoy fruits and vegetables, and will not thrive on a “seed only” diet. In the wilds, these birds eat a variety of things which include fruits and berries, nuts, blossoms and nectar. You can also offer vegetables in order to provide variety and balanced nutrition. Do not be surprised if your Ringneck does not eat commercial pellets. Some Ringnecks can be introduced to the pellets, and will eventually consume them, although most will refuse and are smart enough to pick around them even when mixed with other foods. A healthy diet of fresh foods and natural ingredients is always best for your bird and will help him thrive and remain healthy. It is very important that you make sure all fruits are fresh. Old and near spoiled fruits should never be fed to your pet bird.
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