101 Facts… Parrots!

101 Facts… Parrots! …Amazing Animal WebBooks

101 parrot facts

101 Facts… Parrots!

Over 101 cool facts about these beautiful and highly intelligent animals.
It contains facts, photos and awesome videos that show us more about these stunning creatures.

Contents

Introduction
General
Origins
Anatomy
Behavior
Intelligence
African Grey Parrot
Amazon Parrots
Budgerigar
Caiques
Cockatoos
Conures
Eclectus Parrot
Kakapo
Kea
Lories & Lorikeets
Lovebirds
Macaws
Parakeets
Other Notable Species
Parrots as Pets
Photo Credits

Introduction

Parrots are some of the most fascinating birds. They have brightly colored feathers and are very intelligent. Because of this, many of them are kept as pets, but there are even more that live in the wild, where they fill the forests with their songs and add color to the landscape.
Follow the links for this bird’s video playlist:

For video footage…

 

General

Parrots belong to the order of birds called Psittaciformes and so are also known as psittacines. The word psittacus is Latin for parrot.

The Fascinating Creature - Parrot by torroid

The Fascinating Creature – Parrot by torroid

There are about 372 species of parrots living today. About 150 of these are New World parrots, meaning they are indigenous to Mexico, Central America and South America. The rest are Old World parrots, native to Asia, Africa and Australia.

There is no longer any parrot indigenous to North America. The Carolina parakeet could once be found from New York to Colorado but was declared extinct in 1939, following extensive hunting for its feathers and persecution by farmers.

New World and Old World parrots have one notable biological difference. Because Old World parrots are used to living in dry areas where it rains several times a year, they have powder down feathers that help keep them waterproof. These feathers are covered with waxy powder, making them soft and silky. Unfortunately, when the powder falls off, it creates a lot of a fine dust which can be easily inhaled by people and other birds, possibly making them sick.

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The Rough and Tough Red Beast Parrot by Martin Pettitt

Parrots are further divided into three superfamilies – the Strigopoidea, consisting of the parrots found in New Zealand; the Cacatuoidea, consisting of the cockatoos and the cockatiels and the largest superfamily, Psittacoidea, consisting of the so-called “true parrots”.

Parrots are the most variably-sized birds. The smallest parrot, the buff-faced pygmy parrot, is only 3.4 inches (8.6 centimeters) long and weighs less than half an ounce (28 grams). The largest parrot, the hyacinth macaw, can grow over three feet (0.9 meters) long while the heaviest parrot, the kakapo, weighs up to 9 pounds (4 kilograms).

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Hyacinth Macaw aka The Blue Hulk by Mark Dumont

In the same way, the lifespans vary, ranging from only 7 years to as long as over 90 years, with smaller birds having shorter lifespans.

Unlike other animals, parrots have a shorter lifespan in captivity than in the wild.

Most male and female parrots are practically impossible to distinguish from each other since they do not have external sex organs, and most adults do not differ in appearance or in size. In these cases, the only sure way to determine whether a parrot is male or female is by surgery or by DNA analysis.

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The Enchanted Couple – Parrot Couple by patrickschmetzer

Just like with chickens, a female parrot is called a hen while the male parrot is called a cock and the baby parrot is called a chick. A group of parrots is called a flock or a company.

Origins

When parrots first appeared remains a mystery. The oldest parrot fossil, which is a small fragment of a parrot’s lower bill, dates back to 70 million years ago. However, some scientists do not believe this to be a parrot fossil at all.

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The Very Ancient and Unknown Age of Parrots by Robert Hoge

Many scientists believe that the first parrots appeared roughly 50 million years ago in Gondwanaland, the ancient southern supercontinent, while the earliest modern parrots appeared about 20 million years ago in Europe.

Other scientists believe that parrots already existed more than 80 million years ago. Shortly after they appeared, the New Zealand parrots diverged, followed by the cockatoos who diverged around 67 million years ago. The remaining “true parrots” split up into different groups and evolved around 59 million years ago.

Anatomy

Parrots have curved bills, which is why some scientists believe they are related to falcons. Like many other bird’s bills, parrot bills are made of keratin (the same substance that makes our hair and nails, horse hooves, deer antlers and porcupine quills) but are compact and hard enough to break open seeds.

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The Sharp Bill of Parrot by John W. Tuggle

Because a parrot’s bill is made of keratin, it grows continuously throughout its lifetime just like our fingernails. In order to keep it short and efficient, a parrot has to keep wearing it down by grinding or chewing.

The two portions of a bird’s bill are called mandibles. Parrots have a long upper mandible that is not fused to the skull, allowing it to move independently and exert a great amount of biting pressure.

Also, because a parrot’s upper mandible is simply hinged to the skull – just the way a door is connected to a door frame – a parrot does not have to move its whole head to yawn like other birds. It simply moves its upper mandible.

The lower mandible of a parrot is shorter but sharper. It is shaped like an anvil and grinds against the flat portion of the upper mandible when eating.

The parrot is one of the few birds with a bill tip organ. This organ, found in the inner edges of the bill near the tip, is covered with sensitive nerve endings, allowing the parrot to sense changes in air pressure. This in turn, allows parrots to detect the movements of other animals such as their predators, even without going near them.

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The Sensitive Bill Tip of Parrot by mikebaird

Aside from having strong beaks, parrots have strong, thick tongues which they use to place seeds at just the right position between their beaks to be crushed. Sometimes, the tongue also helps in removing the husk of the seeds.

Another trait all parrots share is their zygodactyl feet – feet where the two toes in the middle are facing forward and the two outer toes are facing backward. Only cuckoos, roadrunners, woodpeckers and a handful of owls share this trait.

Parrots prefer using their feet to pick up their food instead of their beaks, they are the only birds that can lift their food to their mouths this way.

Parrots use only one foot to feed themselves though, either the left or the right, just as most of us only use one hand to write. Interestingly, most parrots in a population use the same foot.

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The Tough Zygodactyl Feet by kabils

Aside from using their feet for grasping food and other objects, parrots use their feet to climb trees – something they like to do even if they can fly.

Parrots have excellent eyesight. Their eyes are positioned high up in their skulls so that even without turning their heads, they can see everything above their heads, to their sides and just below the tip of their bills, all at the same time.

Behavior

Parrots are foragers, not hunters, which means that they travel widely in search of food. They do this during the day since all parrots, except for one species, are diurnal, or active at daytime.

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Fly for Food – The Unity of Parrots by Jill’s Snap Shots

Most parrots eat seeds. In fact, scientists believe that parrots got strong bills as an adaptation for eating seeds. They also eat fruits, though, as well as flowers and insect larvae, with some parrots having a more specialized diet than others.

Parrots are vocal birds, with some having loud, distinct calls. They use these calls to communicate with each other, and each call has a different purpose, such as letting others know there is plenty of food or alerting others to danger.

Parrots are not territorial and so they can get along well with each other, searching for food in the same area. They can, however, be very protective of their nesting sites and not allow anyone near their nests.

Parrots are monogamous, with many having the same mate for life. Pairs have strong bonds that are strengthened by regular grooming and they remain with each other even outside of the breeding season.

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Sharing Strongest Bond by ^riza^

Most parrots lay their eggs in cavities in rocks, trees, cliffs or even on the ground. Only six species build nests in trees.

Because most parrots look for nests rather than make them, competition for nesting sites can be fierce, both within species and between species, and among both males and females. Unfortunately, this competition often affects breeding rates – the fiercer the competition, the lower the breeding rates.

The paired parrots help each other to build or prepare the nest. In some cases, they take turn incubating the eggs, too, keeping them warm. However, most of the time, it is the female who stays in the nest while the male brings her food.

All parrot eggs are white, with smaller species having smaller eggs. Smaller eggs also hatch faster, in as short as two weeks while larger eggs can take over a month before they hatch.

Like other birds, newborn parrots have their eyes open but have only a thin coat of feathers. Depending on the species, they can spend as little as three weeks or as long as four months in the nest, receiving care from both parents.

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The New Born Parrot Baby by Geek2Nurse

Intelligence

Parrots are considered some of the most intelligent birds, along with crows, ravens and jays. Many scientists attribute this to the fact that they have large brains in proportion to their bodies, with the ratio being nearly the same as that in primates.

Many parrots can imitate human speech and other sounds, but only in captivity, the reason for which remains unknown. Since parrots do not have vocal cords, they make these imitation sounds by expelling air from their windpipes, changing the depth and shape of their windpipes to produce different kinds of sounds.

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The Smart and Sharp Parrot by Karsun Designs Photography

Parrots have also shown excellent problem-solving ability, and some are able to use tools. Interestingly, parrots who can imitate a lot of sounds also score higher in problem-solving tests.

African Grey Parrot

African grey parrots are the most intelligent of parrots. One African grey parrot, in particular, named Alex, could identify 50 different objects, seven colors and five shapes from memory, as well as count up to six objects and understand the concept of zero. He had a vocabulary of 100 words and understood the meaning of many of them. Sadly, he died in 2007 at the age of 31, before he could reach his full potential.

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The Genuis African Grey Parrots by Papooga

N’kisi, another African grey parrot, had a vocabulary of 950 words and like Alex, knew when to use them, frequently in complete sentences and using the correct tense. When unable to find a word for an object, N’kisi would combine words he knew such as “pretty small medicine” for aromatherapy oils.

In 2011, a study by a French university showed that African grey parrots could work together to solve a problem. For example, they could pull strings at the same time to get food or one would press a button to release a food tray while another got the food tray.

African grey parrots are the only parrots which have been observed to imitate the calls of other birds in the wild. Tinmeh African grey parrots learn to speak or mimic sounds just before they reach two years of age, while Congo African grey parrots start a little later, at two or three years of age.

Pet African grey parrots have been observed to mimic electronic sounds, as well as the sound of dripping water. In one experiment, four African grey parrots were placed inside a room with a lot of noise, for three years. During that time, they were able to make 50,000 different sounds.

Amazon Parrots

Amazon parrots are parrots of the genus Amazona which can be found in South America, Mexico and the Caribbean. They are usually mostly green with colorful accents and have rather short, square tails.

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The Mimic Machine – Amazon Parrot by wwarby

Next to African grey parrots, Amazon parrots have been observed to be the most likely to mimic sounds, including human speech. They have even been observed to imitate humans singing.

Amazon parrots have a distinct odor, which according to veterinarians, is produced by their respiratory system and is strongest near their bills. This odor is not unpleasant. Rather, many of those who have smelled it say the scent makes them feel at ease.

Three species of Amazon parrots – the red-spectacled Amazon, yellow-lored Amazon and white-fronted Amazon – are some of the few parrot species in which male adults can be visually distinguished from females, with males having more red feathers on their shoulders or in the bend of their wings.

The yellow-naped Amazon, blue-fronted Amazon and yellow-headed Amazon are known as the “hot three” among bird enthusiasts. This is because they tend to become aggressive as they mature, often biting their owners. While the bills of these Amazon parrots are not strong enough to break fingers, they can leave deep, painful cuts.

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The Very Beautiful Amazon Parrot Couple by Steve Wilson

The black-billed Amazon is the smallest of the Amazon parrots at only 10 inches (25.4 centimeters) long. It is also one of the most distinct Amazon parrots because of its black bill. During flight, it makes a call like the sound of a bugle, while it makes growling and rumbling sounds at the perch.

The imperial Amazon is the largest of the Amazon parrots, measuring up to 19 inches (48 centimeters) long and weighing nearly two pounds (0.9 kilograms). Imperial Amazon pairs are very faithful to each other, mating for life. In many cases, when one dies, the other grieves to death instead of looking for a new mate.

The mealy Amazon is also a large Amazon parrot, and often, the largest Amazon parrot kept as a pet, growing up to 16 inches (40.6 centimeters) long. Its name comes from the fact that its wings appear to have been covered by a thin layer of flour, also known as meal.

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The Mealy Amazon Parrot by snowmanradio

The Puerto Rican Amazon is one of the rarest parrots today, with only about 80 birds remaining in the wild, as of 2012. It is known for its bright blue flight feathers, red forehead and white-ringed eyes.

The Saint Vincent Amazon is one of the most colorful parrots. Its head is yellowish white, blue and green while its feathers are a mixture of green, bronze, blue, orange and yellow. Young birds have brown eyes while adults have reddish eyes.

Budgerigar

The budgerigar, or budgie, is the only species in its genus. They are the most popular pet parrots, mainly due to their small size – only up to 7 inches (17.8 centimeters) long – their low cost and their ability to mimic speech, though not as readily as African grey and Amazon parrots.

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The Lil Cute Budgie Parrot by simononly

Male and female budgerigars can be distinguished by the color of their cere – the part of the bill nearer the head – with males having royal blue ceres and females having white or brown. Females normally have white ceres but these turn brown when they are laying eggs.

While many parrots have a breeding season, budgerigars are opportunistic breeders, which means they breed whenever conditions are favorable, for example when there is plenty of rain and in turn, plenty of food. Females lay between 4 and 8 eggs – more than most parrots – laying one every other day or every two days.

Puck, a male budgerigar, holds the world record for being the parrot with the largest vocabulary – 1728 words! He was awarded the record in 1995, a year after his death.

Sparkie Williams is another famous budgerigar, which according to the Guinness Book of World Records, is the world’s most outstanding talking bird. He knew more than 500 words and 8 nursery rhymes, and became a celebrity after heading the advertising campaign for Capern’s bird seed for two years. He also provided the inspiration for a new opera which was performed in 2009.

Caiques

Caiques are relatively small and stocky parrots in the genus Pionites. They are considered among the most beautiful parrots because of their bright colors. The black-headed caique, in particular, is known as the “seven-color parrot” because of its multi-colored feathers.

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The Very Colorful Caiques Parrot by Marie Hale

Caiques have an unusual social system among parrots. They live in a clan of up to ten related families in a single tree and when one of them fights, all the rest join in. They can have several friends among the clan, as well as a few enemies, both of which relationships are long-lasting.

Caiques have a unique habit called “surfing”, where they rub their bodies against wet leaves while using their beaks to pull themselves along. In captivity, they rub against the carpet or towels.

Black-headed caiques are also known for something other than their feathers. They are known for being good dancers, hopping and swaying when they hear music or clapping.

Cockatoos

Cockatoos are fairly large parrots that can be found in Asia, Australia and some islands in the Pacific. They are distinguished by their showy headcrests which they raise when landing from flight, during breeding or when they are threatened.

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The Stylish Cockatoos Parrot by Glen_Wright

Apart from their crests, cockatoos have two characteristics that set them apart from other parrots. One of this is the presence of a gall bladder and the other is the absence of “Dyck texture” – the unique composition of feathers which causes light to be reflected in such a way that blue and green hues appear. As a result of this lack of Dyck texture, cockatoos have a lighter, duller appearance than other parrots.

Cockatoos are fast flyers. While most parrots fly at an average of 15 to 25 miles (24 to 40 kilometers) per hour, cockatoos can fly over 40 miles (64 kilometers) per hour and can stay in the air for a long time.

Cockatoos are highly social, living in flocks whether they are nesting, traveling or looking for food. Strangely, the flocks are larger during times when food is scarce, numbering up to 32,000.

Most cockatoos can be very noisy. This is because their vocalizations are made to be heard by the entire flock. All cockatoos have also been observed to make a hissing sound when threatened.

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The Very Noisy Cockatoo Parrot by cuatrok77

Cockatoos love to bathe. They do this by hanging upside down when it is raining or by flying out in the rain. They can also flutter through the wet leaves of the forest canopy.

Most cockatoos make their nests in tree cavities, lining the holes with sticks, wood chips and leaves. Females normally lay two eggs, but usually only the first chick survives, with the second one dying because of neglect.

Black cockatoos are the only cockatoos to have elaborate courtship displays. Male red-tailed black cockatoos court females by hiding their beaks, puffing up their crests and cheek feathers, singing, strutting and finally, flashing their red tail feathers.

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The Arrogant Black Cockatoo Parrot by marcleh

Male yellow-tailed black cockatoos have pinkish rings around their eyes, which have been observed to turn bright red when they are aggressive. Females have grey eye rings and brighter yellow patches on their cheeks.

The cockatiel is the smallest member of the cockatoo family, being only 13 inches (33 centimeters) long and weighing just 3.5 ounces (100 grams). It is the second most popular pet parrot, after the budgerigar.

The cockatiel is originally yellow and gray, but those bred in captivity have a wide range of colors, including white and cinnamon. Cockatiels are particularly expressive with their crests, which are upright when they are excited and flattened when they are angry.

The gang-gang cockatoo is known for its distinctive call, which sounds like a cork being pulled from a wine bottle. In this species, males are very easy to distinguish from females since they have red crests. Females have smaller, grey crests.

Young little corellas are very playful. They seemingly “talk” to each other, making a lot of noise, flying around, chasing each other and showing off by hanging from their beaks or upside down from their feet.

Most bird enthusiasts consider the Major Mitchell’s cockatoo as the most beautiful cockatoo because of its white and salmon-pink feathers and its bright red and yellow crest.

The palm cockatoo is the largest cockatoo and largest parrot in Australia, growing up to 2 feet (0.6 meters) long and weighing up to 2.6 pounds (1.2 kilograms). It also has the second-largest bill among parrots, which it uses to eat very hard nuts and seeds.

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The Bulky Palm Cockatoo by Edmond Sham

Palm cockatoos are known for their drumming behavior. They break off sticks up to 6 inches (15 centimeters) long and beat them against trees, creating a loud noise that can be heard more than 300 feet (91.5 meters) away. The reason for this behavior remains a mystery. Some say this is the way male palm cockatoos announce their territories and female palm cockatoos assess how fit a tree is for nesting.

Palm cockatoos have the lowest breeding rate of all parrots, laying just a single egg every other year. They can live long, though, up to 90 years!

Conures

Conures are New World parrots that are slightly larger than parakeets, known for their long tails and small beaks. They are also called the “clowns” of the parrot world because they constantly seek attention, hanging upside down or swaying back and forth.

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The New World Clown Parrot – Conure by Danny Chapman

The golden conure, or Queen of Bavaria conure, is named for its bright yellow feathers. It is unique among parrots in that pairs have several helpers in raising and guarding the young, especially from toucans who like to prey on the nestlings.

Eclectus Parrot

Of all the parrot species, no males and females can be as easily told apart as eclectus parrots. Males are emerald green while females are bright red with streaks of blue or purple.

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The Eclectus Parrot Couple by Marie Hale

Eclectus parrots have longer digestive tracts than other parrots. Because of this, they require a diet that is high in fiber, eating mostly fruits, like grapes, apples and melons, and green, leafy vegetables.

Unlike other parrots, female eclectus parrots have several mates every breeding season – up to five, in fact. While the female stays in the nest, the males take turns bringing her food, competing for her affections and for the right to father the chicks when the eggs hatch.

Female eclectus parrots have a strong maternal instinct, willingly incubating other eggs and raising chicks from other species. However, strangely, they have also been observed to kill their male chicks when they have two, letting the females survive.

Kakapo

The word “kakapo” is Maori for “night parrot”, which is only fitting since the kakapo is the world’s only nocturnal parrot. It is also the only flightless parrot, using its strong legs to climb trees and to jog on the ground instead of flying.

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The Nocturnal – Kakapo Parrot by mark_whatmough

The kakapo holds the title for being the world’s heaviest parrot, as well, weighing as much as 9 pounds (4 kilograms). Unlike other flying birds, it can store a lot of fat as an energy reserve.

Kakapos have a keen sense of smell, which helps them find food in the dark. They are even able to tell different types of food just by their smell.

Kakapos have beaks that are made for grinding food, and as a result, have smaller gizzards than other birds. When eating leaves, they have a habit of consuming only the nutritious parts, leaving behind a ball of fiber.

The breeding system of the kakapo is called the lek. In this system, male establish “courts” in which they confront each other and make booming sounds that can be heard up to 3 miles (4.8 kilometers) away. Females hear the booming sound and if any of them are interested, they simply come to the “court” where the dominant male mates with her after a short dance. Afterward, the female leaves to nest while the male continues to try to attract as many other females as he can.

Kakapos are very long-lived, with some living up to 120 years. However, this is offset by the fact that few kakapos take very long to mature – males take 5 years while females do not usually take a mate until they are 9 years old – as well as the fact that few kakapo eggs actually hatch, many of them eaten by predators when the mother leaves in search of food at night.

Kea

Like the kakapo, the kea is a parrot found only in New Zealand. In particular, it is found on the South Island of New Zealand and as such, is the only alpine parrot in the world.

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The Wicked Kea Parrot by Tomas Sobek

Keas are known for their curiosity. They often come near cars, backpacks and even pairs of boots, investigating and flying off with any interesting item they can find – one man reported that his passport was stolen by a kea.

Keas are also regarded as very intelligent. They are the only parrots known to use tools in the wild and in captivity, can solve logical puzzles.

There have been many reports of keas attacking sheep, using their beaks and claws to rip off the wool, and eating the fat off the sheep, leaving unusual wounds in the sheep’s legs and sides. Some of the sheep live but some die due to infection of the wounds.

Lories & Lorikeets

Lories and lorikeets are parrots of the tribe Lorini. They are known for their bright colors and brush-tipped tongues which are well-suited for feeding on nectar and berries.

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The Very Bright Lory Parrot by bryce_edwards

Lories and lorikeets make good pet parrots because they are beautiful, trainable and affectionate. They can, however, have strange habits, like sleeping with their feet up in the air, and they should be given plenty of toys to play with.

The cardinal lory is named for its bright red feathers that resemble a cardinal’s. Interestingly, cardinal lories prefer to eat nectar from red blossoms, as well, possibly for camouflage.

The collared lory is a prized bird in Fiji. Although they often nest in the hollow of a tree, they sometimes lay eggs inside rotting coconuts.

The rainbow lorikeet is one of the most colorful parrots, with bright blue, green, red, yellow and orange colors. Young rainbow lorikeets have black beaks which turn orange as they get older.

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The Colorful Rainbow Lorikeet Parrot by Frankzed

In the wild, scaly-breasted lorikeets are very noisy, screeching when flying, chattering when feeding and twittering when resting. Strangely, in captivity, they are very quiet, but can also be quite aggressive.

Lovebirds

Lovebirds are birds in the genus Agapornis, which comes from the Greek words agape, for love, and ornis, for bird. They get their name from the fact that they like to mate, with females able to produce up to four clutches of eggs a year.

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The Agape, The Love, The LoveBirds Parrot by BékiPe

As pets, lovebirds live up to their name by being affectionate to their owners. They like to stay close to their owners and constantly groom them.

Lilian’s Lovebird is the smallest parrot in Africa, growing only up to 5 inches (12.7 centimeters) long. It is mainly green with orange parts and does not do well in captivity.

The red-headed lovebird makes its nest in termite mounds, with the female digging up a tunnel up to a foot (30 centimeters) long in the mound to lay her eggs in. For this reason, red-headed lovebirds are difficult to breed in captivity.

Rosy-faced lovebirds are known for their harsh calls, their love of baths and their sleeping position, where they sit side by side with their faces turned toward each other. Females also have a habit of tearing leaves and bark into strips which they tie on their backs and carry to their nests for lining.

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The Cute Rosy-faced Lovebird Parrots by Park Street Pro

Macaws

Macaws are large-beaked, long-tailed New World parrots distinguished by their facial patches. Although the color of the facial patch is the same for each species, the appearance is unique to every bird, just like fingerprints.

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The Bulky Bright Red Macaws by wwarby

Some macaws have a habit of licking clay from exposed riverbanks in the Amazon basin. According to scientists, this may be to neutralize the toxins in the food that they eat, as well as to get sodium.

The hyacinth macaw is the largest flying parrot and the longest of all parrots, reaching a length of up to 3.3 feet (1 meter) long from tip to tail. Its beak is believed to be the strongest of all birds’, able to crack most hard nuts, with the exception of the acuri nut which has to pass through a cow’s digestive system first before a hyacinth macaw can eat it.

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The Strongest Parrot Hyacinth Macaw by ~Ealasaid~

Hyacinth macaws have a complex relationship with toucans. Toucans are mainly responsible for dispersing the seeds of the manduvi tree, the hyacinth macaw’s favorite nesting tree, but at the same time, they also eat more than half of the hyacinth macaw’s eggs.

Most macaws make their nests in trees but, where the red-fronted macaw lives in the mountains of Bolivia, there are no large trees and so it makes its nests in the fissures of cliff surfaces.

Scarlet macaws are fairly large, very colorful parrots which are commonly captured for the pet trade. They have very loud calls, sometimes high-pitched and sometimes low-pitched, which travel for many miles.

Parakeets

Parakeets are fairly small parrots in the genus Aratinga, found in South America. Most are green with patches of orange or yellow, but the sun parakeet is golden yellow with patches of orange and green.

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The Very Traditional Parrot – Parakeet by Arsh_86

The title character in the 1998 movie “Paulie” was a blue-crowned parakeet, which caused the bird to become a famous pet. According to those who own one, blue-crowned parakeets are easy to care for. They are also some of the best talkers among parakeets.

Red-masked parakeets are considered the best talkers among parakeets and so are one of the most commonly kept pet parrots. They are bright green with red heads and have loud two-syllable calls.

Other Notable Species

The buff-faced pygmy parrot, the world’s smallest parrot, can only be found in Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. It weighs only 0.41 ounces (11.5 grams) at most.

Double-eyed fig parrots actually don’t have two pairs of eyes, but they have round patches of blue on their cheeks that look like a second pair of eyes. At just 5 and half inches (14 centimeters) long, they are the smallest parrots in Australia.

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The Lil Double-eyed Fig Parrots by James Niland

Finsch’s pygmy parrots feed on fungi and lichens, usually while hanging upside down from tree branches. They do not mate for life but can keep the same mate for a year.

The horned parakeet, which is an Old World parakeet, gets its name from the two red-tipped black feathers that stick out of its head. It lives in pine and laurel forests, nesting both in trees and on the ground.

Along with a few lovebirds, the monk parakeet is the only parrot that builds a nest out of sticks instead of using a hole in a tree. Like golden conures, monk parakeets sometimes have helpers in raising their young.

The swift parrot and the orange-bellied parrot, both found in Australia, are the only species of parrots to migrate, breeding in Tasmania and wintering on mainland Australia. Sadly, both are critically endangered, with only 44 orange-bellied parrots reported in 2013.

Parrots as Pets

As of 2012, nearly 4 million households in the United States had pet birds, most of which were parrots. They are the third-most popular pets, after dogs and cats.

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The Beauty in Home – Parrots as Pets by oldandsolo

Parrots, however, are not easy to care for. They need a lot of attention and stimulation in the form of toys, exercises and social interaction. Some can also be very loud and others constantly need a pile of things to chew on.

Not all parrots do well in captivity, either. Some of them become stressed and refuse to eat, or begin to pluck their feathers and harm themselves.

Still, parrots that are trained to be good pets can provide plenty of entertainment for their owners since they can be very playful. They can also be very cuddly and affectionate, with some parrots preferring to sleep beside their owners.

If you do choose to have a pet parrot, keep in mind that there are certain foods that can make a parrot sick, or even kill it. These foods include avocados, rhubarb, apple seeds, onions and chocolate.

Many famous people have owned pet parrots, including historic figures such as King Henry VIII, Queen Victoria, Marie Antoinette, John F. Kennedy and Winston Churchill, as well as celebrities like Angelina Jolie, Hillary Swank and Steven Spielberg.

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The Lil Angels in Home – Pet Parrots by Zeetz Jones

Parrots were also the favorite pets of seafaring pirates during the late 17th century. This was because parrots were valuable birds that they could trade in exchange for gold. Parrots could also be taught tricks, helping pirates pass the time on the ship, and their excellent memory helped pirates remember small but important details, such as someone’s debts.

Photo Credits

  • Image01
    The Fascinating Creature – Parrot by torroid cc2.0
    www.flickr.com/photos/torroid/2479895416/sizes/l/in/photostream/
  • Image02
    The Rough and Tough Red Beast Parrot by Martin Pettitt cc2.0
    www.flickr.com/photos/mdpettitt/455526462/sizes/l/in/photostream/
  • Image03
    Hyacinth Macaw aka The Blue Hulk by Mark Dumont cc2.0
    www.flickr.com/photos/wcdumonts/9273411600/sizes/l/in/photostream/
  • Image04
    The Enchanted Couple – Parrot Couple by patrickschmetzer cc2.0
    www.flickr.com/photos/gluster2/8035850064/sizes/l/in/photostream/
  • Image05
    The Very Ancient and Unknown Age of Parrots by Robert Hoge cc2.0
    www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/5067763404/sizes/l/in/photostream/
  • Image06
    The Sharp Bill of Parrot by John W. Tuggle cc2.0
    www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/6129999989/sizes/l/in/photostream/
  • Image07
    The Sensitive Bill Tip of Parrot by mikebaird cc2.0
    www.flickr.com/photos/mikebaird/5411829365/sizes/l/in/photostream/
  • Image08
    The Tough Zygodactyl Feet by kabils cc2.0
    www.flickr.com/photos/kabils/2467111587/sizes/o/in/photostream/
  • Image09
    Fly for Food – The Unity of Parrots by Jill’s Snap Shots cc2.0
    www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/4088433563/sizes/l/in/photostream/
  • Image10
    The Love Birds Sharing Strongest Bond by ^riza^ cc2.0
    www.flickr.com/photos/rnugraha/3033898918/sizes/o/in/photostream/
  • Image11
    The New Born Parrot Baby by Geek2Nurse cc2.0
    www.flickr.com/photos/ladylong/89992601/sizes/l/in/photostream/
  • Image12
    The Smart and Sharp Parrot by Karsun Designs Photography cc2.0
    www.flickr.com/photos/karsund/5602039940/sizes/l/in/photostream/
  • Image13
    The Genuis African Grey Parrots by Papooga cc2.0
    www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/7139434153/sizes/l/in/photostream/
  • Image14
    The Mimic Machine – Amazon Parrot by wwarby cc2.0
    www.flickr.com/photos/wwarby/8193385170/sizes/l/in/photostream/
  • Image15
    The Very Beautiful Amazon Parrot Couple by Steve Wilson cc2.0
    www.flickr.com/photos/pokerbrit/3468717396/sizes/l/in/photostream/
  • Image16
    The Mealy Amazon Parrot by snowmanradio cc2.0
    commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Amazona_farinosa_-upper_body_-Elmwood_Park_Zoo-6.jpg?uselang=en-gb#filelinks
  • Image17
    The Lil Cute Budgie Parrot by simononly cc2.0
    www.flickr.com/photos/simononly/9300456102/sizes/l/in/photostream/
  • Image18
    The Very Colorful Caiques Parrot by Marie Hale cc2.0
    www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/5912924307/sizes/l/in/photostream/
  • Image19
    The Stylish Cockatoos Parrot by Glen_Wright cc2.0
    www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/5157897306/sizes/l/in/photostream/
  • Image20
    The Very Noisy Cockatoo Parrot by cuatrok77 cc2.0
    www.flickr.com/photos/cuatrok77/7276112478/sizes/l/in/photostream/
  • Image21
    The Arrogant Black Cockatoo Parrot by marcleh cc2.0
    www.flickr.com/photos/marclehmann/4258019868/sizes/l/in/photostream/
  • Image22
    The Bulky Palm Cockatoo by Edmond Sham cc2.0
    www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/9855468314/sizes/l/in/photostream/
  • Image23
    The New World Clown Parrot – Conure by Danny Chapman cc2.0
    www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/1524251782/sizes/l/in/photostream/
  • Image24
    The Eclectus Parrot Couple by Marie Hale cc2.0
    www.flickr.com/photos/[email protected]/5919184159/sizes/l/in/photostream/
  • Image25
    The Nocturnal – Kakapo Parrot by mark_whatmough cc2.0
    www.flickr.com/photos/whatscapes/3919144372/sizes/l/in/photostream/
  • Image26
    The Wicked Kea Parrot by Tomas Sobek cc2.0
    www.flickr.com/photos/tomas_sobek/7127615497/sizes/l/in/photostream/
  • Image27
    The Very Bright Lory Parrot by bryce_edwards cc2.0
    www.flickr.com/photos/bryce_edwards/3127639687/sizes/l/in/photostream/
  • Image28
    The Colorful Rainbow Lorikeet Parrot by Frankzed cc2.0
    www.flickr.com/photos/frankzed/12514073825/sizes/l/in/photostream/
  • Image29
    The Agape, The Love, The LoveBirds Parrot by BékiPe cc2.0
    www.flickr.com/photos/pbekesi/507281748/sizes/l/in/photostream/
  • Image30
    The Cute Rosy-faced Lovebird Parrots by Park Street Pro cc2.0
    www.flickr.com/photos/parkstreetpro/4723158027/sizes/o/in/photostream/
  • Image31
    The Bulky Bright Red Macaws by wwarby cc2.0
    www.flickr.com/photos/wwarby/9641343552/sizes/l/in/photostream/
  • Image32
    The Strongest Parrot Hyacinth Macaw by ~Ealasaid~ cc2.0
    www.flickr.com/photos/fredrte/5421593110/sizes/o/in/photostream/
  • Image33
    The Very Traditional Parrot – Parakeet by Arsh_86 cc2.0
    www.flickr.com/photos/ali_arsh/8490147044/sizes/l/in/photostream/
  • Image34
    The Lil Double-eyed Fig Parrots by James Niland cc2.0
    www.flickr.com/photos/bareego/8191397887/sizes/l/in/photostream/
  • Image35
    The Beauty in Home – Parrots as Pets by oldandsolo cc2.0
    www.flickr.com/photos/shankaronline/8454309703/sizes/l/in/photostream/
  • Image36
    The Lil Angels in Home – Pet Parrots by Zeetz Jones cc2.0
    www.flickr.com/photos/zeetzjones/316811960/sizes/l/in/photostream/

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