Common Names: Moustached Parakeets, Mustached Parakeets, Red-breasted Parakeet
Scientific Name: Psittacula alexandri
Origin: Indonesia, Andaman Islands, Southeast Asia
Relative Size: 13 inches
Weight: 120-130 grams
Average Lifespan: 20-30 years
Egg Clutch: 2-4 white eggs
Incubation: 22 days
Talking Ability: Excellent
Moustached Parakeets look very similar to their cousins, the Derbyan Parakeets. The most obvious differences are the sizes. Like the Derbyan Parakeet, the Mustache Parakeet is sexually dimorphic. This simply means the males and females can be identified by how they look. The males have a bright colored beak tipped in yellow and the females have a black beak.
These parrots have green bodies showcasing many shades of green. Their most obvious trait is their salmon-colored chest. The male’s chest usually tends to be a brighter colored pink than the females; nonetheless, she is just as stunning as her mate. Under their beaks and extended along the jaw line, a black bib can be seen. Both sexes have a grayish blue cap, and like most Asiatic parrots a black line extends from the nostrils to the eyes. The wings have yellow patches intermixed with lime green.
These parrots do not have the typical large tail. Instead, their tails extend about 5 inches from the body. The tail and body are approximately about the same length; although, the younger Moustached Parakeets do have smaller tails.
All juvenile Moustached Parakeets resemble their parents but are not so colorful. These young parrots exhibit a gray head and a solid green body with orange beaks. Their eyes are also black but soon change as the bird matures. Most owners will start to see a change in five months and usually by eight months the eyes have changed into adult form. Their beaks will also change color as the parrot matures. This change is usually seen between five and eight months. It can take up to 18 months or even up to three years for the parrot to come into full color.
A female Mustache Parakeet hen will spend a great deal of time inside her nesting box before she is ready to breed. During this time, the owner might hear scratching and chewing inside the box. This is quite normal. Often times, the nesting material that is placed into the box (wood shavings) will be removed by the hen. The owner simply needs to replace the wood shavings back into the box to ensure the eggs do not break or roll during incubation.
Moustached Parakeets like deeper boxes. A ladder or wire should be placed from the hole down into the nesting area to ensure the female does not crush her eggs upon entry. A side door is best as this allows easy access to the babies or eggs once they are laid.
The mother will produce between two and four eggs. She will incubate them for approximately 22 days. Just before the babies hatch, a small hole will be made from inside the egg by the chick so that it can breathe. Hatching usually follows within 24 hours.
If the babies are to be pulled for hand feeding, the owner should wait until the oldest chick in the clutch is 15 days old. Once one chick is removed, it’s best to also remove the others as sometimes the mother will abandon her brood if one chick is missing.
Hand feeding the chicks is a tedious task and requires the breeder to feed them hourly. Once the baby Mustache Parakeet is ready to wean, it will start to refuse feedings or will begin to take smaller amounts of food. This is normal and the breeder can expect the chick to lose a bit of weight. The breeder should then begin feeding the baby chicks small portions many times throughout the day rather than two or three large feedings as previously done. In fact, breeders who practice small frequent feedings tend to wean the chicks faster. Most baby Moustached Parakeets will wean around 10 weeks but some can take as long as 13 weeks—especially if the baby is by itself.
Moustached Parakeets are omnivores and can eat anything humans can. Their basic diet should consist of seeds and pellets. It’s important both food items be rotated weekly to ensure the parrot receives the maximum amount of nutrients. It’s not recommended to feed the parrot just a seed diet or just a pellet diet as too much of anything is not good for the bird.
Along with the base diet, the parrot should be given a daily assortment of fresh vegetables and fruits. These food items can easily be cut up the night
before while preparing dinner. Moustached Parakeets also enjoy warm foods. Steaming fresh broccoli, carrots, or squash will quickly be relished—just be sure the food is not too hot as it can burn the parrot.