Parrots, also known as Psittacines, are birds of all colors that usually inhabit warmer climates and are found mostly in tropical and subtropical regions. Parrots come from three different families: the Psittacoidea, also known as the “true parrot;” Cacatuoidea, meaning “cockatoos,” and Strigopoidea (New Zealand parrots). In the visual spectrum, most parrots exhibit little or no sexual dimorphism.
Parrots are characterized by strong, curved beaks to crack hard nuts; a large head; strong zygodactyl feet with sharp claws for climbing and feeding; and a vision sensitive to ultraviolet light. Here is a list of 10 incredible parrot facts.
1. There Are 398 Species of Parrot
Parrots comprise 398 species of the order Psittaciformes and are commonly found in tropical and subtropical regions of Asia, Australia, Central and South America, and Africa. However, some parrots do live outside tropical environments. The Kea is the world’s only parrot to inhabit the alpine climates of New Zealand, nesting in the roots of trees. Its thick feathers and rounded body help to conserve body heat, making it possible to live in cold environments, specifically high up in the mountains.
2. Parrots Eat With Their feet and Have Curved Beaks
Parrots are the only birds that can eat with their feet. They have four toes on each foot and a curved beak. All parrots have two toes facing forward and two toes facing backward, which are used for feeding, climbing, and grabbing branches or toys. This is known as zygodactyl. Another prominent feature is a curved beak that helps open up seeds, nuts, and hard fruits. This strong beak is also great for preening. The largest macaws can crush a basil nut and break open metal cages using their powerful beak!
3. Some Parrots Can Talk
It is no surprise that many species of parrot can talk. We’ve often seen this in movies, and it’s not just some prank. The parrots can mimic human words, but their sophisticated communication skills may influence them. If you have a parrot, then there is every tendency that it’s likely to pick up certain words and phrases that you often say, such as “Hello.”
Having no vocal cords like humans, they talk by using the muscles in their throats to direct airflow in a certain way, which allows them to mimic different sounds and tones. Studies show that Alex, a famous African grey parrot, had a vocabulary of about 100 words and phrases.
4. Parrots Are Very Intelligent
Parrots are among the most intelligent animals in the world and are known for being extremely smart, using tools to solve complex mechanical problems — for example, the Goffin cockatoo. Extensive research has shown that some parrots have the intelligence of a 4-year-old toddler and can be taught memory games, tricks, and skits. It is no surprise that Hollywood often chooses to put parrots in movies for entertainment. It is such an amazing sight to see! Many magicians also incorporate parrots into their performances.
5. Parrots Make Great Companions
The most fun thing about parrots is their ability to make amazing companions. Parrots thrive as members of the family outside of their cage. They are attention seekers and like to be with you. Although they can be silly, intelligent, and chatty, it’s fascinating to watch a parrot do parrot things. Owning a parrot as a pet can be quite tedious and requires a lot of knowledge and expertise before jumping in, but it is worth it if you are willing to provide all they need in a human companion.
6. Parrots Can Live for a Very Long Time
Parrots have a long life expectancy of 40 to 80 years or more. It is considered a great milestone for humans to reach, but it is also the lifespan of some parrots. However, it is difficult to give an average lifespan for a parrot because every species is vastly different. The bigger the parrot, the longer its lifespan. African Grey parrots can live 60 to 70 years, while medium-sized parrots commonly live between 15 to 20 years. Cockatoos and macaws can live to be 70 or 80 years old. The world’s oldest parrot was an 83-year-old cockatoo who passed away in 2016. Pet parrots live longer than wild ones because they are shielded from predators and diseases.
7. Parrots Are Omnivorous Birds
Parrots are omnivores whose diets are very broad, varying from different species of fruits, seeds, nuts, insects, and meat. They also eat plant-based foods. Though omnivorous, you don’t necessarily have to feed your pet parrot meat, as they are more content with delicious fruits and nuts. Some fruits you can give them include mangoes, pawpaw, bananas, and asparagus.
8. The Kakapo Parrot Cannot Fly
Out of all the parrot species, the kakapo parrot is the only one that cannot fly. They are known to be the largest parrots in the world and can weigh up to 9 pounds and grow to about 2 feet in length. These species are adept at jumping and hopping to reach great heights.
Additionally, the kakapo parrot is one of the longest-living birds on earth, with an average lifespan of 95 years. It’s also the only parrot that exhibits nocturnal behavior, mainly because it can escape predators at night easily. Unfortunately, the Kakapo is critically endangered and extremely rare, with only 149 of them alive as of 2018.
9. Parrots Rarely Mate for Life
Parrots practice monogamy for reproduction but it is rare they mate for life. During breeding season, once they select a mate they will be loyal. If a bird fails to reproduce or their partner dies, the parrot will find another mate. Parrots typically tend to spend more time with their bonded partner, even if they go on to mate with another parrot. It’s possible that a parrot will refuse to mate with another parrot if their bonded favorite passes away.
10. A Parrot Group Is Called a Pandemonium
A group of parrots is called a pandemonium. This is quite a befitting name for this group of chatterboxes because the word “pandemonium” simply means “noisy and wild.”
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