The tiny, personable Bee Bee Parrot (Brotogeris jugularis) is a wonderful choice for first time parrot owners and experienced aviculturists alike. Only 7.5 inches long but with a stocky build, these little green birds have always reminded me of “sawed-off” Amazons, and I fell under their spell early on.
However, their unique natural history, which is often overlooked in pet care books, should be considered when planning your pet’s diet and care. Today we’ll take a look at some of this charming bird’s needs.
Bee Bee Parrots range from southwestern Mexico through Central America to Columbia, Venezuela, eastern Ecuador and northeastern Peru. They favor forest edges, but have adapted to human intrusion and utilize farms and cut-over areas. They go about in pairs or flocks of up to 30 birds, and may sometimes breed communally in arboreal termite nests.
Bee Bee Parrots distinguish themselves by the wide variety of foods that they consume and by rearing their chicks largely upon fruit…a fact not always considered by those who keep them as pets. While they will survive on seed-only diets, keeping them in the peak of good health and breeding condition requires that we put some effort into providing dietary variety.
Feeding Pet Bee Bees
I suggest that you provide Bee Bee Parrots with a high grade Small Parrot Seed Mix, Cockatiel Pellets, Fresh Sprouts, Lory Nectar, Canned Insects, fruit, corn and other vegetables, greens (kale, romaine, etc.) and edible flowers (Dandelion) and buds (fruit trees).
Sounds like a lot of work, but Bee Bees really are a delight to feed – watching their excitement as they strip a branch of buds or plow into a flower head is most amusing! They are usually more than willing to try new foods (in contrast to many of their relatives!), so be sure to experiment with freeze-dried fruits and other parrot treats.
You can learn more about Bee Bees and related species in this Parrot Society UK Article.
You can see a video of a calm, nicely colored pet Bee Bee Parrot Here.
Tovi images referenced from wikipedia and originally posted to flickr by Rich Young (in tree) and Cristobal Alvarado Minic (perched on fingers) and uploaded by Snowmanradio