Fun & Interesting Parrots Facts
Parrots, which make for great pets, are fascinating creatures and as a broad category including Macaws, Amazons, Lorikeets, Lovebirds and Cockatoos. Here are some fun parrot facts about this vast group of birds:
Parrots belong to two major groups, psittacidae and cacutaidae. The cacutaidae family has a movable head crest while the psittacidae are distinguishable by their vibrant colors. There are also skeletal differences between the two as the cacatuidae have a gall bladder and a different skull.
Parrots in the wild can largely be found in the tropical areas in South America, Australia, and New Guinea. Some species are from Africa and the Asian mainland.
It is interesting to note that parrot fossils found in Europe go as far back as the Eocene period and are 50 million years old! Fossils most directly corresponding to today's parrots in terms of bone structure and appearance are about 23 million years old.
Parrots have been part of human history also for a long time as there are Egyptian hieroglyphics indicating that they were pets of royal families. There are references to them during the Greek and Roman times also.
There is a wide variety in the size of parrots. The pygmy of New Guinea is 3½ inches long while the hyacinth macaw is closer to 40 inches long. Parrots weigh anywhere from just a few ounces to 3½ pounds.
One of the parrots facts that I find interesting is that these birds, which come in pretty much every color imaginable, have plain white eggs!
Parrots have zygodactyl feet which mean that parrots have two toes that point backwards and two toes that point forward. This accounts for a lot of the climbing ability or parrots and makes them particularly dexterous in the use of their feet.
The life span of a parrot appears to range anywhere from 10 years to 80 years. Smaller parrots live 10 to 15 years while larger parrots such as the macaws and cockatoos live over 75 years. These birds reach maturity in 1 to 4 years.
One interesting fact about Macaws and Cockatoos is that they can fly 500 miles per day in search of food. Their flight capability and life span are interesting to note as indicators of the strength of these birds.
Another of the interesting parrots facts is that they nest in holes. With very few exceptions that build stick nests, they build their homes in holes in trees, rock cavities, ground tunnels or even termite mounds.
Parrots largely eat fruit, seeds, buds, nectar, and pollen in the wild. Sometimes they will eat insects. Their strong beak is hooked and this helps them crack nuts. They have a thick muscular tongue.
They feed their young by regurgitation. Some varieties of parrots do have unusual tastes. The Golden-winged Parakeets likes to eat water snails and the New Zealand Kees scavenge abandoned sheep carcasses.
Parrots are known as talking birds but what they are achieving is imitation or mimicry. A surprising parrot fact is that they do not have vocal cords.
They produce sound by pushing air out of their trachea and control their pitch by changing the shape and depth of the trachea. So, their 'talking' is actually closer to human whistling. They have an impressive range of articulations and pet parrots use this ability to mimic people and other noises that they hear.
The African gray parrots are said to be the best mimics. Parrots in the wild and as flocks are some of the noisiest birds out there. It is said that some parrot vocalizations can be heard from as far as a mile away.
Some parrots are in danger of extinction and conservation efforts are underway avoid this. Spixs Macaw is one of the endangered species of which there are only 7 in captivity. Captive breeding is a step in increasing the numbers of parrots such as these. Increasing awareness of this issue will go a long way in stemming the problem.
There is much more to know about these magnificent creatures. I hope you have enjoyed learning these parrot facts!
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