30+ Interesting Facts About Parrots

  1. There are around 400 species of parrots on earth. They are divided into three superfamilies: true parrots, New Zealand parrots, and cockatoos. 
  2. These birds are present in tropical and subtropical regions (particularly South America and Australasia).
  3. Parrots are one of the most ancient pets in the world. They were kept as pets by ancient Greek and Romans.
  4. Parrots synthesize red, orange, and yellow pigments. These pigments are not present in any other organism and can resist the bacterial degradation of feathers. (Source)
  5. Parrots have powerful beaks. According to estimates, the bite strength of a large parrot is equal to that of a dog. They can crush Brazil nuts and break a weld on metal cage bars. Various species of macaws and cockatoos have stronger bites than other parrots. 
  6. Seeds are the favorite food of parrots and constitute about 70% of their diet. Many of these seeds, especially in the Amazon rainforest, are nutritious but poisonous. According to estimates, these parrots survive these tannin and alkaloid-loaded seeds by eating clay. In this way, Macaws manage to detoxify their bodies. (Source)
  7. According to research, parrots also give a name to their children even before the babies start communication.
  8. Apart from birds of the crow family, parrots are also known for their intelligence. The brain-to-body ratio of parrots is equal to that of higher primates.
  9. Several features indicate the extraordinary intelligence of parrots. They can imitate different voices and also understand the meaning of a few words.
  10. Budgerigars (also known as parakeets) are the most talented species of parrots. They can mimic human sounds more clearly and frequently than any other parrot species. They are also less shy in front of cameras. (Source)
  11. Wild grey parrots have been seen to imitate the voices of other birds. Amazon parrots can mimic voices of their own species in local dialects. Beside parrots, mynah birds and northern mockingbirds can also learn by imitation. (Source)
  12. Kea is a species of parrot native to New Zealand. It is the only truly alpine parrot in the world. Kea is also the world’s only carnivorous parrot (they kill sheep and are hunted by the government). (Source)
  13. Few parrot species have proved their extraordinary intelligence by solving tricky puzzles and using tools. 
  14. Caging parrots or any domestic bird is illegal in India. It can result in arrest and fines. However, people can keep exotic and foreign birds. 
  15. The beak of parrots is powerful, and the bird also uses it as a precision tool. Parrots can use their beaks for doing things like peeling fruit and removing seeds (for consumption) from them.
  16. Parrots have one of the longest lifespans among birds. Even small parrots can live longer than other birds. The longest-living parrots are Amazon parrots and cockatoos, having a lifespan of 75 years or more. (Source)
    A cockatoo sitting on a branch
    Cockatoos can live for 75 years

  17. Parrots have taste buds on their tongues and at the back of their throats. They are one of few species of birds that can taste sweetness. (Source)
  18. Parrots are omnivores and can eat plant and animal food. These include seeds, nuts, fruits, flowers, and insects.
  19. Most parrots use their left side more frequently than the right side. In a study that involved 320 parrots, 47% were left-handed, while 33% were right-handed. (Source)
  20. Kakapo is the only flightless parrot. This parrot (native to New Zealand) is the heaviest in the world and also one of the very few nocturnal parrots. (Source
  21. The Hyacinth macaw is the largest parrot in the world. They can grow to 40 inches in length and have a wingspan of up to 4 feet. (Source)
  22. African Grey parrots can memorize more than 1,000 words. They can also learn to speak these words in context. (Source)
  23. According to a study, parrots are one of the most threatened groups among birds. 111 species (28% of all extinct species) of parrots are considered as globally threatened by IUCN. 56% of all parrot species are declining. The top factors behind these threats are hunting, trapping, and loss of forest habitat (mainly due to agricultural expansion). (Source)
  24. Parrots have four toes, two forward and two in backward directions, on each foot. They use these toes like hands for climbing and grasping food. 
  25. Parrots are one of the favorite pets due to their intelligence and voice imitation. Since 1975, more than 17 million parrots have been traded internationally. But this trade is dangerous for birds as it has endangered a few species of parrots due to the spread of a deadly virus. This virus has been found in 78 parrot species and is more common in captive-bred parrots. (Source)
  26. The introduction of parrots in their non-native areas through global trade is also harmful to the local environment. In some countries like Australia, these feral parrots are negatively affecting delicate flora and fauna. But in places like the USA, these parrots are just providing beautiful sights to tourists.
  27. Monk Parakeets and five species of African parrots are the only parrots that build nests. All other species of parrots live in already-built tree hollows or other cavities in cliffs or ground. (Source)
  28. Parrots are generally sedentary birds and do not migrate. But two species of parrots (swift parrots and orange-bellied parrots) are known as migratory birds. Both these parrots are in the Red List category of IUCN. (Source)
  29. Parrots can manufacture their calcium supplements. For this purpose, they grind seashells by using pebble tools. (Source)
  30. The main predators of parrots are snakes, monkeys, birds of prey (hawks, eagles, and owls), bats, and cats.
  31. Every year at the start of the wet season in Australia, rainbow lorikeets behave like drunken persons after eating the fermented nectar of a specific flower. This period is known as the drunken parrot season. (Source) 
  32. Parrots kiss fellow parrots and their human handlers to show affection. But kissing a sick parrot can transfer a disease, parrot fever, to humans.


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