Home | Bird Species Profiles | Parrots, Parakeets, Macaws, Cockatoos, Lories & Lorikeets – Interesting Facts and Figures – Part Two

Parrots, Parakeets, Macaws, Cockatoos, Lories & Lorikeets – Interesting Facts and Figures – Part Two

Click here to view the first part of this article.

Most parrots lay their eggs within holes in trees, using little if any nesting material.

Lovebirds build true nests. Females wedge dried grasses and other nesting material into the feathers of their rumps for transport to the nest site.

Monk parrots build huge, communal stick nests. Escaped pets have established large colonies in NYC. At the Bronx Zoo I cared for a group that built a nest in their outdoor exhibit – their calls attracted free-living monk parrots, which added sticks to the exhibit roof, eventually forming an extension to the nest within the exhibit.

Golden-shouldered parrots (Australia) evacuate nests within terrestrial termite mounds, while New Guinea’s buff-faced pygmy parrot does the same in arboreal termite nests. It is assumed that the insects confer a degree of protection to nesting birds, although why they do not attack the parrots is unknown. The eggs may also benefit from the stable temperatures maintained within the mounds.

The Patagonian conure burrows into riverbanks and cliffs to a depth of 10 feet or more when nesting. Those I kept at the Bronx Zoo would not breed until provided with artificial burrows.

Ground parrots (Australia) nest in depressions below grass clumps.

Peach-faced loveLovebirdbirds (East Africa) nest colonially – often commandeering the intricately woven nests of weaver finches after driving out the rightful owners.

The rock parrot is surely the oddest of all when it comes to egg-laying. Its nests have only been found below rocks, just above the high tide mark along the South Australian coast.

Breeding and Courtship
Most parrots form monogamous pair bonds that may last a lifetime. New Zealand’s kakapo and kea, however, are polygamous.

The nocturnal kakapos are the only parrots to display in leks – females choose mates from groups of males which gather in one place to compete with loud, booming calls. In contrast to other parrots, male kakapos provide no care to the young.

Courting parrots utilize a behavior known as the “eye blaze”, in which the brightly colored iris expands in size.

Male and female parrots are often indistinguishable from one another. Male Australian king parrots, however, are scarlet in color while the females are bright green. Male and female eclectus parrots differ so much in appearance that they were long thought to be separate species – males are emerald green with scarlet flanks and under-wings, while females are crimson red with violet-blue bellies.

The IUCN Red Data Book lists 18 species of parrot as extinct, 32 as endangered, 17 as critically endangered and 82 as either vulnerable or threatened.

The spix macaw is likely extinct in the wild (although it survives in captivity) and the glaucous macaw has only been sighted twice in the 20th century. The flightless kakapo, threatened by introduced rats, cats and stoats, likely numbers less than 100 in its native New Zealand.

An article examining the relationship between natural and pet parrot behavior is posted at:http://www.realmacaw.com/pages/parrbehav.html


  1. avatar

    Hello, Frank Indiviglio here. Thanks for your interest in our blog.

    You are wise to plan ahead…I agree that a parrot might not be the best choice for your mother. I would recommend any of several types of finch; my own grandmother kept finches and canaries in her later years, and managed quite well. Although they can be hand-trained, finches are not social to the degree as are parrots, and are perfectly happy when left to their own devices. They do best in pairs or small groups.

    The hardiest species are zebra and society finches, although many of the nuns are would be fine as well. Canaries are also a good choice, assuming the males’ singing would not be a concern (paired males are less likely to sing for long periods of time).

    As for the noise factor, most finches keep up a low, background “peeping” for much of the day, but it is usually not audible for very far, ad they are much more likely than parrots to quiet down when covered. Most do not begin to stir until the cage is uncovered in the morning.

    The Peaked Bird Cage or our other larger models can comfortably house 4 or more finches; the unique Series 1418 Cage has two tiers – it or any of the smaller models are fine for a pair.

    Any of our finch foods can be used as the basis of the diet; a sprout pot should always be available as well.

    Please see my article on the Care of Nuns and Mannikins for further details on care and feeding.

    Please be in touch if you need further information, good luck and enjoy,

    Best Regards, Frank Indiviglio.

  2. avatar

    I’m considering a bird as a present for my mother, she is 72 but had a parrot years ago and might enjoy a bird, I will help a little with the care but mainly she will feed and clean it…I would like something that is not too much work, probably that would not need to be handled – maybe not a parrot, then. Also, noise is maybe a concern now, quite would be better. I would appreciate any ideas on a type of bird and cage, thank you.

  3. avatar

    this is agood page to know about birds i would reconmend this to my friends

  4. avatar

    Hello, Frank Indiviglio here.

    Thanks for your interest in our blog and the kind words. I look forward to your future comments and questions.

    Enjoy and please keep me posted.

    Best regards, Frank Indiviglio.

About Frank Indiviglio

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I believe that I was born with an intense interest in animals, as neither I nor any of my family can recall a time when I was not fascinated by creatures large and small. One might imagine this to be an unfortunate set of circumstances for a person born and raised in the Bronx, but, in actuality, quite the opposite was true. Most importantly, my family encouraged both my interest and the extensive menagerie that sprung from it. My mother and grandmother somehow found ways to cope with the skunks, flying squirrels, octopus, caimans and countless other odd creatures that routinely arrived un-announced at our front door. Assisting in hand-feeding hatchling praying mantises and in eradicating hoards of mosquitoes (I once thought I had discovered “fresh-water brine shrimp” and stocked my tanks with thousands of mosquito larvae!) became second nature to them. My mother went on to become a serious naturalist, and has helped thousands learn about wildlife in her 16 years as a volunteer at the Bronx Zoo. My grandfather actively conspired in my zoo-buildings efforts, regularly appearing with chipmunks, boa constrictors, turtles rescued from the Fulton Fish Market and, especially, unusual marine creatures. It was his passion for seahorses that led me to write a book about them years later. Thank you very much, for a complete biography of my experience click here.
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