Parrots Forever

Finding Your Forever Parrot
There are many species of psittiformes around the world and several of these are popular as companion parrots.  The species vary greatly in size, noise level, dietary requirements, life expectancy, and care level, so knowing what to expect of a particular species is important before choosing your companion parrot.  Parrots generally do not show notable sexual dimorphism and are DNA tested to determine their gender.  This is a basic guideline as each individual parrot will display characteristics reflecting it’s own personality and life experience.
Parrots as a whole are a vast and easily recognizable family of birds generally restricted to the tropical areas of the world.  The relationships between the various parrots has been much debated, but recent evidence splits the psittiformes into 3 or 4 families.  The three families suggested by Christidis & Boles (2008) are the Nestoridae, the Cacatuidae, and the Psitticidae.  
There are three species of New Zealand parrots which make up the family Nestoridae.  They are the Kea, Kaka, and Kakapo.  These are a very unique family or parrots with an ancient origin and are not considered to be companion parrots. There are other species of parrots on New Zealand, but these belong to the Psittididae.
The family Cacatuidae is made up of 21 species of Cockatoos which range from Australia to the Bismarck Archipelago and the Philippines.  There are 13 species of white cockatoos, 7 species of black cockatoos and cockatiels in this family.  Cockatoos differ from other parrots in various ways.  They have a gall bladder, their hatchlings are downy, and they lack green or blue in their plumage.   Cockatoos and cockatiels are popular as companion parrots.
There are 329 species of Psitticidae worldwide which are divided into two general groups, New World and Old World species.  The New World group of parrots is indiginous to Central and South America and Mexico and is comprised of 148 species, including Macaws, Amazons, and Conures.  Of the New World parrot speciies, 44 ( 30 % ) are considered to be at risk of global extinction.  The Old World group is indiginous to Asia, Africa and Australia and consists of 181 species including Senegals, Cockatiels, and the Indian Ringneck.  Species in both groups of Psitticidae are popular  as companion parrots.
These two groups of parrots evolved separately under different environmental conditions which has resulted in physical and biological differences between the two groups.  Most New World environments are damp, temperate rainforests while Old World environments can be dry and arid.  One of the adaptations of some Old World parrots is the production of  powder down feathers.  These feathers have a keratin sheath that breaks down into a fine, powdery substance that is more pervasive in the air than the granular dander produced by New World species.  Even with HEPA filters to clean the air, this powder will infiltrate all areas of the house and cover everything with a fine white dust.  All of the Cockatoos, the African Greys, and Cockatiels produce powder.  This powder, as well as being very messy, can cause repiratory problems in people, other pets, and in other non-powder producing parrots, particularily Macaws.  Regular bathing of the powdery parrots does reduce the problem but does not eliminate it.
The size of the parrot that you consider is another important consideration.  The recommendation of a cage in which the parrot can fully extend it’s wings is an absolute minimum requirement.  This size cage is only suitable for parrots which are out of the cage for most of every day and is in the cage mainly to sleep.  With this minimum requirement as a starting point, the cage should be as large as space permits.  The spacing between the bars must be suitable for the size of parrot, as small parrots can get their heads caught in bars spaced too wide.  The bars must also be strong enough for the parrot.  Large parrots can bend, and even break, bars that are too flimsy.  Parrots with a long tail will require a very tall cage to prevent breaking the tail feathers.  So generally, the larger the parrot that you are considering, the bigger and stronger the cage that will be required.  These cages are very expensive and require a great deal of room in the house.
The size of the parrot does not necessarily reflect the amount of noise that the parrot is capable of.  Conures, for example, are fairly small but have a very loud scream.  All parrots make noise.  Some are quieter than others but none are silent.  This must be considered if the parrot is to be kept in an apartment or condo and even in a neighborhood where the houses are close together.  A screaming parrot can be heard through the walls of the house for blocks away.
One of the most distinctive features of parrots is their hooked beaks.  On the surface this beak appears to be the same for all parrots, except for color and size.  However, a parrot’s beak is very specialized and has evolved to reflect the parrots normal habitat and food choices.  For those parrots who normally eat fruit and softer food, the beak is softer and weaker.  For those who need to crack hard nuts, the beak is hard, sharp, and powerful.  It is important to remember that all parrots can bite and the bites can break the skin and be painful.  The large parrots with their powerful beaks can break or even sever fingers.  A Moluccan Cockatoo's beak can exert 500 pounds of pressure!  Parrots are capable of causing considerable injury to their handlers, other pets and small children and this must be considered when choosing a companion parrot.
Generally, smaller parrots have a shorter lifespan than the larger parrots, but this is still 15 to 40 years.  The large parrots can have a lifespan of over 80 years.  All parrots have the potential to outlive their owners and the age of the potential parrot owner has to be considered when choosing a companion parrot.
Other factors, such as energy level, the ability to talk, the ability to learn tricks, the amount of physical contact required and the tendancy to bond to one person vary with the species and with the individual parrot.  While these are important considerations, they should be well down on the list of requirements when choosing a companion parrot.  
Parrots and people can have a mutually rewarding relantionship providing that people are realistic in their understanding of the nature of the parrot, the logistics involved in housing and caring for the parrot, and their reasons for initiating the relationship, and the amount of time they have to devote to that relationship.
Cockatoos, although not possessing the beautiful colored plummage of other parrots, are very popular as companion parrots.  They are extremely intelligent and have a loving and devoted personality not found in other parrots.  They require a dedicated owner who will provide significant and meaningful time and attention on a daily basis.  Cockatoos love to chew and must be provided with plenty of healthy chew toys.  They are inquisitive and love to solve puzzles.  They have a naturally loud call and their screaming or screeching is extremely loud and annoying.  Cockatoos have powder down feathers and generate a lot of dust.  They require consistent and focused handling from a young age to prevent destructive and annoying habits.  They can be very manipulative and domineering and are not for inexperienced parrot owners.   
Of the Cockatoo species that are popular as companion parrots, the Moluccan Cockatoo presents the most problems and is the cockatoo most often relinquished by owners.  The Moluccan is the largest of the white cockatoos and is the most emotionally needy.  They form very close bonds and can develop severe emotional problems if separated from their bonded person or mate.  These cockatoos require a great deal of love, attention, and  mental stimulation and they never outgrow these needs.  If the special needs of these emotionally fragile parrots are not met they can develop devastatingly severe behavior problems such as incessant screaming, feather plucking and self mutilation to the point of open, life threatening wounds.  Once these behaviors begin they can be very difficult or impossible to correct and many of these wonderful parrots have to be euthanised to stop further injuries and suffering.
There are many good reference books and websites describing the characteristics and care requirements of the various species of Cockatoos.  Cockatoos are generally best suited to people with gentle but disciplined disposions who are willing and able to spend a great deal of time interacting with their parrot.  Cockatoos have a very long lifespan, with Moluccans living for 80 or more years.  A huge emotional and time commitment must be made when bringing a Cockatoo into your life as failure to provide for the special needs of these parrots can result in a lifetime of emotional and physical suffering for the cockatoo.
Cockatiels are small parrots, about 12 to 14 inches long, weighing from 88 to 178 grams, with a long tail and mobile crest.  They are the third most popular companion parrot, next to parakeets and budgies.  They live from 15 to 25 years.  There are several types of cockatiel, some of which are color mutations.  They are very social birds and all of the various types are generally friendly if they are raised and trained correctly.  They become very attached to their owner and can become very bossy and controlling.  They love to chew and can be very destructive.  They will become depressed and develop behavior problems if left alone for long periods of time.  It is best to have a pair of cockatiels if they will be left alone for any length of time.  Same sex pairs are very compatible, especially if introduced while they are young.   Cockatiels are not great talkers, but they do whistle and sing, with the males being much more vocal than the females.  
Macaws come from South and Central America.  There are 17 species, several subspecies, and many macaw hybrids.  They are divided into 6 genera:   Ara, Diopsittaca, Anodorhynchus, Cyanopsitta, Orthopsittaca, and Primolius.  Macaws come in many sizes, from the Hyacinth Macaw, which is the largest, to the Hahn's Macaw which is the smallest.  They are divided into two groups based on size.  There are 8 species and subspecies of  Mini Macaws, which reach up to about 20 inches long.  There are 11 species, and several subspecies, of Large Macaws, which reach up to 36 inches long.  They all share the same distinctive physical characteristics.  They have a a slender body, long wings, a long tail, a large head with a strong beak, and vibrant feather coloring.  Large Macaws live between 35 and 60 years and the Mini Macaws have a lifespan of 20 to 25 years.  They are intelligent and social parrots.  They are inquisitive, playful, and energetic and require interesting toys to keep them occupied. They bond to their owners and need a lot of attention.  They are both active and interactive and are quick to learn tricks.  Macaws are very loud.  They are not great talkers but will mimic sounds in their environment.  If handled and trained correctly, Macaws have nice temperments and are usually gentle and affectionate.  They do have large, strong beaks and their bite is extremely painful.  The Large Macaws can easily sever a finger and must be closely supervised around children and other pets.
Amazon parrots are range from South America to Mexico and the Caribbean.  There are about 30 species and subspecies, but only about 10 of these are popular as companion parrots.  They are predominately green with accenting colors.  They range in size from 10 to 18 inches long and live for up to 60 years.  Amazons are highly intelligent and have affectionate, playful and loyal natures.  Amazons are exceptional talkers, but they like to vocalize frequently and loudly.  They are prone to screaming.  They are prolific chewers and must be provided with suitable toys.  Amazons are known for their "hormonal" aggression phase during which the parrot can be very aggressive.  This phase usually appears between the ages of 5 and 12 years and lasts for one or two years.  After this phase, they generally settle down and only show aggression at breeding season.  An attack by an hormonal male can be vicious and not limited to one bite.  There are personality differences between the various species of Amazons with species such as Lilac Crowns and Mealies being less excitable than the other Amazon species.  Amazons require a lot of attention and are not suitable for inexperienced parrot owners.    
Pionus parrots are native to Mexico and to South and Central America.  There are 7 to 10 species of this medium sized parrot all sharing the distinctive characteristics of a chunky body, bare eye ring, and a short square tail with bright red undertail coverts.  There coloration is subdued but their feathers shimmer with iridescent brilliance under bright lights.  Pionus parrots give off a musky or sweet odor which some people find offensive but others enjoy.  When they are excited or frightened, they make a wheezing or snorting sound that can be mistaken as a sign of distress or illness.  Pionus parrots are among the most quiet of the parrots.  They do have the ability to talk but do not possess large vocabularies.  Pionus parrots are not particularly energetic and most are not interested in playing with their owner.  They are prone to obesity and Vitamin A deficiency.  They should be provided with toys to encourage activity.  Pionus, although not as demanding as other parrot species, still require companionship and interaction.  They need to be socialized at a young age as they tend to bond to one person.  They love just sitting with their owner and getting head scratches.  Pionus parrots are excellent for people living in apartments, for first time parrot owners, and for people who just want a quiet, charming and gentle companion.
There are two major species of Caiques, the Black-headed Caique, with two subspecies, and the White-bellied Caique, with three subspecies.  They are endemic to the Amazon Rainforest of northern Brazil, southern Venezuela, and the Guiana highlands.  They are about 9 inches long, with a compact, stocky body, a short wingspan, and a short, square tail.  They live about 30 years.  Caiques have a distinctive appearance and are often referred to as the "Seven-Color Parrot" due to their highly defined black, green, yellow, orange, white and blue feathers.  There is very little difference in personality between the two species.  Caiques are trusting, outgoing, fun, acrobatic and lovable.  They enjoy being petted, cuddled, and played with.  They may bite during play due to emotional overload.  They are naturally curious and love to explore, and have a habit of hopping and dancing, earning them the name "the Dancing Parrot".  Caiques can be noisy and may not be suitable for an apartment.  They may develop the habit of whistling for attention and become noisy in the morning when waiting for food or if their favorite person leaves the room.  However, they do not scream or approach the volume of Cockatoos or Macaws.  They can display unexpected fear or anger to new situations or objects, or to activities that they don't like.  They may become territorial, even towards people.  Caiques are extremely intelligent and must be kept mentally stimulated.  They are extremely active parrots and require a multitude of various types of toys.  They like noise and enjoy toys with bells.  They like to be busy and enjoy ropes, balls, and swings.  They also need wood toys to chew.  Caiques are able to learn to talk well enough to be understood, but easily learn to mimic whistled musical tunes.  Caiques are high energy, fun companions and can be suitable around children.
Parrotlets are the smallest of the New World Parrots and are native to Central and South America.  There are three genera containing 17 species.  The seven species of the genus Forpus, are the only ones commonly kept as pets.  They have a stocky body, a broad tail, and are less than 6 inches long.  Their life expectancy is 20 to 40 years.  Parrotlets are small parrots with large personalities.  They are fearless and often do not seem to realize how tiny they are.  They may try to attack cats or dogs.  They are highly intelligent, playful, curious, and active parrots.  They love swings and, when provided with a wide assortment of chewable and destructible toys, they can keep themselves occupied alone for hours.  Although they are somewhat independent, they are still very social parrots.  If they will have to spend a great deal of time alone it is best to have two parrotlets.  They do not scream, but can become very excited and vocal when they want attention.  They are capable of talking with a fairly impressive vocabulary, and males tend to mimic better than females.  They can be very territorial and aggressive in their cages and very affectionate outside the cage.  Handling them and playing with them everyday is essential as they are independent parrots and may become untamed and bite.  Parrotlets can develop a very loving bond with their owner and enjoy sitting on shoulders, snuggling into hair, or sitting in a shirt pocket, but they need to be properly socialized and trained.  They need to be carefully supervised as they can fly away and hide under beds, blankets or in clothing and are easily injured by children and other pets. Parrotlets are quiet and are suitable for an apartment.   
Conures are a diverse group of either large parakeets or small parrots belonging to several genera and are native to Central and South America.  The category "conure" is loosely defined as these parrots do not currently constitute a natural, scientific grouping.  Conures are large for parakeets but have light bodies, long, pointed tails, and small, strong beaks.  Their beaks are black or horn-colored and always have a small cere.  They have a life span of 20 to 30 years.  There are currently 2 primary genera of conures and 6 genera with one or two species.  The first primary genus is Aratinga conures.  These conures are generally larger, have brighter feathers and are nosier, more outgoing and more demanding.  They require a larger cage because they are active.  This genus includes Sun Conures and Jenday Conures.  These conures can make good pets for the right owner but they are extremely loud, like Macaws.  The second primary genus is the Pyrrhura conures.  These conures are smaller, quieter and duller, generally greenish, in color, although color mutations do occur.  They have a quiet nature and are friendly and affectionate.  Conures require a lot of quality time and interaction.  They need a variety of toys to chew.  The have a limited ability to talk and a small vocabulary.

The Monk Parakeet is also known as the Quaker Parrot.  They are native to South America although there are many self- sustaining feral populations occurring in North America and Europe.  There is one species and four subspecies.  They are about 12 inches long and live for 20 to 30 years.  Adult Monks are a vivid green on their head, wings, and back, with whitish-grey on their face and chest.  They have blue flight feathers and a lighter green on the underside of their tail.  Color mutations have been produced through captive breeding.  Monks are confident, loyal, and social parrots and tend to bond very closely with one person.  They are very active parrots and need adequate space, toys and time outside the cage.  They are excellent talkers and can develop large vocabularies.  They are somewhat loud but make wonderful companion parrots.



The African Grey Parrot, also known as the Grey Parrot, is found in the primary and secondary rainforests of West and Central Africa.  They are a medium size parrot with two generally recognized sub-species.  They have a life span of 50 to 60 years.  Grey Parrots are rarer than previously believed.  They are threatened in the wild and are on CITES Appendix II.  They are one of the most heavily traded CITES listed bird species and many wild caught birds die every year because of this trade.  They are regarded as one of the most intelligent of all birds and are popular as pets due to their gentle nature and ability to talk.  The Congo African Grey is the larger subspecies, at about 13 inches long.  Adults have light grey feathers, cherry red tails, pale yellow irises and all black beaks.  The Timneh African Grey is smaller than the Congo.  They have darker, charcoal grey feather, a darker maroon tail, and a light horn-colored area on their upper mandible.  Timnehs begin to learn to speak earlier than Congos and may be less nervous in novel situations and around strangers.  There are many amazing examples of the intelligence, vocabulary, and cognitive ability of these parrots.  They are able to cooperate and collaborate with each other to solve puzzles.  Greys can make excellent companion parrots but require a special commitment from their owners.  They required a large cage, a varied diet with plenty of fresh food, many safe and destructible toys, and frequent individual attention and interaction.  Their cage should be in a busy area of the house where they can be part of the household routine.  Without sufficient enrichment and interaction, Greys can quickly develop unpleasant behaviors and health problems.  They make a lot of noise, with frequent whistles, shrieks, squeaks, and clicks.  The love to mimic and they practice their repertoire of words, voices and sounds endlessly.  Their large vocabulary can include profanity which can persist even after changing owners.  They are dignified, careful parrots.  They can be shy around strangers and tend to bond to one person so proper socialization is important.  They can take a long time to decide to trust and like a person and may not adjust to a new home quickly.  Greys need attention and physical interaction, but are not generally very cuddly.  They make excellent companions for people willing to spend the time to understand their personalities and special needs.   


The genus Poicephalus is comprised of nine species and several subspecies of parrots native to sub-Saharan Africa ranging from Senegal in the west, to Ethiopia in the east, and South Africa in the south.  The Poicephalus are stocky parrots with short, broad tails and relatively large heads and beaks.  Several of the species show a marked sexual dimorphism.  Five of the poicephalus species are popular as pets because they are smaller and quieter than many other companion parrots and are suitable for apartment dwellers.  They are generally independent parrots and have long memories.  As a group they tend to bond to one person and can be nippy.  The usually signal if they are going to bite and being in tune with their body language can prevent a lot of their aggression issues.  The Red-fronted Parrot or Jardine's Parrot is primarily bright green, with bright green wings with black edges, and splashes of red, yellow, and orange on their foreheads.  They are playful, intelligent, affectionate, and speak very clearly.  They tend to bond to one person and must be socialized while young.  They are strong willed parrots and require diligent training to keep them from being bossy and nippy.  They require lots of toys for attacking and chewing.  The Senegal Parrot consists of three subspecies which differ only in the color of the "vest".  They are about 9 inches long and have a life span of 25 to 50 years.  They have a charcoal grey head, grey beak, bright yellow irises, green back and throat, and yellow underparts and rump.  They are not sexually dimorphic but there are some subtle differences between the genders.  They are not as noisy as many parrots, and their calls are generally high pitched whistles and squawks.  A well socialized Senegal is a fun companion with a quiet nature.  The can learn to talk and love to mimic sounds in the environment.  They are acrobatic and love to climb and swing.  They tend to bond to one person and can become very aggressive if not handled correctly.  They can be nippy and can be very fast when they bite.  It is important to assess their mood when approaching them.  They are prone to jealousy and displaced aggression.  They have a very quick fright to flight response and should have their wings clipped to prevent injury or loss.  The Red-bellied Parrot is about 9 inches long with a life expectancy of 35 years.  They are mostly greenish and grey, with red irises, and dark grey beaks.  They show sexual dimorphism with the males having a bright orange belly, and the females having a green belly.  They are very social, active parrots with comical, playful and animated personalities.  They often dominate other parrots around them and may be obsessively aggressive to other birds if they sense fear.  They can be very territorial.  They are prolific talkers and mimics with large vocabularies.  Meyer's Parrots have a dull brown head, back and tail, green or blue-green abdomen, blue rump and bright yellow markings on the wings and sometimes on the top of the head.  They are similar to Senegals in personality but more sweet and demure.  They can be nippy and tend to bond to one person if not socialized correctly.  Their calls are musical and pretty.  They are not great talkers but usually learn a few words.  The Brown-headed Parrot has up to three recognized subspecies.  Adults are mostly green, with a greyish-brown head, yellow under the wings, and yellow irises.  They are rarer as companion parrots than the other poicephalus and have similar natures and personalities.
Alexandrine Parakeets or Alexandrian Parrots are native to Indo-Asia and are comprised of five subspecies bases on geographical distribution.  There are naturalized populations in many European countries.  They are a large parakeet measuring 22 to 24 inches in length, with a wingspan of 7.5 to 8.5 inches.  They have an average life span of 35 to 40 years.  Adults are mainly green, with a blue-grey sheen on the cheeks and nape, yellow-green abdomen, yellow underside tail feathers, a maroon patch on their shoulders, a red beak with yellow tips, and light yellowish irises.  They are dimorphic with males showing a true black neck rink and large pink bands on their nape.  Females can show light or dark grey neck rings, but never true black.  They are extremely hardy parrots and can tolerate temperatures as low as 5°C.  They are active, adventurous, and curious.  They love water and enjoy bathing, misting, and showering.  They have powerful beaks and are prolific chewers.  They must be supplied with plenty of destructible toys to prevent them from destroying the house.  Alexandrines are very active and have a long tail and so require a larger cage than some other parrots of similar size.  They are very intelligent, respond well to positive reinforcement training, and are able to learn complex trick behaviors.  They can talk and are excellent mimics.  They require a lot of interaction to prevent behavior problems.  They tend to bond with one person and can be aggressive towards other people, larger birds, and pets.  They need to be socialized at a young age and continually reinforced.  They are noisy and can screech and so are not suitable for apartments.  They have a powerful beak and a nasty bite, so they are not suitable around children.  There are 5 species of Ringneck Parakeets similar to the Alexandrines.  They are the Indian Ringneck, the Moustached Java Parakeets, the Plum-headed Parakeets, the Rose-ringed Parakeets, and the Slaty-headed Parakeets.  They are all intelligent parrots with an excellent ability to talk and acquire a large vocabulary.
Budgerigar, Budgies, common pet parakeet , or shell parakeet are all names for a small seed-eating parrot native to the drier areas of Australia.  They are the only species in the genus Melopsittacus and they are closely related to the Lories and Fig Parrots.  Budgies are about 7 inches long and have an average life span of 5 to 8 years, although life spans of 15 to 20 years have been reported.  They are naturally green and yellow with black scalloped markings on the nape, back, and wings.  They have been bred in captivity since the 1850's and many color mutations have developed such as blues, yellows, whites, and greys, and also pattern and feather mutations, such as crested budgies.  They are very popular as pets due to their small size, low cost, playful nature, and ability to mimic speech.  Budgies are social parrots and require interaction with humans and other budgies.  They are active and like to chew and so require suitable toys.  They can be trained to do simple tricks and to sing and talk, with the males being better mimics than the females.  Budgies are quiet, companionable parrots and are suitable for apartments and around children with supervision.
Rosellas are comprised of five to eight species and several subspecies of colorful parrots native to Australia and the surrounding islands.  They range in size between 10 and 14.5 inches in length and they live for about 20 years.  All species have a distinct scalloping appearance in the feathers on their back, all have distinctive cheek patches, and sexual dimorphism is absent or very slight.  The coloring differs between the species and behaviors can vary as well.  Rosellas are intelligent, social parrots and need interaction, but they are not cuddly and some never come to enjoy petting.  They enjoy just having people around and being talked too.  They can be taught to whistle tunes and to talk but their ability for speech is limited and varies between individual parrots.  They have a reputation for being aggressive and must be kept separate from other birds.  
Lovebirds belong to the genus Agapornis.  There are nine species and several subspecies in this genus, eight of which are native to the African continent, and one which is native to Madagascar.  They are 5 to 6 inches long, have a life span of about 15 years and have a stocky body, a short blunt tail, and a relatively large, sharp beak.  There are many color variations of Lovebirds available.  They are very active, curious and playful.  They can form deep bonds with their owners and can be very cuddly.  Their intense personalities make them prone to nipping, territorial, and jealous.  They are social parrots and require interaction, affection, and attention.  If they must spend time alone, it is best to have more than one Lovebird.  They are noisy, they like to chatter, and they have a loud high pitched screech.  They are not known for their ability to mimic sounds or speech, but there are exceptions.  They are aggressive chewers and must be provided with suitable toys.
There are 56 species and numerous subspecies of Lories native to Indonesia, French Polynesia, New Guinea, and Australia.  They range in size from 5 inches to 15.5 inches long and have a great variation in color among the species.  There is a great variation in life span between the species which can range from 10 to 30 years.  Generally Lories have short tails and Lorikeets have elongated tails, however the words are synonymous.  All of the Lories have elongated papillae, or brushes, on their tongues.  This is an adaptation for collecting pollen from flowers.  There is great variation in personalities, energy level, diet requirements, and suitability as a pet between the species.  All Lories are nectar eaters and will require a special diet different from other parrots.  Lories are extremely messy, they will throw their food everywhere, and their droppings are more liquid than other parrots.  They all require interaction and companionship but vary widely in the type and amount.  They benefit from having another Lory to interact with, but they must be of the same or very similar species.  Two Lories of very different specie characteristics will not get along.  They do not talk, but they do make a lot of noise.  Lories are not for everyone and a potential Lory owner must do a lot of research into the characteristics and care requirements of the various species to find a suitable pet.    
The Eclectus Parrot is native to the Solomon Islands, Sumba, New Guinea and nearby islands, northeastern Australia and the Maluku Islands (Moluccas).  There are at least nine subspecies of Eclectus.  They have a stocky body, a short tail, and measure about 14 inches in length, and live about 30 years.  This species exhibits marked sexual dimorphism.  The adult male is mostly bright green, has a yellow tinge on the head, has blue primary flight feathers, red flanks and underwing coverts, has an orange upper mandible and black lower mandible, and yellow to orange irises.  Adult females are mostly bright red with the wings and back a darker hue, a more purple color to the mantle and underwing coverts, a mauve-blue edging on the wings, a yellow-orange edging on the tail, a black beak, and yellow to orange irises.  The colors of the abdomen, nape, and tail feathers of females differs within the subspecies.  Eclectus parrots are generally calm and pensive in nature.  However, they can fear new things and have been known to freeze when confronted with strangers.  They are prone to feather destructive disorders.  The cause of these behaviors can be difficult to ascertain and more difficult to control.  They are prone to obesity and their diet must be carefully managed.  They are moderately loud with a high screech, as well as a variety of flute-like sounds and chortles.  Both genders have good speaking ability and can mimic and communicate cognitively.  They explore and learn with their beak and occasional nips can be expected.  They generally bond strongly with their family group unless they only have one caretaker.  They need a calm, happy family environment as they do not do well in stressful situations.       


Once you have decided which type of parrot you wish to care for that best suits your personality and circumstances, the next challenge will be finding the right one for you personally.  Keep in mind from the parrots point of view, they get to chose who they may want to bond with.  Regardless of species, not all parrots like men, not all parrots like women, not all parrots like children and some parrots don't like anyone.  You may need to meet more than one or two parrots to find the one for you.  Sometimes it takes a long time to find a compatible parrot and sometimes you may have to reconsider your choice of species.  For the sake of both you and the parrot, you need to take as much time as is required.  Remember that the parrot you decide to take home as a companion will be with you for years, most likely decades, and possibly for the rest of your life.
"Don't buy or breed, adopt a parrot in need."
  • by M.L.Savoy, BSc, MLT, Parrots Forever, 2012

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