Fun True Parrot Facts For Kids

Christian Mba
Jan 11, 2023 By Christian Mba
Originally Published on Aug 06, 2021
Edited by Luca Demetriou
Fact-checked by Pradhanya Rao
True parrot facts such as the fact that they can eat with their feet are fascinating.
Age: 3-18
Read time: 8.2 Min

True parrots (Psittacoidea), cockatoos (Cacatuoidea), and New Zealand parrots (Strigopoidea) are the three superfamilies in species of parrots. With about 350 species, true parrots are one of the most diverse and colorful feathered bird superfamilies in the parrot species.

These colorful parrots have a characteristic curve-shaped beak and are zygodactylous, which means that they possess four toes on each of their feet, making them skillful climbers.

True parrots are popular pets due to their friendly nature. Some common varieties of true parrots petted are African grey parrots, macaws, Amazon parrots, eclectus among others.

True parrots are known for being social and live in groups called flocks in wild. Parrots are considered one of the most intelligent bird species and are known for their sound mimicking ability.

Even though true parrots are wild birds, they enjoy human company and thrive when cared for. They have a long life span, with some variants of this species living as long as or even outliving their owners. Read on to know more about the true parrots below.

You'll find in this article information about true parrots' native places, diet, seed preference, and fruit preference; nest making technique; how they feed on seed from ground, live in groups in tropical and subtropical regions; as well as, other fun facts related to grey parrot, cockatoos, macaws, kakapo, and so on.

You may also check out the fact files on other birds such as Meyer's parrot and the Pacific parrotlet from Kidadl.

True Parrot Interesting Facts

What type of animal is a true parrot?

True parrots are colorful flighted birds (with a few exceptions).

What class of animal does a true parrot belong to?

True parrots belong to the Animalia kingdom, Aves class, and Psittacoidea superfamily.

How many true parrots are there in the world?

With over 350 true parrot species, the exact number is currently unknown. Most of the species of true parrots are not Endangered, so they are quite commonly found in their natural habitat and as pets.

Where does a true parrot live?

Found most commonly in the Southern Hemisphere, true parrots favor tropical and sub-tropical climates to survive and thrive. Currently, many varieties of true parrots can be found across Central and South America, sub-Saharan Africa, south-east Asia, and Oceania. Because of their intelligence and friendly nature, true parrots are often kept as pets.

What is a true parrot's habitat?

True parrot's habit varies from humid tropical forests to deserts. Most true parrots prefer a warm climate, though some parrots are an exception, like the keas that live in alpine regions of New Zealand.

Who do true parrots live with?

Most of the true parrots' bird species in the wild live in groups called flocks. Those that are kept as pets thrive at homes too, if they are provided with a conducive environment.

How long does a true parrot live?

Since true parrots consist of several variants of parrot, the lifespan ranges from five to eight years for Budgerigar to more than 75 years for Amazon parrots. The lifespan of wild true parrots is generally lower than the pet true parrots, as they are prone to predators.

How do they reproduce?

True parrots reproduce by laying eggs. Females may lay anywhere between two to eight eggs at a time. True parrots usually mate for life, meaning, they tend to remain with a single partner throughout their life.

Most parrot eggs are white in color. These birds have internal fertilization and once the eggs are laid in a nest, they are incubated until they hatch. It is females who usually incubate the eggs, with a few exceptions.

In certain species like cockatoos, the blue lorikeet, and the vernal hanging parrot, the duties of incubation are shared between the male and the female. The incubation period is usually between 17-35 days. A few larger species have longer incubation periods.

What is their conservation status?

Almost 50% of all parrots are classified as Endangered, most of the varieties of true parrots are classified as Not Extinct and Endangered, making them fairly common. About 18 species of true parrots are already Extinct.

True Parrot Fun Facts

What do true parrots look like?

One of the main reasons for petting true parrots is their colorful appearance. The beautiful feathers are truly mesmerizing. These birds have a characteristic curved beak and strong toes in their feet. Because of the large cranial capacity possessed by true parrots, they are considered one of the most intelligent bird groups.

Close up of a green parrot

How cute are they?

True parrots undoubtedly rank high on the cuteness quotient. Everything from their appearance to intelligence is considered cute! Apart from cockatoos and African grey parrots where the colors are limited to whites and greys, the rest of the species are highly pigmented and attractive.

How do they communicate?

Unlike humans, true parrots have a syrinx, using which they modify the air that flows in their throat to make sounds. Some research shows that parrots are even capable of communicating through body language and can display a variety of emotions.

How big is a true parrot?

Since there are about 350 different varieties of true parrots, their size varies considerably. The smallest variety, pigmy parrot, measures 3 in (8 cm), while the largest true parrot, hyacinth macaw, measures 37 in (95 cm)!

How fast can a true parrot fly?

Depending on the variety of the true parrot, they can fly between 40-50 mph (64-80 kph) in the air. The speed of their flight depends on the wing's strength, weight, and ability to move. A very few variants of true parrots are flightless.

How much does a true parrot weigh?

Again, depending on the variety of the true parrot, you can observe a wide range. Adult pigmy parrots can weigh as light as 0.024 lb (11 g). Some adult hyacinth macaws are as heavy as 2.6-3.7 lb (1.2–1.7 kg).

What are the male and female names of the species?

Male and female true parrots do not have separate names.

What would you call a baby true parrot?

Baby true parrots are referred to as chicks. Chicks are born bald but they quickly grow feathers.

What do they eat?

Just like true parrots, their diet is also colorful and consists of a variety of fruits, vegetables, nuts, and seeds. The fruit diet of true parrots ranges from apples and bananas to passion fruits and guavas.

Foods like vegetables and greens include herbs, squashes, broccoli, yellow and red peppers, and varieties of salad leaves. On some occasions, true parrots also eat small insects. A few species of true parrots in the Americas, Africa, and Papua New Guinea are seen eating clay which cleans their guts of the toxic compounds.

Some pet parrots are also fed very small portions of animal protein, but they can survive very well eating fruits and vegetables alone. Some foods to avoid are avocado, chocolate, caffeine, and alcohol and foods like onion, garlic, and dairy should be offered in moderation.

Are they predators?

No, this species of parrots are prey animals and not predators. These birds are usually hunted by hawks, snakes, monkeys, and cats while they are feeding on the ground.

This fact drives the true parrots to move in flocks, rather than individually, since it increases their chances of survival in case of an attack by a predator. Since true parrots are prey animals, they possess a sharp instinct to sense danger.

Even though the natural instinct is flight, when not possible, true parrots fight back with their strong beaks. Pet parrots have better chances of survival than those in the wild.

Would they make a good pet?

Even though the natural habitat of true parrots is in the wild, they make amazing pets and are very popular worldwide. Pet parrots are more often referred to as companion parrots and their level of interaction with humans is very high.

Some true parrots are very outgoing, while some species get attached to only one or two caregivers. Some parrots need a regular cage and some breeds need aviaries.

Upon providing a conducive environment, true parrots become highly interactive and entertaining pets. But at the same time, they need constant attention, care, and in some cases, diet restrictions.

Overall, owners consider parrots as rewarding pets and prized possessions. True parrots can cost you upwards of $700 or more depending on the species.

Did you know...

Here are some interesting true parrot facts.

Greater vasa parrots can use tools like date pits and pebbles to grind their own calcium supplements using cockle shells!

A large variety of true parrots are herbivores, rainbow-colored lories, and lorikeets who feed exclusively on nectar were recently seen devouring meat in Australia.

Native kea of New Zealand was even seen attacking and killing sheep as early as 1868, proving that they have a wide spectrum diet.

Because of habitat destruction and poaching, a total of one-third of parrots are facing extinction.

Males and females of almost all parrot species look the same! In other words, you cannot distinguish a male from a female. Solomon Island eclectus is an exception where the male and female were so different that they were thought to be different species for a very long time!

The heaviest parrot can weigh as much as a cat.

Your pet true parrot may even outlive you! The age of the oldest parrot alive is Major Mitchell’s cockatoo which is 82 years old!

True parrots, like most parrots, have a bacteria-resistant pigment in their feathers that gives them their bright red, yellow, and green colors.

Can true parrots talk?

Parrots generally are great mimics of voice. They can mimic human speech as well as environmental sounds.

True parrots produce different sounds by changing the depth and shape of the trachea. They have the ability to speak in whichever language they have heard spoken, be it English, Spanish or Japanese. Many pet true parrots can even vocalize their demands, like food!

They can also amusingly transpose words. Even if your true parrot may not talk, they might very well understand you. Puck, a cherry blue parakeet even entered the Guinness Book of World Records in 1995 for having a vocabulary of over 1700 words!

How many species of true parrot are there?

There are currently about 350 species of true parrots.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! For more relatable content, check out these scissor-tailed flycatcher facts and lark sparrow facts pages.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our abstract parrot coloring pages.

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Written by Christian Mba

Bachelor of Science specializing in Computer Science

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Christian MbaBachelor of Science specializing in Computer Science

Christian Mba is an experienced blogger and content writer with over a decade of experience. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science from Nigeria and has a keen interest in Python programming. Along with his writing and blogging expertise, he is also an SEO specialist with more than six years of experience. Chris, as he is commonly known, has a passion for music and enjoys playing the piano.

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Fact-checked by Pradhanya Rao

Bachelor of Commerce specializing in Marketing and HR

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Pradhanya RaoBachelor of Commerce specializing in Marketing and HR

With a Bachelor’s degree in Commerce from Christ University, Bangalore, Pradhanya's passion for the English language and literature led her to explore the field of content writing, where she has gained extensive experience in writing, reviewing, editing, and fact-checking. She has also earned certifications in Google Ads Search, Google Ads Display, and Social Media Marketing, showcasing her proficiency in digital marketing.

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