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Parrots as Pets

big parrot standing on a women shoulder

Parrots are one of the most popular household pets, with 11 million in the United States alone. The most common species are lovebirds, African Frays, cockatoos, parakeets, cockatiels, cockatoos, Amazons and conures.

Parrots types that are commonly kept as pets include in 1992 the newspaper USA Today published that there were 11 million pet birds in the United States alone.

Parrots as pets-Parrots in the Ancient World

They are also one of the oldest pets, kept in the castles and European lords, or even the simple huts of Ancient Greece. The earliest record of a domesticated parrot dates back to the first century, when the famous historian Pliny the Elder spoke of a colorful bird that could echo human speech.

Many of the pet owners of olden times went through great lengths to buy them. Historian Wolfgang de Grahl spoke of the dangers of shipping them from the African and Australian mainland, and how traders would stock up on coffee so their exotic imports would be spared of stale, filthy drinking water. (Today, people know that caffeine can poison birds.)

Parrots as pets-Lifespan

Lifespan varies from species to species, though most of them (with proper care) can live up to 15 years. There are reports of 20 year old or even 80 year old parrots. The San Diego Zoo was also a proud owner of King Tut, a 62 year old cockatoo, which it imported in 1925 and used as an official greeter until it retired in 1989.

There was also talk of a female macaw, supposedly owned by Winston Churchill. While investigators later disproved that it had ever been in the possession of the great British leader (though the parrot did have a gift for cursing Adolf Hitler and the Nazis in general), the age was never questioned.

Parrots as pets-Choosing the best Parrot for You

Taking care of a pet is a big responsibility, and owners should consider the time, attention, and care required by each parrot specie before taking the plunge.
Rescue organizations say that one of the most re-homed birds is the Moluccan cockatoo—a very friendly and intelligent bird, but one that demands a lot of attention, and can be very destructive if left alone for long periods of time. The yellow-naped Amazon is also very beautiful but has aggressive tendencies, which must be curbed with early training and taming.

If you are deciding between parrot species, look at your lifestyle, available space, and the time you are ready to give to your pet. If you live in an apartment, you should only consider smaller birds like the cockatiel, parrotlet, mini macaw or lovebird. Larger birds like Amazons or cockatoos need both spacious cages but room to fly. You may even need to invest in a play gym.

Also consider how noisy the bird is and how it can affect your neighbors. Some species, like the canaries and cockatiels, have very soft and even relaxing cheeps. Quaker parakeets, can cause such a big ruckus that your neighborhood association up in arms!

There are also birds that are inherently more affectionate with owners, such as conures and lories. Rosellas and Ecletus may allow you to scratch their heads, while canaries will avoid you altogether.