. alexandrine parrot
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- An Asiatic Parrot
(Click on photo to enlarge) Photo of 10 week old
- Scientific Name: Psittacula
- Common Name/s:
- Sub Species in country / area of origin:
- Origin / Distribution: Mainly in
- Habitat In Wild: Deciduous
forests, farmlands as well as parks and gardens in urban areas.
- Status In Wild: Not common.
Young are often taken from the nest for sale as pets.
- Status In (Australian) Captivity:
- Age To Sexual Maturity: About 3
- Adult plumage: Full adult
plumage attained at about
- Best breeding years (estimate):
3rd or 4th year onward.
- Lifespan (estimate): approx.
20 or more years. Can attain 40 yrs of age.
- Sexing: Monomorphic
/ Dimorphic. The adult male
has a "collar". Normal colour adult hens
lack the neck ring. Young birds may require surgically sexing
or DNA testing to accurately determine the sex.
- Colour mutations: Yes. (Lutino
Alexandrines were produced by crossing with the Lutino Ringnecked
- Availability: Bird dealers.
- Temperament: They are a large bird
and can be noisy and may be unsuitable in a residential/suburban
environment. Maintain good feather condition and present well.
Generally are good parents. Best results are achieved with one pair per aviary. Have
been kept as pets for over 2000 years.
- Cost (Victoria) Per Pair: -
Normal colour (Approx.) $350
- Description Of Adults: Largest and
the Asiatic parrots.
- Length: Approx. 550 - 600 mm (or approx. 22
- 24 inches)
- Colour ( "normal" colour ): Refer
photo above. (Click on photo to enlarge).
- Weight: Approx. 250 gms (or approx 8.5 ozs)
Level Of Knowledge
Required: Beginner /
Intermediate / Advanced /
Specialist Breeders Only.
Government Regulations & By-Laws:
Refer to " Government Laws " web page.
Refer to " Housing Birds "
web page for general details on the housing of Non Australian Parrots or
read on for specific details for this parrot.
Best results are obtained with one pair
per aviary. Many birds like to bathe.
Up to 6 metre long and 1.2 metres wide
steel framed aviary is preferable. About 4 metre (13 feet) long aviaries
are ideal. Their beaks are powerful so
strong wire mesh is essential, 2.5mm (12 gauge) wire is suitable. Small
aviaries generally result in the birds breaking tail feathers.
Leafy branches can be placed in the aviary for the birds to chew up.
This will entertain the birds, help minimize boredom and give the birds
some beak exercise. Natural branches can be used for perches. These
natural perches will be chewed by the birds and may need to be replaced
regularly. The birds will chew any flowers and fruiting
bodies on the branches.
Diet / Feeding:
Refer to " Feeding Birds "
web page for general details on the feeding of Non Australian Parrots or
read on for specific details for this parrot.
Alexandrines are easy to feed and they
like to have a variety of fruits and vegetables as part of a regular
The Alexandrines food requirements are seed
based including canary seed, white
millet, oats, and sunflower along with a variety of fruits such as apple and orange
and a variety of vegetables such as corn, corn-on-the-cob, carrot and celery. Green foods are essential
including seeding grasses, green leafy vegetables and sprouted or soaked seed if
available. Pine nuts and peanuts can be offered.
The birds may consume insects such
as mealworm larvae, pupa and beetles, especially during the breeding
season. Insects are a good source of easily digested protein for
the adults and the young.
Commercial parrot pellets and dry dog food can form part of a
balanced food intake.
Corn-on-the-cob is a favourite and commonly fed to these birds. Calcium supplies
such as cuttlefish, shell grit, crushed oyster shell or calcium blocks
should always be available. They love chewing on
A basic overview only. Dimensions are typical / average and
can vary widely, influenced by the owner's preferences and the birds
preferences. Parent bird's preferences can also be influenced by
the size and type of nest-box / log in which the bird was hatched and reared.
If space allows, offering a choice of sizes and types of logs or nest-boxes, and placed in various locations within the aviary, can allow the parent birds to make their
own choice. Once a pair has chosen a specific nest-box/log and
been successful in it, offer that one to them each breeding season.
Try and keep that one for their exclusive use. Once a pair has
chosen its log or nest-box, the other ones can generally be removed.
If the "spare" boxes are to be removed and moved to another flight,
ensure the log / nest-box is cleaned to ensure the receptacle has the
minimal contamination of mites, parasites and pathogens.
- Nesting months: August
- Log / Nest-box:
/ depth 600 - 1000 mm (or approx. 24 - 40 inches)
- Log internal
diameter approx. 200 - 300 mm. (or approx. 8 - 12
- Nest-box internal dimensions approx. 250
mm square (or approx. 10 inches square)
- Diameter of
hole approx. 100 mm (or approx. 4 inches)
- Inspection hole (square or round)
(or approx 4 inches)
- A removable top / lid can be a
useful access point for inspections and for cleaning.
- Location and height
of log / nest-box = in a sheltered part of the aviary and at about
1.5 - 1.8 metres height, but not too close to the roof to cause heat
problems in the hotter months.
- Angle of log or nest box = 45 degrees through to vertical.
Usually vertical or near
- Nesting log / nest-box material: Decomposed non-toxic saw
dust, wood shavings or other suitable material/s.
- Who incubates the egg/s:
Alexandrines love to chew timber,
including the nest box, so a weld mesh internal ladder is recommended.
Some breeders place a protective metal cover around the nest box
entrance opening to minimize damage by the birds habit of chewing
Timber nest-boxes generally require a
climbing structure attached inside the box below the entrance hole. Both
logs and nests need an entrance hole/opening about 100 mm (about 4 inches) from the top. Many species of parrots like the entrance hole
to be just big enough to squeeze through.
More details on
parrot nestboxes/logs and a selection of
parrot nestbox/log photos
can be found on the "nests", "parrot nests"
and "parrot nestbox photos"
web pages. Click on "Up" then "Nests" then "parrot nests"
and "parrot nestbox photos" in
the navigation bars.
Egg Colour White. Clutch/s
per year = usually one. Eggs per nest 2 - 4. Incubation approx 23 - 27 days. Fledge approx 7 - 8 weeks. Independent approx.
another 4 - 5 weeks.
Pair bonding is not strong outside the
breeding season, the hen is
the dominant bird and for new pairs the cock and hen should be
introduced several months prior to the anticipated breeding date.
Artificial incubation of the first
clutch of eggs and the hand-raising of the young can result in an
additional clutch of young being produced. The hen will often lay
another clutch of eggs if the first clutch is removed.
As most pairs only have one clutch per season, it is generally safe to leave the young in the same
aviary as the parents after they become independent. If the parent
birds want to try for a second clutch they may not want the youngsters
in the same aviary. If aggression from a parent bird occurs, the
young must be immediately removed to another aviary.
Purity of the Alexandrine has been
compromised by people crossing these birds with the Ringnecked Parrots
to produce colour mutations.
Further crosses with species such as the
Indian ringneck to produce additional colour variations may further
reduce the purity of the Alexandrine gene pool. i.e. hybrid physical
Most Alexandrine Parrots will allow nest
inspections and allow the young to be leg rung. Placing of a
closed metal leg ring on the young is essential for the accurate
recording of the genetic background of each bird.
Special care should be taken to ensure adequate food is available
while young are in the nest. Generally Alexandrine's are
Hand reared or young taken straight from the nest become very tame
and may learn to talk. When in good health, Alexandrine
parrots always present well with perfect feather condition.
Artificial incubation and hand rearing or fostering will not
be covered on this web site. It is too complex and diverse in nature to
be attempted here.
Refer to "Avian Health Issues"
web page for information and references.
- Worming and parasite control and Quarantine
requirements of new bird/s or sick bird/s are considered to
require veterinary advice and therefore not covered on this web
site. Refer "Avian Health Issues"
web page option.
- Avian medicine is advancing at a rapid pace. Keep
updating your knowledge and skills.
General References: Refer to references listed on "Book References"
- Australian Aviculture
- A/A Vol 50 No. 6 Jun 1996 Page 137-140 (Inc photo)
- Australian Birdkeeper
- ABK Vol 15 Issue 4. Aug-Sep 2002 Page 223-226.
- ABK Vol 14 Issue 9. Jun-Jul 2001 Page 487-491
- ABK Vol 12 Issue 11. Oct-Nov 1999 Page 541-542
- ABK Vol 8 Issue 11. Oct-Nov 1995 Page 546-549
- ABK Vol 2 Issue 10. Aug-Sept 1989 Page 369-372
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