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The Plain Parakeets (Brotogeris tirica) are endemic to, and common in, southern and eastern Brazil; its range stretching from southern Bahia to Sao Paulo west across southern Minas Gerais to southern Goias. They appear to be restricted to that area of South East Brazil that used to be covered in Atlantic Rain Forest.
Their natural habitats include open country with trees and bushes, lowland evergreen forest areas, second-growth forests, degraded former forest areas, partially cultivated land, woodlands, parks and urban areas.
They can be found at elevations up to 1,200 to 1,300 meters (~4,000 to 4,265 feet).
They occur in pairs, groups or small flocks. These noisy parakeets are often seen flying between trees or buildings.
The Plain Parakeets seems to have adapted to the destruction of 95% of their natural habitat and survives well in many areas where fruiting trees grow, specifically large urban centers and city parks. Global populations are said to be stable as this species is still considered "common" in most of its large range.
Even though, this species is currently evaluated as Least Concern, a considerable decline in its population has been noted following large-scale conversion of its original habitat for agricultural use.
Personality: Sociable, active, playful, enjoy climbing in branches
Calls / Vocalizations:
Calls made in flight are shrillrolling screeches with occasional harsh, two syllable rasping notes while feeding or resting.
Their voice can be loud, although they are not known for extended periods of screeching. They have the ability to learn human speech.
Flight: Swift and straight
Physical Description - Adults:
Males and females look alike.
Length: 23 to 25 cm (9 to 10 ins)
Adult Weight: 2.3 oz (65g)
Main Identification Features: The Plain Parakeet has the longest tail, which make up one half of its body length. This parakeet is not as brightly colored as its cousins, which explains its name. Its plumage is generally green.There is some yellow on the crown, cheeks and underparts. The shoulders and lesser wing feathers are olive-green. The flight feathers and the underside of the tail are blue-green. The primary feathers and outer secondary feathers are edged with green.
- Eye Ring / Periophthalmic Ring: pale grey
- Irises: dark brown
- Bill: brownish, turning horn-colored towards base
- Feet: dark flesh color
Physical Description - Young Birds / Immatures:
Look like adults, except for:
- Wings: primary coverts are pure green; the primary feathers and outer secondary feathers are tinted with blue
- Tail: shorter
- Bill: The upper beak is brown at base.
Natural Diet: The Plain Parakeet feeds on and disperses the fruits of the palm (Syagrus romanzoffiana) in Southeastern Brazil. They may also 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.
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
Class: Aves -- Birds, oiseaux
Order: Psittaciformes -- Parrots, perroquets
Family: Psittacidae -- aras, cacatoès, Cockatoos, Lories, Macaws, Parrots, perroquets
Genus: Brotogeris Vigors, 1825 -- Canary-winged Parakeets
Species: Brotogeris tirica (Gmelin, 1788) -- Plain Parakeet ... English: Plain Parakeet, Tirica Parakeet ... Dutch: Tirica Parkiet ... German: Tirikasittich ... French: Perruche Tirica
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