Parrots

9 September 2016

The parrots are a broad order of more than 350 birds. Macaws, Amazons, lorikeets, lovebirds, cockatoos and many others are all considered parrots. Though there is great diversity among these birds, there are similarities as well. All parrots have curved beaks and all are zygodactyls, meaning they have four toes on each foot, two pointing forward and two projecting backward. Most parrots eat fruit, flowers, buds, nuts, seeds, and some small creatures such as insects. Parrots are found in warm climates all over most of the world. The greatest diversities exist in Australasia, Central America, and South America.

Many parrots are kept as pets, especially macaws, Amazon parrots, cockatiels, parakeets, and cockatoos. These birds have been popular companions throughout history because they are intelligent, charismatic, colorful, and musical. Some birds can imitate many nonavian sounds, including human speech. The male African gray parrot (Psittacus erithacus) is the most accomplished user of human speech in the animal world; this rain forest-dweller is an uncanny mimic. Currently the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) bans the sale of any wild-caught species, yet the parrots’ popularity continues to drive illegal trade.

Parrots Essay Example

Some parrot species are highly endangered. In other cases, once tame birds have reproduced in the wild and established thriving feral populations in foreign ecosystems. The monk (green) parakeet, for example, now lives in several U. S. states. Parrots are fine-looking birds, mainly found inhabiting tropical and subtropical areas of the world. Grouped into two families, Psittacidae (true parrots) and Cacatuidae (cockatoos), they include as many as 350 species within their order. A parrot can be described as a bird with a strong curved beak, erect carriage, strong legs and clawed zygodactyl feet.

Most of its species are green in color, with a few being multi-colored. Parrots are counted amongst the most intelligent birds and are very popular as pets. Given below are a number of interesting facts and some amazing information on parrots. Interesting and Amazing Information on Parrots * While eating, parrots hold their food in one of their feet, which can be either left or right, making parrots left as well as right handed. * Parrots, when not nesting, live in groups known as flocks and are prone to squawking and screaming. * Parrots, mainly pet ones, are very good at mimicking.

They can easily imitate the speech and calls of other birds and animals, even humans. African gray parrots are the best mimics. * Parrots are zygodactyls i. e. they have four toes on each foot. Two of their toes point forward and two point backward. * Most of the parrots build their nests in holes in trees, termite mounts, rock cavities or ground tunnels. Only a few build stick nests. * Wild Macaws and Cockatoos can fly up to 500 miles in a day, while searching for food. * The vocalizations of some parrots can be heard for up to 1 mile. * Larger parrots can live more than 75 years, while smaller ones live up to 15 years only.

Parrots cannot eat chocolate because it is poisonous to their body. * Parrots have a thick muscular tongue that helps them eat fruit, seeds, buds, nectar, and pollen. Parrots in danger. Some parrots are in danger of extinction. This includes the Spixs Macaw, of which only 7 survive in captivity. Naturalists once thought they had completely disappeared from the wild, but one was seen spotted flying in the South American rainforest. Breeding efforts have been stepped out to increase the parrots’ numbers. Three hundred and twenty-eight different species of parrots live on the Earth.

Parrots are divided into groups such as cockatoos, lories, lovebirds, macaws, and parakeets. Parrots  range in size from the pygmy of the South Pacific which is only 3? inches long to the hyacinth macaw which is about 10 inches long. Much of its length is in its long tail. Parrots weigh from just a few ounces to 3? pounds. Most parrots are predominantly green, especially the ones from South America. Some American parrots are mostly blue or yellow. However, parrots may have red, green, blue, purple, white, pink, brown, yellow, and even black. They have large heads and short necks.

The zygodactyolus feet of the parrot have two toes that point backwards and two toes that point forward. These toes make the parrot excellent climbers. Smaller parrots live 10 to 15 years. Larger parrots such as the macaws and cockatoos live more than 75 years. These birds reach maturity in 1 to 4 years. Wild parrots  live in the forest of tropical zones including South America, Australia, and New Guinea. A few live in Africa and mainland Asia. Parrots are hole nesters. They build their nests in holes in trees, termite mounts, rock cavities, or ground tunnels. A few exceptions will build stick nests.

The thick muscular tongue helps the parrot eat fruit, seeds, buds, nectar, and pollen. Sometimes they will eat insects. Their strong beak is hooked. They feed their young by regurgitation. Parrots have a wide range of articulations. Wild parrots do not imitate. Only pets will mimic people and noises they hear. The African gray parrots are the best mimics. Some species of the parrot have become endangered. Thousands are brought to Europe and North America as pets. Many of these die making this journey. Even though there are so many different looking parrots they actually only consist of two major groups.

They run the gamut from parakeets and lovebirds to amazons and macaws. These two groups are psittacidae family and cacutaidae family. The cacutaidae family has a movable head crest while the psittacidae are distinguished by their many vibrant colors. There is also a difference between these two groups in their skeletal structure and some of their biological makeup. Parrots have played a sizable role in history. There are Egyptian hieroglyphics going back 4000 years which indicate that they were pets of royal families. There are also references to them during the Greek and Roman times.

Many famous historical figures, such as Winston Churchill and King Henry VIII were parrot owners as well. I find it quite interesting that even though parrots have such vibrant and varied coloring their eggs are just plain white! Parrot fossils that have been found in Europe show that the modern parrots ancestors go as far back as the Eocene period and are 50 million years old. Fossils that relate more closely to todays parrots in terms of bone structure and appearance are about 23 million years old. Even though parrots largely eat fruit, seeds, buds, nectar, and pollen in the wild they are somewhat omniverous.

Sometimes they will eat insects. The “gourmets” of the parrot world, the Golden-winged Parakeets like to eat water snails and the New Zealand Kees scavenge abandoned sheep carcasses. They possess a strong, hooked beak that helps them crack nuts and have a thick muscular tongue. They feed their young by regurgitation to help them with digestion. Another interesting parrot fact is that, for the most part, parrots nest in holes. While there are a few exceptions that build regular nests, most build their homes in holes in trees, rock cavities, ground tunnels and even occasionally in termite mounds.

Wild parrots can mostly be found in the tropical areas in South America, Australia, and New Guinea. Some species come from Africa and the Asian mainland. Parrots come in many shapes and sizes. The pygmy parrot of New Guinea is 3? inches long while the hyacinth macaw is closer to 40 inches long. Some macaws can grow up to five feet in length (including their tail feathers). Parrots can weigh anywhere from just a few ounces to 3? pounds. Another unique and interesting parrot trait is their zygodactyl feet. This means that parrots have two toes that point backwards and two toes that point forward.

This trait makes them extremely agile. They are excellent climbers and excellent at coordinating their beaks and feet to accomplish many interesting feats. Some species of parrots are in danger of extinction. Conservation efforts are underway avoid this. The Spixs Macaw is one of the endangered species and there are only 7 in captivity. Captive breeding programs are a step in the right direction, increasing the numbers of endangered parrots. Education geared towards increasing awareness of this issue will go a long way towards correcting the problem.

Probably the thing that parrots are most famous for is their ability to talk. What they are actually doing is mimicry or imitation. Oddly enough one of the more curious parrots facts is that they don’t 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. Their ‘talking’ is actually more comparable to human whistling. With their impressive range of vocalizations parrots mimic bells, buzzers and many other sounds in addition to human speech. African Gray Parrots are said to be the best mimics of the parrot family.

They are also highly intelligent and don’t just mimic, but learn associations for the words they say. Many can associate colors, shapes, numbers, sizes and more! Future parrot owners beware… parrots in the wild and as flocks are some of the noisiest birds there are. It is said that some parrot vocalizations can be heard from as far as a mile away. For you, this may be one of the most important parrots facts! Whether captured in the wild or born in captivity, parrots are not domesticated animals like cats and dogs. They are still wild animals.

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