With over 350 species of parrots, they come in many shapes and sizes, but most of us are quite taken with their beautiful colored feathers and the fact that some of them have the ability to ‘talk’.
Parrot Facts for Kids
- Parrots are part of the Psittaciformes family and that includes cockatiels, parakeets, cockatoos, and macaws.
- Although they vary in looks and abilities, they do share some of the same traits: they have to have a curved beak and its feet must have four toes on each foot with two that point backward and two that front pointing. This is called ‘zygodactyl’.
- The greatest diversity of parrots seem to live in areas such as South America, Central America, and Australia.
- Most parrots that live in the wild do live in the Southern Hemisphere warmer areas.
- There are some parrots that love colder snow climates such as the thick-billed parrots, the maroon-fronted parrots, and the keas.
Parrots come in so many different varieties and species and this makes their sizes very different. The heaviest parrot is the kakapo that can weigh as much as 9 pounds (4 kg) whereas the buff-faced pygmy parrot is the smallest, which weighs in at about 0.4 ounces (10 g) and is only 3 inches (8 cm) tall.
Parrots have the ability to mimic human speech and are often a favorite pet. Some parrots that are from other parts of the world have escaped due to storms or natural disasters and have started to breed in large groups. The monk parakeet is one of these species that is normally found in subtropical South America and is now breeding in the U.S.
Parrots are social creatures and they live in groups called ‘flocks’ that can have a few or as many as twenty to thirty birds. They communicate with each other through the movement of tail feathers and by squawking.
- Many of the parrot species spend their lives devoted to the same mate. Parrots work together to raise their babies.
- There are only a few types of parrots, like the kakapo, that sleep during the day and are nocturnal hunters at night.
Parrots are listed as being ‘omnivores’; they eat vegetation as well as meat, although most parrots seem to prefer buds, fruit, flowers, nuts, insects, and seeds.
They particularly like seeds and they have strong jaws that allow them to open some pretty tough shells. Keas have longer beaks that they use to dig into the ground for insects and the kakapos chew their vegetation as well as drink in the juices.