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Turquoisine parakeet (Neophema pulchella)
An autochthon (indigenous native) of eastern Australia, Turquoisine parakeets prefer to live at the edges of woodlands and pastures. Deforestation threatens their natural habitat, and these eight-inch parakeets are now fully protected by Australian law. Most Turquoisines choose to fly in pairs or small groups, but flocks of thirty to forty birds have been sighted. Their flying pattern is quick but directionally erratic and fluttery. Their conversational call sounds metallic and penetrating, while their feeding sound is much quieter twittering. Turquoisines congregate just before dawn for their daily drink, spending the rest of the morning pecking through grass for seeds. Retreating to the trees, these parrots weather out the midday heat among the branches. Most of ours are yellow, a color rarely found in nature.
Mature at five months, “Turks” become very aggressive during the mating season. From August to December males will court with showy displays. They fan their tail feathers and spread their wings, standing very tall to show off their colorful plumage while calling to females. For some strange reason, all of our male Turks like the same female. There was so much competition for her, we had to remove all of the males except one from the Aussie Aviary. This male must have felt like he hit the jackpot when he realized that all the competing birds were gone!
Turks often populate tree hollows and logs without building twig nests of their own. Resting close to the ground, their clutch of two to five eggs usually rests on a bed of tree detritus. The female will incubate her eggs for about eighteen days before hatching. They are hardier than Scarlet Chested parakeets, but still need to be protected from moisture and cold. In good conditions these birds can live for ten years.