The Moustache Parakeet, which is also known by other names like moustache parrot or Red-breasted parakeet, is a really beautiful and unique bird everyone will desire to have as a pet. The bird got its name from the unique feathers found above its beak which look very much like a well-groomed mustache. Moustache parrot is native to China and the islands of Indonesia but has now spread to many areas of the world.
In the wild, this species of bird dwells in hills, woodlands, and mountains where they gather in flocks of about 60 birds or more. The group can become so quiet yet melodious that you can’t just miss them. They have a unique personality that has made them a perfect choice for every bird lover.
If you have been asking such questions as, “is the moustache parakeet good for pets?” or “what does it take to care for the moustache parrots?” then, this post is just for you. We have highlighted everything you need to know about this small parrot in this piece.
Quick Information about the Moustache Parakeet
- Scientific name: Psittacula alexandri
- Common names: Moustached parakeet, Moustached parrot, Red-breasted parakeets, Mustache parakeets, Mustached parakeet, and Mustached parrot.
- Average life span: 20-30 years
- Relative size: 13-16 inches
- Weight: 120-130 grams
- Egg clutch: 2-4 white eggs
- Color: they display a rainbow of colors in their attractive plumage. They have varying colors at their backs and wings – from yellow hues to brilliant green, and they also have their tail feathers to be in beautiful greenish-blue color.
Interesting facts about Moustached Parakeets
- The moustache parakeets are entertaining to watch and can be trained to talk. Read more about how to train your parakeet.
- They are sexually dimorphic (male and females can be identified by how they look). Go to how to identify the gender or a Moustached parakeet. to learn more.
- The bird got its scientific name derived from Alexander the Great, who introduce them in Greece.
- During mating season, the birds leave the flock in pairs and find a tree cavity they call home.
- They are very intelligent and learn rapidly.
Species varieties of the Moustache Parakeet
The Moustache parakeet has 8 recognized sub-species which are broadly divided into two main groups. The first group consists of the Psittacula alexandri, Psittacula dammermani, and Psittacula kangeanesis. In this group, both the males and the females have their beaks to be red just that the beaks of the male is not as brightly colored as that of the females.
The second group consists of Psittacula cala, Psittacula major, Psittacula abbotti, and Psittacula fasciata. There is a wide distinction in the beaks of both the males and the females. The females of both groups also have a die pink stripe running from their chest to under their ear.
Diet – What Does The Mustache Parrot Love To Eat?
Moustached parakeets are known to be good eaters. When in the wild, they feed on leaves, fruits, seeds, grains, and nuts. Pet mustached parakeets also enjoy a varied plant diet.
These tiny beautiful birds do well on a mixture of the following foods:
- Fresh, raw vegetables such as spinach, broccoli, and carrots
- Raw fruits such as peeled orange, apple, and strawberries
- A small amount of protein, such as hard-boiled egg
- They also enjoy cooked potato
- Corn on the cob
- Cooked rice or beans
- Seeds and nuts (in small proportion)
- Peanuts and spray millet (but given occasionally so your bird doesn’t gain weight)
However, don’t forget to keep foods like avocado away from your mustache parrots because it can be very poisonous to him/her.
Care for Mustache Parakeet
The moustache parrots require lots of care to make sure they stay healthy to provide good companionship. On a daily basis, ensure you replace the dirty food bowls and water dishes with clean ones. A moustached parakeet should be provided with a large cage with plenty of room for climbing.
Remember that this species of parrot are intelligent birds, so you need to keep lots of interesting toys in their cage to keep their mind occupied. Don’t let your bird go bored, because it can make the parrot miserable and could result in different behavioral problems. Read more about how to take care of your budgie.
So, provide enough chewable toys and equipment for the bird to chew on. You can also put other wooden items that are safe for birds in the cage for them to chew.
To keep the birds healthy, moustache parakeet’s cages and other objects they come in contact with need to be kept clean. Clean the cage at least once a week. Clean the floor of the enclosure once in two weeks and also clean the toys every week.
You also need to exercise your birds regularly. Moustache parakeets should receive a minimum of 4 hours of supervised playtime outside their cages every day.
What Are The Common Health Conditions Of Moustache Parakeet?
The mustache parrots are prone to some diseases and health conditions. Some of these conditions could cause the birds to lose their interesting characteristics and vibe. And sometime, it could cause them to lose their lives.
Popular among the health conditions of moustache parakeets are:
- Bacterial infections
- Hypovitaminosis A
Moustache Parakeet as a Pet
The moustached parrots are often referred to as the best-kept secrets of the parrot world. Their gentle disposition, talking ability, and overall sweet personalities make them wonderful pets every bird lovers will like. However, it is best to buy your moustache parakeet when it is still young and it should be weaned before you bring it into your home.
Moustache Parakeets in Wildness
Moustache parakeets are usually seen in the wild in large flocks of about 20 to 60 birds. They usually don’t mingle with other parrot species except on some occasions. When together in the wild as flocks, they often make a loud noise that oftentimes announces their arrival and serve as cold call when danger is near.
They live mostly in hilly areas, woodlands, and mountains. In the wild, they can be seen feeding on fruits, seeds, and blossoms.
When the breeding season comes – usually around April, these parrots pair up and go nest in hollow cavities to raise their young. The female lays their eggs inside a tree hole and the male stands guard and feeds the female while incubates. When the babies are successfully raised, they vacate the nest around 7 to 8 weeks.
Breeding Moustache Parakeets
Compared to other parrot species, the moustache parrots seem to be a bit more difficult to breed. Breeding usually starts just before the hotter months, though this could vary based on location. It is also easy to tell this time because the females are usually seen singing before they lay their eggs.
The female usually spend lots of time inside her nesting box before she is ready to breed. During this time, it is normal to be hearing chewing or scratching inside the box. The nesting materials inside the box can also sometimes be removed by the bird. So it is your duty to regularly replace the wood shavings back into the box to protect the eggs. Read more about breeding budgies.
The mother usually lays two to four eggs and incubates them for about 22 days. When the eggs are ready to hatch, the babies make small holes from inside the egg to allow them breathe. The eggs then hatch within 24 hours. Once the babies are hatched, you may require to hand feed them hourly.
When the babies start refusing feedings, then it is an indication that they are ready for weaning. During this time, start feeding them small portions many times throughout the day instead of 2-3 large feedings. Most moustache parakeet babies will wean around 10-13 weeks.
How to identify the gender of a Moustache Parakeet?
A method to quickly identify the gender of a Moustached parakeet is by it’s beak. While the males have a orange beak tipped in yellow, the females are identified by their black colored beak.
Because of the somewhat elongated tail of moustache parakeets, the best housing you can provide for them is usually a small macaw cage. The minimum size of such a cage should be about 3’x2’x3’.
Don’t be tempted to put two individual birds inside one single cage. Sometimes, even keeping different genders can result in problems because the females always love to dominate the males. Like we earlier said, ensure you provide enough toys in the cage for your bird to play
Moustache parrots often prefer a temperature of around 70°F (21°C).
How much does a Moustache Parakeet cost?
If you are also searching for the cost of moustache parakeets, then here you are. A mustache parakeet can vary in price depending on some factors such as the breeder, time of the year, and the age of such parakeet. But the cost of this parrot is usually between $500 and $600.
Mustache parakeet for adoption
Are you ready to adopt a mustache parakeet? Check out Search & Adopt pets, it’s a nice tool to find a parakeet (or parakeets?) nearby ready to be adopted & loved.
Final thought about the Moustache Parrots
Moustache parrots have some unique and sweet personalities that make then a perfect pet for both new and experienced breeders. They are intelligent and are good talkers. But taking care of them might not be as easy as some of its cousins like the Monk parakeets and the Alexandrine parrots.
If you have been looking everywhere for a small parrot that enjoys talking and perching on your shoulder, you will definitely love the moustache parrots.