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Parakeet is a name for any one of a large number of unrelated small to medium sized species of parrot, that generally have long tail feathers. Older spellings still sometimes encountered are paroquet or paraquet.
The Australian budgerigar, also known as "budgie" or English parakeet or keet, Melopsittacus undulatus, is probably the most common parakeet. It was first discovered in 1891. It is the most popular breed kept as a pet in America.
The term Grass Parakeet (or Grasskeet) refers to a large number of small Australian parakeets native to grasslands such as Neophema and Princess Parrot. The Australian rosellas are also parakeets. Many of the smaller, long-tailed species of lories may be referred to as lorikeets. The term Ringnecked Parakeet refers to a species of the Psittacula genus native to Africa and Asia that is popular as a pet and has become feral in many cities. It should not be confused with the Australian Ringneck.
In aviculture the term conure is used for small to medium sized parakeets of the genera Aratinga, Pyrrhura, and a few other genera of the tribe Arini, which are mainly endemic to South America. As they are not all from one genus, taxonomists tend to dislike the term. Other South American species commonly called parakeets include the Brotogeris parakeets, Monk Parakeet and Lineolated Parakeets, although Lineolated Parakeets have short tails.
Some species, especially the larger parakeets, may be referred to as "parrot" or "parakeet" interchangeably. For example, Alexandrine Parrot and Alexandrine Parakeet are different names for the same species, (Psittacula eupatria), one of the largest species called a parakeet.
Parakeets breed better in groups, but are usually fine breeding in pairs. Having other parakeets encourages a pair to breed, which is why breeding in groups is more successful. However, many breeders choose to breed in pairs because that way they know which parents produced any given birds. Parakeets produce about 6-8 eggs if the parakeet successfully lays eggs.