Vivid, colorful and smart birds, parrots are native to countries in the Southern hemisphere. There are more than 300 species of parrots with a great diversity in color and size. They are a common household pet because of their bright plumage and musical abilities. Some parrots can even mimic human speech.
Macaws, Amazon parrots, cockatiels, parakeets, and cockatoos are the most popular pet parrots. Parrots range in length from 3.5 in (8.7cm) to 40 in (100 cm). They are omnivores and eat a variety of fruit, nuts, seeds as well as insects. Parrots can live up to 80 years in the wild.
All parrots are zygodactyls, meaning they have four toes on each foot, two pointing forward and two projecting backward. They also have a strong, curved beak which some use to search for grubs. Their sharp claws help them climb and perch on trees.
Other facts about parrots
Cockatoo species have a crest of feathers on the top of their heads that can be raised for display, and retracted.
Most parrots are social birds living in flocks. They communicate through a series of loud screeching and squawking sounds.
While some parrots build regular nests, most build their homes in holes in trees, rock cavities, ground tunnels and even in termite mounds.
Parrots have been kept as pets for decades. Famous historical figures, such as Winston Churchill and King Henry VIII were parrot owners.
Only parrots will mimic people and noises they hear. The African gray parrots are the best imitators of human speech.
In studies, African Grey Parrots have also been known to count, identify objects and even string together short sentences to answer complex questions.
As Published on Live Science.com