Australian King Parakeet
Also known as the King Lory these wondrous birds come from the eastern forests of Australia. They are the largest Australian Parakeet weighing 7-8 ounces and about 17 inches in length. They are a robust, hardy bird and can live up to 30 years. The male is the more colourful of the two. When young both the male and female have green heads, necks and chests and red tummies. The male also has a visible pale lime streak of colour on his wing. The male’s red colour will extend higher on his chest and as he molts into his adult plumage his entire head, neck and chest will become the bright colour of his tummy. The beak of the male will also redden. This happens between two and three years of age.
Now Kings are new to me. I saw my first King in a pet store just over two years ago and fell in love. I used to visit this bird and they let me handle him. He was a gentle giant, very quiet in tone but I was not sure if that was because he was in the store or whether Kings were naturally that way. One day I went and he was gone. And so my research began. I was not able to come up with much but the repeated basic stats. I could find little about living with these birds. As funny as things are in this world, the pet store “King”, did end up living with me. The people that bought him from the store had a sudden shift in living arrangements and needed a new home for him. So here he is and I am learning more about these beautiful birds.
As large as King is he is a quiet bird. He can let out a shrill eek-eeeeekkk sound occasionally. I have found this to be when he hears us come in the house or when he is looking for us. Other times he emits soft sounds that are very pleasant to the ears.
Kings are pretty good eaters too. They enjoy fruits, berries, dark leaf lettuce, corn is probably their favourite veggie but I keep trying other vegetables such as carrots, peas, and broccoli. I have started giving sweet potato, too. This along with a good seed mix and pelleted food should keep a King Parakeet in good health.
What is the speech ability of a King? I can’t say for sure but our King does talk. He says, “Good Boy” and “Step up”. He will say step up when he wants you to come get him or when he is not happy with what it going on, like when I vacuum. It is almost like he wants you to rescue him. I discovered one day that he can also mimic the sound of the dog’s squeaky toy and then he will whistle and say “Come on boy!”.
Photo courtesy of Deb
Now for what you should really take into consideration if thinking about getting one of these birds. They require a lot of exercise. Therefore, they will need a large cage with toys to keep your birds active and interested. If they do not get enough exercise they will become lazy and sedentary. They must come out of their cage to exercise every day. King was clipped in the store but is now fully flighted. He pretty much has an open cage most times when we are in the home and he is supervised. So if you are not prepared to spend extra money on a good sized cage and provide the attention to a King’s exercise needs then a King Parakeet is not the bird for you.
Written by: Deb Brown