What do you need
to know about parrots?
In addition to being intelligent and
verbal, parrots can be remarkably destructive.
(used by permission)
(Think of 3-year-olds, with power tools.)
For the larger parrots, only Ironwood
and Manzanita are really tough enough to use as perches.
Other hardwoods and softwoods are used as chew toys,
to be shredded into toothpicks.
Hyacinth macaw, eating a macadamia
used with permission
The crushing strength of the large
parrot beak is great enough to successfully
attack any of the hard-shelled nuts (brazil
nuts, almonds, walnuts, macadamia nuts, etc.)
or to snap a large hardwood dowel. Stories of
parrots snapping broomsticks may be apocryphal,
but stories of severed fingers are not.
Greenwing Macaw, holding a
©Judith Archer, used by permission
Parrots have the equivalent of an opposable
thumb, with two toes pointing forward and two toes
pointing back. They can stand on one foot, grasping,
while using the other foot and their beak to manipulate
Prospero, our Blue and Gold Macaw
Parrots are flock animals and tend to
pair bond with their owner/caregiver. Depending on
the species, parrots live for 30 to 70 years.
Parrots are among the few animals
kept as pets that are prey animals (as opposed
to predators, like cats and dogs). They tend
to be suspicious of anything new introduced
into their environment.