“Polly want a cracker?” Your mind probably registered this phrase in a very particular voice: warbling and prefaced by a squawk. You may have pictured a large, scarlet bird roosting on a shoulder, preening his jeweled plumage of yellows, greens, and blues. This is the Scarlet Macaw, one of the most popular representations of the parrot—but certainly not the only!
Parrots are a motley crew: pet-parrots.com says some are nearly three feet, while others are a mere seven inches. Their range of personalities is even greater! In the animal kingdom, parrots are the life of the party. If removed for too long from the spotlight, they will let you know—sometimes verbally. Most parrots can mimic human speech. With thorough training, these pets can become a welcome addition to your own flock. Which would you choose?
Parakeets, Budgies, and Cockatiels are all popular household birds due to their small statures and placid dispositions. Cockatiels and Parakeets can whistle songs and, according to pet-parrots.com, Budgies have the potential to learn up to three hundred words!
More mainstream parrot picks are the Lovebirds and Conures. Cultivate that mischievous nature all parrots own by teaching the Blue Crown Conure to stick out his tongue!
African Greys, Macaws, and Cockatoos are birds with attitudes proportional to their size. African Greys are fiercely loyal to a chosen family member, and Cockatoos are adept at learning tricks. Macaws are the parrot poster children and have lifespans that extend past even those of a cat or dog.
With such a colorful assortment of avian attributes, it can be difficult to choose which parrot is best for you and your family. Things to keep in mind are that all parrots share a drive for mental stimulation—give them challenging toys! Cages must be spacious; if they are not, your feathered friend might have a few choice words for unsuspecting visitors! Parrots require constant handling and attention, but these small investments make for a truly amusing and loving animal companion.