Parrotlets are just what their name implies – tiny parrots. Despite their diminutive stature – they average but 6 inches in length, and some are even smaller – they are “all parrot”. Parrotlets combine all of the larger species qualities in a small package, with an important exception – they do not scream (but they can learn to speak)!
Parrotlet Species and Personalities
Seven species of parrotlet inhabit much of Mexico, Central America and South America. All are clad in brilliant green with varying splotches of other colors, and a number of captive bred color mutations are available.
In common with lovebirds, parrotlets seem bent on convincing the world that small size is not a handicap – most are utterly fearless and extremely territorial. They will recklessly attack birds, dogs, cats and other creatures many times their size, and should not be trusted in mixed aviaries. However, they bond readily to people, make wonderfully affectionate pets, and may live for 25-30 years. Perpetually on the move, these tiny bundles of energy will never fail to entertain you.
Popular Species in the USA
The Pacific or celestial parrotlet (Forpus colestis) is the species most commonly kept in the USA. Ranging from western Ecuador to northwestern Peru, it is among the feistiest and most active of the group. At a mere 4 ¾ inches in length, the green-rumped parrotlet (F. passerinus) is the smallest species. It is somewhat more retiring than the Pacific, but makes an excellent introduction to parrot-keeping.
Parrotlets are wildly popular in European aviculture, but are only now coming into their own in the USA.
Information on breeding Parrotlets is available at: