Indian ringneck parakeets have been kept in captivity for centuries but were regarded as an “ornamental,” or hands-off, bird species. Ringnecks still have a reputation of being somewhat nippy and difficult to tame. … They love working on new bird tricks, such as waving hello with a foot, with their humans.
Speech and Vocalizations
The Indian ringneck is one of the best-talking birds among the domestic species. They can typically start speaking between eight months and one year old, and they can learn over 200 words. The bird can range from normal speaking level to yelling or screeching, but they are more generally known for their intelligence and quick learning when it comes to speech.
Indian Ringneck Parakeet Colors and Markings
Ringnecks are available in shades ranging from bright yellows, greens, and blues, to albinos, cinnamons, and lutinos. Though the color mutations are common, the normal coloring of this species is bright lime green with blue tail feathers and yellow under the wings.
They are known as a dimorphic species, meaning that a bird’s sex can be determined by its colors and markings. Males sport deep red beaks, black facial markings, and three bands of color around their necks. The black ring develops at about 18 months and blue and pink rings appear by the time they reach 3 years old. Females, while still beautiful, lack the facial and collar bands, although some do display a slight darkening of color around their necks.
Caring for the Indian Ringneck Parakeet
With adequate attention, handling, and love, an Indian ringneck parakeet can quickly become a beloved companion and family member. They enjoy learning new things and are especially proficient with owners who want to challenge their intelligence. That’s one reason they develop such large vocabularies and are great at bird tricks.
If you notice any aggressive behavior, it’s best to avoid scolding as the bird can develop a lifetime fear of people. Ignoring bad behavior and using positive reinforcement for good behavior is the best way to handle this bird.
The cage for this bird needs to be larger than you might expect. It should accommodate their long tail and let the bird hop around and play when you’re not around. Make sure the bar spacing isn’t large enough for them to get stuck in or escape through.
Cleaning the food and water daily, perches and toys weekly, and the floor monthly is a must for keeping the bird healthy. Once a year, plan on taking everything outside to be hosed down.
Common Health Problems
While the Indian ringneck parakeet is generally known to be a healthy pet bird, they are prone to common diseases like psittacosis, polyomavirus, aspergillosis, and a number of bacterial infections. If bored, left alone for too long, or depressed, this bird may turn to self-destructive behaviors such as feather plucking.
Diet and Nutrition
Wild Indian ringnecks usually feast on a diet of fruits, vegetables, nuts, berries, and seeds. They also enjoy the nectar from flowers and the flowers themselves.
While most vets agree that it is best for captive birds to eat a nutritionally balanced pelleted diet, a ringneck will appreciate a variety of fruits and vegetables in their diet. Leafy greens and vegetables are crucial for any companion parrot to maintain a nutritionally sound diet, and the Indian ringneck parakeet is no exception. They can also eat healthy cooked food you would eat and are particularly fond of chicken, though beans, grains, and rice are also acceptable. Avocados and chocolate are toxic to birds.
Some ringneck owners find that their bird will sort out and leave behind pellets if it’s mixed with seeds. This is the only thing these birds seem to be picky about eating. If you find that to be the case, offer pellets and seeds separately and rotate them on a regular schedule. Even if they don’t eat something right away, they usually come around to it.
As with all birds, food and water containers should be emptied, cleaned, and refilled daily to reduce the risk of bacterial growth and infection.