From mimicking human speech, to displaying incredibly smart characteristics, parrots are some of the most beautiful birds to keep as pets (or simply admire for those of us who bird watch). Their colorful plumage is one of the reasons why they are a popular choice as a pet, but there is so much more to these popular birds than just their beauty.
For instance, the largest parrots seem to have the longest lifespans. One example would be the African Grey, which can survive for over 60 years! Other special bird species, like the Macaw, can live between a quarter of a century and half a century. Most parrots of medium stature can easily live for 15-20 years.
One of the oldest parrots ever recorded was Cookie the Cockatoo, who lived between the years of 1933 to 2016, passing away at the ripe old age of 83. His age exceeded the current average human life expectancy of 72.6 years.
This article will help you uncover some lovely parrot facts. Read on to educate yourself on some of the world’s most beloved birds!
Some Interesting Facts About Parrots
Most parrots live in a range of habitats, such as tropical rainforests in South America, Asia, Africa, and Australia. Some of these parrot species are endangered and live in unexpected conditions, such as New Zealand’s alpines, or Mexico’s Oriental Mountains.
One such endangered species is the Kakapo. The Kakapo is one of the rarest types of parrots you are likely to find. Only 126 Kakapos are thought to exist. The Kakapo is a species of flightless bird, and its weight can go up to 7 pounds. This is the heaviest a parrot can weigh!
Read on to discover some more intriguing facts about parrots you didn’t know before.
Parrots Are Intelligent Birds
Many examples showcase the sheer charisma and intelligence of these beautiful birds. Here’s a well-known type of parrot who shocked the world.
Alex, The African Grey Parrot
Also known as the Psittacus Erithacus, the African Grey Parrot is one of Africa’s largest parrots, with a population size between 560,000-12.7 million. This sociable parrot, native to tropical habitats, is currently an endangered species according to the IUCN Red List.
One of the reasons why the African Grey Parrot is so popular can be attributed to Alex, an African Grey that serves as proof of avian intellect. He could vocalize 100 different words for objects and developed mathematical skills that included vocal and mental inferences of numerals and sets.
He was also a bird cognizant of his own self. When presented with a mirror, he asked, “What color?” After six repetitions, he learned the word “grey” to describe himself.
He was vocal enough to leave his owner, Dr. Irene Pepperberg, with the words, “You be good, see you tomorrow. I love you.”
Parrots Are Social Birds
One of the most interesting parrot facts is that parrots are social animals. This is because they prefer to be part of a flock and aren’t usually found in isolation. The African Grey mentioned above can be found among 20-30 of its flock members.
However, even within these numbers, parrots are known to mate for life in a slightly romantic turn of information. If that wasn’t surprising and cute enough, their relationships are symmetrical; unlike most animals, both parents share the responsibility of raising the young. The male parrots engage in artistic forms of dancing, expressions, and musical sounds to court the females.
They only “divorce” if one of them is dead or the union does not result in offspring.
These diligent birds take extra measures to ensure the safety and survival of their young by building their nests into pre-existing tree holes. Some even have helpers lying in wait to help rear the offspring. The offspring do not develop vision before the first fourteen days of their life, and can take around 1-4 years before they mature.
Parrots develop unique personalities and seek out the love and attention of their owners, especially when it comes to playtime.
How Do Parrots Mimic Human Speech?
It doesn’t take long to gauge just how brilliant these birds are once you’ve spent time around them, especially as they begin to pick up on your diction and vernacular. Given their lifespans, it makes sense for them to build vocabulary with increasing exposure to language, objects, and stimuli.
Apart from words, they can also mimic laughter, whistles, and cooing, among a range of sounds.
They make use of throat muscles to control air direction, enabling them to mimic sounds. But do you know why they make a sound or copy it in the first place? They do it to prevent estrangement from their surroundings and to prevent the feeling of missing out, or FOMO.
Parrots Consume A Wide Range of Foods
Did you know that these natural predators are actually omnivorous? This means they can consume both a vegetarian and carnivorous diet.
Some of their favorite food items include nuts, insects, seeds, flowers, and fruit. Some even drink the juices of whatever fruit or vegetable they choose to chew.
They also eat using their feet, similar to how we would use the fingers on our hands! They possess incredibly strong, often curved beaks that make them dangerous predators and capable of eating even the toughest nuts.
They also learn to differentiate between edible and poisonous food substances, as well as safe water sources in the wild.
Should I Get a Pet Parrot?
Some of the most common types of parrots kept as pets include cockatiels, cockatoos, parakeets, and of course, macaws.
We’ve already established what makes parrots good pet birds. Their long lifespan enables them to be long-lasting companions to an adult human, and what’s more, these birds offer intelligent communication in the form of mimicry, building a vocabulary, and musical ability.
Parrots are incredibly smart, beautiful, and fun birds to keep as pets. Their ability to entertain their owner, mimic human speech, and adapt to social situations gives them an edge over other bird species.
But whether they are pets or wild, parrots are magnificent birds whose intelligence has helped them survive in the wild. We hope you enjoyed learning these interesting parrot facts!
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