The Blue Alexandrine parakeet is named after Alexander the Great and was prized for nobility and royalty since ancient times. The Emperor had a large number of these birds in possession. With time, the species reached many more households and became common among the public at large. They are kept as pets for centuries for their beauty, playful behavior, and excellent talking abilities. These affectionate birds are intelligent and tend to form strong bonds with their owners making them an apt choice for companionship.
Blue Alexandrine Habitat
Native to India and Sri Lanka, Blue Alexandrine parakeet loves to live in open woodlands and forests. The birds prefer to live in a tropical climate but can very well survive subtropical and temperate climates. With time, Blue Alexandrine parakeets have adapted to human settlements and agricultural areas.
Blue Alexandrine Size and Weight
Blue Alexandrine Size
With a length of around 24-25 inches from beak to toe, Blue Alexandrines happens to be the largest Asiatic parakeet of all. Resembling Indian Ringneck Parakeets a lot, they are sturdier than them. With their feathers contributing to most of their length, they have quite an impressive wingspan of around 7.5-8.5 inches.
Blue Alexandrine Weight
Being a lengthy and stocky parakeet, Blue Alexandrines are on the heavier side of the weight spectrum and can weigh anywhere around 250-300 grams. The males tend to be a bit heavier than their female counterparts.
Blue Alexandrine Lifespan
Blue Alexandrine Lifespan in the Wild
A Blue Alexandrine’s life in the wild is relatively lower than otherwise. He lives for an average of 25 years when in the wild. Exposure to predators, lack of care, and imbalanced nutrition are some of the reasons for this shorter life expectancy.
Blue Alexandrine Lifespan in Captivity
A Blue Alexandrine’s life in captivity has a much better quality which makes him live way more than in the wild. They live for a minimum of 30 years in captivity with average care but they can prove to be a long-term companion, living for around 40 years with extraordinary care. But to make this happen, these birds would need a caring owner.
Blue Alexandrine Colors and Mutations
With an overall green plumage, Blue Alexandrines have a distinct blue-grey sheen. The bluish-grey tinge on the cheeks, breast, and tail makes them easily identifiable. The wings have dark red patches with the upper and lower mandible also being a brighter shade of red. Eyes are black with yellow iris and feet are grey.
The bird has five subspecies including the nominate one, namely;
- Blue Alexandrine- The nominate species. All the colors and markings are discussed above.
- Large Indian Parakeet- Slightly larger than the nominate species with an overall greyish-green tinge.
- Large Burmese Parakeet- They are more like Large Indian Parakeet subspecies with a few differences. Males tend to have a smaller beak and the neck and its underparts have a yellow tinge.
- Large Andaman Parakeet- This species is a bit larger than the nominate species and has also a larger beak and brighter shoulder patches.
- Thai Rose-ringed Parakeet- This species happens to be a bit smaller than the nominate one. It has a paler shoulder patch with Head and nape washed with a more bluish tinge.
- Apart from the five subspecies, there happen to be numerous Blue Alexandrine mutations like Pied, Spangle, Clearhead Fallow, Bronze Fallow, Albino Grey, Albino, Lutino Greygreen, Blue, Turquoise Blue, and many more.
Blue Alexandrine Breeding
Blue Alexandrine Breeding Season
Blue Alexandrines breed in the wet times of the year. In their natural habitat, they breed from early November until late April. This may vary depending on the wet months of the region they dwell in.
Blue Alexandrine Clutch Size
Blue Alexandrine clutch size ranges between 2 to 4 eggs. The eggs are of 34 X 26.9 mm in size.
Blue Alexandrine Incubation and Hatching
The incubation period for Blue Alexandrine is 28 days. It starts after the second egg is laid by the hen. The chicks fledge around 7-8 weeks and are fully weaned between the age of 12-16 weeks.
Blue Alexandrine Baby Care
Blue Alexandrine Baby Home Needs
Newly born Blue Alexandrines cannot be kept in cages for safety reasons. But they can very well be kept in brooders until they are big enough to be shifted to a cage.
A wooden box, a plastic storage box, or a glass fish tank are the best options for making a brooder for baby Alexandrines. Clean the box thoroughly before placing the chicks inside. Keep the height of the brooder at least 14 inches so the bird is unable to hop out. Alternatively, a wooden cover with some punched holes can serve the purpose. Don’t forget to place the brooder at a safe location.
The size of the brooder greatly depends on the number of baby Alexandrines that need to be housed. It is recommended to provide 0.75 square feet of area per chick up to the age of 6 weeks. Afterward, an area of 1 square foot per bird is recommended for their healthy growth. Shift them to the normal cages at the age of 10 weeks.
Blue Alexandrine Baby Hygiene
Being very little and hence unable to take a bath by themselves, the Alexandrine owner needs to take the charge to maintain chick’s hygiene. There are a few ways to give a bath to an Alexandrine baby, bathing with a spray bottle is the most common one. Just spray some water over the baby’s body to wipe off all dust and germs. Another method is using a damp towel after dipping it in warm water and cleaning the baby’s body.
After bathing, grooming is a natural progression. At this stage of life, grooming shall be carried out by an expert only. Once the bird grows big and is shifted to a cage, one can consider carrying out the bird’s grooming himself.
Lastly, keeping the baby’s surroundings clean and hygienic is imperative to keep the baby Alexandrine healthy. The chicks can create quite a mess in the brooder by pooping big time. They can also get messy with food and water. Maintaining a clean environment in the brooder, therefore, becomes all the more important to prevent the growth of germs.
Blue Alexandrine Baby Hand-feeding
Since Alexandrines at this stage of life cannot eat their food on their own from a food bowl, they need to be hand-fed until they grow up. Feed them the market made commercial formula containing all the nutrients with the help of a syringe or tube made especially for the purpose. Two meals per day are sufficient for them at this stage.
Blue Alexandrine Cage Needs
To ensure a fulfilling and comfortable stay inside the cage, one must consider the following factors while setting up the cage for the bird:
Blue Alexandrine’s cage must be large enough to offer him great mobility with ease. Hence, a cage of at least 24 inches in length, breadth, and height would prove to be an ideal size for the bird. It must have a few horizontal bars to let the bird sit and hop up and down the cage. Keep the vertical spacing between the bars minimal for the safety of the bird.
Like all other bird pets, Alexandrines also need certain must-haves in their cage to fulfill their daily needs. And feeders are at the top of those necessities. A bowl to have a constant supply of freshwater, another for feeding them their daily dose of fresh fruits and vegetables, and one to serve them their favorite seed mix.
Blue Alexandrines also need something productive to stay entertained. And there is nothing better than toys that can keep them engaged. Toys prevent them from getting self-destructive. It is advised to keep multiple toys to keep them engaged and entertained all day. Ropes, ladders, spiral swings, textured balls, foraging toys, the options are aplenty.
Blue Alexandrine Food
Serving a balanced and rich diet keeps these birds happy and healthy.
Fresh Fruits and Vegetables
Fresh fruits and vegetables are a must for Alexandrines’ optimum health. One can feed the fruits and veggies chopped, diced, sliced, or pureed depending on their bird’s preference. Feed them a good mix of both. Grapes, mangoes, apples, strawberries are a few great fruit options. From the vegetables, offer them squash, carrot, spinach, or collard greens.
A good pellet mix helps in maintaining a balanced diet by providing the Alexandrine everything his diet might be lacking. A high-quality pellet mix has all the necessary vitamins and minerals.
Blue Alexandrines love feeding on seeds. Seeds are served either solely or as a mix of chia, quinoa, pumpkin, etc. The seeds must be soaked for a while before feeding them to the bird to make it easy for the bird to chew. Also, seeds must be served only in very small quantities to the bird as they are high in fat content.
Access to clean drinking water is a must to keep the bird hydrated all the time. Make sure that the water is of drinkable quality. Also, keep the supply constant.
Blue Alexandrine Health Problems
Though relatively a healthy species, Blue Alexandrines might fall prey to a few of the following diseases:
Caused by bacteria Chlamydia Psittaci, the disease causes numerous problems in Alexandrines like fluffed feathers, conjunctivitis, anorexia, nasal discharge, weight loss, diarrhea, enlarged liver, and respiratory problems.
Posing more threat to chicks and juvenile Alexandrines, this deadly virus can lead to benign feather lesions or acute death.
Caused by fungus Aspergillus, this disease attacks the upper and lower respiratory tract of the bird.
With a colorful persona, from inside out, Blue Alexandrines are soon becoming a favorite among pet lovers. With their tendency to form a strong and loyal bond to their favorite human, they surely offer great companionship for years.
Feautured Photo Credit : Z. Rana
Video with all Alexandrine Mutations: