A man’s best friend may be a dog, but parrots aren’t that far behind either. The Psittacines are some of the most alluring and beautiful creatures on Earth.
There are over 400 different species of parrots and many of them have different roots. This begs the question. Where do these feathered species come from anyways?
Fret not, because we’re about to end your curiosity. So without further ado, let’s jump into the article.
Origin of Parrots
The origin of birds is one of the most controversial topics in biology. Although many scientists believe that modern birds are descended from dinosaurs, others argue that birds evolved independently from reptiles. In fact, some researchers even claim that birds are actually closer relatives to crocodiles than they are to dinosaurs. This debate has raged on since the 19th century, and there are still no clear answers.
Fortunately, there are plenty of places around the world where rocks formed long ago. These geological formations often contain beautiful fossils, including those of animals that lived hundreds of millions of years ago. Some of these fossils are almost perfectly preserved, and they give us important clues about how life changed on Earth over millions of years.
Judging from the diversity of parrots in America and Australia, scientists have dawned upon the theory that the Psittacifrom order may have its origins in Gondwana, a supercontinent that existed around 500 million years ago.
It is believed that parrots inhabited this area from as far back as 59 million years. However, these were not exactly like the modern parrots as they had drastically different features. The parrots we see today can be dated back to 23 million years ago.
Why Do People Disagree About the Origin of Birds?
One of the main reasons why people disagree about how birds evolved is because they look very different today compared to what they looked like during the Mesozoic Era. For example, dinosaurs did not have feathers, but birds do. Similarly, unlike reptiles, they have beaks.
The Early Ages of Parrots
Parrots were to the Romans what cats were to the Egyptians. Historians predict that ancient Rome was successfully able to domesticate them around 5000 years ago.
Parrots did not always inhabit Europe. In fact, they were first introduced to the continent by none other than Alexander the Great. After conquering India, he brought Runk-neck parrots and Alexandrine Parrots to Greece.
From there onwards they became popular in Europe. However, when the Roman Empire fell, so did people’s interest in parrots.
During the Age of Exploration for nearly 200 years, Europe expanded its territories in search of trade. As a result, more species of parrots were brought back to the continent. These were mainly from India, Africa, and South America.
Significance of Parrots in Culture
In the form of religion, art, and music, parrots have been a part of human culture for nearly thousands of years.
Their feathers have similarly been utilized for ages as decoratives and in ceremonies.
Even though now, the concept of “pet parrots” is common, things were a bit different in olden times. A couple of centuries back, they were considered a symbol of royalty due to the difficulty that went into obtaining and taming them.
The main reason for their popularity is their ability to mimic human speech, as well as their beautiful and unique colors.
Parrots in the Wild
The feathered creatures inhabit different continents of Earth. Depending on where they are from, their habitats are subject to differ.
Parrots in Central America and South America
South America is home to different types of species of birds. These include conures such as green cheek conures, nandays, jendays, etc.
Similarly, Lineolated parakeets mainly reside in highland forests of Mexico, Columbia, Panama, Andes Mountains, and Venezuela. There are also many different species of Amazon parrots. You can primarily find them in deep rainforests and open savanna lands.
Parrots in Asia
Asia, being the largest continent, houses an equally large number of parrot species. All of these unique species have different origins.
For instance, Eclectus parrots can be found in rainforest trees of Indonesia. Ring-necked parakeets can be found in India while Alexandrine parakeets mainly inhabit forests of South East Asia.
As we can see, although different species of parrots reside in different areas, their habitats are more or less common being in rainforests and tropical areas.
Parrots in Africa
Africa is home to some of the most mesmerizing species of parrots in existence. These include Lovebirds, Senegal parrots, African Grey Parrots, and African Ring-necked parakeets to speak of a few.
Lovebirds can mostly be found in savannas mainly, although they also can be spotted in urban areas. Senegal parrots are usually found in open areas while African Grey Parrots are most commonly found in dense forests.
Parrots in Australia
Despite being the smallest continent, Australia has its fair share of parrot species.
You can find Budgies in harsh inland habitats, Cockatiels in bushland and wetland while Cockatoos in open habitats almost everywhere in Australia.
Parrots in Europe and North America
Parrots in Europe and North America exist in large numbers as well, however, these are not native to the area.
Nowadays, the most popular here are Quaker parrots and Lovebirds along with a few other species.
Parrots are smart birds with different personalities and abilities. For instance, some can mimic human speech. According to research, more than 400 different species of parrots have inhabited the Earth as of 2022.
While archeologists and scientists still have reservations about the origins of the majestic creatures, they all agree that they came into being in less than 30 million years of duration.
In this guide, we talked about the origin of parrots along with their slow progress to become a part of human culture. We also talked about wild parrots and the habitats of different species of parrots that inhabit the Earth currently. That brings us to the end of this article.