Photo by Josh More
Parrotlets - Species Profile:
Origin: Peru and Ecuador
General descriptionThere are seven species of Parrotlets, most common being Pacifics (Celestials) and Green Rumps. The other species are Wings, Mexicans, Sclater's, Spectacles and Yellow Face. All of them are small parrots sized 4 to 5,5 inches, with a stocky build and a broad tail. They've been nicknamed "Pocket Parrots" as they are the smallest members of the parrot family. However, they are not "low maintenance" companions. It's true that they are naturally easier to clean up after, but they have to be socialized and handled daily to remain tame.
Male Pacifics have a cobalt rump with bright blue patches on the wings and behind the eyes. The females have a less pronounced colouration; they are predominantly green, with no cobalt rump or blue in their wings. Both have pink legs and beaks. Male Green Rumps have a bright green on the cheeks, underside of the body and behind the neck. Their lower back, rump and upper tail are vivid emerald green, while the underside of the wings and the edge of wings are blue. Females have yellowish colouring on the forehead.
Parrotlets can live for up to 30 years, while the average lifespan is 12 to 20 years.
TemperamentParrotlets are bold, inquisitive, and mischievous birds that have a big personality in a small package. They are as intelligent as many larger species. Hilarious to look at, they will constantly entertain you with their antics. Make sure you provide them with a lot of toys to busy their impish mind. Given proper care and training, these small birds make wonderful companions. Taming them shouldn't be difficult, and they bond with their owners quite easily. Without proper training and care, however, they can become rather unruly. Training, care, love, consistency and patience can eliminate behavioural problems and make your companion friendly, affectionate, and docile.
While they have a limited talking ability, Parrotlets can still be taught to speak if you have enough patience and persistence. They can learn several words, short phrases, and many sounds and whistles. Their voices are small in proportion to their size, and sometimes it can be hard to recognize words. Their natural sounds are very pleasant chirps. The lack of noise makes them ideal pets for apartment or condominium dwellers.
Health and nutritionGenerally healthy, Parrotlets can sometimes suffer from common parrot conditions such as diarrhoea, loss of appetite, Anorexia, lethargy, weight loss, feather plucking, beak swelling, wheezing or coughing, favouring one foot, eye or nasal discharge, red or swollen eyes.
The Parrotlet's diet should consist of grains, fresh vegetables, nuts, seeds, high quality pellets and meats. Food should be available at any time as Parrotlets have extremely high metabolism. Fruit and berries can be a nice addition to the diet, as well as eggs. Vitamin and calcium supplements should be added in their diet from time to time.
To maintain their physical and mental health, Parrotlets should be let out of their cage every day for an hour or two.
Parrotlet cage setupParrotlets should have a spacious cage big enough to give them room to play and exercise comfortably. The recommended cage size is 24 x 24 x 24 inches. Square or rectangular cages should be preferred. When you buy a cage, make sure the locking mechanism is secure.
The cage should be placed away from direct sunlight and draughts, preferably in a room where the family spends most of the time. Parrotlets enjoy interacting with everyone.
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