Interesting Facts about Parrots

The list of best food African greys you don’t know

The parrot is one of the most beautiful bird species in the world. Apart from its beautiful wings and feathers, its major characteristic is its special beak, which the parrot considers as its hand. The beak is important in the daily life of parrots. The beak is used for searching for food, climbing, holding and manipulate things. The parrot’s beak is strong enough to crack the hardest nut which is macadamia nuts or to crack a coconut.

The parrot has an exceptional life span compared to other bird species. The average age of a bird is about 6 years while parrots can reach 90 years old as the kakapo. So, when you decided to adopt a parrot, you should be ready for a commitment of many years.

Parrots can use their feet to eating. An ability that other bird species cannot have. Parrots are born with zygodactyl feet. They have four toes on each foot, two facing forward and two facing backward. Their feet are like human hands. It means that parrots can pick up objects with their special feet and even pick up food and carry it to their mouths.

The parrot is also well-known for its intelligence. The African grey parrot (Psittacus erithacus) can learn, remember and communicate with a vocabulary of 150 human words. The intelligence of parrots is proved by the ability to associate words they learn with objects or situations. Some avian experts believe that parrots have the logic of a four-year-old person.

How about a Parrot’s Diet?

Parrots are omnivores; thus, they can eat both vegetation and meat. Their favorite food is seeds and nuts. Besides, the parrot can use its beak to dig insects.

The most important thing that all bird-owners should keep in mind is that parrots are a bird species spending their most time in the day-to-day life to search for food.

What is an ideal Parrot diet?

If you would like to enhance the longevity of your parrot, a proper and balanced diet of fresh and clean food ingredients. But what is a balanced diet?

According to veterinarians, an ideal eating regime is as below:

  • Grain Products – 50% of the diet
  • Vegetables and Fruits – 45% of the diet
  • Dairy and Meat – 5% of the diet
  • Seed and Nuts – <1% of the diet

Grain products – 50%

What we mean grain products here are whole grains and not white grains. Here are some suggestions for you:

  • Cereal
  • Noodles
  • Pasta
  • Rice
  • Oatmeal

These whole grains are rich in vitamins, minerals, proteins, and carbohydrates, which are essential for the health of parrots.

Pellets are an ideal product that we strongly recommend you to feed your bird-pet as they are available in different shapes and sizes to help you to serve your pet easier though still provide enough nutrition.

Vegetables and fruits – 45%

Vegetation is the second most important part of the diet of parrots. They can be fully-cooked, semi-cooked or raw. The thing that you need to care about is that they are fresh and clean. For serving, you should wash thoroughly the vegetables and fruits and then chop them into small pieces for your bird.

Here are some recommended vegetables and fruits:

  • Cherry pepper
  • Chili peppers
  • Cilantro
  • Collard greens
  • Corn
  • Comfrey
  • Cucumber

Dairy and Meats – 5%

Lactose containing in dairy products are intolerant for parrots. However, dairy products are also a source of calcium, which needs to be included in the parrot’s diet. So, a very small amount of these products should be added in the daily meal of parrots.

Here are some recommended products:

  • Cheese (used in cooking only, cheddar has the highest fat and calories)
  • Cottage cheese
  • Eggs (including clean shells)
  • Yogurt

Meat is another small ingredient in the diet of parrots. Yes, parrots can eat meat but fully-cooked meat (Never rare!)

Here are some suggestions:

  • Chicken
  • Fish (remove bones)
  • Lamb
  • Liver
  • Ribs (beef)
  • Roast beef (well done)

Seeds and nuts – 1%

Although they are the most favorite foods of parrots in the wild, in fact, they are not a good choice for nutrients. They are high in oil and fat, which can cause obesity to parrots and fatty liver disease.

Here are some examples:

  • Almonds
  • Brazil nuts
  • Cashews
  • Filberts
  • Hazelnuts
  • Macadamia
  • Peanuts

Based on the basic information about a healthy diet for parrots, we have made the list of 10 best parrot food in 2021, these reviews can be found in our article titled 10 Best Parrot Food Reviews [Pellets & Seeds]

A Birds Digestive System

Birds Digestive System

The bird’s digestive system is different than many other animals. They have organs not seen in most other animals because they are specifically designed for certain tasks that only the bird carries out. Organs you may never heard of that are part of the bird’s digestive system are the crop, the proventriculus, and the gizzard. All of these have specific functions that carry out the complicated task of breaking down food and allowing a bird to absorb life-sustaining nutrients.

Birds have beaks that are shaped according to the kind of food they eat. Parrots and other birds that eat large, thick, hard shelled nuts need a really strong curved beak to put enough pressure on the nut to crack it. The curve of the beak also serves as an aide in climbing up branches in trees. Birds with straighter pointed beaks eat more smaller, softer seeds so they don’t need as powerful of a beak. They also often use their beak as a pecking tool to quickly peck insects or other “peck-able” objects.

Birds have no teeth, so there is no chewing before food is coated with a bit of saliva and travels down to it’s first destination; the crop. This little organ is usually visible on the outside of the bird’s body. It appears as a little lump. A pouch where food accumulates and stored. It kind of hangs out here while small amounts drop down in to the next organ of digestion; the Proventriculus.

The Proventriculus is the first of two parts of the stomach. This first stomach is the one that secretes the juices that help break down the birds food for digestion. Special glands release digestive juices to soften food so that the birds body can take it apart on a molecular level and use it to keep the bird alive. Then the food passes to the Ventriculus. This is the more muscular second half of the stomach, more commonly known as the gizzard. Here, food is squashed and smashed and generally just beaten up. The gizzard often contains grit or gravel to help grind up food. The gizzard is very very powerful. Some birds ingest whole seeds that have not been shelled. In cases like this, the gizzards power, along with some hard pieces of grit, break down the shell so the nutrient-filled insides can be processed. When the gizzard is finished with it’s job, the food slips into the intestines of the bird.

In the intestines, more juices are excreted. Bile and enzymes designed to break food down even more get to work on the food. In the intestines, tiny particles of food nutrition pass through teeny tiny holes to travel through the blood stream and are used to “fuel” the bird. At the end of the line, some parts of the food cannot be used by the bird. This unusable food, along with waste products brought back from the bloodstream, come out of the bird as feces and urine. All waste leaves the bird from the Vent or Cloaca. Since birds eat often and have such a high metabolism, they excrete waste often. A bird can have as many as fifty bowel movements a day.

You may also like: 7 Best Parrot Cages For Your House

– Written by: Arianna Pleitez

Aspergillosis in Parrots

Aspergillosis in Parrots

Aspergillosis is caused by the fungus aspergillus. It can effect other species, not just birds. We are all exposed to aspergillus regularly. We come in contact with it often and most of us do not develop a disease from exposure. Healthy birds, as well as healthy people, fight off the spores of this fungus easily. The danger comes when the immune system is not working its best. The spores then have a nice home to rest in and multiply without having to worry about getting booted out by the host bodies defense system. Birds are most prone to the disease when they are depressed, aren’t getting adequate nutrition, are fighting off another illness, are injured, or when they live in unsanitary conditions.

An acute case of aspergillosis is one that is brought on suddenly and is quite severe. In these cases the fungus infects the syrinx and ends up blocking the trachea. The bird will show a lot of difficulty breathing and their voice may change. Mouth breathing is common. Death comes swiftly in these cases. Chronic cases of aspergillosis are much more common. These cases don’t show up quite so suddenly and last a longer period of time. Since this form lasts longer, the bird is much more likely to survive because the signs of the illness, such as lethargy or weight loss, can be noted right away and action can be taken to diagnose and treat the bird at a veterinary hospital before the bird becomes too ill to treat.

You may also like: These 10 Best Parrot Food are the way to show your love to your “Birdie”

It’s important to remember that whether or not you believe the case is acute or chronic, prompt veterinary attention is absolutely needed if you suspect, even for a moment, that your bird may be ill. Though weight loss and lethargy can be symptoms of many different diseases in birds, it’s best to be on the safe side. Aspergillosis can be diagnosed a variety of ways, such as with a blood test, a fungal culture, or even observing internal fungal formations with an endoscope.

With prompt treatment by your veterniarian, your bird has a much better chance of surviving than if you do nothing at all. The rate of survival is still not exceptionally good, however, even if treatment begins soon after symptoms appear. One reason many birds don’t respond to treatment is because the disease has progressed too far for the bird to survive. This is because, often, birds don’t show symptoms of disease until they are close to death. This is a survival mechanism in the wild because sick birds are often the first to be killed by predators. Predators are smart. They go for the slow weak ones.

Therefore, it is in the birds best interest (in the wild) to not appear ill. Only when they are just about to die do birds finally allow themselves to appear unwell. Another reason birds don’t survive despite treatment is that perhaps the underlying problem was not addressed. Often, a bird will not contract aspergillosis unless there is something else wrong with them that is suppressing their immune system. So if that other thing that is wrong with them, such as depression, isn’t addressed and dealt with by the owner, the bird will probably just keep getting aspergillosis despite treatments to rid the birds body of the fungus.

The number one thing that a bird owner can do to prevent apergillosis is to keep their bird happy healthy and clean. Feed a well balanced diet and provide fresh clean water daily. Play with your bird and make him or her feel like a loved part of the family.

You may also like: 7 Best Parrot Cages For Your House

Be sure that the cage is in a well ventilated (but not drafty) area of the house. Be extra sure that feces is disposed of regularly and that there are no warm moist areas around the cage that remain soiled for long periods, such as the bottom pan that collects the feces, discarded food, and splashes of water. Remember that fungus loves warm moist environments, so if you allow for your bird to live in an environment that helps fungus to live, you run the risk of your bird becoming ill.

– Written by: Arianna Pleitez