A Bourke's Parakeet Is a Perfect Pet for First-Time Bird Owners (2024)

Bourke's parakeets are an excellent introductory bird for those new to hookbills or parrots; they have a calm demeanor and can entertain themselves. They are quiet birds that are ideal apartment dwellers and are equally suited for individual cages or small aviaries, where they are excellent partners for finches and co*ckatiels as well as other Bourke's parakeets. Keep gentle Bourke's parakeets away from larger, aggressive birds.

Species Overview

Common Names: Bourke's parrots, Bourke's parakeet, Bourkies, blue-vented parrot, sundown parrot, and pink-bellied parrot

Scientific Name: Neopsephotus bourkii

Adult Size: 7 to 8 inches

Life Expectancy: May live as long as 25 years

Origin and History

Bourke's parakeet is a nomadic species native to Australia. Their habitat spans much of the continent including Queensland; New South Wales; and central, southern, and western Australia. Their principal habitat is the dry plains, but they also live in native cypress and eucalyptus woodlands. Wild birds also live in urban areas.

These birds are named for Sir Richard Bourke, the governor of Australia's New South Wales territory from 1831 to 1837. It was initially classified as part of the Neophema genusbut was assigned to the Neopsephotus genus in the 1990s.

Successful captive breeding programs have made Bourke's parakeets popular pets in homes all over the world. This species is not threatened; wild populations seem to be growing.


Known as an adorable, gentle, and good-natured species, Bourke's parakeets make good pets when hand-fed as babies, which allows them to bond with their human caretakers.

These are intelligent birds but are also mellow and quiet, especially compared to other parrot species. They are cuddly and prefer companionship; expect a guest riding on your shoulder often. They also get bouts of energy and enjoy flying around.

Speech and Vocalizations

Peak activity usually occurs just after sunrise and sunset, when they can get a bit noisy, though not annoyingly so. Overall, these are relatively quiet birds when compared to other parrots. Unlike other parrots, Bourke's parakeets do not talk or perform tricks.

How to Teach Your Pet Bird to Talk

Bourke's Parakeet Colors and Markings

While not as vividly colored as other species, Bourke's parakeets are still quite eye-catching. They have a dusty brown tint to their plumage with pink feathers covering their chests and abdomens, and blue tail feathers. The backs of their wings display a darker brownish-gray hue with each feather highlighted by a lighter-colored outline.

The sexes can be distinguished visually—they are sexually dimorphic. The adult male has a blue forehead while the adult female has little or no blue on the forehead. The male also tends to be slightly larger than the female.

Several color mutations are possible with Bourke's parakeets. One of the most popular is the rosy Bourke's parakeet, which is a bright shade of pink.

Caring for Bourke's Parakeets

These birds are enthusiastic flyers, so they are better suited for roomy aviaries rather than cages. A suitable aviary is at least 6 feet in length with several tree branches for the birds to climb.

If an aviary is not a practical possibility, choose the largest cage possible, with dimensions that are wider than they are tall, as these birds enjoy horizontal flight. A cage should be at least three feet long, 1 1/2 feet wide, and 1 1/2 feet tall. This bird is best suited caged with another Bourke's parakeet; althoughthey can live well on their own. If kept single, interact with it daily to curb loneliness. Swings are an excellent addition to an aviary or cage.

Bourke's parakeets are enthusiastic bathers, so make sure to keep bathing pools inside the cage or aviary. Make sure the bathing water is fresh and clean. You can also spray the bird with lukewarm water for an enjoyable activity for the bird.

Parakeets are incredibly social birds, and Bourke's parakeet is no exception. Although less demanding than some other species, your bird needs at least two hours of interaction and training each day.

8 Top Quiet Pet Bird Species

Common Health Problems

Like other parrot species, Bourke's parakeet can be prone to psittacosis, which can be spread between birds and humans. This bacterial disease causes respiratory problems; it is treatable with antibiotics. A number of viruses can also strike parakeets, that can cause feather problems, diarrhea, and pneumonia.

Parakeets are also prone to sinus congestion caused by the Aspergillus fungus; proper nutrition and hygiene will prevent this problem.

Several parasites can affect parakeets. Intestinal parasites may cause a bird to lose weight and become depressed, while external mites and lice will cause the bird to scratch and lose feathers.

Diet and Nutrition

Bourke's parakeets are grass parakeets, which means that they forage for food among the fields and plains. Wild Bourke's parakeets consume a diet based mainly on seed, grasses, and different plant matter, supplemented withfruits, berries, insects, and other types of food when available.

A Bourke's parakeet in captivity needs a balanced meal daily. This bird will eat up to a tablespoon of small parrot seed mix meant for budgies and birds of similar size and a variety of fresh vegetables and fruits. Like similar species, they also do well on a variety of healthy, pre-prepared parakeet foods.

Seeds vs. Pellets: What to Feed Your Bird


Bourke's parakeets are less active than most other parakeets but still need between 2 to 3 hours outside of the cage daily in a supervised play area. These birds like long horizontal flights, so provide a safe flying environment—free of other animals, ceiling fans, and open doors or windows.

Your Bourke's parakeet will enjoy plenty of toys. Offer commercial plastic toys with bells and bright colors and everyday household items to gnaw on, such as cardboard egg cartons.


  • Calm, gentle, even-tempered

  • Quiet, good species for owners with close neighbors

  • Can live with a few other bird species


  • Does not talk or perform tricks

  • Requires at least 2 to 3 hours of exercise, mental stimulation, or a larger cage for horizontal flying needs

Where to Adopt or Buy a Bourke's Parakeet

You cannot usually find Bourke's parakeets in pet stores; more often, you'll need to seek out a breeder.These birds are not given up by their owners as often as other, more difficult pet birds. But, still, reach out to rescue organizations and animal shelters to see if there are birds available for adoption.

Breeders sell Bourke's parakeets in the range of $100 to $300. Rescues, adoption organizations, and breeders where you can find Bourke's parakeets include:

Make sure that the bird you want to take home is alert, active, and exhibits all thesigns of a healthy bird, such as bright eyes, clean feathers, and a full crop.

More Pet Bird Species and Further Research

If you're interested in similar species, check out:

  • Indian Ringneck Parakeet Species Profile
  • Budgies Species Profile
  • Parrotlet Species Profile

Otherwise, check out all of our other small bird species profiles.

A Bourke's Parakeet Is a Perfect Pet for First-Time Bird Owners (2024)


A Bourke's Parakeet Is a Perfect Pet for First-Time Bird Owners? ›

These birds don't require lots of training and are friendly and docile in most home situations so they are suitable for first time owners. If you have other birds already, you'll want to be careful about putting these birds together as the Bourke's parakeet can be intimidated by larger birds.

Are parakeets good for first time bird owners? ›

Also known as budgies, parakeets are good for people new to bird-keeping. Parakeets are quite intelligent and can learn a few basic commands. Some may be able to pick up some human words. Parakeets thrive on interaction with their owners and should be handled for around a half-hour or more per day.

Do Bourke parakeets make good pets? ›

They are quiet birds that are ideal apartment dwellers and are equally suited for individual cages or small aviaries, where they are excellent partners for finches and co*ckatiels as well as other Bourke's parakeets. Keep gentle Bourke's parakeets away from larger, aggressive birds.

What is the best parakeet for beginners? ›

On top of being small and fairly low-maintenance, budgies take well to training and can learn to perform many fun bird tricks, including learning to talk. Budgies are good for beginners to bird ownership.

How long do Bourke parakeets live in captivity? ›

Life Expectancy

The lifespan of Bourke's parrots is probably similar to the budgerigar, around five to eight years while in captivity. Their lifespan in the wild is shorter. Status: captivity: 12.6 years.

Are 2 parakeets better than 1? ›

As a general rule, a pair of parakeets will be happier than a single bird. All your bird needs is a companion – which means another bird, or you - and it will be content. If you only keep one bird, you will need to be its friend and companion. This means spending lots of time with the parakeet every day.

Are parakeets high maintenance? ›

They are usually thought of as easy keepers- and are traditionally given bird seed and water and kept as multiples in relatively small cages. However, the more we learn about parakeets and their needs and behaviors the more we know that they require more than just this basic care to thrive in a captive environment.

Are Bourke parakeets noisy? ›

As well, Bourke's parrots are generally calmer and less playful than budgies and their singing is pleasant and not noisy. In contrast to budgies, Bourke's parrots are particularly active at dusk, full moon and even at night and then stay on the ground more often.

How much do Bourke parakeets cost? ›

prices start at 150.00.

What is the personality of a Bourkes parakeet? ›

The Bourke's parrot is a relatively popular aviary bird. It is particularly common among new bird owners, as it is known for its quiet and passive temperament. Due to their peaceful nature, Bourke's parrots may be kept in captivity with a number of other species including finches, doves and other small parakeets.

Is a boy or girl parakeet better? ›

If you have two birds together, they are going to choose to be with each other and are not going to remain tame or be tamed. A male parakeet is generally a better pet and you should try to get a baby that is already tame.

What is the friendliest type of parakeet? ›

The budgerigar, or budgie, is the most popular kind of parakeet for bird owners thanks to their silly, sweet nature, but all parakeets offer the benefits that come with their small size and the fact that they aren't as noisy as many of their avian cousins.

What is the best age to get a parakeet? ›

make sure you do your research on where you are planning on getting the budgie and make sure they are reputable. The younger the budgie the easier it is to gain their trust. 6 months I'd say is a good age. No age is too old to try!

What do Bourke parakeets eat? ›

Bourke's should be fed a diet of high quality parakeet mix, pellets, black oil sunflower, sprouted seeds and a variety of fresh fruit and dark leafy vegetables. Apples, bananas, and carrots have proved to be these birds' favorite foods.

Can parakeets go outside in their cage? ›

Otherwise, they will fly away and likely not live long. If parakeets in a cage are taken outside for some fresh air, be sure they have a blanket or towel covering at least part of their cage so they don't get overheated by the sun if their cage is placed in a sunny area.

Can parakeets stay outside in a cage? ›

I don't recommend keeping parakeets outside even in warmer climates but especially not in temps as cold as a Minnesota winter. They should at least come inside at night or when it's below 60 degrees. Forty-degree temps are too dangerous."

What to expect when you first get a parakeet? ›

When you first bring your bird home, don't expect much. He'll usually sit at the bottom of the cage for a day or two, without making any sounds. As he gets more used to his new surroundings, he'll hop up on his perch and chirp a bit. After a few days, keep your hand in the cage a while when changing food and water.

How hard is it to own a parakeet? ›

Parakeets are very social birds and do well if kept in a colony setting. They will, however, be more difficult to hand tame since they will get their needed attention from the other birds rather than the people in the home. Remember that birds are very sensitive to temperature.

What are the pros and cons of parakeets? ›

Oftentimes, these found birds are brought to avian vets suffering from stress, injury, or anxiety. Pro: They tend to be very social and bond closely with their owners. Con: They are known to easily get sick, and require medical attention. Read our Budgie Pet Care Guide to learn more about these parakeets.

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