Parrots are popular pet birds for children. They are not only beautiful to look at, but also fun to play with. Their knack for mimicking different kinds of sounds is unmatched, making them extremely endearing. They are intelligent and can respond to your calls and follow your instructions when tamed.
There is a lot to know and learn about this beautiful bird. And in this post, we give you all the interesting information and facts about parrots that you can share with your child.
Interesting Information About Parrots For Kids
When you introduce your child to a parrot, you will likely be bombarded with a ton of questions regarding this fascinating feathered friend. You may or may not know the answers to all the questions. Here are some basic but important nuggets of information about parrots your child will love to learn.
- Body: A parrot has a slender body with a relatively large head and a small neck. Its curved beak is short but strong enough to break open the tough shell of a walnut. It also fights and defends itself with its strong beak. Its tongue is large and helps it grab seeds and fruits.
Parrots have strong legs with zygodactyl feet. Their feet have four toes with one pair facing forward and the other pair facing backward. This structure of their legs gives them a firm grip to hold onto tree branches and remain stable even in the windy weather.
The body size and weight vary according to the species it belongs to. The Pygmy parrot, the smallest parrot species, measures less than four inches and can weigh as much as ten grams (1), while the Hyacinth Macaw, the largest parrot species, can stretch as long as 40in (2).
- Species: Parrots basically belong to one of these major types of parrot families.
- True parrots: These are colorful parrots that are herbivores and are a part of the Psittacoidea
- Cockatoos: Hailing from the Cacatuoides superfamily, these parrots are mostly white, black, or grey.
- New Zealand parrots: These belong to the Strigopoidea superfamily and includes three types of parrots — Nestor, Strigops, and fossil Nelepsittacus.
- Behavior: Parrots usually spend most of their time grooming themselves as well as other parrots. When not grooming, they are busy looking for food. They have a peculiar tendency to screech loudly, especially in the morning and late evening, as if to send some message to other parrots.
- Diet: Parrots are omnivores, and their eating habits vary from species to species. They are fond of eating seeds, nuts, pollen, buds, fruits, and meat. For instance, the vegetarian Lorikeet loves having the nectar of certain flowers, while the carnivorous golden parakeet relishes water snails.
- Natural habitat: Wild parrots can thrive in various types of climates. They can be found in the lush rainforests, palm forests, woodlands, and savannas. Whether it is the dry desert edges, grasslands, or even scrublands, parrots can survive just about anywhere. Some parrot species even live in cold, snowy climates.
- Breeding: Parrots are monogamous and can stay loyal to one mating partner for a long time. They are not territorial and live in cavities of trees or build nests on tree branches. At times, they also take over empty termite nests. The female parrot lays white eggs and mostly takes on the responsibility of incubation. In cockatoos, the vernal hanging parrots, and the blue lorikeets, the male parrots also share the incubation. The incubation period can last anywhere between 17 and 35 days. For larger parrots, the number of days for incubation is higher. The young ones live in the nest for the first three weeks to four months or even more depending upon the species.
25 Interesting Facts About Parrots For Kids
Parrots are fascinating birds. Here are a few fun facts about them your child will love to know.
- Parrots are great at mimicking. They can easily mimic sounds, words, and even certain human actions.
- The lack of vocal cords does not stop parrots from making a sound. They use their throat muscles to direct air over their trachea or windpipe to produce the desired sound.
- Parrots generally live in groups called “flocks” or “pandemonium,” consisting of around 20 to 30 birds.
- Male and female parrots look alike, and it is very difficult to tell the sex of a parrot by just looking at it.
- The lack of a balanced diet and poor eating habits can cause obesity in parrots.
- Blessed with strong legs, parrots love to show off their acrobatic skills, such as hanging upside down from a tree branch while balancing perfectly to eat their food. They are the only birds that can hold their food with their feet and bring it to their mouth.
- Self-grooming or preening is their favorite pastime, and they do it to attract a good partner.
- A few parrots, such as the Kakapo, sleep during the day and hunt at night.
- The lifespan of a parrot depends upon its species, and some can even outlive a human. A small parrot can live up to 15 to 20 years, while a bigger parrot can easily go on to live for around 30 years. Large parrots, such as the Kakapo, can live up to 95 years.
- Kakapos are the only parrots in the world that cannot fly. They use their short wings for support and balance.
- Parrots are very loving creatures and often show their affection for other birds or even humans by kissing them. They pick this trait from the mothers who make beak-to-beak contact when feeding them.
- Like chickens, a female parrot is called a ‘hen,’ and the male parrot is called a ‘cock.’ Their offspring is called a ‘chick.’
- According to a study published in Biology Letters (3), the feathers of a parrot contain pigments called Psittacofulvins, which protect the feathers from damage and also give them color.
- Just like humans, parrots too feel emotions and can feel agitated, happy, and even sad.
- The ears of a parrot are located on the sides of its head and are concealed under its feathers.
- Parrots have over 400 taste buds that are mostly located on the roof of their mouth.
- Sadly, due to the large-scale destruction of trees and hunting, many species of parrots are on the verge of extinction. To protect and conserve them, the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) has banned the trading of wild parrots.
- Parrots are mostly hunted by snakes, large carnivorous birds, monkeys, and humans.
- The acute eyesight of a parrot enables it to see colors with greater clarity than humans. It can see ultraviolet rays that humans cannot.
- When a previously tamed and talking parrot is left in the wild, the other parrots around it can pick up its words and phrases without any training.
- An African Grey parrot named Alex was famous for having a rich vocabulary of around 100 words.
- Dominica, a country in the Caribbean, has the Sisserou Parrot on its national flag. The parrot is also recognized as its national bird.
- Parrots are one of the few birds that understand music and can even move to it, as if dancing to the tune.
- A Cockatoo has a crest of feathers atop its head that can be made to stand or rest as and when it pleases.
- A Goffin’s cockatoo in Indonesia was known to solve complicated mechanical puzzles.
A parrot is like an intelligent and impressionable kid. Considering their body structure, they can survive in the wild as well as in captivity. However, like a lot of other birds, the loss of habitat has endangered several species of parrots. With strict control over the poaching of exotic parrots and an increase in trees and forest lands, our beautiful feathered friends can be saved from extinction.
- Parrot; San Diego Zoo Animal and Plants
- Parrot; San Diego Zoo Animal and Plants
- Edward H, Burtt, et al.; Colourful parrot feathers resist bacterial degradation; Biol Lett (2011).
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