Parrots are among the top 5 most sought after pets in homes. This is mainly due to their intelligence and many more factors. Jordan Walker, the lead content curator of Coops and Cages, shares some interesting facts about this smart creature.
There are close to 400 species of parrots and each one of them is unique. However, most experts agree that parrots are among the most intelligent birds in the world alongside crows, magpies, ravens and jays. While parrots are pretty common as pets, not many know everything there is about them. Here are 10 interesting facts to get you going.
1. Parrots are zygodactyls
What does this mean? This term refers to the arrangement of toes on an animal. Parrots are zygodactyls which means that they have two toes pointing forward and two pointing back. Such arrangement can only be found in parrots, some owls, cuckoos, woodpeckers and chameleons.
2. Parrots can live up to 80 years old
While small parrots like hanging parrots, lovebirds and budgies have lifespans of 10 – 20 years, larger species like amazons, macaws, cockatoos are clocking close to 80 years or so.
3. Male and female parrots are mostly identical
Typically, male and female parrots are identical for majority of the species. With species belonging to this majority, only those with a keen eye or have the ability to verify with lab tests can separate the 2 genders. For the lucky few, like the eclectus parrot, there are giveaways that separate male from female like differences in color.
4. 33% of the total species are endangered
One-third of the nearly 400 species of parrots are close to extinction. Logging or habitat destruction is the biggest factor contributing to this and followed closely by animal poaching for trade purposes.
5. They can lift up food to their mouths using only their feet
The sentence is pretty self-explanatory but is an astounding revelation all the same. Most birds have to use their beak to lift their food. Otherwise, they carry it around using their feet.
6. Parrots mate for life
Parents are much more monogamous than humans. The only time they would seek another mate is when the current one dies, gets captured or disappears for some other reason. They also look for new mates if their current one is not able to produce any offspring.
7. They are omnivores
Although they have a preferred diet of fruit, pollen, nectar, seeds and buds, parrots also feed on arthropods, snails and other small animals.
8. They aren’t known for building nests
Around 6 species of parrots are known to build nests in trees and around 3 build nests in the ground. The rest pretty much rely on tree hollows and cavities.
9. Only 1 national flag has a parrot
The Commonwealth of Dominica features an imperial amazon parrot in the center of its flag. Also known as the sisserou, this parrot can only be found on this island country.
10. Some parrots sleep on only 1 foot
Parrots have feathers on all but their bare legs. As this would be the entry point of cold and the exit point of warmth, parrots like to tuck in one of their feet so as to keep it warm and use the other for balance. After some time, they will alternate the two.
There are tons more fascinating facts about parrots out there. Hopefully, by learning this, everyone grows to appreciate and becomes able to take care of parrots properly.