Parrots are the most common pet throughout the world. They vary widely in size and colors depending on the species. They are social and pretty intelligent birds, in fact they are the most intelligent birds in the entire world. But, sadly many of their species are considered as endangered. Here are some mesmerizing facts about parrots which will definitely leave you amazed.
1. There are around 400 species of parrots and all of them are smart, fast learners. They can associate words with objects and situations, even they can use tools efficiently to solve problems. Researchers say a parrot’s IQ is equivalent to a 4 year old child.
2. They have many varieties in colors as well as size also. The largest parrot is the Kakapo, which can grow up-to 2 feet and weigh as much as a cat. Whereas, the smallest species is the Buff face pygmy parrot that grows up-to 3 inches.
3. All parrots can’t fly, like the Kakapo parrot in New Zealand. These creatures can jump and good climbers so, they never miss out for fruits. They can live up-to 90 years but, unfortunately there are only 142 of them left in the world as of 2018.
4. Parrots’ famous behavior is to intimate sounds. They learn, intimate even copy different sounds of nature including human speech. African grey parrots can speak over 100 different words, Macaws and Parakeets are also best among all of the species. A cheery blue parakeet named Puck recognized about 1728 words, making him the record holder on Guinness book of world records in 1995.
5. They have Zygodactyl feet, meaning their foot consist of 2 forward facing and 2 backward facing toes. It help them to pick or grab objects like food and take it to their mouth. So, they can feed by their feet like humans do by hands.
6. These birds live long, such long that sometimes they outlive their owners. Small parrots generally live for 10-15 years whereas, medium parrots can live between 25-30 years. But, the large ones can live over 80 years. In Brookfield Zoo, Chicago a cockatoo named Cookie was 82 years old as passed away on 2016.
7. These birds are omnivores, as their diet consist of fruits, seeds, nuts and insects. But, they found having meat also. The Rainbow colored lories and lorikeets seen feeding on meat in Australia. In New Zealand Keas were observed attacking and killing sheep in 1868, and were persecuted as sheep killer until they were granted protected in 1986.
8. Mostly they are found in tropical or sub-tropical regions of Australia, Asia, South and Central America and Africa. But, not all of them are tropical. Keas live in the Alpine region of New Zealand and the endangered Maroon fronted parrot found at 600 feet in Sierra Madre Oriental mountain of Mexico.
9. They have taste glands on the back of their mouth but, the majority around 300 taste glands are present in parrot’s upper jaw. It is not huge number like humans but, they show interest in selected food items depending on taste.
10. They produce Psittacofulvins, a bacteria resistant pigment. Which not only give them bright red, yellow or green coloration but also help them to eliminate bacterial infections and protect the glorious plumage from degradation.
11. Most parrots stay in their habitat but, the Swift parrots and Orange bellied parrots do migrate each year. Their path is across the Bass strait, between Australia to Tasmania.
12. Their beaks are unique in shape. The upper beak is larger and curved downwards on the lower part and they are quite strong. Larger Macaws can crush Brazil nut shells easily even they can cut metal rods of a cage to break out.
13. Parrots were kept as pets from 3000 years ago by ancient Egyptian, Indian and Chinese. In 300 BC they were introduced to Europe. Many famous people owned them like Aristotle, King Henry VIII, Marco polo, Queen Isabella, Marie Antoinette, Queen Victoria, Martha Washington, Teddy Roosevelt and Steven Spielberg.
14. Due to habitat loss and persistent poaching for pet trade parrots are facing the danger of extinction. Recently in Ghana, the native African grey parrot population has been decimated to 99% making them one of the most endangered species.
15. In India parrots are classified as wild bird species hence, it is illegal to keep them as pets. Anyone caught breaking the law could face 6 years of imprisonment.