Indian Ringneck Parrot
THE INDIAN RINGNECK PARROT PROFILE
A beautiful bird, the Indian Ringneck Parakeet is a very popular pet. It may not be right for everyone because it requires a lot of attention and care, but they are very social birds and can become excellent companions for the entire family. These birds love to talk and enjoy a good challenge, which makes training a ton of fun.
The Indian Ringneck Parakeet is a sub-species of the Rose-Ringed Parakeet and the many sub-species are scattered throughout Africa and Asia. The Indian Ringneck is an Asiatic parrot and originally from Ceylon though it's now found in many parts of Asia, notably India and Pakistan. They can also be found in western and southern areas of Sudan and are quite popular in the Middle East where they are bred and found in the wild.
In the wild, they live in lightly timbered areas, as well as farmed areas of the countryside. They travel in flocks of 100 or more birds, so they are used to having company. Indian Ringneck Parakeets have been kept in captivity from as early as 200 BC. In India, they were regarded as sacred beings after religious leaders began to recognise their ability to clearly mimic human language. Highly regarded by wealthy Indian royals, ringneck parrots were kept in decorative cages and were admired for their colours and charming dispositions.
In the 1920s, aviculturists began breeding captive Ringnecks and, with the advent of different colour mutations, the popularity of the bird began to explode. Now widely available in the pet trade, Indian Ringneck Parakeets continue to gain increasing popularity as pets. Their relatively small size and beautiful markings help to make the Ringneck a good choice for many bird owners.
Ringnecks are available in shades ranging from bright yellows, greens, and blues, to albinos, cinnamons, and lutinos. Though the colour mutations are common, the normal colouring of this species is a bright lime green with blue tail feathers and yellow under the wings.
They are known as a dimorphic species, meaning that a bird's sex can be determined by its colours and markings. Males sport deep red beaks, black facial markings, and three bands of colour around their necks. The black ring develops at about 18 months and blue and pink rings appear by the time they reach 3 years old. Females, while still beautiful, lack the facial and collar bands, although some do display a slight darkening of colour around their necks.
25 to 30 years; instances of Ringnecks living past 50 have been authenticated
Affectionate and friendly, the Indian Ringneck has a reputation for being a loving pet. It is a sensitive bird, however, and requires quite a bit of attention and interaction from its owners. Those interested in owning a Indian Ringneck should make sure that they have plenty of free time to spend with their new pet. This is a flock-dwelling bird by nature, and if its adopted human flock-mates ignore it, Ringneck's will become forlorn or angry.
CARING FOR THE INDIAN RINGNECK PARROT
With adequate attention, handling, and love, an Indian Ringneck Parakeet can quickly become a beloved companion and family member. They enjoy learning new things and are especially proficient with owners who want to challenge their intelligence. That's one reason they develop such large vocabularies and are great at bird tricks. If you notice any aggressive behaviour, it's best to avoid scolding as the bird can develop a lifetime fear of people. Ignoring bad behaviour and using positive reinforcement for good behaviour is the best way to handle this bird.
The cage for this bird needs to be larger than you might expect. It should accommodate their long tail and let the bird hop around and play when you're not around. Make sure the bar spacing isn't large enough for them to get stuck in or escape through. Cleaning the food and water daily, perches and toys weekly, and the floor regularly is a must for keeping the bird healthy.
Wild Indian Ringnecks usually feast on a diet of fruits, vegetables, nuts, berries, and seeds. They also enjoy the nectar from flowers and the flowers themselves. While most vets agree that it is best for captive birds to eat a nutritionally balanced pelleted diet, a Ringneck will appreciate a variety of fruits and vegetables in their diet. Leafy greens and vegetables are crucial for any companion parrot to maintain a nutritionally sound diet, and the Indian ringneck parrot is no exception. They can also eat healthy cooked food you would eat and are particularly fond of chicken, though beans, grains, and rice are also acceptable. Avocados and chocolate are toxic to birds.
Some Ringneck owners find that their bird will sort out and leave behind pellets if it's mixed with seeds. This is the only thing these birds seem to be picky about eating. If you find that to be the case, offer pellets and seeds separately and rotate them on a regular schedule. Even if they don't eat something right away, they usually come around to it. As with all birds, food and water containers should be emptied, cleaned, and refilled daily to reduce the risk of bacterial growth and infection.
Parakeets are very active birds. As with most other bird species, it is a good idea to have a safe area for the pet to play and stretch its wings out of its cage for a few hours each day. Ringnecks also have powerful jaw muscles to maintain. It is wise to provide an array of chewable toys, perches, and cage accessories so the bird is less likely to gnaw on something valuable or dangerous. This species really enjoys puzzles and any complex toys you can find, which should help keep the bird busy as well. Providing a mister and a dish of water to bathe in will also keep your feathered friend very happy.