Introduction

The parrot is a very fascinating bird. It comprises a strong curved bill with an upright stance along with strong legs and clawed zygodactyl feet. Parrots have vividly coloured structures and some of them also have multi colours they exhibit little or no sexual dimorphism in the visual spectrum.


Birds are the warm-blooded vertebrates that belong to the class Aves. Birds are known to be evolved from a group of dinosaurs called theropods. The term parrot is applied to the birds that belong to the order Psittaciformes. Most of the parrots are wild but people started keeping some of the species in cages from ancient times and they are popular because of their intelligence, affection. They can even imitate several sounds including humans. They can talk, play and even act with human-like emotions. Their uniqueness enhances their popularity as pets. On the other hand, this is leading to larger exploitation of these creatures. Due to this over-exploitation, nature has encountered a major decrease in the population of this wonderful species.


Before a million years ago, parrots have been domesticated by the Romans, and nearly 5000 years ago, Brazilians used to keep them as pets. Parrots firstly appeared in Europe, during the Alexandrian time ( Alexander — the Great) who took a rose ring parrot along with him while conquering India. Till now parrots remain the most interesting birds of all time. 


About Parrot Information

The classification is as follows:

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Aves

Order: Psittaciformes

The scientific name of parrots is Psittaciformes. The family Psittacidae has around 333 species, they have a blunt tongue, and they eat seeds, fruits, and some insects. 


Parrot Description

To consider a bird like a parrot, it should have a curved beak hence they are sometimes called hookbills. They have zygodactyl feet. Each foot has four toes where the two toes face forward and the other two faces backwards. These toes resemble the fingers of a human. Having this ability helps them to manipulate the things around them in a good manner. The companion parrots vary in size from five-inch to large macaws. Colours vary in different species. 


General Features

  • The length of the parrots varies from 8 to 100cm.

  • They have short necks, sturdy bodies, and stout feet giving them a bulky appearance.

  • The wings are broad and are pointed and the tail is variable in length and shape.

  • In some species, the tail is short and in macaws, it is long and pointed.


Parrot Bird Information: Origin

The scarcity of parrots in the fossil record makes it difficult to confirm the hypothesis. Currently, we can find higher amounts of fossils in the northern hemisphere of the early Cenozoic. According to some molecular studies, parrots evolved approx 59 million years ago. Parrots originate from warm habitats such as Rain forests, grasslands, savannahs, and islands. A few species such as the Kea parrot prefer a cold climate that inhibits the alpine regions of New Zealand. There is evidence that parrots had been kept in India 3000 years ago. 


Types of Parrots

The different types of parrots are found based on the size they grow,

  • Small-sized Parrots: These parrots can grow from 10 to 23 cm. Examples: Love birds, Budgerigar, Bourke’s parrot, etc.

  • Medium-sized Parrots: These parrots can grow from 23 to 33cm. Example: Cockatiel, Hahn’s Moscow, Quaker parakeet, etc. 

  • Large Parrots: These can grow from 33 to 50 cm. Example: Cockatoos, Parakeets, African grey parrots, Amazon parrots, etc.

  • Extra-large Parrots: They can grow from 55 to 100 cm. Example: Alexandrine Parrot, Macaws, etc.


Parrot Species

Roughly 350 known species of parrots are found. Australia is rich in species of parrots. The most known ones are:

  • Eclectus: The Eclectus parrots are considered quite unusual because of their smaller tails. In the first site, the male parrot looks similar to the most common green parrot bird. 

  • Hyacinth Macaw: Hyacinth Macaw has an entirely blue body and long tail. Even though the beak is black, it might appear bluish in the photos. Around the eyes and near the lower beak it also has a yellow circle.

  • Sun Conure (Sun Parakeet): Sun Conure is also known as Sun Parakeet in aviculture, is a rainbow in bird form. They have a plumage that is bright yellow, which gives the bird its name. The bird has a bright orange colour underside of it and the face is orange-flushed as well.

  • Rose-breasted Cockatoo: Rose-breasted cockatoo is also widely known as Galah. These birds are native to Australia’s mainland and can be found in every part of the land.

  •  It has a beautiful rose-coloured body and grey wings thus the bird is famous for these external features. 

  • Scarlet Macaw: Just like Sun Parakeet, Scarlet Macaw is also a rainbow bird. The top thing that makes it different and unique from other rainbow birds is its body weight and size. The scarlet macaw is almost one meter tall with an equally longer wingspan. According to its name, it suggests that in both wings she mostly has red with yellow, blue, and green feathers. 

  • Dusky Lory: The dusky lorry is also named Dusky Orange Lory, a White-rumped lorry, or simply duskies. Most of its body is in darker brown, but it has dusky orange underparts and a neck. The wings can have dusky orange or yellow feathers and the beak is usually orange. The male and female birds have similar external features with the same type of building.

  • Rosella: Rosella is an umbrella term and has many different parrot types in the family. The most common one is a multicoloured bird; it is a parrot but has the shape of a sparrow. Rosella bird’s tail is long, broad, and flat, this feature makes the distinctive characteristic of this bird. This species is part of the “flat-tailed” parrot family and can be easily found in Australia.

  • Rainbow Lorikeet: Rainbow Lorikeet is one of the most colourful birds. Their head and underside parts are blue, the neck is orange in colour, the beak is red, and the tail is green in colour. In simple terms, the whole body is covered with beautiful and colourful feathers. Both the male and female bodies with the same colour pattern look identical.

  • Green-wing Macaw: This green-winged macaw is mostly red but is considered a multi-coloured bird. People consider this red parrot bird as one of the largest flying birds with almost one m long body. Their wingspan is also the same as their length. Green-winged macaw birds mostly live in the woodlands, in the forests of northern and central South America.

  • Blue and Gold Macaw: Blue and gold or blue and yellow macaw are famous types of parrot present in South America. This bird is mostly blue on the plumage and towards the undersurface, it has yellow or sometimes orange colour. The face is almost white but they have a darker neck and even the crown area is darker with a green gradient.

 There are many more parrot breeds present all over the world.


Behaviour

Most of the time parrots are not easy to catch. Even after being pets, they have a bad mannerism if not maintained properly. Some researchers state that most wild birds can be controlled by banding or wing tagging, but parrots are not birds to be easily trifled with; they chew off such affections. The behaviour of parrots differs from type to type. Some of them are strong and have direct flight whereas most of the species spend their time perching or climbing. Parrots sometimes walk in a rolling gait manner too. 


Diet

Parrots mostly feed on seeds, fruits, nectar, pollen, buds and sometimes arthropods and other animal prey also. Except for pesquets, parrots used to consume tough seeds. Moreover, many parrots present in the areas of America's Africa and Papua New Guinea, feed on clay which contains minerals and absorbs toxic compounds from the gut.


There are records of some extinct parrots which had carnivorous diets too. Parrots have a huge range of variety and hence also have a huge variety of diets.


Features

Some of the general features of parrots are :

  • The parrots are generally 8-100cm in length.

  • Their body structure mostly contains short necks, sturdy bodies, and short feet which gives them a bulky appearance.

  • A short tail is a characteristic of a parrot, but in some cases, it is pointed and long too.


Uses

The parrots are popularly known for their colourful plumage. They are associated with the pirates, Captain Flint is a parrot who was on the shoulder of Treasure Islands Long John Silver. These are known for their mimic capability including humans. Many animals have the ability to communicate with humans but only the parrots have the capability to communicate using human words.

  • Pets: Parrots can be very excellent pets, these are intelligent and sensitive creatures too. People are attracted to them because of their acrobatics and tricks. It is easy and fun to train these birds to talk, to do some tricks, and to speak. Even though they are loud and messy these can be wonderful champions.

  • Helper Animals: In “The New York Times Magazine'', an article was published by Rebecca Skloot mentioning the people who use unusual animals as a helper. Jim Eggers was troubled with bipolar disorder thus he uses an African Grey parrot called Sadie to reduce and avoid the rages and to calm him down. Sadie can sense when Eggers is about to get upset and speaks to him to calm him down. Since Mr Eggers had Sadie with him, from then he was found having only one incident of physiatric behaviour.

  • Watch Birds: These are well known for their intelligence and loud voices, this combination makes them useful as watch birds. Two incidents have been reported: in Canada.com it is mentioned as around 1:30 am a Texas man was woken up by the Mexican Red-headed parrot who alerted the man with the sound of a burglar in his garage. In Dailymotion.com it is reported that an Amazon parrot has been seized by the Colombian police as it was serving as a watch bird for the drug gang. The parrot used to yell in Spanish as “Run! You are going to be caught” when someone is going to catch them.

  • Animal Intelligence Research: For the scientists, who are studying animal intelligence research, parrots have been a valuable subject. Alex is an African Grey parrot, who died in 2007, has worked with Dr Irene Pepperberg, where Alex was teaching him numerous important concepts to indicate the actual thought process.


Facts

  • Parrots can find it difficult to make pets with humans even though they are affectionate and cute. Parrots require a lot of attention and care. Parrots are not low maintenance pets, they require veterinary care, feeding, grooming, and environmental enrichment.

  • It is illegal to trade parrots.

  • Parrots are featured in writings, art, religion, and music. In ancient times, parrot feathers were used for decoration. 

  • Parrots have a threat of habitat loss, degradation, and hunting.

  •  Every year on May 31st, it is celebrated as World Parrot Day.

  • The parrots that live in the region of areas of alpines in New Zealand are large and intelligent. These parrots are known for their cheeky behaviour near the ski fields of alpine regions, where they will steal small items, search the bags, and sometimes even damage the cars.

  • The Kakapos are flightless parrots that are critically endangered, according to the research made as of 2010, only 130 of the species exist. These are nocturnal creatures and they feed on fruits, seeds, and plants. These are considered the world’s heaviest.

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FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. Write the Characteristics of Aves.

  • The body is spindle-shaped and covered with feathers.

  • They have pneumatic bones, and the forelimb is modified as wings that help in flight.

  • They can perform double respiration.

  • They have metanephric kidneys used for excretion.

  • Fertilization is internal.

  • They are oviparous.

2. Which is the Parrot Commonly Found in India and Write its Scientific Name?

The Rose-ringed parakeet is the parrot commonly found in India. The scientific name of the parrot is Psittacula krameri.

3. Do parrots talk or do they just repeat? 

Parrots do not talk, they just mimic. Parrots are very appreciated by the immense talent they possess which can be easily seen while petting them. Parrots can mimic any kind of voice they generally used to listen to. And can copy the exact way of saying or the sound. They generally mimic their owners. They can do mimics from creaking doors or barking dogs too.

4. Do parrots need darkness during sleep?

Parrots need more sleep than the average human body. Parrots need sleep of at least 10 hours. The day activities can keep them awake as there is a high possibility of predators being present nearby which can attack anytime. So, parrots need darkness and quietness for their sound sleep.

5. What is the behaviour of a parrot as a pet?

If not maintained properly, parrots are the wildest pets. They have a very bad mannerism of shouting or chewing. They take a lot of time to cooperate with their owners. They have a longer lifespan than other companions. Parrots can become excellent pets if proper care is taken.

6. How do parrots recognise their owners?

Till now, no scientific research has been able to predict how a bird recognizes its owner. There is no evidence to detect that a bird can predict which one is a friend or which is a potential foe. Though the researchers who work on these speechless living beings, predict like any other method, this act is also a type of survival process which is generally a built one.

7. Why do parrots sometimes regurgitate their owners?

Regurgitation is a natural form of expression which shows love and affection. It's a wonderful way of feeding a baby child. If a parrot shows this affection towards its owner, then it's a wonderful symbol of how much the bird is fond of you or loves you. Moreover, parrots have a nature of mimicking, so it can also be considered as a mimicking process seen by the owner.

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