Derbyan Parakeet

Derbyan Parrot

Family: Psittacidae Picture of a Derbyan ParakeetPsittacula derbianaPhoto © Animal-World: Courtesy S. Marsh
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Howdy, 15 1/2 years ago on Thanksgiving, a small bird flew into our house from the back sliding door. She stopped at the counter, where we had refreshments. She... (more)  Kay Langer

   The mature Derbyan Parakeet is a striking bird with beautiful shades of violet blue on the head and breast!

   Though the Derbyan Parakeet is naturally a bit shy, seeming to prefer the company of birds to that of humans, with good socialization when they are young and ongoing regular handling, they make a wonderful pet. They love to socialize, are generally docile, and tend to live long healthy lives.

   The Derbyan Parakeet is one of the best talkers among the parakeets. They are extremely intelligent and can learn many words with a clarity in their speech that is similar to that of the amazon parrots. They do have a loud voice and can get be rather noisy though they are said to be less noisy when kept singly and given a lot of attention.

To learn more about Parakeets and their needs visit:
Guide to a Happy, Healthy Parakeet

  • Kingdom: Animalia
  • Phylum: Chordata
  • Class: Aves
  • Order: Psittaciformes
  • Family: Psittacidae
  • Genus: Psittacula
  • Species: derbiana

Scientific name: Psittacula derbiana


  • Psittacula derbiana derbiana - Deryban Parakeet (Tibetan)
  • Psittacula derbiana chinensis - Chinese Derbyan Parakeet

There is currently only one recognized species of the Derbyan Parakeet, Psittacula derbiana . The Chinese Derbyan Parakeet Psittacula derbiana chinensis is officially unknown as a subspecies, but has been suggested in 2001 as being similar to the Derbyan Parakeet but slightly smaller. It is also described as having a duller violet-blue head, a duller red beak, and a more grayish breast and abdomen. Also under the wings and parts of the thighs are described as being a grayish-brown.

Distribution: The Derbyan Parakeet is found in northeast Assam, southeast Tibet, and western China in the provinces of Szechwan and Yunnan. They are mountainous birds living in forests of pine and oak as well as rhododendron alpine forests. This region is seldom visited by ornithologists so little is known about their habits.

Description: The Derbyan Parakeet has a general green plumage that gets paler on the nape and middle of the wings. They have black on their lores and lower cheeks, with a bright blue on their forecrown moving into a blue-violet on the rest of the head. The throat, under parts, and under the wings are a lavender-purple and the thighs and vent area are green with touches of blue on some of the feather edges. The central feathers of the tail are blue tinged with green near the base, and the outer feathers are green edged with blue. The upper beak on the male is red with a yellowish tip and the lower mandible is black, while the females beak is all black. The eye is a yellowish-white and the legs are a greenish-gray. The Derbyan Parakeet is a pretty large parakeet getting up to about 20" (50 cm).
The female is distinguished not only by the all black beak, but she does not have the blue on the forecrown. She can also be distinguished by a brownish-pink band behind the ear coverts.
The young are duller in color and have a green head with no blues. The beak is an orangish-red and the eyes are dark. They will reach their adult coloring at maturity, about two years of age.

Care and Feeding:    Fresh food and water must be provided daily.
   In the wild the Derbyan Parakeet eats a variety of seeds, fruits, berries, and leaf buds. They do like to feed on the ground. Their diet consists of a good seed mixture supplemented with sprouted seed, various fruits, and green foods. In addition to these foods, you can offer them vegetables and commercial pellets.
   See About Parakeets: Care and Feeding for more detailed information.

Housing:    A roomy cage is required, and time out of the cage for exercise and flying is very important for them. They will also do very well in an aviary.
   See About Parakeets: Housing for more extensive housing information.

Maintenance:    The basic cage care includes daily cleaning of the water and food dishes. Weekly you should wash all the perches and dirty toys, and the floor should be washed about every other week. A total hosing down and disinfecting of an aviary should be done yearly, replacing anything that needs to be freshened, such as old dishes, toys and perches.

Social Behaviors:    In the wild, the Derbyan Parakeets live in small flocks of up to 50 birds and are very social. They do seem to prefer birds as companions and can seem rather aloof, shying away from human handling. They have a generally peaceful personality and make excellent aviary birds.

Handling/Training:    They are rather shy with people, but with good socialization when they are young and regular handling after that, they become very good pets. They are extremely intelligent and can be excellent talkers.
See About Parakeets: Handling and Training for detailed information.

Activities:    Parakeets are very energetic birds! Besides flying, which is important for all parakeets, these birds love to chew! Though considered more placid than many parakeets, the Derbyan Parakeet is still very active and can be very destructive. Being a very intelligent bird it needs lots of stimulation to help prevent boredom. Make sure to give your pet regular time out of its cage and lots of assorted toys and wood chews, perches and swings.

Breeding/Reproduction:    The Derbyan Parakeets reach maturity at about two years of age. They will readily breed in captivity and are excellent parents. In the wild they build their nests in the holes in trees. The female will lay an average of four eggs. The young hatch in about 23 days and leave the nest in about 50 days.    See About Parakeets: Breeding and Reproduction for more information.

Potential Problems:    Though the Derbyan Parakeet is a healthy and hardy bird, they do forage for food on the ground. This can make them more susceptible to intestinal worms and fungal infections. These can be averted by keeping the cage or aviary well maintained and clean.
   Because of their frequent contact with the ground where they like to pick up seed, you may also want to talk to an avian veterinarian about a regular de-worming schedule. With a proper environment and a good balanced diet, they are very hardy and resistant to disease.
   See About Parakeets: Potential Problems for more information.

Availability:    Derbyan Parakeets are occasionally available at pet stores or from breeders.

Author: Clarice Brough, CAS
Lastest Animal Stories on Derbyan Parakeet

Kay Langer - 2014-05-14
Howdy, 15 1/2 years ago on Thanksgiving, a small bird flew into our house from the back sliding door. She stopped at the counter, where we had refreshments. She landed on a plate of cheese and crackers. She started talking, but it sounded like she was talking some asian language. We put up ads at pet stores and veterinary offices with no response. She has been identified from a bird pet store as a female and as a Meyer's Parrot. She talks English now and tells us at 9:00 pm every night 'go nite nite'. She also says 'hello' whenever the phone rings. We have a small chihuahua also, named Jenny. Our parrot, Paulie, says 'Jennie' over and over all day long. I have seen photos of Meyer's parrots and they all have some yellow on them. Paulie is gray with a very pretty green on her underneath. She won't let me near her but she loves my husband, Any suggestions on how we can get her to like me or at least not want to tear my hand off when I get close to her cage?

Laura - 2013-07-05
I purchased a male, two and 1/2 month Derbyan that was hand fed. He is a delight, I have had him for 8 days now. He will stay on top of his play gym for hours and not fly off. He lets me hold him for hours and is very sweet and loving. I spend a lot of time with him and let the other members of my family hold him so that he remains tame and socialized. He is a wonderful bird.

Therese Dunnigan 2005-10-24 - 2005-10-24
My Derbyan is called "Bombay". He is handsome and loving. I purchase him four years ago and I recommend this bird to the beginner, as well as the advance bird lover. He has a large vocabulary and can master tricks with ease. There are few articles written about the Derbyan Parakeet and I thank you for your information.

  • amy payne - 2011-09-14
    Did you have a daughter named billie michelle, kim, tanya?
Adrian Torres - 2005-10-12
In July I purchased 2 Derbyans about 2 months old. they take peanuts from my hand, climb on me, and they can talk, saying " Hello" and "Bye". I have been looking for a site and I found this one. thanks, now I know how to better care for Everest and Efren.

Mark Barnett - 2005-09-14
We got our Derbyan Parakeet in January of 2005 from my Sister-in-law for $60.00 (What a steal, Huh?)We named her Mary Jane (M.J. for short) she is 2 years old and the apple of Daddy's eye, she loves when I sing to her. Thank you for having this Derbyan site.
Mark & M.J. Barnett

LeeAnn - 2005-05-10
Hi I purchased a Derbyan Parakeet yesterday, 4 month old male. I have been looking for sites with good information & I just found yours. Thank you for this site & great information. This is a beautiful bird & seems so loving I can't wait until he is adjusted to us & his new enviorment. I can tell were going to have years of enjoyment with this bird.


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