The Beautiful Brotogeris

Leslie J. Gillis


My first exposure to this delightful species was in the late 1960s. My mother bought a lively little Orange-chinned Parakeet (Brotogeris jugularis) from a pet shop in Fresno, California. The bird was sold as a Bee Bee and is also known as the Tovi Parakeet. I hadn't had much interest in these small parakeets for many years.

In the Beginning

My interest in them peaked when four Canary-winged Parakeets (Brotogeris versicolorus chiriri) were offered for a mere $200.00. Once these birds were in my flights I fell in love with the sheer and simple beauty of them. I quickly set out to find unrelated stock for these four clutchrnates.

They were sexed and determined to be three females and one male. I turned to a couple of dear gentlemen friends, one is the curator for our local Chaffee Zoo, Dale Thompson, and the other was the president of our local bird club, Central California Avian Society, Gene Hall. After asking them many questions about the birds T found out I just bought myself a huge challenge.

Mr. Thompson said this would be a great bird for me to work with, as he knows I live for the challenge of breeding difficult birds. Mr. Thompson stated everything I needed to hear to motivate me, they are hard to breed, hard to find, and if we don't make them a priority in our aviaries we will lose the Canary-winged Parakeets and all the other species of Brotogeris in American Aviculture. So T went in search of these precious green jewels.

Canary-winged Parakeets

The Canary-winged Parakeets measure 22cm (9 inches) overall and are covered with tight apple green colored feathers and sport a pointed tail with a light yellow tinge underneath. They have bright canary-yellow secondary coverts with some blue tinges on the primaries. Their legs are grayish/pink and they have beautiful round Bambi-like eyes that are very expressive with medium brown iris. Their bills arc a medium horn color. These little birds possess very large voices and have very interesting alarm chatter. It isn't a high pitched chatter, but loud and sharp and they can be heard for blocks. Some find their noise offensive when in large numbers.

l have no personal problem with the noise as long as the flock lives in outdoor aviaries. They only sound off early morning, late afternoon, when I am feeding, and if a stranger is in the area, other than that, I find them very peaceful. If a number of them were in the house, it could become stressful. And if one has very close neighbors it would pay to have some sort of sound barriers to mute the little guys. This can be said for almost any member of the parrot family.

According to Forshaw's Parrots of the World, these birds come from the interior of eastern and southern Brazil from Ceara, Maranhao, and southern Para south to Rio de Janeiro, Western Sao Paulo and Mato Grosso, and in northern and eastern Bolivia, Paraguay and northern Argentina in Chaco, Formosa Misiones.

r have never been able to ascertain a true number on how many of these beauties where shipped to the USA over the years, but there was a time when they could be readily found in all the pet shops and were very inexpensive. Those days have indeed changed. Since the birds came in such great numbers and were never really expensive, breeders did not take much interest in setting them in breeding programs.

It wasn't until WCBA and CITES came into being and we were no longer able to bring the birds in from the wild, did people realize what a mistake it was to not have started trying to breed them while they were abundant.

One major hurdle I am finding is that people did not know about the different species and subspecies of Brotogeris and would often cross breed the Canary-winged Parakeet (Brotogeris versicolorus chiriri) with the Whitewinged Parakeet (Brotogeris versicolorus versicolorus) also known as and called a Canary-winged Parakeet. These two birds look...

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