The fun and educational site for parrot loving kids of all ages!

Fun Facts....Did You Know?

Fun FactsGeneral Facts

  • The smallest bird in the world is the Bee Hummingbird which is 2.5" long.
  • The smallest parrot species is the Pygmy Parrot from New Guinea which are as small as 3" long.
  • The largest bird in the world is the Ostrich which can grow up to 9' tall.
  • The largest parrot species is the Hyacinth Macaw that can be up to 40" in length.
  • The largest bird in the world is the Ostrich which can grow up to 9' tall.
  • Some of the larger parrot species are the longest living of all bird species and can live more than 75 years.
  • A Blue and Gold Macaw named Charlie, who once belonged to Winston Churchill, is the oldest recorded parrot.  She was hatched in 1899 and, as of in 2011, she celebrated her 112th birthday.
  • Some parrots in the wild must fly several hundred miles a day to find food.
  • Most parrot species are monogamous which means they stay with the same mate for life.
  • Most parrots do not build nests but rather prefer to use nest holes in trees.
  • Do parrots eat meat? You bet! Although not primarily carnivorous, some species of wild parrots have been observed to eat meat. For example:
    • Golden-winged parakeets are known to eat water snails. They have been seen dipping their entire heads in the water to get to these snails, which they carry back to a nearby tree to eat.
    • Keas from New Zealand have been known to scavenge sheep carcasses as well as raid shearwater burrows to take chicks.
    • Yellow-tailed Black Cockatoo's diet is largely made up of wood-boring grubs

Species Specific Facts

  • The Kakapo Parrot from New Zealand is one of the rarest and oddest of all Parrots. It is the only nocturnal parrot and it is also the only flightless parrot, maybe because it's the heaviest parrot too weighing up to 8 pounds! The Kakapo Parrot is also very endangered with only about 90 left.
  • Another unusual parrot from New Zealand is the Kea. The Kea is one of very few alpine or high mountain parrots. The Kea is also a carnivorous parrot known to eat carrion.
  • Quaker Parakeets are unique among parrots in their construction of large, elaborate, free-standing communal nests, built largely from twigs and vines. The nests can each weigh more than 100 pounds and hold more than 40 birds.
  • Amazon parrots are recognized as the parrots with the best singing talents.
  • The Hanging Parrot has an unusual method of sleeping. They hang upside down like bats!
  • The bite strength of the Hyacinth Macaw has been measured to be stronger than the bite of a pit bull!
  • The most colorful parrot is the Rainbow Lorikeet from Australia as it has almost every color of the rainbow!
  • Lorikeets have tongues that look like brushes that help them to feed on nectar and pollen.
  • The rarest parrot is the Spix Macaw which is thought to be extinct in the wild and only 120 are known to exist in captivity.
  • Male and female eclectus were once thought to be separate species because the females are predominately red and the males are mostly green.

Unique Physical Characteristics and Abilities

  • A parrot's feathers weigh more than its skeleton.
  • Parrots see in color. In fact, they can see more colors than we can because they can see into the near-ultraviolet wavelengths of light.
  • Hyacinth Macaws, Pionus Parrots and Amazon Parrots do not have preen (uropygial) glands.
  • Each toe in a parrots' foot has a different number of bones in it.
  • Parrots are the only birds who can pick up food with their feet and lift it to their beaks to eat.
  • Did you know that most parrots are left-footed? This means that they favor the use of the left foot when stepping up or handling food.
  • Did you know that birds can sleep with one eye open and the other one closed? The two halves of their brain take turns sleeping. This helps them to get some sleep and watch for predators at the same time.

Vocalizations and Talking Ability

  • Parrots don't have vocal cords. They create sounds by manipulating the shape and depth of their trachea.
  • Parrots aren't the only birds capable of speech! Starlings, Ravens and Mynah birds have also demonstrated this ability.
  • In 1995 a budgerigar named Puck was credited by Guinness World Records as having the largest vocabulary of any bird, at 1,728 words.
  • Although pet parrots often show the ability to mimic words and household sounds, parrots in the wild have not been observed mimicking unusual sounds.
  • Studies have shown that right-footed African Grey parrots have a larger vocabulary than left-footed African Grey parrots.
  • Talk about big mouths....some parrot vocalizations can be heard up to 2 miles away!

Mysterious Origins?

  • The closest living relatives to birds are crocodiles and alligators!
  • Some scientists believe that birds evolved from dinosaurs. This is based on the similarities between bird skeletons and those of meat eating dinosaur skeletons.
  • Although parrots are the only living animals that have feathers, some species of dinosaurs also had feathers.
  • Scientists have discovered parrot fossils in Europe that dated back to 55 million years ago.

Culture

  • In Mayan mythology, the sun god was represented by a macaw, which is a natural role for a bird with such brilliant feathers.
  • The parrot also played an important role in the Mayan Creation Myth.
  • In Native American beliefs, parrots are considered to be bringers of specific prayers and could bestow blessings.
  • Parrot Astrologers? Some fortune tellers in India use green parrots to pick up tarot cards when foretelling a person's future. Parrot astrologers also make house calls and set up booths on temple grounds. Parrot astrology is often a family trade passed on from father to son.

Miscellaneous

  • Did you know there is a town in Kentucky named Parrot?
  • Did you know that most parrots are left-footed? This means that they favor the use of the left foot when stepping up or handling food.
  • There are an estimated 16 million pet birds in the U.S. Approximately 6% of U.S. households have a pet bird.
  • World Parrot Day was founded on May 21, 2004 to raise awareness of threats to captive and wild parrots.

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