Conures come in a variety of sizes and colors but are considered to be a medium to small size parrot. They are originally from Central and South America with some extinct species even being native to North America. These birds can be wonderful companions and there are many different species available in the pet trade. As with other species of birds, they require a lot of care.
Known for their intelligence and amazing vocabulary, African grey parrots are a popular pet psittacine. There are two species of African grey parrot. The Congo African grey is the larger of the two and is more well known. It has a completely black beak with bright red tail feathers. The Timneh African grey is the smaller of the two species and has a more pale colored upper beak and darker tail feathers. Due to their extreme intelligence and sociable nature, they require lots of attention from their family and plenty of stimulating activities throughout the day to keep their minds occupied.
Eclectus parrots are often admired for their beauty and calm nature. They are unique in the parrot world because the male and female sex can be easily distinguished. Females are red while males are green. There are several different subspecies that are found in the Solomon islands, northeastern Australia, Maluku islands, New Guinea and Sumba.
Amazons consist of a wide group of medium sized parrots native to Central and South America. They have short tails and are often mostly green in color. Naturalized flocks of Amazon parrots of various species can be found living in certain parts of southern California. Although no one knows for certain exactly how they got there, they certainly are thriving! Amazons are very vocal and can be quite entertaining. Some have extensive vocabularies and they seem to enjoy singing.
Converting a bird to a better diet can be one of the best things an owner can do to provide a healthy life for their pet bird. The act of converting a bird though can sometimes be challenging. Birds that have been eating one type of diet for years may be reluctant to switch over to a healthier one. Especially if they have been eating a high fat diet like seeds. There are many tips and tricks for diet conversion. What worked well for one bird may not work well for another. Some birds will transition rapidly within a few days, while others can take months. Some owners become frustrated with diet conversion if they aren’t seeing results quickly and end up allowing the bird to just eat whatever it wants. This would be like allowing a child to eat pizza for dinner all the time instead of a more balanced meal. Birds may be stubborn, but being persistent and patient will eventually get you the results you are looking for. One of the most important things an owner needs to know about diet conversion is to not give up!
Everyone knows that eating a good diet is one of the best things we can do to stay healthy and the same is true for our pet birds. The question that we must then ask is “What is the best diet for our birds?” Of course this will vary for the species in question but there is an unfortunate misconception out there that seeds are all a pet bird needs to stay healthy. This has led to many pet birds developing nutritional disorders and therefore, seeds have been implicated as a problem. It is true that in the wild, seeds are consumed by many species of birds but that is not all they eat. Parrots in the wild will eat various types of seeds, nuts, fruits, beans, flowers, and even foliage from plants. The varieties of seeds that are foraged for in the wild are numerous and different studies have shown birds to consume greater than 20 different seed types. In captivity many of our seeds mixes only have 5-7 different types of seeds.
Parrots and other birds are intelligent, curious and naturally active in the wild. The typical wild bird spends most of its day searching for food and being alert for predators. When it is not looking for food, it may be searching for a mate or helping take care of a nest, protecting its home from rivals, socializing with other birds, or preening its feathers, among other activities. As pets, birds no longer have to search for food, worry about predators, defend their home from rivals, or do many of the other things necessary to survive in the wild. Without these things to do, some parrots and other birds begin to engage in abnormal behaviors such as feather-plucking and chewing at their skin, pacing around their cages, back-flipping, eating their own stool, prolonged abnormal screaming, etc.
Screaming is the second most common problem noted by parrot owners. Normal parrot vocalizations include alarm calls and contact calls. Alarm calls occur when the parrot is feeling as if it is in danger or distress. Contact calls are vocalizations used to identify where other members of the bird’s flock are at any given time. Both of these types of calls are normal. It is also normal for some parrot species to call and scream for 15 to 20 minutes several times a day, especially in the morning, and may be a way that wild parrots tell other parrots from another flock to stay away. When a parrot begins to repeatedly vocalize for prolonged periods of time this is considered to be abnormal and may indicate stress or boredom. Studies on parrot behavior have shown that one cause of problematic screaming may be a lack of physical interaction between social partners (i.e., other birds or its human companions).