Bolborhynchus - Thick-mouth Parakeets
Lineolated as Pets
Lineolated Parakeets (Bolborhynchus lineola) are endemic to South Mexico, Western Panama, Northern Colombia, Costa Rica, Nicaragua, Guatemala, Honduras, Venezuela, and the Andean mountains in Peru.
Their natural habitat includes the dense forests and mountains up to ~6600 square feet (~2000 m) above sea level. They are usually observed in groups of 6 to 30 or, in some instances, even more.
The Lineolated parakeets are sometimes referred to as Barred parakeets. Please also refer to the sub-species.
The Lineolated Parakeets are small - averaging 1.6 up to 2 ounces (47 to 55 grams) in weight and ~ 6 to 7 inches (~16 to 17 cm) in length. They are slightly larger than budgies.
The natural / wild color is green with each feather being edged in greenish-black. The wing-coverts are bluish-green. The upperside of the tail is dark green with broad black tips. The tail underside is dirty-green. There are black dots on the underside of the body. The beak is horn-colored; the irises are dark grey and the feet are flesh colored to light grey.
Many striking color mutations have developed in aviculture, including blue (or marine), blue olive, cobalt, slate (or mauve), turquoise, lutino (bright yellow with red eyes), cremino, cinnamon, golden, pied, silver, violet and pieds.
- There are three color forms of the Green: Green, dark-greens and the olive.
- Dark Greens look similar to the normal greens (described above), except the markings are less defined and the plumage is a darker green. There is less blue on the forehead and less yellowing on the underside of the body. The beak a little darker than the flesh tone of the light green and the feet are a bit greyer as well.
- Olives are similar to the dark green except the plumage is almost blackish green. The head is quite dark with the under body taking on a slight mustardy look. Beak is the same as the dark green and the feet are the same or slightly darker.
- There are three color variations of the Blue mutation: Aqua blue, cobalt and the mauve.
- The Blue series is marked the same as the green, but with out the blackish look in the body color of the darker factors or the yellowing. Feet and beak are the same as in the greens. The light blue is sometimes referred to as the aqua marine.
- Cobalts are a much richer color of blue with almost a violet effect
- Mauves have a greyish tint.
- Creminos are the equivalent to the albinos in the blue series. The plumage is a soft cream yellow. The flight feathers and the bent of the wing are white. Some white tipping may occur on the tail in the males. The eyes are red and the beak and feet flesh tone.
- Whites are the same as the Cremino, except the eyes are black and the body color is now pure white instead of cream colored.
- Lutinos are deep yellow with red eyes. The beak and feet are flesh-colored
- Yellows are the same as the Lutino, but the eyes are black.
The genetics, for the most part, are simple recessive with the exception of the Lutino which is sex linked.
People experienced with this species of bird, may be able to visually sex them by the tail coloration, length of tail feathers and shoulder coloration. Females may have less black edging to the feathers but this is not always so, making this an imprecise science to say the least. The tail of hens has narrow black tips; so narrow indeed that in some instances it is not visible at all (especially in the dark green and olive mutations. Then there are the exceptions to the rule, hens that may have up to 1/4 of the tail tipped. Most breeders DNA sex their breeding stock as this really is the only way to ascertain a bird's true sex, unless - of course - it is a sex-linked mutation and a bird's parentage is known (info below).
Sex-linked identification is possible with the Lutino mutation, as breeding results will automatically identify the sexes of the resulting offspring. When you mate single dilute males to normal females, you can also get single dilute males and normal males and females. If you mate a normal male to a double dilute female, all males will be single dilute and all females will be normals, allowing for accurate sexing.
The youngsters are the same as the adults but duller, and not as heavily marked.
Lineolated as Pets
The Lineolated is indeed a good choice for the person who wants a smaller, easy-to-care-for pet. Their average lifespan is about 10 years, but individual birds have been known to live up to 15 years - so they are less of a commitment than the larger parrots who can live up to 80 or more years.
Lineolated parakeets offer the advantages of "parrot ownership" without the major life adjustments that would come with owning one of the larger, more destructive, noisier and high-maintenance parrots. They are said to have a sweeter temperament than budgies, lovebirds or parrotlets - who have a reputation for being more aggressive by nature. A hand-fed, single pet lineolated parakeet often bonds very tightly to its owner and can be defensive of him or her. They are playful, fun little beings and can often be seen hanging upside down from their perches, sometimes even from one foot!
They are playful and tend to be quiet - chattering rather than screeching. They like to chatter in the early and late hours of the day -- as birds generally like to do. Other than those times, they usually remain quiet unless something strange happens or someone unfamiliar enters into their sight, or when trying to get your attention - at feeding times, for example. At those times, they can emit a high pitched contact call or an excited loud twittering.
People particularly enjoy the fact that they are such capable talkers. Some of them may learn to talk as youngsters, barely a few months old. Their speech is very clear, but their vocabulary tends to be limited. They are adept at learning all kinds of sounds and whistles.
For those considering them for their aviaries, please note that a flock of them can get noisy. They do well in communal aviaries with other birds of the same or a similar species. Each clutch usually consists of 3 to 6 eggs, which are incubated for about 18 to 20 days.
A cage suitable for a conure work be a good choice for them. Larger is always better when it comes to the size of the cage. Always remember that you have to accommodate various perches, toys, food dishes, in addition to allowing your pet to roam and move around freely.
- I put together an informative webpage on bird cages, safety considerations, and things to consider when shopping for one.
Like all parrots, they require regular grooming. Their toenails can grow long and will curl, which can cause them to get hung up on the cage wire, causing injury and maybe even death. A "grooming perch" will help keep them in shape. If no grooming perch is available, then regular nail clipping is necessary. They love a spray bath and will spread their wings out fully to catch every drop. Such daily "showers" helps keep their plumage in good condition and are especially important during the molting season, when their skin tends to be itchy. This helps keep them more comfortable.
Their natural diet includes fruit, dry seeds, germinated seeds and even insect larvae. In captivity, we should provide them with a wholesome and diverse diet of a quality grade parakeet or cockatiel seed mix, plus lots of fruits and vegetables. They also like sprouts and should also be provided with spray millet and cuttlebone and/or mineral block.
Training and Behavioral Guidance:
Consistent training and behavioral guidance is recommended so that you can enjoy a bird free of destructive and annoying habits. Behavioral challenges that these parakeets present include:
- Chewing: Any parrot will chew. In nature, they use their beak to "customize" their favorite tree, to enlarge the size of their nest in a tree hollow. Doing this keeps their beaks in good condition. The problem is excessive and undesirable chewing. Heavy chewing is not a huge problem with lories per se. Most of them never really develop any major destructive issues in that area. However, it is recommended that the owner provide their pet birds with plenty of "healthy" chewing opportunities (bird toys, natural wood branches, etc.) and training is necessary to teach a companion bird what items are "off-limits."
- Biting: Parrots are likely to discover their beaks as a method of "disciplining us" once they are out of the "baby stage." It really is important to learn to understand them and to guide their behavior before an undesirable behavior has been established.
- Screaming: Lineolated Parakeets are considered "moderately noisy." Even though their natural call / voice cannot be entirely eliminated; but their occurrence can be reduced.
Training and behavioral guidance will help your pet be the kind of companion you want it to be ...
- AvianWeb Resources: I put together web resources for you to help you understand your pet bird and properly direct him. Please visit the following website to learn more about parrot behavior and training. If you found a way to resolve a "parrot behavioral issue" please share it with others.
Species: Scientific: Bolborhynchus lineola lineola ... English: Barred Parakeet, Lineolated Parakeet ... Dutch: Catharina Parkiet ... German: Katharinasittich ... French: Perruche rayée ... CITES II - Endangered Species
Sub-Species / Races Including Nominate: lineola (nominate form), tigrinus (below)
Barred Parakeet aka Peruvian Barred Parakeets:
Description: As Lineolated Parakeets, described and featured above, but generally darker green; on average broader black edging; black to bend of wing often very extensive. ... Length: 16 cm (6 ins)
Species: Scientific: Bolborhynchus lineola tigrinus ... English: Peruvian Barred Parakeet ... Dutch: Peruaanse Catharina Parkiet ... German: Peru Katharinasittich ... French: Perruche rayée souencé
Distribution: north-western Venezuela, the Andes of Colombia and Central Peru ... CITES II - Endangered Species
Species Research by Sibylle Johnson
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