The Plain Parakeets (Brotogeris tirica) are endemic to, and common in, southern and eastern Brazil; its range stretching from southern Bahia to Sao Paulo west across southern Minas Gerais to southern Goias. They appear to be restricted to that area of South East Brazil that used to be covered in Atlantic Rain Forest.
Their natural habitats include open country with trees and bushes, lowland evergreen forest areas, second-growth forests, degraded former forest areas, partially cultivated land, woodlands, parks and urban areas.
They can be found at elevations up to 1,200 to 1,300 meters (~4,000 to 4,265 feet).
They occur in pairs, groups or small flocks. These noisy parakeets are often seen flying between trees or buildings.
The Plain Parakeets seems to have adapted to the destruction of 95% of their natural habitat and survives well in many areas where fruiting trees grow, specifically large urban centers and city parks. Global populations are said to be stable as this species is still considered “common” in most of its large range.
Even though, this species is currently evaluated as Least Concern, a considerable decline in its population has been noted following large-scale conversion of its original habitat for agricultural use.
Sociable, active, playful, enjoy climbing in branches
Calls / Vocalizations:
Calls made in flight are shrillrolling screeches with occasional harsh, two syllable rasping notes while feeding or resting.
Their voice can be loud, although they are not known for extended periods of screeching. They have the ability to learn human speech.
Flight: Swift and straight
Physical Description – Adults:
Males and females look alike.
Length: 23 to 25 cm (9 to 10 ins)
Adult Weight: 2.3 oz (65g)
Main Identification Features: The Plain Parakeet has the longest tail, which make up one half of its body length. This parakeet is not as brightly colored as its cousins, which explains its name. Its plumage is generally green. There is some yellow on the crown, cheeks and underparts. The shoulders and lesser wing feathers are olive-green. The flight feathers and the underside of the tail are blue-green. The primary feathers and outer secondary feathers are edged with green.
- Eye Ring / Periophthalmic Ring: pale grey
- Irises: dark brown
- Bill: brownish, turning horn-colored towards base
- Feet: dark flesh color
Physical Description – Young Birds / Immatures:
Look like adults, except for:
- Wings: primary coverts are pure green; the primary feathers and outer secondary feathers are tinted with blue
- Tail: shorter
- Bill: The upper beak is brown at base.
Natural Diet: The Plain Parakeet feeds on and disperses the fruits of the palm (Syagrus romanzoffiana) in Southeastern Brazil. They may also feed on the following:
- Seeds (including sprouted seeds)
- Fruits (including berries and figs)
- Flowers. Nectar, Greens and Plant Matter
- Minerals and Grit: They are often seen visiting barreiros (areas where mineral-rich soil is readily available) and river banks to feed on soil.
- Insects and their larvae
They should be provided a varied diet that includes any of the below:
- A high-quality dry parrot mix (cockatiel dry food mix is fine). One of the better ones (although not perfect) is Dr. Harvey’s which contains nutritional superfoods, such as bee pollen and herbs, lots of different fruits, veggies, grains – all human grade. You can literally and comfortably eat the fruits, veggies and nuts, and enjoy the tasty pieces (as we do).
- Sprouted or germinated seeds are usually more easily accepted by “seed addicts” than fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Sprouted seeds are healthier as the sprouting changes and enhances the nutritional quality and value of seeds and grains. Sprouted seeds are lower in fat, as the process of sprouting utilizes the fat in the seed to start the growing process – thus reducing the fat stored in the seeds.
- Sprouted seeds will help balance your bird’s diet by adding a nutritious supply of high in vegetable proteins, vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and chlorophyl. Soaked and germinated “oil” seeds, like niger and rape seeds, are rich in protein and carbohydrates; while “starch” seeds, such as canary and millets, are rich in carbohydrates, but lower in protein.
- It is an invaluable food at all times; however, it is especially important for breeding or molting birds. Sprouted seeds also serve as a great rearing and weaning food as the softened shell is easier to break by chicks and gets them used to the texture of seeds.
- Fresh fruit (such as bananas, berries, figs, rose hips)
- Edible flowers
- Nectar: Lory food; porridge of oat flakes; or wheatgerm and honey
- Vegetables (one favorite is half-ripe corn)
- Green foods / plant material, such as dandelion, clover, chickweed, rowanberries, etc.. In the wild, they like to chew rotten stumps and search for larvae
- Branches with buds and flowers
- Animal protein (such as dried shrimp)Vitamin and mineral
- Supplements (especially important if nutritional variety and quality hasn’t been maintained)
These parakeets are messy eaters and scatter any soft food over their cages (as is typical of most parrots). Carefully planning the set up will facilitate the daily clean-up.
Other Relevant Web Resources:
- Common Health Problems of the Brotogeris
- Brotogeris Species
- Photos of the Various Brotogeris Species for Identification
Class: Aves — Birds, oiseaux
Order: Psittaciformes — Parrots, perroquets
Family: Psittacidae — aras, cacatoès, Cockatoos, Lories, Macaws, Parrots, perroquets
Genus: Brotogeris Vigors, 1825 — Canary-winged Parakeets
Species: Brotogeris tirica (Gmelin, 1788) — Plain Parakeet … English: Plain Parakeet, Tirica Parakeet … Dutch: Tirica Parkiet … German: Tirikasittich … French: Perruche Tirica