The Beautiful Plum-headed Parakeet


The Plum-headed Parakeet, Psittacula cyanocepbala (Linne), is indigenous to most of India, West Pakistan, Nepal east to Bhutan, West Bengal, Rameswaram Island, and Sri Lanka. These birds prefer wooded plains and foothills near cultivated areas. The Plum-headed Parakeet can be a serious pest, often raiding grain fields and orchards.

The breeding season in the wild is reported to be from December Lo April throughout India, and from February to May in Sri Lanka, often producing a second clutch in August and September. Plum-headed Parakeets make their nests in the knot holes of Bassia trees, or they may use another bird's nest cavity. They have been known to nest in the crevices of buildings.

General information on Captive birds

The beauty of Plum-headed Parakeets is breathtaking. The pattern and color of the plumage is complex and jewel-like. Written descriptions of the birds are not adequate. There are plenty of good pictures, but film has its limitations too. Plum-headed Parakeets must be seen to be appreciated.

Plum-headed Parakeets are dimorphic as adults. The adult molt occurs at about 27 months of age. Immature birds resemble the adult females. If necessary to determine sex prior to the adult molt, surgical sexing, or DNA sexing is advisable.

Plum-headed Parakeets have long been favored by aviculturists everywhere. At one time, it seemed as though every bird breeder had at least one or two pairs. However, this species may be in danger of disappearing from American aviculture due to apathy. The tendency to take for granted that this familiar bird will always be around is dangerous.

We are now seeing a decline in the availability of these parakeets. The most obvious reason for the shortage can be attributed to the close of quarantine. There are many other reasons for the decline. Each is relatively minor by itself, but there are so many, that the cumulative potential for loss is greater than ever. In general, production is low for most pairs due to mismanagement and poor feeding practices.

In analyzing our breeding program, there are really only four things critically...