This post is dedicated to the memory of Moki who came into our lives this past January and died tragically of undiagnosed air sac mites at the tender age of seven months. Moki, I miss your bright and cheery spirit.
My purpose here is to express my impressions and very narrow experience with regard to Lineolated parakeets, AKA linnies. That experience is limited to our time with Moki, a female lutino mutation, and my present new linnie, a turquoise little boy named Indy. Linnies are not well known even within the community of the cage bird enthusiast. Consequently, I frequently find myself extolling the virtues of this unique avian companion. It is my intent to develop a resource for me to refer folks to who want to find out additional information that is the summary of the photos I’ve taken myself or collected from my internet browsing as well as links for those who wish to learn more. If there are any errors or misrepresentations in my information then I apologize in advance and state that it is a result of my own ignorance rather than intent.
The scientific name of the Lineolated Parakeet is "Bolborhynchus lineola.” The word Lineolated means “lined” and it refers to the bars and lines that typify the native coloration. The males have a heavier line, primarily in the center of the tail. This photo of my baby turquoise illustrates the typical male patterning. The gender dimorphisms are not 100% reliable as I discovered when trying to obtain a male earlier this year. They hail from Central America and the northern parts of South America. In my own opinion, as well as the opinion of others familiar with the linnie, the parakeet moniker is inappropriate, even if it’s factually correct. Scientifically, the parakeet is characterized by a long and pointed tail. The linnie’s tail is short and very fan like. I’ve heard them referred to as Lineolated Parrots and that is how I personally prefer to refer to them. Linnies also walk with a foot over foot waddle and use their foot to handle food and objects like their larger cousins. They are about 6 inches long and weigh in at between 47 to 60 grams. The linnie’s nature is that of a tender, quiet and engaging spirit. They are not demanding or loud as other companion birds. They make a perfect choice for a small apartment setting, as they do not require much space. Their vocal chatter is described as sounding like laughter or giggling. Indy, my new turquoise boy, is still too new to me to have learned any words, but Moki had learned a number of whistles as well as a terrific imitation of the squeaky door next to her cage and the sound of our microwave oven.
Without question, the most endearing and engaging quality of these feathered gems is their winning and comic personality. So, why aren’t these “perfect” birds better known? Until recent years they were only available in the wild green natural color and, as such, did not catch the eye of individuals seeking avian companions. Pet stores and breeders most commonly offer the more colorful and striking birds like budgies, lovebirds, or cockatiels. Although linnies are more commonly found in European countries, they began to gain popularity when color mutations emerged. So, here’s where my lack of expertise really shines through. Linnies are now most commonly available in normal green, dark green and olive green. The most sought after mutations are the blue mutations, cobalt and turquoise, as well is the “inos,” lutino (bright yellow) and creamino (soft cream)
"More recent breeding has produced even more spectacular variations and, at this point, the possibilities seem endless. These recent mutations include mauve (or silver), golden, cinnamon, cinnamon blue, slate (a dark blue) as well as several dilute variants."
What is referred to as mauve(silver) and golden is actually SL (sex-linked) Greywing in the turquoise series and the Green series. Cinnamon hasn't been identified yet. Slate is actually Double Dark turquoise. Several dilutes are the SL Greywing. (Thank you for the updated information, Diane)
Linnies range in price from about $150 for the normal green to as high as $800 for the rare dilutes. Linnie breeders, like linnies, are rare and difficult to locate. Among more charming characteristics that distinguish the linnie is their love of hanging upside-down.
They also are known for “hiding.” That is, they feel most safe and secure when enclosed. Consequently, linnie owners soon learn to check first before sitting on a bed or sofa.
They are not known for their ability to fly. I would describe it more like a “controlled fall.” Attempts to navigate a room or cage most often end with an alarming “thunk” since they have a very dense body mass. In the wild they are ground feeders and are more inclined to walk than fly. For this reason the ideal cage for the linnie has more floor space than that of other cage birds. A common cage size is 30x18x18. When I was shopping for a cage I was drawn to one that was designed for rodents and has a series of platforms and ladders. I really like this cage for that reason since it accommodates the linnie’s love of floor space and hanging.
Many are also passionate about water and love to be bathed.
It is my belief that, as these mutations become more common, the Lineolated parrot will gain in popularity and will come to rival that of the cockatiel or budgie. In my life I’ve either owned, been owned by or known a number of birds including the canary, budgie, Umbrella and Malaccan cockatoo, cockatiel, lovebird, African Grey and Amazon. I know and respect that each enthusiast is just as enamored by and thoroughly devoted to his or her avian comrade as I am to this unique breed. But I can honestly say that none of the birds that I have known has been as full of heart and spirit as the linnie. I knew that I was crazy about Moki shortly after I got to know her, but I never realized the extent of her spirit until I lost her. The powerful impact her loss had on me enabled me to appreciate her spirit for what it was. These birds unquestionably prove that the greatest things come in small packages.
I get a Linnie seed mixture from Herman Brothers which I have created the mix from reading and studying what Linnies like to eat. It consists of:
Lineolated Parakeet: White millet, soft wheat, canary seed, buckwheat, hemp, safflower seed, red millet, finch millet, milo, med. sunflower chips, patty rice, Japanese millet, Siberian millet.
Just request Denise's Linnie Mix, It costs .83 per pound. My birds love it and all that remains when they are done, is dust...
Scientific Name: Bolborhynchus lineola
Sub species: Bolborhnychus I. lineola Bolborhynchus I. tigrinus
Distribution: Native to Central America from southern Mexico to western Panama.
Description: The Lineolated Parakeet also known as the Linnies are solid birds. Then generally weigh between 47 & 60 grams. They are about 6 ½ inches long including the 2” tail. . The males have a heavier line, primarily in the center of the tail. The female is usually somewhat smaller also with black markings but these are not a thick or heavy as the male. The tip of the tail feathers does not have as much black as the males.
Care and feeding: These birds are not destructive to their surroundings. They are easygoing and very calm. Linnies also walk with a foot over foot waddle and use their foot to handle food and objects like their larger cousins. Linnies are grounds feeders and spend much of their time on the ground. They eat a diet of cockatiel and budgie seed combined…they love all kinds of millet and need fresh fruits and vegetables daily.
Housing: Linnies are not known for their ability to fly. I would describe it more like a “controlled fall.” Attempts to navigate a room or cage most often end with an alarming “thunk” since they have a very dense body mass. In the wild they are ground feeders and are more inclined to walk than fly. For this reason the ideal cage for the linnie has more floor space than that of other cage birds. A common cage size is 30x18x18. Recommended is length rather then height.
Maintenance: The linnie’s nature is that of a tender, quiet and engaging spirit. They are not demanding or loud as other companion birds. They make a perfect choice for a small apartment setting, as they do not require much space. Their vocal chatter is described as sounding like laughter or giggling.
Social behavior: Linnies are peaceful and non-aggressive which makes them ideal for and aviary housed with other small exotics. When frightened Linnies often freeze and play dead. They sleep head down, tail up. Without question, the most endearing and engaging quality of these feathered gems is their winning and comic personality
Handling and Training: Linnies do have a vocal ability, males and females equally. They imitate sounds and love attention. They are very trainable and love attention, but are very forgiving, and do not become aggressive if you are unable to play with them a day or two.
Activities: Among more charming characteristics that distinguish the linnie is their love of hanging upside-down. Linnies also walk with a foot over foot in a slow and cautious pace. They also are known for “hiding.” That is, they feel most safe and secure when enclosed. Consequently, linnie owners soon learn to check first before sitting on a bed or sofa.
Breeding/Reproduction: Lineolated parakeets breed easily but to find good parents, is a feat in itself. They usually lay four to 6 eggs. Incubation time is about 23 days, breeders recommend banding at 12 days of age. The young are usually weaned by 7 to 8 weeks of age.
Availability: Linnie breeders, like Linnies, are rare and difficult to locate. They are becoming more popular so they are harder to find. With the new color mutations, they are gaining popularity.