The Lineolated Parakeet (Bolborhynchus lineola lineola) is a parrot 16 to 17cm long with an average weight of 50g. This is a bird whose dominant colour is green, decorated by black mottles.
It is found in southern parts of Mexico, in all the states in Central America, Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, and they can be found further south in West Colombia, in parts of the Andes in North- West Venezuela, North-West Ecuador and Central Peru. These areas are covered by broad-leaved forests. It can be found in the mountain areas up to 2000m in altitude. During winter they can be seen in lower altitudes because they are searching for food. They spend most of the day on the ground, but they always spend the night in the treetops of the high trees, mostly in the openings. Spotting them in the trees is very hard because of the camouflage provided by the different shades of green and black spots on the feathers.
The main problem with breeding of Wild type Lineolated Parakeets this bird species is to establish the difference between the sexes. There are no clear distinctions between the male and the female bird observed at first sight. However, careful and longer observation will lead to perceiving more clearly marked black spots on the body, wings and the top of the tail of the males. There is a possibility to determine the sex by measuring the width of the ilium of the sexually mature birds. However, all of these methods are unreliable, and the only trustworthy method for sex determination is DNA analysis. This is why I would recommend to the potential breeder to buy several birds that are not related. They will choose their partners on their own. I also recommend to buy young and ringed birds from a recognized and experienced breeder. The ring will provide the information of the age, and it will ease your monitoring and documenting all the relevant behaviour modifications, especially if you have many birds. This will ease the breeding.
When you see the pairs are formed, I advise you to move them into individual aviaries. Pairs of Lineolated Parakeets will successfully breed in aviaries of 100x80x50cm. For successful breeding, apart from adequate space, a necessary condition is that the birds are of the right age. The young birds will gain the adult appearance after six months, and they reach full sexual maturity when they are one year old. Only then do I recommend that you place the nestboxes in the highest spot of the aviary. The boxes should be built in such a manner to maintain suitable microclimate – constant temperature and humidity of air and the floor. Optimum dimensions of the nestbox would be 15x15x30cm. It should be positioned in the dark and sheltered part of the aviary, so they aren’t disturbed by other birds or visitors. The size of the circular entrance is 5cm. It is necessary to place a thin layer of sawdust in the nestbox. Sometimes, they redecorate the interior of the nest themselves, and the floor becomes a truncated pyramid and the eggs are put on the top. This can be dangerous, because the eggs can roll down from that nest to the corners, which will cause their cooling. Once the breeder notices this, the eggs will be completely unusable.
Most often there are five eggs in a clutch, and they are laid every two days. The eggs are regular oval with a long diagonal of 21.5 mm and a shorter of 17.7 mm. The incubation period lasts from 20 to 23 days, and hens can produce up to three clutches a year. However, my personal experience showed that although all the eggs are fertilized, each successive clutch has fewer living hatchlings. The male is in the nest box or very close to it. If the male is in the nest during egg control it will determinedly protect the eggs or the hatchlings from the curious breeder as well as the female. The hen will be patient and will wait almost peacefully until the finishing of the egg control. Likewise, there are no unpredictable movements by the female in the box during the ringing of the hatchlings. The male feeds the hen, and she warms and feeds the young. If the hen notices that the egg is not fertilized, she rejects it. She will cover them with sawdust or discard them in the corners of the box. They are very good parents. The youngsters leave the nest after four weeks, sometimes even later, and three weeks after leaving the nest they should be separated from the parents. Unlike other parrots, even if the young stay in the same aviary with the parents, there will not be any problems. The parents are not aggressive towards their offspring, not even when they enter a new mating and upbringing cycle. After the chicks leave the box, the nests are clean and the sawdust does not have to be changed.
Lineolated Parakeets have got a short spiky tail, round head and very big brown eyes. Apart from the basic natural green that can be seen in the wild, using genetic knowledge numerous mutations have been created, such as various shades of green, olive green, lutino (yellow with red eyes), creamino, cobalt, turquoise and mauve (grey), different shades of grey, and colourful birds.
They are very interesting and easy to handle as pets. They do not require large space, they are not aggressive and they gladly accept the presence of the man or their relatives. Very often two birds will act as a couple, no matter what sex they are. They are very sociable andthey gladly preen and feed each other. These facts speak to their sociability. The problems may occur in two cases. First, if a new bird is brought to the flock. They can become slightly aggressive until the hierarchy is established, so if this problem occurs during breeding it will be quickly overcome. The other problem can occur if two hens choose the same nest box to lay their eggs in. Then they can fight and break each other’s eggs. This is simply resolved by separating pairs, this is why I recommend breeding separate pairs. However, in larger aviaries they can live with other exotic birds and parrots that are not aggressive.
They do not have hard beaks, they are not destructive and can be kept in wooden aviaries. They are great acrobats, and they like climbing. They fly only when they have to. This is why the aviary should be quite long and have numerous perches that will provide them with lots of movement. They are normally very slow. In small cages they often take food and water in a batlike position.
When they are frightened the colour of their feathers fades, they stiffen and look like they are stuffed. A very scared Lineolated Parakeet has high pitched voice, and in these situations they often run and not fly. This will alarm the other birds from the flock and they will also vocalize.
If provided with good conditions their life span is more than 12 years. A rich and varied diet will surely have influence on their lifespan and the quality of life. They have very good immune systems, and I almost never had to treat them. They are very resistant to low temperatures. The only health issue I have noticed is a defect, due to a disease, appearing on the nostrils. However, even if you do not treat
the bird, it continues to live a long and normal life. The size of claws should be monitored, and cosmetic surgery should be performed occasionally. If you do not trim the claws when they get too long, there is a possibility that when they think they are in danger and try to flee they can become entangled in the wire mesh, and they can sprain their leg.
One of the problems with the Lineolated Parakeet is the fact that they put the seeds into the water dish, so you have to change water every day, sometimes even a few times a day. The other problem the breeders can encounter is ringing. The tarsometatarsus of Lineolated Parakeets is 5 to 6 mm long, and the length of the ring is 4 mm. If the birds are smaller or if the ring moves vertically, damage to the skin and further complications might occur. Regardless of this possibility, the birds must be ringed at a very young age with 4.5mm diameter ring, and this is a legal obligation. A ring of these dimensions can rarely cause a problem. Lineolated Parakeets are on the CITES II list B. According to C.O.M. they are categorized in the ‘M’ section.
In the past few years, this species has gained much popularity. There are a great number of enthusiasts and a large number of groups have been formed on social networks where fans of the species can exchange information.
They are sociable, tolerant towards other birds, and they can become attached to people. If you provide them with care and just a bit of your attention they can be easily tamed. If you invest enough energy, patience and love they will appreciate this and respond with a large number of acrobatic skills that will enchant you forever.
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