Parrotlets, which were almost unknown a few years ago, are quickly becoming one of the most sought-after companion parrots. Their tiny stature, stunning plumage, amusing personality, and inability to scream all contribute to their popularity as pets. Parrotlets are authentic parrots in the sense that they are clever, brave, inquisitive, acrobatic, can learn to communicate, and can form love bonds with their humans.
Pacifics, Blue Wings, Green Rumps, Mexicans, Sclaters, Spectacles, and Yellow Face are the seven parrotlet species. The most frequent are the Pacific or Celestial and Green Rump parrotlets. Mexican and Blue Wing parrotlets are significantly harder to come by and are seldom marketed as pets. Spectacled parrotlets, while being new to the United States, are becoming more frequently accessible owing to their ease of reproduction. Although Yellow Face parrotlets are very abundant in Germany and Belgium, there are just seven confirmed pairs in the United States. Sclater’s parrotlets have never been brought into the United States and are uncommon even in Europe.
Parrotlets are little green hookbills that are less than six inches long. Males have blue on their heads, wings, backs, and rumps, which helps identify the species based on the shade and location. Females are green with yellow on their faces, undersides, and wings, which also aids in species identification, albeit it is much more difficult in females. Females of just one Pacific subspecies and the Yellow Face parrotlet have blue on their rumps, heads, and/or wings. It is preferable to identify the distinct species via the elimination procedure. Mexicans, Sclaters, and Blue Wings have grey beaks and legs, whereas Spectacles, Yellow Face, Pacifics, and Green Rumps have horn-colored beaks and legs. Furthermore, both Yellow Face and Sclater’s top mandibles are black.
A hand-fed parrotlet may become a delightful companion that is dedicated to its “human”. Most are high-energy creatures that spend their days swinging, climbing, playing with toys, and eating. Swings and hoops are popular motion-generating toys. Natural fibre ropes, leather, and softwoods are preferred since parrotlets like chewing. Fortunately, unlike other parrots, they seldom break their toys owing to a lack of jaw power. Amazing acrobats, they often play with many toys at the same time, like as dangling from a swing while gnawing on a rope toy. They are constantly moving and will keep themselves entertained if offered a large assortment of toys. These inquisitive little parrots, which are intelligent and brave, may find themselves into a lot of trouble if they are not monitored. Parrotlets are very territorial and will fight other creatures, particularly other birds, even if they are much bigger than itself. Our dogs have taken bites off of all four of our cats and our 80-pound golden retriever at some point, so the parrotlets have a broad birth. We naturally avoid species contact, yet parrotlets are quick to nip a nosy nose.
Both Pacifics and Green Rumps make excellent pets if they are put in new homes at the time of weaning. Unlike many bigger parrots, parrotlets do not form attachments to those who hand-feed them. Bonding is most effective when the infant is between the ages of six and nine weeks. As with other birds, they need a caring, nurturing environment from the start, as well as thorough training and boundary setting. Because parrotlets are actual parrots that are closely related to Amazons, they must be cared for and educated similarly. It’s worth noting that females, in general, are one-person birds that will frequently attack everyone besides their mate. Males, on the other hand, have a favourite individual but accept being handled by others.
Parrotlets from the Pacific
Pacifics are lucky to be the most commonly accessible, since I feel they are also the most beautiful. Males have a cobalt blue stripe of feathers running backward from the eye, as well as cobalt blue on the back, rump, and wings, and may be found from western Equador to northern Peru. Although many females have an eye streak, it is generally light turquoise or emerald green. They have dark green backs and wings, as well as light green feathers on their faces. In American aviculture, there is one subspecies from Columbia that has just been rediscovered. The most noticeable distinction between the nominate species and the subspecies is that females have brilliant, deep blue feathers on the head, rump, back, and, on occasion, wings. It’s worth noting that this blue isn’t the same dark cobalt as in men, but rather a lighter, brighter hue that’s nearly turquoise. There has been an explosion of colour mutations in Pacifics in the past year or two. Many blue, lutinos, yellow, and fallow varieties produced in Europe are now accessible in the United States.
Pacifics are more feisty than Green Rumps and often swagger about confidently. They are not frightened of anybody or anything. Unfortunately, during mating season, Pacifics may be irritable, jealous, possessive, and have hormonal issues. They must also be taught boundaries and never spoilt, otherwise they will become aggressive, biting beasts. Most pets, on the other hand, are quite charming and loving birds. Every feather on their body will be lifted to facilitate stroking and scratching. Most are most content while riding on a shoulder or in a pocket, softly preening hair or nibbling on a shirt.
The Green Rumps
Green Rump parrotlets, another popular species, are the tiniest, measuring little more than 22 grammes. They are Guyana natives with a tiny, streamlined body and a short beak in relation to their heads. Females are mostly apple green with a patch of yellow feathers between their eyes above the cere. The main wing feathers of males are dark cobalt blue, while the secondary wing feathers are turquoise. Except for one subspecies that has faint blue splashed over their rumps and back, they are the only parrotlet species that lacks blue on the rump. Green Rumps have three further subspecies that may be found in Trinidad, Jamaica, and Brazil.
Pet Green Rumps are much more cautious and bashful than Pacifics. When presented with a new scenario, they are often terrified. When they are put in a new home, they often stop eating everything except millet and seed. It takes significantly longer for them to adjust to their new environment. Once settled in, they are just as bright and amusing as their more forceful relatives, swinging, attacking, and playing with their toys for hours.
Mexican parrotlets are the only ones found in neither Central nor South America. Mexican parrotlets are one of the largest kinds and are significantly less active than other parrotlets. The males have turquoise rumps and wings. Females have pale green faces that are devoid of yellow. These parrotlets may be difficult to breed, with just one clutch produced per year or two. Although most parrotlets may produce numerous clutches, Mexicans do not lay again that season if the clutch is lost. They are not just less energetic, but also considerably more docile than their South American counterparts. Many hand-fed infants may be handled for years after becoming effective breeders, which is unheard of in other parrotlet species. They are very sensitive and stop eating when agitated, exposing them to a weakened immune system, which often results in bacterial illnesses.
The Color Yellow
The Yellow Face parrotlet is one of the most endangered parrotlet species, located only in one isolated valley in Peru. Despite being extensively bred in captivity throughout Europe, just one cargo passed quarantine in the early 1980s, and it was quickly forgotten. There are just four Yellow Faces remaining, and they are all guys, according to reports. They have a similar appearance to Pacifics and were mistakenly assumed to be subspecies for many years. They have a brilliant yellow face and are considerably bigger than a male Pacific, and are similarly characterised with an eye stripe and deep, violet blue wings, rumps, and backs. Females have blue on their wings, heads, backs, and rumps as well, although it is not as deep and rich as the males.
The Blue Wing
Blue Wing parrotlets are often misidentified for Mexicans because to their grey legs and beaks. Blue Wings, on the other hand, are more streamlined, whilst Mexicans are wider and barrel-shaped. Male Blue Wings have rumps, wings, and backs that are a rich, dark blue-violet. Females have golden green over the cere between the eyes and brilliant green features. Although they are more simpler to produce than Mexicans, they are difficult to locate since so few were imported and just a few birds are bred.
Spectacle parrotlets are a relatively new breed in American aviculture. In the autumn of 1992, around twenty pairs were imported. A breeding cooperative was founded to ensure the future preservation of bloodlines and a pure gene pool. So far, the scheme has been quite successful, since there are already hundreds of Spectacles around the nation. Spectacles are among the smallest species. Males have dark forest green rumps, backs, wings, and eye rings, while females have vivid violet-blue rumps, backs, wings, and eye rings. Females are dark green as well, with an emerald green eye ring.
Sclater’s parrotlets have never been introduced into the United States and are quite uncommon even in European aviculture. Males have deeper greens and blues than other parrotlets. Females are lighter in colour than males, having yellow underparts and a yellow green face.
The ideal pets are parrotlets maintained as a single bird. They are highly busy birds that need a large cage with plenty of toys. A single bird should have a cage that is at least 18 inches tall, 13 inches wide, and 14 inches deep. Make sure the bottom has a grate to keep the bird away from old food and droppings. Perches made of natural wood, rather than dowels, should be given. Place food and water in areas where droppings will not dirty them. Use uncovered feeding bowls since parrotlets will typically not poke their heads into a hooded dish and will starve. A glass tube fountain with water should be supplied. Parrotlets often bathe in their water bowls, splashing out all of the water. They will play and splash until they are saturated if given a canary-sized bath. Parrotlets will also bath in wet spinach or lettuce by rolling every inch of their body on the wet leaves.
As previously mentioned, parrotlets are very active birds and require a great deal of fuel to expend so much energy. Hand-fed parrotlets should be exposed to a broad range of meals while they are young. They should be fed a good quality small hookbill or cockatiel seed mix. A large hookbill seed mix can be provided, however, parrotlets are unable to crack open the nuts often contained in these mixes. They can also be fed a commercial pelleted diet instead of seeds. Whether fed seeds or pellets, they still require fresh fruits, vegetables and greens every day. They also love whole-grain breads, potatoes, rice and pasta, which should be fed several times a week. “People food” such as pizza crust, popcorn and muffins are especially relished as long as they contain little or no fat. Remember, as with all parrots, your parrotlet thinks anything you are eating is better than anything he is eating. Fresh water, mineral block and cuttlebone should be available at all times. Vitamins can be sprinkled on the fruits and vegetables.
The exact life span of parrotlets is unknown, mainly because they have been uncommon in aviculture. It is believed to be around 20 to 30 years of age. While they are not immune to avian diseases, if well-cared for, parrotlets tend to be relatively disease resistant. Breeders all over the country house these birds outdoors and successfully produce babies year after year so they are not “delicate” animals. Moreover, these birds are shipped all over the country, in all kinds of weather, with no problems.
Anyone looking for a large parrot personality in a small parrot body, need look no further than parrotlets. They are delightful little parrots whose antics can provide hours of entertainment as well as many years of devoted companionship.
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