Lineolated or Barred Parakeets

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© June DiCiocco
Text editing Howard Voren
Layout Linda Seger

From South and Central America, this six inch bird is a joy to own. Most Linnies, as we call them, are friendly, easy keepers in both breeding situations and as pets. You could not ask for a nicer bird.

Green, or wild colorationThey come in Green, which is their normal or wild color, as well as many color mutations. Turquoise, Cobalt, Mauve, Blue Olive, Lutino and Cremino are a few of the more popular colors. The genetics are simple recessive with the exception of the Lutino which is sex linked. With the introduction of the dilute gene (both single and double dilutes) sex-linked identification of birds is possible.

Three colors in the blue seriesWhen you mate single dilute males to normal females, you can also get single dilute males and normal males and females. On the same token, if you mate a normal male to a double dilute female, all males will be single dilute and all females will be normals, saving the costs on DNA-sexing.

Lineolateds were imported into Europe as early as the 1970’s, but they did not catch on in the USA until more recent years. There is a strong population of Lineolated Parakeets in Germany, Belgium and the Netherlands. I have imported some and I notice that the imports have more physical substance than most here in the USA. However our stock is now catching up to the European type and they are truly beautiful birds.

Double Dilute Cobalt MaleSince the various color mutations have appeared, they not only appeal to collectors in the USA but are being introduced to the pet market. Since colored birds are what Americans seem to prefer, the green birds are not sold as regularly but they are lovely in their own right and should be kept for strong breeding stock to be properly produced. The buyer who does not wish to spend a large sum for a small bird can look to the green/normal color Lineolated and still get all the same wonderful pet advantages that this species holds.

Double Dilute Cobalt MaleSince I personally believe that depending solely on visual identification can lead to mistakes, I prefer to DNA feather sex my stock. With colors that are sex linked, some breeding results can automatically identify the sexes of birds when these colors appear.

The Lineolated can be raised in flocks and will weigh close to 60 grams in flight condition. They require a lot of exercise and therefore a larger cage than most small cage raised birds.

I use a 2′ x 2′ x 3′ long cage for a breeding pair. Larger caging is also a good choice.

When one considers that the same size cage is also adequate for a breeding pair of Pyrrhura conures that are twice their size, you can see they require extra flight space. One of the differences is that conures like to climb a lotm,where Linnies like to flutter and fly. I am now planning an indoor walk in flight for them to grow up in before pair bonding.

Cobalt Male, Turquoise FemaleTheir call is a chattering sound and as a flock, they can get loud. This chatter is loud in the early and late hours of the day but in between they remain quiet unless something strange and unfamiliar enters into their sight.

They are always aware of my presence and they interact with me by trying to get my attention in the aviary. Some try to talk, but I have yet to hear a distinct word. However, they do make it known to me what they want. Their chatter increases more when I go after certain foods and that’s their way of telling me that it’s what they were waiting for.

Single Dilute Cobalt Male, Cobalt FemaleThe Lineolated is for the person who wants a bird smaller than a Cockatiel but larger than a Finch.

They do have some grooming needs. Their toenails can grow long and will curl. If that happens they need to be clipped so they do not get hung up on cage wire.

They love fruit like apples, cranberries and grapes. A slice of apple makes a great snack for a pair. They also like soaked seed and some grain breads. They enjoy a good grade of parakeet seed and some of the better quality cockatiel mixes. I also use a Golden Harvest Fruit mix along with their seed as well as supplying them with spray millet, cuttlebone and mineral block.

If you like birds you will love a Lineolated. They can bring you many years of joy. I highly recommend them.

The subjects covered here are my findings as I live with these jewels. If the reader would like more detail, please check

Cremino Female - They all make good pets!


Lineolated Species

There are two sub species1

  1. Bolborhynchus lineola lineola (Cassin, 1853) — Lineolated Parakeet or Catherine Parakeet
  2. Bolborhynchus lineola tigrinus (Souancé, 1856) — Barred Parakeet

The sub-species of the type form, the Barred Parakeet, Bolborhynchus lineola tigrinus, shows a darker plumage than the B.l. lineola. At the largest part of the plumage the black edging is more distinctive, especially conspicuous is the extensive black shoulder (Arndt; 1986). The iris shall be brownish, feet and beak are darker. The Barred Parakeet was imported only in a small numbers to Europe. Due to the small amount of distinguishing features of this sub species it is not found anymore. Probably a large part of the Lineolated Parakeets living in Europe are now hybrids of both sub-species. I have been unable to locate any American breeders who can say they have both subspecies.2

All photographs Copyright June DiCiocco


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