parakeet or parrakeet, common name for a widespread group of small parrots, native to the Indo-Malayan region and popular as cage birds. Parakeets have long, pointed tails, unlike the chunky lovebirds with which they are sometimes confused. The budgerigar, also called the shell, zebra, or grass, parakeet (Melopsittacus undulatus), is the best known of the true parakeets. The wild budgerigar of Australia is usually green or blue with black-and-yellow markings; as a cage bird, however, it has been bred in white and yellow. The hanging parakeet sleeps upside down like a bat.

The extinct Carolina parakeet was the only parrot native to the United States. It was 12 in. (30 cm) long with a yellow-green body and orange-red head. It was sought as a cage bird and for its plumage, and was killed as a destroyer of fruit and grain crops. The budgerigar and other released or escaped nonnative parrots may be found in the United States, mainly in California, Texas, and Florida, but the monk parakeet (Myiopsitta monachus), a green and yellow bird with a pale gray forehead and breast and dark blue wing feathers, has well-established colonies in several northern and southern states.

Parakeets are classified in the phylum Chordata, subphylum Vertebrata, class Aves, order Psittaciformes, family Psittacidae.

A parakeet is a North American term for any one of a large number of unrelated small to medium sized parrot species, that generally have long-tail feathers. The term is descriptive, but does not imply an actual relationship between the different parakeets.

The Common Pet Parakeet is more correctly called the Budgerigar or budgie and comes from Australia. They are common and popular pets throughout the world. It is imprecise to call these birds parakeets because there are many different species of parakeets. All budgies are parakeets but not all parakeets are budgies.

The term Grass Parakeet or Grasskeet refers to a large number of small Australian parakeets native to grasslands such as Neophema and Princess Parrot. The Australian Rosellas are also parakeets.

The term Ringneck Parakeet refers to a number of African and Asian parakeet species of the Psittacula genus. The Alexandrine parakeet, is one of the largest parrots commonly referred as a parakeet.

In aviculture the more precise term Conure is used for small to medium sized parakeets of the genera Aratinga, Pyrrhura, and a few other generas of the tribe Arini, which are mainly endemic to South America.

Some other South American species commonly called parakeets include the Brotogeris parakeets, Monk Parakeet and Lineolated Parakeets (although Lineolated Parakeets have short tails).

Some species, especially the larger parakeets, may be referred to as 'parrot' or 'parakeet' interchangeably. For example, 'Alexandrine Parrot' and 'Alexandrine Parakeet' are used to refer to the same species.

An older orthography still sometimes encountered is paroquet.

Many of the smaller, long tailed species of Lories may be referred to as Lorikeets.

In some cases they can mimic words of their owners or other sounds.


See also


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