The Red Rump Parakeet
by Orlando Bonnici
I must say that this parakeet is slowly growing popular amongst Maltese breeders. Although it is not the most popular bird in local aviculture, this bird is exceptionally beautiful and its bright colours will delight any aviary or bird room. From my experience, I have learned that Red Rumps are extremely intelligent and will make very good pet companions. They are also relatively inexpensive parakeets going for about Lm 25 per pair.
Red Rump Cock
This is a normal red-rump cock. Red rumps are native of Australia. They have been widely exported in the past but now, as with all other Australian parakeets, it is illegal to export wild species. Nowadays many mutations have been achieved by breeders and red rumps come in a myriad of colours. As we will see below the prices for each mutation varies enormously. I have only encountered few mutations here in Malta, with opaline and yellow mutations being the most found on our market.
Red rumps produce a nice sound consisting of a two noted whistle, a soft, not unpleasant chattering and a louder chatter when tussling. Red rumps in Australia have accustomed themselves to civilisation. It is not uncommon to see red rumps nesting in tall chimneys or near houses. Since these parakeets do not do any damage to wheat fields and are therefore popular with the farmers as well, people hang up nest boxes for them. If provided with a large space red rumps can live well with other birds of same size but however they have the tendency to attack any weaker or sick birds in their colonies.
As with all other parakeets a seed diet is not sufficient for the proper care of the red rumps. Vegetables, millet, additional vitamins and cuttlebone will offer a wider range of nutrients which are necessary for the healthy growing of these birds. Ideal vegetables for these birds are broccoli, squash, cauliflower, corn, frozen mixed vegetables, apples, or oranges. In addition to the vegetables, there is either pasta or rice which are also very appreciated by these parakeets.
The pairs stay together all year round. Social preening, feeding of the female by the male outside the breeding season as well. Courting males call loudly, nod the head, show a trembling of the slightly dropping wings, and fan the tail feathers. The defence of the breeding territory commences with singing and repeated tail shaking. This leads to close combat with the beaks which sometimes can be very extreme and involves severe cuts and scars.
Blue Mutation Red Rump
Red rumps are breed easily if provided with necessary flight space and a large nesting box. I usually use peat and wood shavings as bedding for the nests and my birds like to arrange the beds to their likings. As soon as mating has occurred the hen will deposit 4 to 7 eggs which she will brood for about 20 days. Red rump hens will not go out of the nest box whilst on eggs and not even human checking will make them leave there eggs alone. The eggs will hatch around 30 days after and take care to remove the chicks as soon as they are fledged or else the cock may attack his own offspring. One-year-old birds are already able to breed. Cool temperatures often result in egg binding, hence the nest boxes should not be offered until April. Incubation from the second egg onwards. The brooding hen is fed by her partner outside the nest.
These birds are well known to be quite hardy and ideal for any beginner. It is important to keep them away from drought and if kept outside provide a clear dry shelter all the time. If properly cared for these birds will live up to 15-20 years and will make beautiful pets as well excellent breeders in your aviary. The cock is an exceptional example of nature’s beauty with its bright and vivid colours. Although the hens are not as brightly coloured they are equally intelligent and wonderful birds. Red rumps also make excellent foster parents and many local breeders use them as foster parents for lovebirds, cockatiels and other parakeets. If kept in proper large aviaries (around 2m in length and height) the fights between cocks should be minimal and the true beauty of the red rumps can be appreciated.
I suggest these birds for any breeder who wants to slowly learn to basics into parakeets’ breeding since they are quite reliable and relatively inexpensive. As with all other birds please take care of your pets and watch for any strange symptoms and signs of your birds. Contact a vet as soon as you notice something not normal in your birds behaviour. As usual I wish you good luck and may you enjoy a wonderful bird experience with your Red Rump parakeets.
Donated by Orlando Bonnici