The brotogeris species are endemic to Central and South America.
The word "Brotogeris" means "having the voice of a human." In the language of their native countries, which is mostly Spanish, they are called "pericos" - the translation of which is "parakeet."
Their average life span is 15 years; although some have been reported to have lived up to 35 years (tui parakeets, specifically).
Members of the Brotogeris are swift fliers. They are smaller than cockatiels, with an average length of 7-9" from head to tail. The sub-species range from 6.8 - 10 inches or 17 - 25 cm in length (including tail). The plumage is predominantly green. Depending on the species, they also have varying markings of yellow, white, blue, orange and grey on their wings and head.
Brotogeris in Aviculture:
They were imported into the United States through the 1980s in relatively high numbers. Most of the imported birds were pulled from their nests and handraised, so they arrived here relatively tame, which made them attractive as pets, rather than being placed into breeding programs. Nowadays, these parakeets are no longer imported because of export restrictions that were implemented to protect these species and as insufficient numbers of them were set up in breeding programs - not all of which were successful - the brotogeris parakeets are now difficult to find. In fact, several of these species are at risk of dying out in the United States.
The brotogeris are smart, playful and clownish pets. Well-socialized birds are usually very affectionate.
Most Common Species:
The most well-known of the brotogeris species is the grey-cheeked parakeet - however, its numbers are dwindling as they have not shown cooperative in captive breeding programs. Other, now more common species, are:
Diet / Feeding:
In their natural habitat, these parakeets may feed on the following:
- 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 add a nutritious supply of high in vegetable proteins, vitamins, minerals, enzymes, and chlorophyll.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.
- Fruits (including berries and figs)
- The Plain Parakeet feeds on and disperses the fruits of the palm (Syagrus romanzoffiana) in Southeastern Brazil.
- Flowers and 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
- Water snails: Some of them have even been observed eating fresh water snails. They dip their entire heads in the water to get to these snails. They hold onto the shell of the snail with one foot while they pull the snail out with their beak. In some instances, the break off pieces of the shell until they can get to the snail.
Feral populations have adapted to take in blossoms and nectar; and also take advantage of bird feeders.
Please refer to the below resources for further information:
Class: Aves ... Order: Psittaciformes
Family: Psittacidae ... Subfamily: Psittacinae ... Genus: Scientific: Brotogeris ... English: Thin-mouth Parakeets ... Dutch: Dunbekparkieten ... German: Schmalschnabelsittiche ... French: Perruche à bec mince
CITES II: Endangered Species
Species Research by Sibylle Johnson
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