Orange-chinned Parakeets, Bee-bee Parrots or Tovi Parakeets
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The Orange-chinned Parakeet (Brotogeris jugularis) - also known as Bee-bee Parrot or Tovi Parakeet - has the most northerly range of the brotogeris family. It is found in the subtropical or tropical dry forests, subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests, and heavily degraded former forest. Its range extends from southern Mexico, south through Central America into the South American countries of Colombia and Venezuela, going as far far as northeastern Peru.
During the day, the typical flock size of these parakeets range from 2 to 16 birds.
These parakeets are strong fliers and have been recorded flying at speeds up to around 45 m.p.h. Flocks rarely fly in straight lines but often veer to one side or the other.
- Orange-chinned Parakeet (B.j. jugularis) - nominate form described here
- Eastern Tovi Parakeet (B.j. exsul)
The Orange-chinned Parakeet is a small parrot, averaging 7 to 7.2 inches (17.5 - 18 cm) in length and weighing around 2 oz (55 - 65 g).
The overall plumage is green and some of the wing feathers are brown/bronze. There is some brown on the shoulders, and blue on the wings. It is named after the small bright-orange patch of feathers under its beak - although the orange feathers may not be visible depending of this parakeet's posture and the angle it is viewed at. The beak is horn-colored.
Both male and female look identical and must be sexed either by DNA or surgically, if identifying the correct sex is of importance.
Immature birds look like the adults.
Please note that the Cobalt-winged Parakeet (B. cyanoptera) also has the same bright-orange patch on the "chin" and, therefore, is frequently confused with the orange-chinned parakeet. One easy method for determining the difference is the coloration on the head. Only cobalt wings have yellow feathers around the nostrils. Orange chins also have a stronger yellowish tinge to the green feathers of the breast than other members of the group.
Flocks of these parakeets may also get confused with local conure populations with whom they share the same green plumage, but can be differentiated by their shorter tails. These parakeets also lack the yellow eye ring and orange forehead of the conure species that are common in that range.
Aviculture / Breeding / Pets:
In their natural habitat, these parakeets may nest in rock crevices or cavities in palm fronds. They may also take advantage of an old woodpecker hole; or excavate cavities in arboreal termitaria for their nests. Indeed several pairs of parakeets may excavate separate holes in the same termitarium and breed in a communal setting.
The Orange-chinned Parakeets are social and form strong pair bonds. Nesting activities commence in the dry season and may extend into the early wet season. The average clutch size consists of 4 to 6 white eggs; although some clutches consisted of as many as 9 eggs. The female incubates the eggs for 21 to 26 days, but both parents raise the young. The chicks fledge when they are about 42 days old.
The orange-chinned parakeets imported into the United States came from Honduras. Most were taken from their nests as chicks and hand-fed; so they arrived here rather tame and were sold into the pet industry. Only few of them were set up for breeding. The breeding pairs, however, are producing well - but not enough young are produced to satisfy the large demand for this parakeet. Sadly, nowadays these popular little birds are difficult to obtain.
Breeding your Brotogeris - All you need to know about setting up and maintaining your breeding pairs
Brotogeris as Pets - Find out about their personalities and care requirements
Diet / Feeding:
In their natural habitat, these parakeets may feed on the following:
- Seeds (including sprouted seeds)
- Fruits (including berries and figs)
- Flowers. Nectar, Greens & Plant Matter
- Minerals & Grit: They are often seen visiting barreiros (areas where mineral-rich soil is readily available) and river banks to feed on soil.
- Insects and their larvae
They should be provided a varied diet that includes any of the below:
- A high-quality dry parrot mix (cockatiel dry food mix is fine). Dr. Harvey's Bird Food Mixes or Lafeber are convenient options that lack the harmful additives that are commonly found in commercial mixes and have a great variety of quality ingredients (including dried fruits, veggies, herbs / greens and even superfoods, such as bee pollen!) - in short: myriad nourishing ingredients that are not found in other commercially available bird mixes. However, our biggest grievance with their products is that they use sulphurated dried produce (a process which also requires chemicals), but it is very difficult to find mixes with unsulphurated fruits and veggies. You could just buy the seeds, nuts and grain mix and buy human-grade unsulphurated dried produce / greens as well as bee pollen and mix them in. Even organic trail mixes (WITHOUT CHOCOLATE!) work great. With a little creativity you can put a mix together that offers superior nutrition without the chemicals typically found in commercial brands.
- Sprouted Seeds: sprouted sunflower; sprouted millet spray. Sprouted or germinated seeds are usually more easily accepted by "seed addicts" than fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Sprouted seeds are healthier as the sprouting changes and enhances the nutritional quality and value of seeds and grains. Sprouted seeds are lower in fat, as the process of sprouting utilizes the fat in the seed to start the growing process - thus reducing the fat stored in the seeds.
- Sprouted seeds will help balance your bird’s diet by adding a nutritious supply of high in vegetable proteins, vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and chlorophyll.
- Soaked and germinated "oil" seeds, like niger and rape seeds, are rich in protein and carbohydrates; while "starch" seeds, such as canary and millets, are rich in carbohydrates, but lower in protein.
- It is an invaluable food at all times; however, it is especially important for breeding or molting birds. Sprouted seeds also serve as a great rearing and weaning food as the softened shell is easier to break by chicks and gets them used to the texture of seeds.
- Fresh fruit (such as bananas, berries, figs, rose hips)
- Edible flowers
- Nectar: Lory food; porridge of oat flakes; or wheatgerm and honey
- Vegetables (one favorite is half-ripe corn)
- Green foods / plant material, such as dandelion, clover, chickweed, rowanberries, etc.. In the wild, they like to chew rotten stumps and search for larvae
- Branches with buds and flowers
- Animal protein (such as dried shrimp)
- Vitamin and mineral supplements (especially important if nutritional variety and quality hasn't been maintained)
Click here to learn more about bird nutrition.
These parakeets are messy eaters and scatter any soft food over their cages (as is typical of most parrots). Carefully planning the set up will facilitate the daily clean-up.
Calls / Vocalizations:
Orange chins have a characteristic contact call given in flight: a high frequency tinkling alternating with buzzes. They generally sound harsh and continuous; also scratchy and more musical notes, some sharp and abrupt. The calls usually have two pieces, each contributed by one member of the mated pair - in a sequential duet. A softer version is often overhead when a flock of these parakeets is foraging in the same tree and appears to function to coordinate group movements.
When flocks are resting and playing, a constant chattering mingled with the tinkles and buzzes of the loud contact calls can usually be heard.
Captive parakeets are capable of imitating simple human speech.
Class: Aves -- Birds, oiseaux
Order: Psittaciformes -- Parrots, perroquets
Family: Psittacidae -- aras, cacatoès, Cockatoos, Lories, Macaws, Parrots, perroquets
Species: Scientific: Brotogeris jugularis jugularis ... English: Orange-chinned, Tovi Parakeet, Bee Bee Parrot ... Dutch: Tovi Parkiet ... German: Tovisittich ... French: Perruche Tovi
Description: The Eastern Tovi hen and cock look like the respective sexes of the nominate species featured above. They also average 7 inches (18 cm) in length. The following constitute visual differences:
- the bright green thighs and undertail coverts not tinged with blue
- the orange chin is less pronounced
- the olive wash on the mantle is more extensive
- the lesser and median wing-coverts are a darker brown
Distribution: northwest Venezuela ( Yaracuy, Carabobo, Barinas, Apure, Portuguesa, Cojedes and Guarico Provinces) and Arauca Province, northeast Colombia.
Species: Scientific: Brotogeris jugularis exsul ... English: Eastern Tovi Parakeet ... Dutch: Oostelijke Tovi Parkiet ... German: östlicher Tovisittich ... French: Perruche Tovi Todd
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