Aviculture is a popular hobby for many Australians. While canaries, pheasants, lorikeets, society finches, lovebirds, cockatiels, and parakeets are common and beautiful pet birds to keep, exotic birds are also gaining immense following. You can own, breed and trade exotic birds within legal bounds.
Arguably one of the most beautiful birds in the world, the exotic Blue-and-yellow macaw can be a gorgeous addition to your family.
Looking like a dashing princess and gallivanting around like it owns the joint, introducing the sensational Princess Parrot as our pet profile for this week.
Scientific Name: Polytelis Alexandrae
Did you know?
This gorgeous bird was given its fancy name in honor of Princess Alexandra of Denmark. Princess Alexandra married the Prince of Wales, Edward VII and went on to become the Queen of England. Impressive!
With its feathers boasting an array of beautiful colours, one cannot look past a Princess Parrot. The typical Princess Parrot is mostly green in colour with its shoulders fluro green. The throat is pink and crown can be either blueish (for males) or greyish (females). Their back is blue and tail is long and narrow. Other less common colour varieties (referred to as 'mutations') of the parrot can be lutino (bright yellow), blue and albino (combination of blue and lutino).
In order to tell the sex of your parrot, carefully look at their beak and eyes. The male has a bright red coral beak whereas the female's have a duller red beak. Males usually have an orange iris, in contrast the females iris are brown.
This type of parrot is medium in size. The males average 46.5 to 48cm in height whereas females are a tad smaller, 39.5cm to 41cm. The males usually weigh around 120 grams and the females average 110 grams.
Princess Parrot's dote on their owners and tend to become rather affectionate to one person in the household. They are highly social parrots and love to be around company. Although these parrot's can be quite territorial and don't take well to living with other birds in the home. They are not exactly boisterous birds but can be quite cheeky. When they chirp it is more of a pleasant chortle than a loud squawk you can experience from other parrots (i.e. Cockatoos).
If you tend to leave your Princess Parrot at home for significant lengths of time, ensure that their cage is spacious and roomy. Furthermore, supply them with a good assortment of toys to keep them playful and energetic.
It is possible to train this type of parrot to whistle and talk. You could get lucky and have a super smart bird that fetches balls for you!
Is a Princess Parrot right for you?
One must be dedicated to training a newly acquired Princess Parrot. At first they may be a bit stand offish, but consistent loving care is the key to gaining their trust. These particular birds do not usually get along with other breeds of birds and can be quite possessive, especially of their favourite family member. These birds are not recommended for people who own other pets like dogs and cats, unless these big pets are used to having fluffy flying creatures around the place! Another factor to take into account is the long life span of a Princess Parrot. It is noted that they can live up to 30 years (or more)! Be sure to think about who would take care of them if you were, *ahem* unable to be there for their entire lives.
What we have heard from owners of Princess Parrot's is that be prepared for constant entertainment! We leave you with Elmo, a vivacious fun loving Princess Parrot having an intellectual conversation with his owner.
In the wild, these birds are Spinifex grazers. For your pet, it is recommended to feed them small seeds to munch on. Mix these seeds with fresh fruit and vegetables to ensure your bird gets the best vitamins and nutrients. Luckily Princess Parrots are not picky eaters and are open to trying new foods!
If cared for properly and provided with the right nutrition filled diet, Princess Parrot's can live up to 30 years. Usual life expectancy is 15 - 30 years.
It really all comes to how you house your Princess Parrot. If you keep your bird in an outdoors aviary where he/she has access to the ground then there is a high chance of him/her picking up worms. Although, for parrots that are left in a suspended aviary, with little or no access to the ground, the chances of your bird contracting worms is greatly reduced.
If your bird is left untreated for a significant period of time and they have been infected with worms, the number of worms in their intestinal tract will increase. Eventually, the worms can end up clogging the intestines and fatally endangering the bird. Unfortunately birds don't show any symptoms of them having worms, and this has led to people reporting their parrot simply 'dropping dead'. Therefore, it is better to be safe than sorry... contact your local vet for advice on how to deworm your bird regularly!
We check out the boisterous and charming Sulphur-Crested Cockatoo for our Pet Profile this week!
Cockatoos require a great deal of exercise to stay healthy and fit. It is recommended to allow your Cockatoo at least 3-4 hours a day outside of their cage and to place them in an area with plenty of space so they can climb, stretch, play and spread their wings. Be sure to equip them with plenty of toys they can chew on (a good way to stop them gnawing on your furniture!). It may be feasible to set up a playstand for your Cockatoo to perch on while outside their cage.
Sulphur-Crested Cockatoos are considered the most intelligent of parrots by pet enthusiasts. They have the learning capacity of a 1 to 2 year old human child and they are capable of being taught to speak words and phrases.
To keep your Cockatoo healthy you should not merely feed them bird seeds alone. Their diet should also consist of fruits and vegetables to ensure that they receive the required daily nutrients and vitamins. IT is recommended to feed your Cockatoo at least 3 variety of fruits and 2 variety of vegetables every day.
These parrots do not suffer from many physical ailments but if they are left isolated too long they may start to pick/pull out their feathers and excessively chew up your furniture! If they are quite zealous at it this could lead to their feathers never regrowing.
Is this breed right for you?
Sulphur-Crested Cockatoo's can be highly demanding and vocal birds who tend to bond strongly to one person in the household. It is not recommended to have these Cockatoo's in households with very young children as their beaks and claws could be a small risk factor. However, if you do decide to have one of these precious birds, you will have a friend for life. If you are devoted to your parrot and ensure that they are showered with plenty of attention, they will love you unconditionally. Keep in mind that they do live a very long time (up to 70 years), so it would be best to think about who will take care of your bird if you unfortunately pass away.
Generally found throughout the North, Eastern Coast of Australia, Guinea and Aru Islands. They are primarily found in open timber country or around areas with high density of human population.
They were recently introduced to South West Australia, New Zealand and Indonesia.
These fun loving birds can live up to 70 years in captivity. Alas, in the wild they do not fare as well living only to the ripe 'old' age of 20 to 40 years.
Sulphur-Crested Cockatoo's are large white parrots with yellow feathers on their crest (hence the name Sulpher-crested) and yellow wash under their wings. It is quite difficult to distinguish male from female Cockatoos at a distance as they look remarkably similar. The only major difference is that females have red-brown eyes, whereas males have darker brown eyes. Then again... you might have to rethink whether getting exceedingly close to a Cockatoo is worth it as it may decide to peck you with their impressive beaks!
These Cockatoos are generally sweet natured and are very affectionate towards their owners. Although if you have a Cockatoo at home their presence will not go unnoticed! They are exceedingly noisy both at rest and in flight. They will do anything to get your attention by throwing objects around the room, gnawing at furniture and squawking their heads off. This mischievous behaviour has led people to call these parrots loveable clowns. Just look at this character below!
Budgerigar, Budgie, Parakeet
Budgerigar's actually originated in Australia over 5 million years ago and are found throughout the mainland (exception of East Coast, north of the Northern Territory, Tasmania and far south west). Flocks, which can range from 3 to the tens of thousands (huge difference... yes), usually reside in mangroves and grassy plains. They are never located far from a water source.
To distinguish between a male and female, you need to analyse the colour of the cere (the area containing the nostrils). Before reaching maturity (at six months), a budgies' cere is pink in colour which makes it difficult to figure out whether they are male or female. Some breeders claim that if the cere is more of a purple pink tinge, then it is highly likely that the bird is male. Furthermore, if there is a subtle, chalky whiteness around the nostrils then the budgie is possibly female. Other ways to distinguish the sexes is by analysing their behaviour (boy budgies are generally more boisterous and lively) and their head shape. When budgies have reached maturity their cere's become either royal blue (male) or pale brown to white or brown (female).
Budgies are easy to handle, active and very social. These birds are really interested in their surrounding environment and are keen explorers. Although they love the company of humans, they are perfectly fine being left to their own devices. If you want to form strong ties with your budgie, it is preferable not to acquire more than one. If you have a few budgerigars they are less likely to interact with humans and more with each other.
It is imperative to exercise your parakeet daily in order to keep them healthy. If you have a budgie that is in a cage, we suggest letting them fly around the room under careful supervision for a couple of hours a day. This allows them to stretch out and flex their wings.
Budgies are very intelligent and can be easily trained to talk. When you first acquire your budgie, simply speak to him/her in a warm and comforting voice to gain his/her confidence. After your budgie is used to your presence, start regularly expressing a word or phrase over and over again to him/her. In a few days or months, your budgie should start saying the word or phrase back to you. Cute eh?
The commercial budgie food available at the supermarket is usually comprised of just seeds which is not enough for a growing pet budgie! We recommend to regularly feed your budgie fresh fruit and vegetables such as leafy greens, pears and apples. It is also advisable to feed them cuttle fish as it is is a good source of calcium and a perfect treat to nibble on from time to time. Simply clip the cuttlefish to the side of your budgies cage (powdery side facing up) for easy access.
Budgies need regular fresh water (especially in the Summer). Depending on where your budgie is located, such as an outdoors aviary or in the house, it is extremely important to keep an eye on their water tray so they do not get dehydrated!
The positive aspect about budgies is that they are not expensive in comparison to other popular birds (Cuckatoo's or McCaws). You could buy one from your local pet shop for $25.
Are budgies an ideal pet for you?
Budgerigars are perfect for first time pet owners of any age group, especially for families with small children. They are relatively low maintenance birds and their upkeep is not a financial burden. Since they are quite petite, they can be housed in any dwelling i.e. apartments, houses, caravans. Their light hearted and clever personality will definitely be a hit in any household!
For people immigrating to Australia there are some strict quarantine laws for pets. Usual regulations dictate that upon arrival to Australia, pets must be placed in quarantine for up to 30 days. Quarantine can be financially taxing and may even cause pets to suffer from separation anxiety. The Department of Agriculture (DAFF) has recently announced changes to the import policy of pets much to the benefit of pet owners.
A major amendment to the regulations is that some pets may only need to stay in quarantine for a minimum of 10 days. Animals may not be required to stay for the original 30 days (as long as they abide by and fulfill the import policy rules and requirements). For a pet to be potentially eligible for a reduced quarantine period, one of the main conditions is that that they undergo and pass a Blood Titer Test (RNATT) between 6 to 24 months before their entry to Australia.
This change is no doubt a relief for many pet owners as quarantine can cost upwards of $29 (per cat) and $39 (per dog). For example, if your cat was in quarantine for the original 30 days you'd have to pay $870! With these beneficial changes, you may only have to pay $290. However, you must still pay all quarantine costs up front and if there any additional charges (i.e. if your pet has to stay longer than the minimum requirement duration) you would need to pay a second installment.
There is also a noticeable modification to regulations for pets originating from non DAFF approved countries. Under the old policy, pets were required to stay in a DAFF approved country for at least six months before they can be brought to Australia. The new rules allow pets to enter Australia from a DAFF approved country as long as they meet the requirements to enter that particular country. Meaning that as soon as your pet is granted eligibility to enter a DAFF approved country, you can immediately apply for your pet to be granted permission to come to Australia from that particular country. No more will your beloved pet be forced to spend 6 months in a foreign country before you can apply for permission to bring them into Australia!
Some rules have remained such as the requirement of an Import Permit, 15 digit microchip for your pet and veterinary health certificates. Vaccinations (i.e. rabies) and various blood tests are still mandatory.
Pet owners can apply for the new Import Permit from December 2, 2013, but the updated Import Policy will only take effect from February 3, 2014. If you intend to bring in your pet to Australia before this date, then you would need to apply for an Import Permit under the old conditions.
So there you are spending a relaxing night in, happily munching away on a tasty bowl of amazing spaghetti bolognaise loaded with delicious sauce and topped with parmesan cheese. Lo and behold approach your faithful pet - staring at you with their adoring eyes, looking up at you pleadingly for a tidbit.