Parrots, biologically termed Psittacine, are birds that belong to the Psittaciformes order. There are around 86 genera and 372 species in this order. These birds are native to subtropical and tropical regions. Parrots found in South America have great diversity in appearance and behavior. These birds are distributed in the pan-tropical areas, and many are found endemic to the temperate zones in the Southern Hemisphere.
- 1 Description
- 2 Habitat and Distribution
- 3 Classification/ Types of Parrots
- 4 Parrots
- 5 Parrots as Pets
This big genus of birds differs in features, hence they are placed in different species and subspecies. The most commonly found characteristics are a curved bill, straight posture, clawed feet, and pre-dominantly green-colored plumage. Seed-eating birds have a strong and rough tongues. They can be found in varying sizes, the smallest parrots grow about 8cm long, whereas the big ones have a length of around 1 m.
Habitat and Distribution
Most of the parrots are seen to inhabit temperate, cool regions of New Zealand and South America. They prefer subtropical and tropical climate. Most commonly found parrots in different places are
Parrots in Africa (and nearby islands)
They include the , African Ring neck Parrots, Lovebirds, Cape Parrots, Vasa Parrots, Niam-Niam Parrots, Poicephalus, African Grey Parrots, Senegal Parrots, Meyer’s Parrots, etc.
Parrots found in New Zealand
These Include; Kaka or Nestor Parrots, Antipodes Island / Green Parakeets, Red-fronted Parakeets Alpine Parakeets, Black-fronted Parakeets, Antipodes Red-Fronted Parakeets, Chatham Red-fronted Parakeets, Kakapo Parrots (Owl Parrots), Kakariki and many more.
Parrots in Australia
Includes: Bourke’s Parakeets, Budgies / Budgerigars, Cockatiels, Cockatoos, Grass Parakeets, King Parrots, Ring-neck Parakeets, Mula Parrots, Rosellas, Princess Parrots, etc.
Parrots in Asia
Includes: Bismarck’s Hanging Parrots, Alexandrine Parakeets, Black-lored Parrots, Blue-backed Parrots, Blossom-headed Parakeets, Blue-nape Parrot, Blyth’s Parakeets, Blue-crowned Parrots, Derbyan Parakeets, Blue-rump Parrot, King Parrots, Racket-tailed Parrots, Indian Ring neck Parrots, Hanging Parrots, Malabar Parakeets, Plum-headed Parakeets, Mustached Parakeets, Rose-ringed Parakeets etc.
Parrots in Melanesia (islands north/northeast of Australia)
These parrots include ; Shining Parrots, Fig Parrots, Tiger Parrots, King Parrots and Pygmy Parrots.
Classification/ Types of Parrots
These 372 species of parrots can be grouped into following names:
This group of birds is very popular for their colorful plumage and good mannerisms. Pet lovers love them for their irresistible talking and mimicking ability. Some of the examples of these birds are Hyacinth Macaw, Lories and Lorikeets, Love birds, Conures, Amazons etc. The types of Parrot are-:
- Senegal parrots
- Green Parrots
- Amazon Parrots
- Quaker Parrots
- African Gray Parrots
- Eclectus Parrots
- African Gray Parrots
These birds display an array of rainbow colors. They are termed as winged rainbows. These birds are intelligent, and can quickly grasp the words. In the wild, 17 species can be found. They are predominantly bright colored, have long tails and sharp beaks. Some types of Macaw parrot are-:
These birds inhabit mostly in the central and southern part of the Americas. Some are also found in Mexico and West Indies. They are very social and mingling birds. The types of Conure are-:
This group consists of 17 species, mostly white in color. They are very beautiful, and some also have pink, gray or deep blue plumage. They are native to Indonesia. These birds have the talking ability. Some of the types of Cockatoo are-:
- Goffin Cockatoo
- Moluccan Cockatoo
- Umbrella Cockatoo
- Rose Breasted Cockatoo
This group of birds is very small-structured, and can be found in a varied variety of colors like yellow, pastel blue, violet, dark green, white and many other combinations. Some of the types of Parakeet are-:
- Alexandrine Ring-necked Parakeet
- Indian Ring-necked Parakeet
- African Ring-necked Parakeet
- Rosella Parakeet
- Scarlet Chested Parakeet
- Quaker Parakeet
- Monk Parakeets
This group consists of very small and social birds. It is now emerging as the favorite pet in every household. They have originated from Africa. There are nine species in this group, some are-:
- Madagascar Lovebird
- Abyssinian Lovebird
- Red-Faced Lovebird
- Swindern’s Lovebird
- Nyasa Lovebird
- Peach-faced Lovebird
These birds look similar to the Parakeets, but are comparatively smaller. They are endemic to the South and Central America. They grow only about 10 to 14 cm, and their plumage is chiefly green in color. Some of the types of Parrotlets are
- Mexican Parrotlets
- Blue-winged Parrotlets
- Green-rump Parrotlets
- Spectacled Parrotlets
- Pacific Parrotlets
- Dusky-billed Parrotlets
These birds belong to the Cockatoo family. They are native to Australia, and are the second most popular bird as a pet. These birds are very small and grow only up to 30 to 33cm. Some of the types of Cockatiel are:
- Whiteface Lutino Cockatiel
- Bronzefallow Cockatiel
- Ashenfallow Cockatiel
- ADMpied Cockatiel
These birds are also known as Budgerigars or Common Pet Parakeets. They are long-tailed, but small parrots that prefer eating seeds. They are found mainly in the continent of Australia, especially in the drier parts. The budgerigar is the single species present in the Melopsittacus genus. They can only be distinguished by colors like-:
- Dark Green
- Olive Green
- Sky Blue
- Gray-Wing Mauve
Parrots as Pets
These birds are amazing pets. Most of the parrots have the ability to talk and mimic the human sound. They are very energetic and full of enthusiasm. The most preferred pets are the Budgies, Cockatiel and Lovebirds. It is easy to breed the Parrots at home as they have minimal requirements.
In the wild, the Parrots prefer to eat nuts, seeds, fruits, flower buds and leafy matters. Some large species like African Gray Parrots also prefer eating pests and insects. At home, you can provide a tasty and healthy diet. Now-a-days, the ready parrot mix is available in the market. But make sure to buy only good food mix that is free from preservatives and artificial colors. A pellet diet is the most suitable food for the parrots, as it fills any deficiency of nutrients in the parrot’s diet. Provide plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables. You can also provide nuts, lentils, seeds, raw or cooked meat and pulses. Daily provide fresh water.
Due to the difference in size and shape of each species, a common cage size cannot be prescribed. Still, you can choose a big cage for your pets. The bird must be able to stretch its wings and fly inside. There should be perches, removable trays and dishes for food and water. You can cover the floor with plain newspaper, but regularly change the paper and keep the cage clean.
As a pet, Parrots require enough care and attention. Never leave them alone in a closed room. Provide enough sunlight, and fresh water. Occasionally trim their nails and give them a warm bath or spray-bath. Clean their dishes and cage with disinfectants. Provide them with enough toys to play.
Having discovered a fondness for insects while pursuing her degree in Biology, Randi Jones was quite bugged to know that people usually dismissed these little creatures as “creepy-crawlies”.