Canary Winged Parakeet – An Affectionate Personality Bird

Canary winged parakeet are beautiful and lively. They are all-around wonderful birds to keep as a pet. If you are planning to obtain one of these stunning birds, this article will lay out major things you should know about this species before owning one. Doing proper research will ensure that you are prepared to own a canary-winged parakeet and are aware of the work that goes into owning one.

Canary Winged Parakeet Species Information

Canary-winged parakeets are members of the Brotogeris bird family. Scientifically, their name is Brotogeris versicolurus, and they are commonly referred to as “Bee Bees” or “Pocket Parrots”. Up until 1997, there were two species thought to be Brotogeris versicolurus, even though they were slightly different from each other.

canary winged parakeet wings

The true canary-winged parakeet has white on the edges of its flight feathers, which can be seen when they fly. Yellow-chevron parakeets, otherwise known as Brotogeris chiriri, look practically identical to the canary-winged parakeets. However, they do not have the white on their flight feathers.

To help others properly identify the two species, it was suggested that the canary-winged parakeet’s name be changed to “white-winged parakeet” while the yellow-chevron parakeet kept the original name. Though both birds are very similar in color and behavior, some people might prefer to have a real canary-winged parakeet. If that’s you, make sure to check if the bird you are eyeing has a splash of white feathers.

Brotogeris chiriri


In the 1970s and 1980s, canary-winged parakeets were a very popular pet among families. Presently, it is extremely difficult to find a breeder who specializes in breeding white-winged parakeets and yellow-chevron winged parakeets. What happened to turn this easily obtainable species into an extremely rare one within the United States?

The answer lies within the past. When the species was first imported to the United States, there was an endless supply of them. The large number of birds being imported made them easier to find and cheaper to buy. The breeders within the States assumed that this continuous supply would continue to be delivered from around the world, so most of the imported birds went straight onto the market instead of being kept for breeding.

The Wild Bird Conservation Act, enacted in 1992, effectively ended the importation of exotic birds. The breeders, cut off from their steady supply of canary-winged parakeets, were left with only a few in their possession. Though these birds have been continuously bred throughout the years, there is still a minimal supply of them.

Due to its rarity, most canary-winged parakeets that are for sale will cost you a small fortune. Once you locate a breeder who has one available, you might have to pay $400-$500 to make it yours. Before purchasing from a breeder, check local shelters to see if there are any available to adopt. It might save you money, but keep in mind that most birds up for adoption have had rough pasts which makes it difficult to develop a bond with them.

Unique Characteristics

Slightly larger than grey-cheek parakeets and lovebirds, canary-winged parakeets normally grow to be anywhere from 8.5 inches to 10 inches long. However, half of their length will simply consist of their tail. Combined with their average weight of 60-70 grams, these birds are the largest and heaviest within the Brotogeris family!

The plumage of a canary-winged parakeet is typically lime green. Their identifying features are a strip of yellow running down their wings and the patches of white that are commonly seen while the bird is in flight. They are known to have brown eyes, pink legs, and a pale beak. Since there are no physical traits that separate the males and the females, you will have to have your bird’s DNA tested if you want to know the gender.

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Companion Birds

Canary-winged parakeets are well known for their easy-going temper and affectionate personality. They love interacting with their owner and any other members of the family. As long as you interact with them daily, they will be more than happy to return the affection! They are capable of learning various tricks, and might even attempt to mimic a human voice.

This species of parrot also can repeat words and possibly even sentences, but canary-winged parakeets are better known for their whistling capabilities. They produce a loud and shrill call. This call might become louder and more frequent when you leave the room. Sometimes, the constant screaming can become an issue.

The issue can be fixed by making sure that your bird has a large cage and their own space to rest and play. It is also important to spend a decent amount of time with them every day, and you are encouraged to take them out of their cage to play. Once a significant bond is created, your bird will likely enjoy spending time with you while resting on your shoulder.

Cage Requirements

Canary-winged birds originate from South America and are commonly found within open forests and savannahs. They are extremely energetic, even within captivity, so it’s very important to make sure that you provide the right cage and accessories for their well-being. When buying a cage, make sure that it is at least 24 by 24 inches so that your bird has ample space to move around. Be sure that the spaces between bars are 3/4 inches or less to prevent the possibility of your bird’s head getting stuck.

Don’t forget to use newspaper to line the bottom of the cage. This allows you to monitor their feces for any signs of sickness. It is also extremely easy to switch out when cleaning.

Most birds prefer to have something cover their cage at night to prevent night frights. If you don’t want to spend money on one, bedsheets are a cheaper option. Make sure that the sheet isn’t thick enough to prevent proper air circulation.

Cage Accessories

There should also be a minimum of three bowls for your bird to access. One for pellets, one for water, and one for fruits and vegetables. If your cage doesn’t have an extra bowl, you can buy one on Amazon that is as easy to install as a perch.

Speaking of perches, avoid dowel perches to the best of your ability. Though they are cheap and durable, the lack of variety in diameter can cause multiple issues for your bird’s feet including arthritis and bumblefoot. Instead, buy natural wood perches that vary in thickness and texture to make sure that your bird’s joints and muscles stay strong.

Rope perches are another option, but you will need to keep an eye on your bird while you have one. Some birds enjoy chewing on the rope and might even ingest some of the fibers, which can easily lead to a dangerous blockage in their bowels. If you notice your bird chewing on their rope perch, take the perch and throw it away. If your bird has a habit of chewing on rope perches, it might be best to forego that material in the future.

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Since canary-winged parakeets have so much energy, it is important to make sure that they have a variety of toys to play with. Search for toys that are sized appropriately for parakeets, and keep in mind that most parrot toys are meant to be destroyed. Make sure to purchase good quality toys that are made from safe materials for parrots.

While you’re at it, you should purchase at least one foraging toy as well. Foraging toys mimic the work that your bird would have to do to find food in the wild. Hide food or treats within the toys to encourage foraging. Having a foraging toy will ensure that your bird is not only mentally but also physically stimulated.

For supervised playtime outside of a cage, bird stands or standing play places are suggested to allow your bird an area outside of the cage to explore. When you are planning to get a pet canary-winged parakeet, make sure that you have room in your budget to purchase a variety of toys. It will not only help entertain your bird but will also decrease the chances of them screeching when you are not around.


Contrary to popular belief, an all-seed diet is harmful to birds. Seeds have large amounts of fat and don’t contain all of the nutrients your bird requires. It’d be like if you decided to go on a diet where you only ate ice cream. It can lead to obesity as well as vitamin deficiency. In time, it could cause your canary-winged parakeet to develop kidney and heart disease. Seed is better off used as a nice treat once and a while.

Bird pellets are created specifically to meet your bird’s needs, and you are encouraged to switch your bird’s food from seeds to pellets. Depending on how long your bird has been eating seeds, it might be more difficult to switch them over to pellets.

The best method for transitioning is to slowly start integrating the pellets into the seeds. As time goes on, your bird will start to adjust to the pellets, and you can begin lessening the amount of seed you put in their bowl. This process will take time, but switching your bird to a pellet diet can drastically increase the length of their life.

It is also necessary to provide fresh fruits and vegetables to your bird daily. Any fresh foods that have not been eaten in 24 hours should be thrown away. Your bird also needs a source of calcium, which can normally be bought in the form of a cuttlebone or block. These, combined with pellets, will give your bird the balanced diet it needs.

Home Environment

Your home environment is just as important as your bird’s cage. Canary-winged parakeets prefer to have their cage placed in a room that you and your family are in often. Make sure that the back of their cage is up against a wall to provide a safe space for your bird to retreat to if they ever feel threatened. Canary-winged parakeets have extremely sensitive sinuses, so a non-smoking environment is preferred.

It’s also important to not place their cage in a drafty area and to avoid spots that receive large amounts of sunlight. Average room temperatures are fine for your bird as long as they don’t go above 80 degrees. If you intend to allow your bird out to play, make sure that all ceiling fans are turned off for their safety. It is dangerous to let your bird out to play if you have other animals in the room, especially if you are not aware of how they interact with birds.


Just like you regularly shower and brush your hair, canary-winged parakeets have hygiene habits too. On average, they spend a third of their day simply preening themselves. This self-grooming is normal, as long as they are not consistently pulling out their feathers. There are three major ways that you can help your pet maintain proper hygiene.

A quick way to clean your bird is by misting it with a bottle. Make sure that this bottle is only used for misting your bird. Check the pressure of the mist to make sure that it is not too harsh, and refrain from spraying your bird’s face. Allow them to relax and dry off in a warm area.

You can also help your bird by providing them with a birdbath at least twice a week. Fill a flat, shallow container with a few inches of lukewarm water. Place the bath in an area that your bird can freely walk around, and they’ll take care of the rest! Avoid forcing your bird to bathe, as that will just be counterproductive.

Lastly, you can bring your bird into the shower with you! Several shower perches are available for purchase online. The pressure and temperature of your water are important. Water that is too hot or too cold can cause harm, and water that is too high in pressure will knock your bird right off of the perch! Once your bird is perched, make sure that part of the perch is not under the stream of water. This gives your bird a place to retreat so that they can shower at their own pace.

Health and Checkups

Growing up, I thought that birds didn’t need a vet. That is not the case. Canary-winged parakeets live to be fifteen years old in captivity. This is significantly longer than their lifespan in the wild. To be sure that your bird lives a long life, keep an eye out for any signs of sickness. Common signs of illness include wheezing, coughing, unusual nasal discharge, loss of appetite, lack of energy, and change in the color or consistency of their stool.

If you notice any of these symptoms, contact an avian vet to schedule an appointment. It’s also a good idea to bring your bird in for regular check-ups. By doing so, you can make sure that your bird is as happy and healthy as it can be!

Now that you’ve read all of the information, are you still interested in getting a canary-winged bird? They can be amazing pets as long as you are willing to put the time and money into taking care of them. I hope that this article helped give more information as to what you might be getting into if you get a canary-winged parakeet.

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