Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Splendid Scarlet-chested Parakeets

The lovely bird above left is a female Splendid parakeet from Australia. Her colors are more muted than her mate's. However, her many shades include light blue, bright yellow, many hues of green with iridescent turquoise on her shoulders. Although more subdued in color than a male's vividness, she's still bright and pretty.

The handsome fellows above and to the right are both male Splendids, also called Scarlet-chested parakeets for obvious reasons. Because of their vibrant colors it is no wonder they're named Splendids. Only the males develop the scarlet chest when mature. Young birds look like the hens. Photos can't capture the iridescent nature of their sheen, especially on their cobalt blue faces. The male on the right is holding a white feather. Their backs, not shown in the photo, are dark emerald green.
Splendids are spectacular to watch. They are active birds, true clowns who love toys and swings.

Unfortunately, they also love to make soup out of water cups. Like the Bourkes, they love corn or almost any vegetable. They eat them, but much of it will end up in their water. Even if you only feed seed, you'll find hulls floating in their water every day. For this reason it is imperative that their water be changed daily, at a minimum. They love clean water and you will be rewarded with their funny antics as they bathe. Since much of the water in a cup is dispersed after a bath, it's wise to also have a water bottle always present too. However, Splendids also drop things in the narrow opening of water bottles too. Of course, you can introduce a shallow bowl of water for them to bathe in as well.

Although Splendids are higher maintenance than a Bourke parakeet, they are personality plus, not to mention their vibrant colors. As far as song goes, Splendids can't match the Bourkes for song. Bourkes have a lovely floating song, and males include a soft wolf whistle in it. Splendids make cheeps and chirps at varying levels. However, as you get to know your bird, you will recognize a certain sound that he uses to call you. They crave attention.
I like to keep the bottom of my cages covered in newspaper that I can throw out when it's soiled. It makes cage cleaning easier. Splendids chew newspaper... Smile. Some Bourkes chew too, but only a few, whereas I bet every male Splendid will mince newspaper.

Next time: Hints on breeding.

No comments: