Parrotlets make amazing pet birds because of their vibrant colors and soft calls. They are small, even smaller than Parakeets; but behind their small stature lies a charming personality. Parrotlets are recommended for first-time parents. They can be trained to do all sorts of tricks and words to utter. If you are a first-time parent who wants to have a Parrotlet in your household, make sure to read further to know more!
Parrotlets are native to central and south America, and are dubbed as the smallest species in the parrot family. There are a wide variety of Parrotlets, but the most famous ones are the Pacific Parrotlet, Mexcan Parrotlet, Yellow-faced Parrotlet, Spectacled Parrotlet, and the Green-rumped Parrotlet.
In the wild, Parrotlets are extremely active birds, spending many hours daily flying, foraging for food, and hiding from predators. For this reason, expect them to need a lot of attention and activities in captivity.
This bird species is known for its foraging behavior—feeding on seeds, vegetables, and fruits in dry wooded regions. It may come as a surprise to many, but the Parrotlet is closely related to the beautiful Amazon Parrot, whose behavior and traits were adapted by the former. Because of the Parrotlet’s small size, many people affectionately call them “Pocket Parrots.” They may be small, but they have a long life span, living for up to 20 years with proper care.
Characteristics of a Parrotlet
Average size: 5 in
Average weight: 33 grams
Average life span: 20 to 30 years
This bird species is the smallest parrot to keep as pet. The Pacific Parrotlet, the most famous Parrotlet species, is the most sought-after because of its bright green feathers. It is distinguishable for its short, tapered tail and vivid feathers. While there are a lot of color variations, males tend to have a dark blue stripe, while females have darker green feathers with lighter feathers on their backs and wings. Female Parrotlets also have blue or green streak behind the eyes. Green-rumped Parrotlets are the only ones that do not possess blue feathers on their backs.
Parrotlets can last up to 40 years when given with proper care. They are intelligent and active birds that don’t emit loud noises, making them perfect apartment pets. They are not prodigious speakers, but they can be taught to speak a few words with proper training.
They are known to be fearless, and as a result, can attack other pets in the house despite their size. This only happens when it doesn’t have a companion bird. Because of their aggressive tendencies, be careful in how children interact with them.
For your pet’s enclosure, just because a Parrotlet is small means it requires a small cage. Your pet would need a spacious cage with a ¼ inch bar spacing. Provide your pet with plenty of toys to keep them busy, especially when you cannot play too long with them. Shreddable toys like paper, cardboard, boings, swings, and parrot kabobs are their favorites.
Parrotlets are described as affectionate yet feisty. If you are going to keep a Parrotlet, you should only keep one bird, because a pair of Parrotlets will bond closely with each other and may exclude you from their relationship. But if you can devote ample amount of attention everyday, you can pair it with another Parrotlet, one of each sexes preferably.
Remember, you must spend at least an hour or two with your Parrotlet everyday. If your pet is left alone for a long time, it may lose its companionability. For instance, the Pacific Parrotlet does not understand that it is a small bird, and has little trouble challenging other humans and animals.
Parrotlets can mimic your movements, but they aren’t the most skilled talkers in the parrot family. However, you can still train them, but expect that the words uttered won’t be clear. One great thing about taking care of a Parrotlet is that it isn’t noisy, so your neighbors won’t surely be perturbed by their calls.
Like any other parrot species, a Parrotlet would need a pellet-based diet accompanied with fresh vegetables, fruits, and fortified seeds. They would also need food sources rich in calcium, just like cuttlebone. Provide a shallow water dish filled with clean, chlorine-free water and replace regularly.