Conservation status Least concern
The Rose-ringed Parakeet (Psittacula krameri), also known as the Ring-necked Parakeet, is a gregarious tropical parakeet species that is popular as a pet. Its scientific name commemorates the Austrian naturalist Wilhelm Heinrich Kramer.
This non-migrating species is one of few parrot species that have successfully adapted to living in 'disturbed habitats', and in that way withstood the onslaught of urbanisation and deforestation. In the wild, this is a noisy species with an unmistakable squawking call. Rose-ringed Parakeets are sexually dimorphic, and adult males sport black markings under their beaks and a dark band of colors around their necks.
Phylogeny and distribution
Four subspecies are recognized, though they do not differ much:
- African subspecies:
- African Rose-ringed Parakeet (P. krameri krameri): West Africa in Guinea, Senegal and southern Mauretania, east to Western Uganda and Southern Sudan.
- Abyssinian Rose-ringed Parakeet (P. krameri parvirostris): Northwest Somalia, west across northern Ethiopia to Sennar district, Sudan.
- Asian subspecies:
- Indian Rose-ringed Parakeet (P. krameri manillensis): Originated from the southern Indian subcontinent; introduced populations worldwide.
- Neumann's Rose-ringed Parakeet (P. krameri borealis): east Pakistan, northern India and Nepal to central Burma; introduced populations worldwide in localities.
A phylogenetic analysis using DNA (see Psittacula) showed that the Mauritius Parakeet (Psittacula echo) is closely related to this species, and probably needs to be placed between the African and Asian subspecies. Consequently, this species is paraphyletic.
In the wild, Rose-ringed Parakeets usually feed on buds, fruits, vegetables, nuts, berries and seeds.
The Rose-ringed Parakeet is on average 40 cm (16 inches) long including the tail feathers. Its average single wing length is about 15–17.5 cm (6-7 inches). The tail accounts for a large portion of the length. The Indian Rose-ringed Parakeet, African Rose-ringed Parakeet, Abyssinian Rose-ringed Parakeet and Neumann's Rose-ringed Parakeet measure 42 cm, 40 cm, 40 cm and 43 cm long, respectively.
Feral Rose-ringed Parakeets
The Rose-ringed Parakeet has established feral populations in India and a number of European cities. There are also apparently stable populations in the USA in Florida and California. There also a small but sizeable population of Rose-ringed Parakeets in Tehran, Iran mostly concentrated in the northern parts of city.
The Indian subspecies established itself in Britain during the mid to late 20th Century from introduced and escaped birds. There are two main population centres: the largest is based around south London, Surrey and Berkshire, and by 2005 consisted of many thousands of birds. A smaller population occurs around Margate and Ramsgate, Kent. Elsewhere in Britain, smaller feral populations have established from time to time (e.g., at Studland, Dorset).
However, in some parts of South Asia - from where the Rose-ringed Parakeets originated, populations of these birds are decreasing due to trapping for the pet trade. Despite some people's attempts to revive their population by freeing these birds from local markets, the Rose-ringed Parakeet's population has dropped drastically in many areas of the Indian subcontinent.
Rose-ringed Parakeets as pets
These birds where first bred by the people of India at least 3,000 years ago, and color mutations of Rose-ringed parakeets were also bred. The royals prized them as pets and for their ability to speak. It was a popular status symbol in Indian culture to have a Rose-ringed parakeet. They were the first parrots brought to Europe and the Greeks were the first Europeans to breed them. Socrates is reported to have praised its beauty and ability to speak. The Romans then bred them for pets, and their beauty in their aviaries. In the 1920's aviculturists the popularity of the breed began to increase greatly. Now widely available in the pet trade, Rose-ringed Parakeets continue to gain popularity. Hand-fed Rose-ringed Parakeets are regarded as excellent pets if provided with daily attention, though even parent-raised Rose-ringed Parakeets make good pets when provided with regular handling and attention. They are generally family birds and are less likely to bond to only one person. With adequate attention, handling, and love, a Rose-ringed Parakeet can quickly become a beloved companion.
Rose-ringed Parakeets are known to be hardy birds requiring less interaction than most other parakeets of their size. This makes them ideal for a bird owner who cannot spend as much time with his/her bird as other species need. Rose-ringed Parakeets can cope with as little as half an hour of interaction a day. However, they can become untame if not provided with daily interaction, especially during their early months.
They require a relatively tall cage because of their long tails. A Rose-ringed Parakeet who will be spending most of his/her day inside the cage should be kept in a cage about 60 cm (24") wide x 45 cm (18") deep x 90 cm (36") high, though the larger the better, and the bar spacing should be between 1.25 cm (1/2 inch) and 1.875 cm (3/4 inch). Rose-ringed Parakeets are avid chewers and climbers and should therefore be provided with chewing toys in their cages. The cages should be in a place out of direct sunlight and free of drafts. A pet or captive Rose-ringed Parakeet should be kept in a bird-safe environment.
Captive Rose-ringed Parakeets should be fed a nutritionally balanced diet of pellets and seeds, and the appreciated fruit, vegetable or nut treat should also be offered often. They should always have access to fresh water in their cages.
The Rose-ringed Parakeet is considered one of the best talking parakeets and can learn a vocabulary of up to 250 words. Now these birds come in many mutations, including the common green, blue, grey and lutino among many other colors.
- BirdLife International (2004). Psittacula krameri. 2006 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN 2006. Retrieved on 05 May 2006. Database entry includes justification for why this species is of least concern