Alexandrine parakeet (Psittacula eupatria)

Also known as: Alexandrine ring-necked parakeet, great-billed parakeet, greater rose-ringed parakeet, large Andaman parakeet, large Burmese parakeet, large Ceylonese parakeet, large Indian parakeet, large parakeet, Thai rose-ringed parakeet
GenusPsittacula (1)
SizeLength: 58 cm (2)
Weight250 - 260 g (2)

The Alexandrine parakeet is classified as Least Concern (LC) on the IUCN Red List (1) and listed on Appendix II of CITES (3).

A magnificently vibrant green, red and pink bird, the Alexandrine parakeet (Psittacula eupatria) is native to south and south-east Asia, but is becoming a common sight in many European cities as escaped pets establish in the wild. A patch of brilliant red on the shoulder and the broad, vivid red, yellow-tipped bill sits in start contrast with the dark green plumage. The male Alexandrine parakeet also has a pink collar on the back of the neck, with a black stripe on the front. Juvenile Alexandrine parakeets look like the female, as they lack the neck collar and stripe (2).

There are five different subspecies of the Alexandrine parakeet, each displaying slight variations in colour. Some variants have lighter green plumage, lighter breast feathers, a bluish tinge to the cheeks, or occasionally a blue stripe along the top of the pink collar (2).

The Alexandrine parakeet is native to south and south-east Asia, from Pakistan and Nepal, south to Sri Lanka and east to Vietnam, with the subspecies occurring in different regions. It has been introduced to several countries including Bahrain, Iran, Turkey, United Arab Emirates and Yemen (2) (4). The Alexandrine parakeet, along with several other parakeet species, has been spotted in European cities, including London and Amsterdam (5).

The Alexandrine parakeet is found in a variety of habitats, including moist and dry forests, cultivated areas, mangroves (2) and deserts (4). It occurs up to elevations of around 900 metres (2).

The Alexandrine parakeet feeds on a variety of seeds, flowers, buds, nectar and fruits. It is normally found in small flocks, but larger groups may congregate where food is in abundance or in communal roosts at dusk (2).

Breeding between November and April, the Alexandrine parakeet lays between 2 and 4 eggs, which are incubated for approximately 24 days. The Alexandrine parakeet is reported to live for up to 30 years in captivity (2).

Due to its range of behavioural traits that are deemed desirable to bird keepers, including being playful, energetic, and capable of mimicry (2), the Alexandrine parakeet has been heavily traded for the pet trade. Despite trading bans in some areas, exploitation is still common and wild populations are being reduced (1) (2). Numbers are declining in Sri Lanka in particular (2), and the Alexandrine parakeet is now considered scarce in India (1).

The Alexandrine parakeet is listed on Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) (3), meaning international trade must be controlled to maintain wild populations (1).

More information on parrot conservation:

More information on the Alexandrine parakeet and other bird species:

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  1. IUCN Red List (September, 2010)
  2. World Parrot Trust - Alexandrine parakeet (September, 2010)
  3. CITES (September, 2010)
  4. BirdLife International - Alexandrine parakeet (September, 2010)
  5. BBC News: News, July 6, 2004 – Wild Parrots Settle in Suburbs (September, 2010)