Parrot

Last updated: April 11, 2022
Verified by: AZ Animals Staff

Can live for up to 100 years!

Parrot Scientific Classification

Kingdom
Animalia
Phylum
Chordata
Class
Aves
Order
Psittaciformes
Family
Psittacidae

Read our Complete Guide to Classification of Animals.

Parrot Conservation Status


Parrot Facts

Main Prey
Fruit, Nuts, Seeds, Insects
Fun Fact
Can live for up to 100 years!
Distinctive Feature
Large colourful body and curved beak
Wingspan
15cm - 140cm (5.9in - 56in)
Habitat
Rainforests and tropical jungle
Predators
Human, Monkeys, Large Birds
Diet
Omnivore
Lifestyle
  • Solitary
Favorite Food
Fruit
Type
Bird
Average Clutch Size
2
Slogan
Can live for up to 100 years!

Parrot Physical Characteristics

Color
  • Yellow
  • Red
  • Blue
  • White
  • Green
Skin Type
Feathers
Top Speed
15 mph
Lifespan
40 - 80 years
Weight
10g - 4,000g (0.02lbs - 5.9lbs)
Height
8cm - 100cm (3.5in - 39in)

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View all of the Parrot images!



Parrots are popular as pets, offering raucous and gaudy entertainment.

Parrots, of the order Psittaciformes, are known for their wittiness, amusement, and intelligence, though they have an incredibly affectionate side as well. They are famous for the extensive imitation, including human words and multitudes of sounds.

6 Incredible Parrot Facts!

  • Frequently found in tropical areas, like the Rainforest.
  • The term “parrot” umbrellas a wide array of birds – 372 different species, to be exact. Some of the familiar species include the grey parrot, the macaw, and the monk parakeet.
  • Known for their bright coloration, easy to spot in their natural habitat. To see some of the most beautiful parrots in the world check out ‘The 10 Most Beautiful Parrots in the World.’
  • As one of the most intelligent species of bird, parrot brain development is strikingly similar to that of humans.
  • These birds are capable of imitating many different sounds with advanced vocal cords, and often mimic human speech.
  • The largest parrot in the world is the Kākāpō, a flightless bird from New Zealand, reaching 9 lbs in weight!

The word “parrot” is believed to come from the early 16th century, based on the French word “perrot.” “Perrot” is a variation of the name “Peter,” which means “stone” or “rock” in the original Greek root.

Common Types of Parrots

  • Grey Parrot – The grey parrot is a medium sized bird native to Africa. They are predominantly grey with black bills and red tail feathers.
  • MacawMacaws range in size from small (like the Hahn’s Macaw, measuring around 12 inches long) to large (like theHyacinth macaw, measuring around 40 inches long). Macaws are native to Mexico, Central America, and South America. These birds have long tails and large beaks.
  • Cockatiel – Cockatiels are small birds with pointed tails that are endemic to Australia. Pet cockatiels have been bred to exhibit a variety of colors. Wild cockatiels are generally grey with white flashes on either wing and orange spots on the sides of their face.
  • Budgerigar – Also known as the parakeet, this bird is small and long-tailed bird. These birds are bright green with yellow heads and black barring on the wings. Budgerigars are local to Australia.
  • Amazon Parrot – Amazon parrots are medium sized, short-tailed parrots native to South America, Central America, and the Caribbean. These birds are primarily green with bright accenting colors, differing by the species.

Parrot Appearance and Behavior

Parrots vary in their bright colored feathers and each species varies in its pigmentation. Most people think of a these birds as bright green, accented by beautiful, strong, curved bills. Standing upright, parrots perch and even walk around upright with their clawed feet.

Not all of these species are one color, such as the macaw, which range from black, red, or yellow. Macaws, like the majority of parrots, are not sexually dimorphic, meaning there is no visual difference between males and females.

In temperament, these birds tend to be affectionate, earning them status as well-loved pets for centuries. Their high energy levels may be more than a novice pet owner can handle, but these creatures express empathy at a unique level. However, the humans that they reside with play a huge role in a bird’s mood and behavior.



Do be cautious – some species are incredibly dangerous and aggressive if provoked. The Senegal parrot, for example, is rather small, but they will bite down hard with their sharp beak if they feel threatened, causing substantial pain and possible injury.

Most often parrots will only attack if in danger, a natural “fight or flight” response to protect themselves from harm. In captivity, whether in a zoo or home, parrots may throw food around and tear up their surroundings if agitated or fearful. Parrots are chatty throughout the day and night, filling their homes with an array of loud vocalizations and potential imitations.

bright-colored eclectus parrots perched on a stick in cage
This parrot’s chirp can reach up to 115 decibels.

iStock.com/redchanka

Personality

Parrots are incredibly smart and witty. If kept as a pet, they form a tight bond and are mostly friendly and social. They enjoy being close to the social activity in the home, allowing them to build trust and form lasting relationships.

Highly energetic, parrots have surprisingly short attention spans. However, they make plenty of time to provide a dramatic display of their emotions, thanks to the empathetic nature of the bird. As these birds spend more time with its human owner, it may start to imitate common phrases and sounds that it hears.

Habitat

Parrots often thrive in tropical areas, due to the warm and humid climate. However, they don’t necessarily require this habitat to survive, which is why so many of the birds reside in warm climates worldwide. Apart from pet stores, there species naturally span across Australia, South America, and Central America.

Most wild parrots will build a place to rest in broad-leafed deciduous trees and bright tropical plants while domesticated ones are able to adapt to their present home environments.

Parrot Diet

Omnivorous in nature, these birds have a varied diet. As a pet, diet should mimic that of a wild parrot’s, including raw or steamed vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds, and whole grains (like rice, oats, quinoa, barley, or buckwheat). If available, an organic diet best supports a parrot, preventing them from ingesting dangerous chemicals that may cause health problems.

Most of the bird’s typical diet consists of fruits, nuts, seeds, flowers, and buds. Some species thrive (almost) exclusively on nectar. While they will consume both raw and cooked vegetables, the only animals that have to worry about their predatory nature are insects. If a parrot fails to find insects to eat, they will occasionally hunt snails, mice, or snakes instead.

Parrot Predators and Threats

Like all living animals, parrots are an important contributor to the natural food chain. They are both prey and predator in the wild, falling victim to raptorial birds that are larger than them.

However, the main threat to these birds is humans. Human activities – like deforestation, encroachment, industrialization, etc. – destroy their natural habitat. Along with the loss of habitat, human activities also weaken and damage the forests where parrots abide, preventing these birds and other animals from maintaining a consistent source of food, interrupting reproductive and growth cycles as well.

Parrot Reproduction

Most species are monogamous, meaning they remain with the same partner for their entire lives. When these birds choose a breeding partner for themselves, they stay together throughout the non-breeding seasons as well.

Parrots prefer to mate with the changing seasons of their environment, mainly the warmer time of the year. Most often, the reproductive process starts during the spring months, due to the higher temperatures and the ample availability of food sources for offspring. During these months, parrots begin naturally releasing sex hormones, attracting opposite sexes for mating.

Like many other birds, parrots lay eggs. At one time, they usually lay about two to eight eggs. An incubation of about 18 to 30 days occurs before hatching. Offspring are simply called “chicks” like many other avian species.

Small parrots tend to live for about 15 to 20 years, while larger species can live up to 80 years. A handful of these specie have broken records for living for 100 years! When considering an avian companion, it is crucial to understand that it is, potentially, a lifetime commitment.

Parrot Population

The exact number of parrots around the world is currently not well known. However, there are more than 350 species of parrots that exist in different parts of the world including a macaw, grey parrot, and monk parakeet.

Since parrots as a group were declared “not extinct” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature, no conservation efforts have been made on a broader scale. However, as recently as the last decade, the trading and habitat destruction of parrots led nearly 50% of these species to become endangered. Half of these species are now considered “critically endangered.” Some species – like the citron-crested cockatoo – are sold so frequently on the black market that local governments have imposed restrictions.

While some laws protect against trading and hunting, thanks to The Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species, parrots are largely still kept in captivity as pets or zoo attractions.Some of the zoos in the United States popular for their parrot exhibits include the San Diego Zoo, the Houston Zoo, and the Cincinnati Zoo and Botanical Garden.

Owner Tips

Before owning a bird, especially intelligent and highly attentive parrots, it is crucial to understand that these birds live for decades and require constant stimulation. All over the world, wild birds are illegally taken from their natural habitats and sold as pets. Tragically, almost 80% of these captured birds die before reaching their destination, killed by disease, starvation, trauma, or injury. Perpetrators capture these birds by violent means of cutting down trees or slicing through nests, resulting in destroyed habitats, affecting other bird and animal populations. While protectionshave been enacted to prevent such brutality, these rules are difficult to enforce and easy to get around. While certain bird species are able to reproduce in captivity, many of them are still being plucked from the wild.

Unfortunately, many pet owners do not research their companions before owning a bird and grow tired or annoyed by the animals. Some birds escape while others are released, resulting in feral populations. These non-native birds may introduce disease or invasive species to their new surroundings, detrimental to native bird and animal populations. If you are unable to further care for your domesticated bird, make sure to take it to a humane organisation for it to be rehomed.

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About the Author

Worked as a veterinary technician for several years during/after attending Tulane University. Graduated in 2020 with a BS in Cell and Molecular Biology and a minor in Psychology. My true passion is wildlife conservation and I love the idea of educating others on animal welfare, care, and preservation!

Parrot FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

Are Parrots herbivores, carnivores, or omnivores?

Parrots are omnivorous in nature which means that they eat meat as well as vegetation. In the wild, they mostly feed on nuts, buds, seeds, flowers, and fruits.

What Kingdom do Parrots belong to?

Parrots belong to the Kingdom Animalia.

What class do Parrots belong to?

Parrots belong to the class Aves.

What phylum to Parrots belong to?

Parrots belong to the phylum Chordata.

What family do Parrots belong to?

Parrots belong to the family Psittacidae.

What order do Parrots belong to?

Parrots belong to the order Psittaciformes.

What type of covering do Parrots have?

Parrots are covered in Feathers.

In what type of habitat do Parrots live?

Parrots live in rainforests and tropical jungles.

What is the main prey for Parrots?

Parrots eat fruit, nuts, seeds, and insects.

What are some predators of Parrots?

Predators of Parrots include humans, monkeys, and large birds.

Is a parrot a bird?

Yes, the parrot is a bird.

Can a parrot talk?

Parrots are famous for imitating several sounds. These sounds can sometimes also include human speech.

Are parrots friendly?

Parrots are known to be friendly, affectionate, and easy-going. Most of the parrots socialize easily and also empathize with their humans.

What do parrots eat?

In the wild, parrots mostly feed on nuts, buds, seeds, flowers, and fruits. However, when kept as pets, they can be fed raw or steamed vegetables and fruits, whole grains, pseudo-grains, and oats.

Can parrots fly?

Yes, parrots can fly, and their flying skills are often considered remarkable.

Do parrots migrate?

Some species of parrots are known to have migratory instincts.

How many eggs do parrots lay?

At one time, parrots lay, about two to eight eggs.

How fast does a parrot fly?

The flying speed of parrots can range anywhere between 81 mph to 200 mph.

What is a parrot’s wingspan?

Different species of parrots have different wingspans. Some of them have wingspans of about 41 to 45 inches.

When do parrots leave the nest?

When chicks leave their nests is unknown, but their incubation period ranges from 18 to 30 days after which the eggs hatch.

What are some distinguishing features of Parrots?

Parrots have large, colorful bodies and curved beaks.

What is an interesting fact about Parrots?

Parrots can live for up to 100 years!

What is the lifespan of a Parrot?

Parrots can live for 40 to 80 years.

How do Parrots have babies?

Parrots lay eggs.

What's the difference between macaws and parrots?

There are some differences between parrots and macaws, even though all macaws are technically parrots. Macaws are larger than most parrot varieties, and parrots are found in more locations worldwide compared to macaws.

Are parakeets different from parrots?

Parakeets are parrot species, but they differ in size, appearance behavior, and lifespan.

Sources
  1. Britannica, Available here: https://www.britannica.com/animal/parrot
  2. Science Kids, Available here: https://www.sciencekids.co.nz/sciencefacts/animals/parrot.html
  3. Wikipedia, Available here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Parrot
  4. Four Seasons Animal Hospital, Available here: https://fsah.net/normal-parrot-behavior/
  5. The Spruce, Available here: https://www.thespruce.com/how-to-attract-parrots-386262
  6. Resources, Available here: https://resources.bestfriends.org/article/healthy-parrot-diet-nutrition-toxic-foods
  7. Live Science, Available here: https://www.livescience.com/28071-parrots.html
  8. What are the major predators on parrots in the wild?, Available here: http://vetmed.tamu.edu/macawproject/wp-content/uploads/sites/45/2019/03/what_eats_parrots_2002_aug.pdf
  9. Pars Trade Hungary KFT, Available here: https://www.parrots-fertileeggs.com/how-do-parrots-mate-and-reproduce/
  10. San Diego Zoo, Available here: https://animals.sandiegozoo.org/animals/parrot

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