You are here

Alexandrine Parakeet

Psittacula eupatria
Conservation Status: 
Least Concern
South-east Asia

The Alexandrine Parakeet or Alexandrian Parrot is a member of the psittaciformes order and of the Psittaculidae family.  The species is named after Alexander the Great, who is credited with the exporting of numerous specimens of this bird from Punjab into various European and Mediterranean countries ad regions, where they were considered prized possessions for the nobles and royalty. The species name eupatria has its origins from Latin and/or could be a Greco-Latin combination.  Where the prefix eu translates into good or noble and the suffix patria is a Latin word translating into fatherland or ancestry.  Consequently, the scientific name means of noble fatherland or of noble ancestry.  

The Alexandrine Parakeet is the largest species of parakeet, often being the largest parrot in their native range.  This species measures 58 cm (23 in) in total with a wing length averaging 18.9-21.5 cm (7.5-8.5 in) and a tail length of 21.5-35.5 cm (8.5-14.0 in).  Adult birds commonly weigh between 200- and 300 g (7.1 and 11 oz).  It is mainly green with a blue-grey sheen on its cheeks and nape, particularly in males.  The abdomen in yellowish-green, the upperside of the middle tail feathers is blueish-green, the upperside of the external tail feathers is green while the underside of the tail feathers are all yellow.  All Alexandrine Parakeets (irrespective of age, gender and/or sub-species) boldly displays a maroon (reddish-brown) patch at the top of their wing coverts (commonly called 'shoulder' patch).  The shoulder patch is seen in parakeets at their first feathering before fledging.  The lower and upper mandibles are red with yellow tips.  The adult's irises are yellowish-white and the periopthalmic rings are light grey.  The legs are grey except in the P. e. siamensis (Laos' or Siamese sub-species) where they are yellowish-grey.

The species is dimorphic in adulthood (3 years and older).  The immatures are monomorphic and are similar but duller in appearance to that of the adult females.  Adult males always show pitch-black neck rings and large pink bands on their napes (commonly called nape bands).  Often males only display a narrow band of blueish-grey above their bold nape-band.  Adult females frequently show neck ring shadows that are anywhere between light and dark shades of grey. Females never display true black feathers in their neck-rings.  Immatures of either genders are very similar to adult females but, as with all genuine parakeet species, the young Alexandrine Parakeets always display shorter middle-tail feathers and this shorter tails than adults.  The adult feathering usually is acquired between 18-30 months of age, but may sometimes show up as young as 12 and/or as old as a full 36 months of age.  Consequently, it may be difficult to identify the sex of Alexandrine Parakeet by sight with absolute certainty until they are a full 36 months of age.

This article uses material from the Wikipedia article "Alexandrine Parakeet", which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.