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Plum-Head parakeet (Psittacula cyanocephala)
The Plum-Head parakeet is a native of India and its bright purple face certainly lives up to its name. Two of our Plum-Heads came to us from Denver, Colorado and, instead of being shipped to San Jose, California, they went to San Jose, Costa Rica! After a week of phone calls and confusion, we welcomed two new parakeets, Costa and Rica, into our flock. Pandemonium’s first Plum-Head came from a humane society whose facility was not equipped to house exotic birds. After we got the call that this bird needed a home, we sprang into action. Because did not know much about them at the time, we had the bird DNA sexed - though we could have known she was female from her blue-grey facial coloration (males have a red-purple face). Plum-Heads used to be popular companion birds because of their compact size and mild, endearing personalities. However, this changed after Wild Bird Act of 1992; because they could no longer freely import stock, breeders stopped keeping birds that were not either high in cost, like macaws, or easy to breed, like budgies and canaries. Plum-Heads form long-term breeding pairs; they maintain lifelong loyality to to one another. As with many species, the female incubates the eggs, but the male watches out for predators and other dangers outside the nest. Like all birds, Plum-Heads require abundant sunshine - we’ve found that ours prefer an eastern exposure. These birds are fairly hardy; they are able to survive temperatures below freezing as long as they don’t last more than a couple days, though they do need wind protection. As we learned from experience, Plum-Heads are very intelligent, inquisitive birds. Once, while doing foraging enrichment for large birds near their enclosures, we noticed the Plum-Heads were watching the foraging very carefully. Intrigued, we offered them the same foraging toys and, to our amazement, they knew exactly how to get to the treats. Plum-Heads require large amounts of stimuli to keep them entertained and mentally and emotionally healthy.