African grey parrots, parakeets, Amazon parrots and macaws are the best at imitating sounds. One African grey parrot named Alex was able to speak more than a hundred words and what’s more impressive is that he was able to understand those words.
Parrots are among the most intelligent birds.
Indeed, parrots learn well. They can not only speak words but associate them with objects or situations. They can use tools and solve problems. Some scientists even believe they have the logic of a four-year-old, proving this with different experiments. Parrots are also very playful birds. In case you didn’t know it yet, playing is a sign of intelligence.
Parrots are the only birds that can eat with their feet.
Rose-ringed Parakeet eating leaves. Image credit: JayDalal5 cc3.0
Parrots have zygodactyl feet. This means they have four toes on each foot, two facing forward and two facing backward.Parrot feet are like human hands. They don’t just walk or perch on them. They can pick up objects with them and even pick up food and bring it to their mouths. That’s right. They can eat using their feet.
Some parrots can live for over 80 years.
The lifespan of a parrot varies from one species to the next. Small parrots usually live 15-20 years, medium-sized parrots 25-30 years and large parrots 60-100 years. Macaws are especially long-lived and one blue-and-yellow macaw named Charlie is believed to be more than 100 years old. Another macaw named Poncho, who has starred in several Hollywood movies, is claimed to be 89 years old. The record for oldest living parrot, though, is held by Cookie, a Major Mitchell’s cockatoo who is 81 years old.
Parrots have strong beaks.
One of a parrot’s main features is its curved, broad beak, the top beak often larger than the lower one. Parrot beaks are not only large, they are also strong. In fact, the beak of the hyacinth macaw, the world’s largest flying parrot, is strong enough to crack macadamia nuts, considered the toughest nuts to crack, as well as Brazil nut pods. It can even crack a coconut open. For this reason, parrots should be handled with care at all times.
Many parrots mate for life.
During the breeding season, female parrots lay anywhere from 2-8 eggs, which are always white. Most parrots do not build nests, instead laying eggs in tree holes. After 17-35 days, the eggs hatch and the young are cared for by both parents until they are ready to leave the nest.Once the female chooses him, the two stay together for life, even outside the breeding season. They help each other find food, watch out for each other, sleep together and groom each other in order to strengthen their bond. Lovebirds are especially known for their tight bond since they spend long hours just sitting together on a perch.
Parrots have been kept as pets for 3,000 years.
Parrots were first kept as pets by ancient Egyptians and then by the Indians and Chinese. They were brought to Europe in 300 BC, often kept by the rich or the nobility. Famous people who have owned pet parrots include Aristotle, King Henry VIII, Marco Polo, Queen Isabella, Marie Antoinette, Queen Victoria, Martha Washington, Teddy Roosevelt and Steven Spielberg.Today, parrots remain the most popular pet birds in the world. Keep in mind, though, if you are planning to have a pet parrot of your own, that parrots need a lot of affection and stimulation. If not trained well, they can be noisy, chew excessively and bite.
Cockatoos can move the feathers on their heads.
Cockatoos are Old World parrots that are often not as brightly colored as other parrots. Their feathers lack the chemicals that are responsible for the blue and green colors found in other parrots, so they do not have these colors. Their most distinguishing feature is their headcrest or the feathers on their head which, interestingly, they can move just as dogs can move their ears. When flying or landing, a cockatoo’s headcrest is often raised, as well as when it is scared, angry or excited. At other times, it is flat against their heads, making it seem like it isn’t there at all.
The world’s largest parrot cannot fly.
Kakapo. Image credit: jidanchaomian cc2.0
The kakapo is the world’s largest parrot. It can weigh up to nine pounds and grow over two feet long. The kakapo, however, is a flightless bird. It cannot fly. In fact, it is the only flightless parrot in the world. It is also the only parrot that is active at night, an adaptation that helps it escape the notice of predators.Most parrots look the same whether they are male or female but the female kakapo is smaller than the male, with a longer tail and a longer beak.While a kakapo cannot fly, it can jump and is good at climbing trees to eat fruits.Sadly, the kakapo is now one of the rarest birds in the world.
The kea is the only alpine parrot in the world.
The kea, the kakapo’s cousin, is also a unique parrot. While most parrots live in warm places, the kea lives in a cold environment high in the mountains. It has thick feathers that keep it warm and a rounded body that allows it to conserve and preserve body heat. Keas are known to be very smart and curious birds. Sometimes, they can be too curious, however, and are known to peck at cars, backpacks and human clothing. They have also been known to steal wallets, passports, sticks of gum and pieces of jewelry. Quite the mischief maker, don’t you think?