The Personable Parrot, a Conversational Bird
Parrots are well known for their astounding ability to learn and repeat the words and phrases of their owners. They aren’t just meant for entertainment or domestication however, parrots actually live in the wild too! With 350 known species in existence, these birds are happily surviving and thriving. You’ve probably heard of a few of the more common types such as the Cockatoo, Cockatiel and Parakeet.
With specially modified feet and a lovely multi-colored plume, these birds are tough to miss!
Serious Gains-They Make Their Own Supplement Powder!
Parrots require a high intake of calcium to stay healthy, and they can’t always find it in their regular diet of nuts and fruit. In domesticated parrots, hypocalcemia is commonly seen and is noted by side effects like uncoordinated movements and trembling. In the wild, these birds grind stones and shells into a powder to produce their own form of calcium.
You can easily find grindstone products in most pet stores if you have a pet parrot who appears to be a bit under the weather. It's a good idea to keep these on hand at all times if you plan on owning one of these birds, if not you’ll have a pet that is always poorly.
Who Needs Soap When Your Feathers are Bacteria Resistant?
Parrot feathers are antibacterial, as they contain more melanin-based colors than carotenoid. Melanin is less likely to succumb and degrade from harmful bacteria. Psittacofulvins is the scientific name for this special variation, and parrots are the only known species of bird to possess it.
In addition to these special feathers, parrots are also defined by their curve-shaped beak and zygodactyl feet. What exactly does that big word mean? Well, parrots have four toes on each foot that allow them to use them like hands to grab objects and move along hard to maneuver branches and cages.
Ain’t No Party Like a Parrot Party!
These birds are like the popular kids at any social gathering, you’ll find anywhere from 20 to 30 parrots in a flock at a time! In the wild, they gather as a means of finding a mate and keeping the group safe from threats. To scare away predators, a parrot will puff out their chest in an attempt to appear larger. If the predator continues to pursue, these birds will peck and bite with their strong, sharp beaks.
Being that they aren’t the largest animals, there will most definitely be occasions where parrots have to flee a dangerous situation. In order to do so, they’ll fly in an inconsistent pattern, flitting from one direction to the next to throw off the path of their pursuer.
Since they live in such tight quarters with one another, parrots have plenty of time to reproduce when they’re not guarding the flock. In fact, they lay anywhere from 2 to 8 eggs per breeding season. After about a year of age, the chicks are matured and able to start going out into the world without the protective eye of their parents.
Once a pair mates, they will normally stay together forever as parrots are mostly monogamous. Unless their partner dies, becomes sick, or is unable to carry on and continue to lay eggs, parrots don’t have a need for multiple suitors.
Parrots in Paradise
When you think of the summertime you probably imagine warm weather, palm trees, and pina coladas. Parrots are part of this equation too, residing in mostly hot, southern parts of the world. If you plan on vacationing to to Australia, Mexico, or parts of South America, you just might find a flock of wild ones!
Their choice of food is just as tropical as the area they live. Parrots are omnivorous, eating a balanced diet of both meat, veggies, flowers, nuts and legumes. When domesticated, parrots will actually consume bits of chicken! However, they prefer the marrow inside the bones to the actual meat.
Better still, parrots would rather eat seeds and insects as the bulk of their diet. Be sure to keep these items on the menu regularly if you intend to keep a happy, healthy bird.
Who Doesn’t Love a Friendly Conversation?
One of the appealing things people love about these birds is their ability to “speak” just like we do. While it depends on the specific kind of parrot, the African Grey Parrot for example is able to speak up to 1000 words and phrases! There is some uncertainty about whether or not they understand what they’re saying, or if they’re simply mimicking our voices.
In addition to learning how to speak, these birds are also capable of doing special tricks and following certain commands, just like your average would; although, they can actually say something back if they want to.
Ice Ice, Baby!
While they are naturally inclined to seek out warmer areas, the parrot isn’t a victim when it comes to the cold. At best, they’re comfortable between 50 and 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Once temperatures begin to dip below this point, your parrot won’t be feeling so great.
Which Parrot is Right for Me?
If you intend on getting a parrot of your own, make sure you get the right kind! Cockatiels, Cockatoos, and Macaws are the easiest birds to maintain while living indoors. They’re the largest species of parrot on Earth, but the Macaw maintains a sweet disposition alongside their smaller counterparts.
On the other hand, Cockatiels are great for the owner who enjoys the sound of their happy birds throughout the day.
Regardless of whether you want a parrot of your own or just hope to learn a little more about them, they’re definitely an interesting species!