Plum Headed Parakeet - Advice Needed


New member
Apr 3, 2013
Berkeley, CA
Green Cheek Conure (Pineapple)
My wife and I recently put a deposit down on a male plum headed parakeet baby. We currently have an 8 month old female green cheeked conure (pineapple) that has been a joy to live with. There really is next to no information on keeping plum heads as pets on the internet, just a couple videos on youtube and some very generic descriptions when I do google searches.
The few threads I found on here were people talking about how beautiful, and hard to find they are, but again no specifics on behavior and care. Has anyone on here ever kept a plum head, visited with a plum head or know someone who keeps plum heads as pets? What little I've been able to glean from the internet is that they are generally quiet in a non-aviary setting, they enjoy the company of other birds their size and that they enjoy their owners company as well, but might not be particularly keen of cuddling.

ANY specific input that others out there might have would be greatly appreciated, especially if someone is willing to correspond with me via email or put me in touch with someone with direct experience with plum heads, thanks so much!
While I've never had a plumb-headed in my flock, I might be inclined to research one of their first cousins...the Derbyan.....

Good luck.....
I've bred over 100 plumheaded parrots here in Australia. They are a very good choice as a pet. The males are naturally confiding even when aviary bred. All my males will perch on me when I enter their flights.
Hand reared plumhead males are a joy. Much quieter than ringnecks and they do not alarm call. Mine also return to the aviary when they escape.
Plum heads will eat just about anything, but I've never been able to get one to eat any form of pelletised food. But, a good friend of mine has a few pairs of birds I've bred that he has converted to small parrot pellets.
Mine are fed a basic diet of small parrot mix (peaceface or cockateil mix), wild grass seed heads, garden weeds, vegetables, corn, fruit (all kinds), chillies and our local eucalyptus and grevillia branches with seed/flowers.

Here is an article on plumheaded parrots I wrote a couple of years back

Parrot Society of Australia - Magazine...
We have a Plumhead (unknown gender at this stage) which is part of a mix "flock" of inside birds which includes a budgie (who copies the Plumhead call perfectly), a cockatiel and a princess parrot. Jade is about 9 months old. It has a pretty wide diet, eating seed, vegetables, leafy greens, pellets and fruit. As a pet, there are some things to be aware of. One thing is they fly really fast, and panic easily. So make sure there are no big windows or mirrors where they fly. Our guy has crashed a few times (usually as a result of the birds on the veranda seeing a hawk- they panic, the panic spreads inside). It also has an annoying habit- putting its food, seed especially, in its water, which requires changing twice daily. Our guy is pretty quiet, or at least its quiet compared to the princess parrot. It calls a lot- a very pleasant chuckling, but it's not loud.

Another aspect of our guy Jade, at least is that it is a bit of a bully towards, but doesn't bite, our other inside birds, although our Princess is now twice its size and stands up to Jade (despite the Princess having a deformed beak, with no "hook"). They love attention, and to sit on the shoulder, but they're not into "cuddles" or scratches. Another habit our bird has is that it likes to eat "pre-chewed" food from our mouths. So if you're eating potato crisps, it'll come and sit on our shoulder and put its beak right near our mouth expecting something moist and tasty to chew on:)
Old thread, I know. Our plumhead may well be a hen. It has become quite aggressive and will attack other birds (up to and including 'tiel size) and got out of its cage and attacked our hen 'tiel in her cage (she'd laid an egg) very badly- she had a scab on her foot and limped for 3 weeks. Jade also bites my wife and I quite regularly, she'll be sitting on the shoulder then will suddenly dart down to bite my exposed arm (below shirtsleeve) or occasionally to my neck or ear. She bites hard! Draws blood regularly. She's only let out with the budgie (who is fast enough to avoid her) and the princess (who is big enough to bluff her). She's also become quite noisy, but it's pleasant to listen to :)
How old is your plumhead Mike? It may very well be going through its bluffing phase - ringnecks are quite notorious for being bad bluffers.
I know this is old but...
I have 2 and yes they are very similar to IRN's. They can def be a bit more 'jumpy" than IRN's and take a lil extra work to get them to warm up to you, but still become sweet with time. Mine do NOT like to be pet like my IRN but will stay on my shoulder or hang out longer on my desk while I'm working, while the IRN will get bored and find something else to do if I'm not interacting with her every second! All my birds eat Harrison's pellets with lot's or fresh greens, veggies and fruits, along with seeds and a number of treats. I agree they are not the best to be around other birds. They both used to bully my IRN till she grew a bit and now they just kind of hold their ground. Don't get me wrong, they will all hang out on the same stand, you just have to make sure they each have their own little bubble of room. I believe they may always be my favorite species.

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