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Pet Birds – The Popularity of Native Australian Birds in Aviculture

Lots of popular pet bird species originate from Australia, most of the well-known pet birds are native to this country but not allof them. Many are from the Americas, Africa, and Asia, but the most popular by far and through the sheer numbers in captivity are the Australian species, which range from small finches, right through the range to large parrots.

Famous breeds like the budgerigar (know as parakeet in some countries), cockatiel, zebra finch, lorikeet, and the cockatoo all became available throughout the world via importation from Australia.

When our ancestors first discovered the Australian continent they found many types of animals that were unique to this part of the globe, such as the now infamous ‘duck-billed platypus’ and the ‘echidna’ (egg laying mammals! How strange must that have been?); marsupials such as the ‘kangaroo’, ‘wallaby’, ‘koala’ and many new and unique bird species; many of which were vey brightly coloured. So they desired specimens of these birds to take home, and in doing so boosted the fondness of exotic pet bird keeping.

Starting with the smaller breeds; Australian finches that are popular as pets include the ‘star finch’, ‘gouldian finch’ and the well known and readily available at a low price ‘zebra finch’. However there are many more.

Small to medium sized parrot-like species from Australia include the most popular small pet bird of all, the ‘budgerigar’ (or ‘parakeet’). The almost as popular ‘cockatiel’ is also an Australian native, plus no end of other well known pet birds. The list is almost endless: ‘lories’ and ‘lorikeets’ (several types of these), parakeets such as ‘turquoisine’, ‘bourke’, ‘splendid’ ‘elegant’ and ‘red-rumped’ to name a few, there’s loads more. The medium sized ‘eclectus parrot’ also hails from this part of the world.

The ‘rosellas’ are also medium parrot from Australia and about 6 different varieties are used as pets; ‘Eastern’, ‘Northern’, ‘Western’, ‘crimson’, ‘green’, and ‘pale-headed’. All are unique and different in their own way but are closely related. Rosella are known for their strikingly rich colouring, making them a very desirable pet.

Finally the big daddy of Australian pet birds, the ‘cockatoo’. There are about 20 different species of cockatoo but not all are popular as pets, and believe it or not the famous ‘cockatiel’ mentioned earlier is a member of this bird family but of course nowhere near as large as some of its cockatoo cousins. All birds in the cockatoo family are distinguishable by the crest of feathers on the top of the head.

Many breeds of Australian birds live in massive flocks in the wild. The sight of hundreds of budgerigars, cockatiels, finches or lorikeets flocking together is an awe-inspiring sight, and very noisy.

To summarise there is a massive range of Australian birds available as pets all over the world. Many are very colourful, easy to keep, very hardy and all have unique and sometimes entertaining characteristics. The least costly of exotic pet birds are also native Aussies. Is it any wonder that these pet birds are so popular?

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