Vasa Parrot

Vasa Parrot

The number of pet birds we have today is continually increasing. This is because more people are getting to know how great these animals have as pets. Although still trailing the traditional pets, which are dogs and cats, birds are gaining more attention every day.

One of the leading species of pet birds is the parrot. When you think of a parrot, I am sure the first image that comes to your mind is that of a talking bird. While most species of parrots can mimic human sounds, this is not the only fascinating characteristic of these birds.

Birds of the parrot family are divided into three based on their sizes. The three divisions are small, medium, and large. One of the popular medium-sized parrots is the Vasa parrot. These parrots have increased in popularity over time and are gradually becoming household names.

The Vasa Parrot

The Vasa parrot is a unique family of parrots that is also divided into three species: the greater vasa parrot, the lesser vasa parrot, and the Seychelles Vasa parrot. These three species also have subspecies, so you can see that the Vasa family of parrots is quite a large one.

Origin and Native Habitat

In terms of natural habitat, the vasa parrot is quite a rare one It can only be found naturally on two islands off the coast of Africa. The islands are the Comoros and Madagascar. One of the things that make these birds unique is their isolation on these islands. They are also members of one of the smallest parrot species you will find.

Although found in the same general habitat, the two classes of Vasa parrots have different preferences. While the lesser Vasa will mostly be found in humid forests, the larger Vasa parrots are more common in deciduous forest habitats.

The 1970s is a significant period for these birds as it marks when they were first exported to the global pet market. Although they are not considered as endangered species at the moment, these birds are still victims of illegal hunting and capture.

Appearance

The Vasa parrot is one of the most unique birds in the parrot family based on some of its physical attributes. Unlike most of its cousins, the Vasa parrot has a noticeably long neck and an elongated and slender body. Its unusual face also sets it apart from other parrots. The Vasa parrot also has long legs and long tails. This elongated body is the only thing that differentiates it from an African grey.

An adult Vasa parrot can reach lengths of between 35 to 50 cm and can weigh up to 300 – 500 grams. This bird is one of the medium-sized parrots. Although many may not consider the Vasa parrot as the most beautiful, its wonderful personality makes it a great pet choice.

The fall season coincides with the breeding season for these birds. During this season, which is around October to December, something interesting happens to this bird. The bird changes in such a way that it may become unrecognizable. Unlike other parrots whose feathers change after undergoing a malt. The Vasa parrot does not shed a single feather before changing its color. The bird also goes bald which starts as pale but turns to dark yellow.

If you are looking for a pet with glamorous bright colors, then the Vasa parrot may not be the choice for you as it comes in a simple black or dark grey color.

Behavior and Personality

If you ask Vasa parrot owners to describe their pets, most will describe them as intelligent, affectionate, fun with a little bit of a mischief. You don’t have to worry about your pet having fun, as they can independently find their own source of fun. So don’t be surprised when you see your bird ripping cardboards in the house or collecting various items.

Vasa parrots are very affectionate birds and they bond easily with their owners. Do not be surprised when your parrot comes around you for some cuddling, just be kind enough to oblige. If you can provide the care your bird needs, then you will enjoy your pet.

Vasa parrots can be very active and this is also evident in their feeding as they are also avid eaters. Vasa parrots are best suited for places where they have enough space to fly around and exert themselves. Also, don’t forget to provide a few toys for your pet to play with.

If you keep a pair of Vasa parrots, you will observe that the females are usually more aggressive and dominate than the males.

Do they make good pets?

The Vasa parrots have been known to be amazing pets because of their fun and mischievous nature. These birds are very intelligent and they easily form a bond with their owners. Unlike some other parrots that only bond with a single member of the family, the Vasa parrots form a good relationship with everyone.

These birds are quite easy to nurture and once given enough time and care, they can make amazing companions. Vasa parrots thrive in a family setting and are very active when given enough room to move in.

This bird may not be first on your list if you are looking for a glamorously colored pet. If you are looking for a fun and active companion, then the Vasa parrot is a choice to consider.

Care and Feeding

When considering getting a pet Vasa parrot, one of the first requirements is enough space. These birds have a large wingspan and a lot of energy to go with them. Therefore they would need enough space to move around. It is no surprise for some owners to release their birds indoors so that they can exercise and play around the house. An aviary, a large parrot cage, or a flight cage are excellent choices. You should consider something with a size around 36 by 24 by 36 inches.

These birds are quite enthusiastic about bathing, so you will need to set apart time to bathe them as often as possible. Another thing these birds love that is uncommon for other parrots is sunbathing and dirt-bathing.

When it comes to feeding your pet Vasa parrot, their food can easily be acquired. A pellet-based diet is a good choice and you can also supplement it with fruits and vegetables. This bird’s appetite matches its active nature so be careful of overfeeding your pet, as this could lead to obesity and other health issues. Fruits and vegetables you can get for your pet include peaches, berries, bananas, carrots, peppers, peas, green beans, and so on.

A Vasa parrot needs constant physically and mentally stimulating activities to live a long and healthy life. You need to interact with your bird as often as possible and also provide chewable materials for it. This will keep it happy and busy throughout the day. Ample space to move around and express itself is also a must for this bird.

Training

Just like many other birds in the parrot family, parrots are very intelligent and instinctive birds. They also easily pick up tricks and can mimic human sounds. If you devote enough time to training your Vasa parrot a trick or two, you would be surprised at how quickly the bird will pick them up.

Sound

When you talk about a talkative bird, the Vasa parrot could easily pass as one. Some people tag them as the best talkers in the parrot family. The Vasa parrot’s speech is comparable to that of the African grey parrot, which is the biggest talking parrot in nature.

Although all Vasa parrots have this potential, you may notice little differences in this ability from bird to bird. Some birds are very talkative while some others are quieter.

The Vasa parrot can be quite loud, which is why they may not be the best choice for you if you are living in an apartment. You don’t want your neighbors complaining about your pet’s noise. The lively nature of these birds is evident in the sound they make and they can also become even louder during the breeding season.

How long do Vasa Parrots live?

One thing that is common to birds of the parrot family is their long lifespan. Perhaps this is why they are top on the list of pet owners, as they will stay with the family for as long as a few decades.

Vasa parrots are no exception, as a healthy bird can live for about 30 to 50 years, so you have enough time to build a strong bond with your bird.

Breeding

When it comes to breeding, this is where the Vasa parrot sets itself apart from other members of the parrot family. During this period, you will notice some unique differences from other parrot species. The breeding season for Vasa parrots spans from September to December.

In a place where there are several pairs of Vasa parrots, there is usually a hierarchy established when it comes to breeding. The alpha pair breeds first then the other pairs breed. When a Vasa parrot reaches ages 3 to 7, then the parrot has reached sexual maturity.

In captivity, the Vasa parrot hen lays between 2 to 5 eggs which take between fourteen to seventeen days to hatch. This short hatching period is the shortest among parrots. The female bird usually stays with her eggs during the incubation period and the early stages of the chicks’ lives.

Male and female Vasa parrots go through various physical changes during the breeding season. The males have the skin on their heads turn to dark grey-black. The hens lose feathers on their head and their feathers turn brown without undergoing malting. This is unique to Vasa parrots as most other parrots have to malt before they change the color of their feathers.

Health and Common Conditions

Another quality that makes Vasa parrots excellent pet choices is their hardiness and adaptability. These birds can thrive in almost any home environment, so far they have all their basic needs met.

When properly cared for, a Vasa parrot can live to be a strong and healthy member of the family. Just ensure you focus on giving your bird a balanced diet and making sure they are well-groomed. If you give your pet bird something it doesn’t like to eat, you will easily notice this as it could fling it out of its cage.

Although Vasa parrots are not sickly birds, they are susceptible to psittacine beak and feather disease. This is a disease that is common in some parrots and some other species of birds.

How much does a Vasa Parrot cost?

Vasa parrots may not be as common as some other family of parrots, so you may find it a bit challenging to come across one of these birds. A good place to start is a breeder or pet specialty store. Although very uncommon for such a rare bird, you may find a Vasa parrot up for adoption in animal shelters and rescue groups.

You can get an adult Vasa parrot for a price between $1500 to $1800 and you can get juveniles for something much lower than that.

Final Thoughts

At this point, you have likely chosen whether you are getting a Vasa parrot for your home or not. If you do so, then you will be getting an intelligent, exciting, fun, and cuddly bird. You will surely enjoy the company of this social animal.

Having a Vasa parrot pet means you have to pay attention to the bird’s needs such as its diet, regular exercises, space, and time together. You must count the cost before embarking on a lifelong journey with a Vasa parrot pet.

Red Lory

Red Lory

Pets are part of our lives that we can’t do away with. Since humans started roaming the earth, we have always developed some sort of relationship with animals at various points.

Oftentimes, we choose our pets based on specific attributes or use. There was a time when dogs were primarily used as hunting companions, and we have other animals that had specific uses.

Nowadays, pets are chosen based on other attributes and characteristics. Some people prefer gentle and quiet animals as pets, while others like active and fun animals. Beauty is also an attribute that serves as a major determinant for some.

Parrots are pets that are often selected based on their active nature, intelligence, and most especially their ability to mimic speech. This ability to mimic speech makes parrots interesting birds.

One of the most standout families of parrots is the Lories. Also known as Lorikeets, the Lory parrots are one of the most colorful families of parrots. These birds also have a brush-like tongue that makes it easy for them to remove pollen and nectar from flowers.

The Red Lory

Of all the birds in the lory family, the red lory is the bird that is most commonly kept in captivity. Therefore, you should not be surprised when you see more of these birds in people’s homes than any other lorikeets.

Although this bird may require more special attention than any other companion bird, it makes for a great pet. This bird is also known as the Moluccan Lory.

Origin and Native Habitat

The red lorikeets are primarily found in Indonesia and other nearby Islands of Australia, such as New Guinea. This bird is closely related to the Rainbow Lory and they thrive well in captivity almost as well as they do in the wild.

The native origin of this bird is the Maluku island in Indonesia, which is where it got its Moluccan Lory name. Nowadays, the number of red lorikeets that are found in this place is a fraction of what existed before. The indigenous people of this area also make these birds their pets.

 Appearance

Just as its name implies, the Red lorikeet has a predominantly red color. This small size of this bird does not match its big personality in any way and you may find yourself surprised at your Red Lory.

The red color of this bird is interrupted by blue markings on its face and wings. They also carry a noticeably orange beak and their chest, belly, and face are white. Their unique brush-like tongue is also a feature that distinguishes them from other parrots, as they use it to scoop up nectar and pollen from flowers.

The male and female red lory are quite difficult to differentiate from their physical characteristics alone. This is because both sexes for these birds are indistinguishable from a first look. Another distinguishing feature of the red lory from other parrots is their beak, with an upper mandible that is narrower than that of other parrot species.

These birds are small and they may not grow bigger than 10 to 12 inches in size and about 150 grams. However, don’t be fooled by their small size, these birds are as active as any bird out there.

Behavior and Personality

The red lory is a very intelligent and active bird. They are quite fun to be around and they have a little bit of mischief. So don’t be surprised when your pet enters trouble soon after you turn around. These birds are quite outgoing and social and they love to play with their owners. You must always keep a close eye on your red lory, especially when it is out of its cage.

A red lory pet would be very interested in playing with toys, and you should ensure you have an endless supply of them. This is because, as much as these birds love to play, they also get bored very easily. So, if they have the same set of toys to play with, you will notice that your bird will become irritable.

One thing you can be assured of as a Red Lory owner is that you will not be bored with these birds as their intelligence and mischievous nature tends to shine through over time. Red lories don’t mind being the only pet in the house and they can easily get used to humans.

Do they make good pets?

There are different qualities that most people look out for when deciding on having a pet. While some people may like docile animals that do not require much attention, others prefer their pets to be very affectionate and active.

The Red Lory is an excellent example of an affectionate and active bird. Apart from the fact that this bird will add some color to your home, the fun nature of the bird could also brighten the mood in the house.

The Red Lory is a companion bird with a lot of great qualities. Its capability to mimic speech gives you another ability to explore and enjoy. You also don’t have to worry about having your pet for only a few years, as the red lory has quite a long lifespan.

The Red Lory is an active and mischievous bird that brings a lot of joy to the home. They may require a bit of your time but once cared for, they are very enjoyable birds to have.

Care and Feeding

One thing you need to put in mind when caring for the Red Lory is the fact that these birds require a lot of your attention. Perhaps because of their mischievous nature, if you take your eyes off these birds, you can’t predict the next thing they will do.

Another thing to keep in mind is that Red Lories can be quite messy birds. They feed primarily on liquid food and this also influences the kind of waste they pass, so it is no strange occurrence to see your pet shooting great distances with its waste.

Your bird’s beak and nails must be kept trimmed. So that you don’t do this yourself, as it can be such a hassle, you can keep a rough patch in your pet’s cage. This rough patch will help trim down the nails.

Which Cage to consider for your Red Lory

When considering the cage for your pet, bear in mind the active nature of the bird. You need to provide a reasonably big cage for your bird. A cage of size 36 by 36 by 24 inches should be good enough as it provides enough space for your pet to freely move around. Apart from spending time in the cage, a Red lory also needs ample playtime outside its cage.

It is advisable to choose a cage that is easy to water down because of the liquid droppings discussed earlier. Inside the cage, ensure that your bird has two or three different perches that are not directly above the food and water sources. Toys are also a must for Red lories, as they enjoy playing with their toys, and remember to switch things up so that your bird does not get bored.

What food to consider for your Red Lory

When it comes to feeding your pet, Red lories have a diet that is very specific to nectar and fruits. You can also supplement the diet with mealworms that are easily acquired from pet stores. Deliberate efforts should be taken in feeding your Red lory to keep your bird well nourished. Keep your pet on a strict diet as Red lories are prone to obesity if their nutrition is not consciously watched.

Training

The personality of Red lorikeets makes training for these birds more important than many other parrots. These birds are very intelligent and they can entertain you with tricks they learned. Sometimes, the aggressive nature of the bird also comes to light, especially when its territory is being threatened.

By training your bird, you can help condition its behavior a little more to something you want. The intelligence of the bird makes its training smoother than what you may find with some other birds.

Sound

The active nature of a Moluccan lory can also be seen in its chatty nature. The presence of a Red lory in a home is difficult to suppress as they are known to be great talkers, although they are more likely to bring out high-pitched cries than deliberate mimicry sounds. This does not mean Red lories can’t mimic human speech like some of their cousins.

The talkative nature of these birds makes them the best fit for people that don’t mind a loud bird in the house.

Lifespan

Red lorikeets like other species of parrots live long lives, and the quality of life they live depends on the quality of care they receive from you.

Your Red lory pet can live for up to 30 years. This long lifespan is not something common to most pets around today. This long lifespan also means that everyone in the house can build an independent relationship with the bird.

Breeding

In the wild, you can often find Red lories in mated pairs. These pairs can be very territorial and will often be found killing other birds to defend their territories. This is why it is not advisable to keep breeding pairs of red lorikeets in mixed species-flight.

A red lory reaches its breeding age after 8 months and it lays eggs in clutches of about 2 to 5 eggs. These eggs take about 24 days to hatch. The fledglings will need intensive care for their first 40 to 50 days. The male spends time with his mate during this period and helps in feeding the chicks.

Health and Common Conditions

A red lory is a very active bird and is usually very fun to have around. They are quite hardy birds too and they don’t get ill too often. The active nature of these birds makes it easy to identify when something is wrong with them.

Some of the obvious signs of illness in your pet are breathing through the mouth, closed eyes, and general sluggish behavior. When you see these signs, don’t hesitate to consult your veterinarian.

Bacterial infection from spoilt food is usually a concern for these birds because their diet mostly contains perishable food items. Another condition that is common to this bird is hemochromatosis. Also known as iron storage disease, this condition causes iron to accumulate in the body tissues.

Some other conditions that you may find with Red lories are Gout, beak and feather disease, and liver disease.

Cost

Apart from their fun and unique personalities, the red lory also beats some of its cousins based on cost. This bird is one of the most affordable parrots you will find out there.

An adult Red lory can go for between 600 and 1000 dollars while a juvenile Red lory can go for between 250 and 300 dollars.

Final Thoughts

If you are looking for a pet bird that will add beauty to your home as well as lighten up the mood in the home, then you need a bird with glamorous beauty and a bright personality. The Red lory fits this description perfectly. This bird can be a lot of fun and can also be mischievous sometimes.

Red lories are quite easy to acquire. You can find a Red lory in pet shops or avian-specialty stores. You can also get a Red lory directly from bird breeders. A rarer source is bird rescue organizations.

It is quite easy for Red lories to become integral parts of the family.

White Capped Pionus

White Capped Pionus

The Pionus family of parrots are generally quieter than most of their cousins. They are also small birds, usually with a length of around 10 to 12 inches. When in a group, the Pionus parrots are also sometimes referred to as Red-vented parrots. They can often be seen with bright red feathers just under their tail.

We are going to focus our discussion on one of the popular members of the Pionus species, the white capped Pionus bird.

White Capped Pionus 

Also known as the white crowned parrot, the White Capped Pionus is a gentle, fun, and intelligent bird. They make excellent pets for most families. It doesn’t matter if you are an experienced or novice pet owner, you will love caring for these birds. They also live very long lives, so they can become part of the family for a long time.

Origin and Native Habitat

The White Capped Pionus can be found in the woodlands and forests of Mexico and Central America all the way to Panama. If you take a journey here, you will observe that these birds are at home in dense growth and forests, they nest in hollow palms and tree trunks.

The White Capped Pionus are social birds that can often be found in groups of at least a dozen. The social nature of these birds is obvious when you consider the fact that they have been able to develop a relationship with the local populace in the region. The farming populace tames these birds and has them as the symbol of the region.

Just like most other birds found in nature, the White Crowned parrot has been threatened with loss of its habitat through rapid urbanization. The birds have also been a target for people looking to capture the bird.

Appearance

The White Capped Pionus shares some features with some of its cousins in the parrot family but it also has some unique features. The White Capped Pionus is a medium-sized parrot with an average length of about 10 inches. The bird also weighs between 230 – 260g.

One of the features that make this bird stand out is its coloration. Just as the name White Crowned parrot suggests, the top of the bird’s head is noticeably white and there is also little white under the chin. Mature adult White Capped Pionus are easily distinguishable by their dark blue and green color, which covers their throat, belly, back, and head.

The breast feathers are also noticeable at first glance with their unique dim blue color which gets lighter as you approach the lower body. The wings and backs also have observable green tones with overtones that are often violet-blue or bronze. If you have this lovely bird as a pet, one thing you can be sure of is its glamorous beauty.

The male and female White Capped Pionus are quite similar when examining their physical features. You may even find it a bit of a challenge differentiating these two sexes. One important difference is the duller shoulder patch and the blue plumage that fades into scaling on the lower breast.

Behavior and Personality

The White Capped Pionus has a lot of desirable personality traits for a pet. This is one of the reasons why the bird is widely accepted as a house pet. At tender ages, these parrots can be gentle and easily trained. They don’t mind being handled, unlike many other pets. Just make sure you socialize them early enough.

The White Capped Pionus is an inquisitive and intelligent bird but it is also quieter than some other parrot pets. So, if you want a pet that would beautify your home without disturbing your neighbors, then the White Capped Pionus is an excellent choice for you.

These pets can bond very closely with a member of the family and become overprotective of the person and may often show some aggression. The shy nature of these birds contributes to this behavior. It makes them easily attached to someone and detached from others. One behavior that is common to many parrots is the fact that the way your parrot is raised is the primary determinant of the social nature of your pet in adulthood. This is why it is advised that if you are not ready to take on a White Capped Pionus as a pet, then you may have to consider animals that require less attention.

One thing you may notice with your White Capped Pionus is an occasional wheezing sound. You don’t have to panic though as they make this sound when they are excited or frightened.

Do White Capped Pionus make good pets?

Getting an answer to this question may be the reason why you are reading this article, so let’s give you a summary of the answer. The number of White Capped Pionus being used as pets today increases daily and quite understandably too. They are quiet birds but fun and interesting to be around. They are pleasant to look at and they also stay in the family for a long time, so everyone will easily get used to having them around.

Although your pet may require a bit of your attention and a decent level of care, you surely will not regret gracing your home with these wonderful birds. Also, like most of their cousins, these birds are quite active and intelligent. You will hardly have a dull moment with them.

Care and Feeding

Now, you need to pay attention here, as the way you care for and feed your White Capped Pionus determines the behavior and health of your pet. This is particularly important when your bird is still in its growing phase.

The first thing you need to consider when planning to get a white capped Pionus as your house pet is the cage that will house the bird. When considering the cage size, you need to understand that white capped pionus require a considerable amount of space. These birds are quite active and they love to move around, so the level of restriction should be limited.

Ideally, you should provide enough space for your bird to move from perch to perch, especially if your pet is going to be staying predominantly in its cage. You should be looking at a cage of size not less than 4 by 4 by 2 feet with a bar spacing of about three-quarters of an inch. Also, you don’t have to focus on durable cage construction as they are not strong chewers.

When it comes to feeding, when unsure you can go for commercial seed mixes from reputable pet stores. You can also feed them with safe veggies and fruits or all-natural bird feeds. One of the favorite food for these birds is corn. In the wild, they feed primarily on corn as well as seeds, berries, and so on.

Another care area to keep in mind is exercise. Pionus parrots are generally active birds and will require about 3 to 4 hours of daily exercise. This ties to the point of making their cages big enough for them to move around in.

Training

Like most pet parrots, the White Capped Pionus parrot can also be given behavioral training. Once these pets are trained, they can be quite obedient and remain steady in the training.

Sound

The White Capped Pionus can mimic human speech, although they are not known as the best talkers. You can teach your birds a few simple words like your name or even its name. It is also not surprising to see them make whispers and sounds to those they trust.

As stated earlier, White Capped Pionus are quiet birds, so they make for awesome household pets, especially if you have neighbors around. One thing you need to note is that apart from mimicking sounds in the home, these birds can also mimick the loudness of the home. This means that the louder the household is, the louder your bird gets too.

Lifespan

Let’s talk about how long you can expect to have these birds in your home. If you are looking for a pet that will grow with the family and remain the home long after your kids have left, then the white capped pionus is a great option for you. These birds can live as long as 30 years. Interestingly, they are not parrots with the longest lifespan, as parrots generally live long lives.

Breeding

In the wild, the white capped pionus have a limited breeding season. They usually have a spring breeding season from around February/March to around June/July. These birds are quite difficult to breed in captivity and you will have better luck letting the chicks be parented for their first few weeks rather than hand-rear them.

When breeding season starts, there are some noticeable features on these pets. Their feet and eye rings become bright orange and they also become noisier. These parrots lay about 3 to 6 eggs which take between 24 to 26 days to hatch. Once hatched, the chicks fledge between the ages of 8 to 12 weeks. When it is time to wean the chicks, corn cob serves as a functional weaning food.

Health and Common conditions

White Capped Pionus parrots are hardy birds and can live long healthy lives if given proper care. To avoid any serious illnesses, ensure that your pet exercises often and feeds on a healthy diet. You should also focus on regular grooming as this keeps them clean and free from potential disease-causing organisms.

The parrots are most susceptible to aspergillosis and fungal infections. Visceral gout should also be on your watchlist when it comes to the white capped pionus. A bird that doesn’t get the best diet could also become deficient in vitamin A.

If you notice your bird showing unnatural symptoms that could indicate some sort of illness, then you need to reach out to an avian veterinary doctor as soon as possible.

Cost

After considering everything written in this article and you have decided that the white capped pionus is the perfect pet for your home, the next thing is to determine the cost of the bird.

You can get a white capped pionus from avian specialty stores and bird breeders for between $400 to $900. If you decide to get the bird from a breeder, then you need to get answers to some pertinent questions. Before you even begin discussions, you need to confirm that the breeder is a reputable one. Then, you need to ask how long they have been breeding the bird.

Final Thoughts

Other than the blue headed pionus, no other Pionus parrot can boast the popularity of the white capped Pionus parrot. This could be attributed to the fact that the bird makes for a great pet. The quiet but fun nature of the bird means you don’t have to worry about having a dull pet or a noisy one.

These birds are easygoing and may require a fair bit of time and resources. Apart from purchasing the bird in stores and from bird breeders, you can also get them from avian rescue organizations, although this may require a bit of luck.

Canary Varieties

Canary

Many people that decide they want a canary are unaware that there are many different types of canary. When you think of a canary, you think of the typical little yellow singing bird. Right? That is what I think of. Chances are, your neighborhood pet store has more than just the standard yellow canary.

There are different colors to pick from, different feather type, different song type. Really, it can be quite overwhelming. It depends on what the owner of the pet store orders for the store, but you could see red canaries, fluffy canaries, or even multi-colored canaries. I have included a few things to know about the types of canaries out there.

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Canaries can be seperated into three groups. Type canaries, color canaries, and song canaries. The color canaries are bred for their coloring, the song canaries are bred for their singing abilities, and the type canaries are bred for their general appearance (the look of the feathers, the build of the body, length, etc).
Type canaries are fun to learn about. The process of selective breeding in captivity has produced some very interesting looks for certain canaries. There are many many different types, but I will only list a few here.

The Gibber Italicus is a canary that was bred to look incredibly odd. It is a very long canary. The neck is especially long. What is most intriguing, is the unnatural looking bend to the neck. The bird’s neck swoops downward, giving it a hunchback appearance. It looks uncomfortable to say the least.

One of my favorite canaries has to be the Gloster canary. It looks like a member of the band The Beatles. It has a mop of “hair” on it head. The hair is actually feathers, but the bird really does look like it is sporting a fancy hair-do. Glosters are rather small and come in many colors, including yellow, cinnamon, and green.

The largest canary that has been bred is the Yorkshire Canary. It is around 6 inches long, which is very large for a canary. Normally canaries are about 4 or 5 inches or so. The Yorkshire stands very tall and erect. It is especially thin looking. It is a thin bird, but it looks thinner due to its rigid stance. The lower portion of the bird is the smallest, while the chest and shoulders are nice and bulky looking, giving it a tough soldier-like appearance.

Song Canaries have been bred for their melodious voice. It really is relaxing to sit and listen to a bird (with a nice voice) sing a beautiful tune. The trills and chirps can be quite tranquil. I believe that is something that is enjoyed whether you are at the age of 5 or 95. There are two different types of song canaries separated based on the type of singing they do. There is the “chopper”, which sing loud, choppy notes with wide open beaks. Then there is the “roller”, which sings with a beak that is either closed or only very slightly open and the song is generally softer.

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The American Singer Canary was bred in America for its song as well as its appearance, making it a very popular pet. Not only does it have the lungs to make you stupendous music, it also has a gorgeous look about it. It is a cross between two specific canaries: the Border canary and the German Roller canary, giving it a sweet song of great rolling notes mixed with just the right amount of choppy notes. The volume the bird uses to sing is also something that is bred into the bird. This bird has a song that is neither too soft nor too loud. Perfect for an indoor pet.

The Spanish Timbrado Canary is very close to the wild canary genetically. The breeding of this bird was done by crossing wild canary birds with domestic ones. The song produced by the bird is particularly loud and has a metallic quality. The sound can be described as fuller and deeper.

Color canaries come in more colors than I had imagined was possible. I did know that canaries can come in a few colors other than standard yellow, such as brown or white, but I didn’t know there is almost no end to the colors that have come from selective breeding. Breeders have come out with canaries in shades of blue, white, orange, red, green, gray, and even canaries that have feathers that look like the scales of a lizard. My favorite has to be the Red Factor canary, a bird that is a rich vibrant shade of red.

Author: Arianna Pleitez

The Kea Parrot

The Kea Parrot

If you are day sleeper or night “owl”, this bird may be the perfect companion for you as they are semi-nocturnal. In captivity they are known to be most active during dark or stormy weather in addition to nighttime hours. The entertaining Kea is a parrot that is loved by most and disliked by some.

These lovely birds have entertaining habits, though they have known to be destructive as a result of their inquisitive and playful natures. They require many chew toys and puzzle toys to keep them out of mischief, they are curious and can be destructive if not properly supervised and occupied. They are hardy little fellows hailing from the New Zealand Alps. While drafts are still a bane as with any other caged bird, lower temperatures do not faze them in the least.

They grow to about 19 inches in length and are chattery noisy but; not raucous. The cry of the Kea, as generally heard in the early morning, has been aptly compared to the mewing of a cat; but it likewise utters a whistle, a chuckle, and a suppressed scream.

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The Kea does not walk like other parrots, it hops and usually in a sideways fashion to the delight of their admirers. Their adult plumage is acquired at about 18 months of age, and females can be distinguished from males by their beaks, which are often less sharply curved and shorter than those of males. The beaks are brownish gray.

The Kea’s plumage is an olive green shade, and each feather has a black edging. Over the yellowish green colored crown and nape, the feathers have dark striping. The cage should about 3 feet high, 2 feet across, and 18 inches deep. So that they have lots of room to move about in. Usually an earth or sand covered floor is appropriate. Plenty of hiding places should be provided. A supply of fresh branches should also be present for chewing. In captivity, a Kea’s diet can usually be made up of fruits and vegetables with carbohydrate and protein supplements.

Keas are known for their ready acceptance of most foods. Often maize and brown rice can be cooked and offered as a meal. Soaked pigeon feed, peanuts, hemp, and sunflower seeds have also been offered with good results. Vegetables, a large portion of the diet, can be offered in the form of carrots, potatoes, cabbages, greens, and beets. A variety of fruits are accepted: oranges, berries, and passion fruits to name a few.

In the wild, they are omnivorous and relish lamb and mutton. Offering them cooked pieces of meat of all types will provide them with needed protein. While they dine on fresh meat in the wild, it should be cooked for caged birds to prevent parasites and any infection. (Jan Santor)

Toco Toucan

Toco Toucan

The most common type of toucan is the Toco Toucan. This is the one most likely to be found in a pet shop to be sold as a pet. Toucans are by no means common here in the United States, but if you see one, it will likely be this one. If one is to choose a pet bird, they aren’t likely to choose a toucan.

They are available as pets, though, and are wonderful little birds for the right bird owner. The bill is orange and yellow with an oblong black spot on the tip and a black base. The eyes are dark brown with a ring of skin around each eye that is very distinctly blue. Orange surrounds the blue skin around the eye. The throat and upper chest are a clean white.

The feathers on the rest of the body are black with a shiny bluish sheen in the sunlight. The under part of the tail is a deep red. The bill is the most overwhelming feature, being large and colorful. It can measure as long as 9 inches. The tongue inside is also long and is very thin and flat. The beak is thought to be warning to predators to stay away. Sort of like a giant, bright “stay away” sign. It also may serve as an aid for finding attractive mates. It is obvious that the beak helps the bird in its eating habits as the birds use it to peel their fruit or gather hard to reach food items. Though it may look heavy and cumbersome, it is almost completely hollow so it is lightweight and may not be as dreadful to lug around as it looks. The beak may look enormous, but the actual bird is not that large.

They weigh anywhere between the range of 1 to 2 pounds and are a length of about 2 feet. They are found in Bolivia, Peru, Argentina, Paraguay, and Brazil. They aren’t typically forest dwelling birds, so you would normally find them handing out in semi-open areas of woodlands and savanna. They are often found at the forests edge.

They aren’t the best flyers, so it is cute to see them do a lot of hopping from branch to branch to get around. This bird is not on any endangered lists. The Toco Toucan eats fruits, insects, small animals, and eggs. They have a lifespan of about 20 years in the wild and 18 years in captivity.

They are prone to “iron storage disease” or hemochromatosis in captivity. This dieases make the toucan unhappy and can lead to feather picking and eventually death. What happens is the bird takes on too much iron in their diet when in captivity due to the high-iron foods fed to birds normally kept in captivity. In the wild, Toco Toucans eat a diet almost entirely of consisting of fruits, which are low in iron.

Their bodies are designed to be extra efficient at capturing and storing iron from food, so when too much comes into their bodies, they soak it up and store it. Too much iron is a very bad thing for these birds. Tocos are very noisy. Their vocalizations consist of deep croaking noises, rattling-sounding calls, and bill clicking or clacking noises.

They are not too loud to keep as pets, of course! They make wonderful pets and can be quite friendly. They can be hand-tamed just like other large birds and are even capable of learning tricks. They cannot, however, learn to speak human words or imitate speech like many types of parrot.

Common diseases:

• Bacterial infections

• Iron storage disease

• Intestinal parasites

• Gout

Senegal Parrot

Senegal Parrot

Senegal Parrots give you the best of all worlds in a companion bird. They are independent, a tad persnickety at times, but; not big biters, they talk and whistle well, with training, even though they have a raspier voice than most parrots. They love, love, love to chew, so make sure they have plenty of wood toys to destroy.

There cage size should be about 36” x 36” x 48” High with bar spacing no more than ½ inch. They require lots of exercise so supervised out of cage time is extremely important. We have told you about the Quaker Parrot Personality and this little bird is the watered down version of that. They grow to about 9 ½ – 10 inches long and a good weight range is 130 to 150 grams with males being generally heavier than males.

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Their life span in a home is averaged to be about 50 years, so make sure you have an agreed upon designated home for them, should they outlive you. (Necessary for all pets, no matter the average life span). The ONLY definitive way to tell male from female is DNA sexing, contrary to other forms of identification like head shape, size, etc. that are only accurate 50% of the time. They are not particularly noisy birds, and when they do squawk, it is raspy sounding thus keeping the decibel level down.

The only diseases that they are prone to are Fatty Liver (many birds are) and Iron Retention Disease (again, many birds do not process iron well). They should have a good pelleted diet supplemented with fresh fruits and vegetables and fresh distilled or filtered water (as with all birds). The Senegal is of the Poicephalus family of birds and hails from the Senegal Region of South Africa. There is 1 main species and 2 subspecies of Senegal, The main race has a Yellow belly and the subspecies have red or orange bellies.

The Red Bellied Parrot

The Red Bellied Parrot

The Red-Bellied Parrot is considered to be the best talkers and most outgoing of the Poicephalus Species. Their vocabulary can become immense and they are never shy about telling strangers all the words that they know. (A prime example of why we should only use “good” words around our fids. Like others in this Order of Parrot, they have an anomalous, but; occasional phobic reaction. It has never been determined why or what the trigger(s) might be and it is not at all like the “Night Frights” that are so common to Cockatiels and other species. Sometimes they will just go into a frenzy of fear and then calm down with a little snuggling and soothing from their human family member(s). It passes quickly and does not harm them as far as has been determined.

They are affectionate and loving companions to humans. In fact, having two of any Poicephalus, for the purpose of giving them a friend while you are out of the home is really not recommended, although they live in social colonies in the wild, they don’t easily take to their own kind in captivity.

If you give your Red Bellied Parrot plenty of soft wooden toys to chew on and some good acrylic toys (both are a must, because they can be chewed on, tossed, played with and are easy for humans to use for interactive toys. These two materials will keep your fid from having overgrown or scissor beak, which is quite common to those not having proper beak grooming material. They entertain themselves while alone as much as they enjoy entertaining people. They are a relatively healthy and robust little bird with a few vulnerabilities making them susceptible to the following:

  • Chlamydiosis (Psittacosis)
  • Psittacine Beak and Feather Disease
  • Feather picking
  • Respiratory Diseases- Aspergillosis
  • Bacterial
  • viral
  • Fungal Diseases

Calcium deficiency disorder and of course the Toxicities that most Parrots suffer from certain foods and materials.

Their life span is normally 15-20 years and some have reached 30+.
Their Food: Their diet should contain a limited seed mix of both small and large seeds, a good pelleted food and MUST be supplemented with a wide variety of fruits and vegetables. A good diet, fresh air, adequate room to exercise plus a happy environment spells the difference in keeping the birds healthy.

Their cage/house: Avoid cages with curlicue designs. The curves can snap off under heavy chewing, and Poicephalus parrots have very strong beaks. There have also been cases of tail feathers getting caught in them. It’s also better to get a rectangular or square cage. Birds need to have a corner they can retreat to when they are scared. Being in a round cage is the equivalent of being trapped in an open field-there’s no where to go, and they’ll always be checking for any signs of “predators”. This can exacerbate the Poicephalus parrots’ already nervous dispositions. Poicephalus parrots also tend to prefer cages with horizontal rather than vertical bars because they can climb. It’s also easier to hang toys or accessories.

The Princess of Wales Parakeet (Princess Parrot)

The Princess of Wales Parakeet (Princess Parrot)

The Princess of Wales Parakeet was named after Princess Alexandra of Denmark, who later married the Prince of Wales Edward the VII and she eventually became the Queen of England. Not only are these gorgeous birds regal in stature, they are absolutely gorgeous in color (there are several color mutations that have been developed by breeders, but; the one pictured here is the real deal); but, they are non-aggressive and affectionate.

Like other flock birds, they do “call the flock” at night, but; they aren’t as loud as a Quaker and make wonderful apartment dwellers.

They grow to about 16” in length, from tail to beak, at maturity and live to about 25-30 years on the average. They are extremely good whistlers and can be very good talkers too. It is suggested that these birds have a playmate (sex unimportant unless you plan to breed) because they love human and avian companionship and playmates.

A Large cage with no more than ½” bar spacing is recommended, because of their need to exercise and play with toys when in their house. The Large cage is also needed to prevent the “Tattered Tail” problems that banging tail feathers on cage bars can bring.

Pionus Parrot

Pionus Parrot

Pionus is not a specific type of parrot. It is the name of a genus, or group, of 8 species of parrot that are very similar to one another but cannot be considered the same species. These birds are all from various parts of Mexico, Central America, and South America. They look similar in body build and are all almost identical in size, but their coloring is all different. The most obvious characteristic they all share is the red patch underneath their tail feathers. They actually used to all be known as the red-vented parrots because of this. They are stocky much like an Amazon is, but a tad smaller in size. They are not chubby, but they carry a nice sturdy weight. They all are about 10 to 11 inches in length. Their feathers are beautiful and shiny in the right lighting. They live anywhere from 25 years to over 50 years, depending on nutrition and how well they are taken care of.

The Pionus parrot’s diet in the wild consists of fruits and other common parrots foods. They do tend to choose softer foods, however, as their beaks are not as hard as some other species of parrot, such as the Macaw. A nice balanced pellet is a good choice for the captive bird, supplemented with fresh fruits, veggies, and legumes. Since they tend to be vitamin A deficient, it is wise to feed plenty of sweet potatoes, carrots, and any other foods rich in this vitamin.

Because their coloring is pretty mellow compared to a lot of other pet birds to choose from, they are often overlooked. They don’t have the explosion of bright coloring that make people “ooh and ahh”, but they are extremely sweet. They are also actually pretty calm and quiet. They are much quieter than their Amazon cousins and this is a real benefit for some people that want a bird companion but don’t want the incessant screaming. They do copy sounds and may try to mimic your screaming children, but they just naturally don’t want to be noisy all day long. They can “talk” but aren’t the best of talkers and when they do talk they may not talk very clearly. They are not known to be extremely outgoing, but are sweet and cuddly. They aren’t overly adventurous, so you may not be able to get them comfortable with “crazy” tricks such as flipping them onto their backs, but they can learn simple things such whistles, stepping up onto your hand, bobbing their heads on command, etc.

Pionus have a unique stress response. When frightened they will make a sound that sounds like a wheeze. They will not stop making this sound until whatever is stressing them stops. They will also thrash when something scares them. Other times, when frightened they will sit stone still without making a peep.

One thing that stands out about the Pionus parrots is their smell! They have a very neat odor that people either love or dislike. It is described as musky and sort of sweet smelling and is present whether or not the bird is bathed often or not.

The species included in the Pionus parrot group are as follows:

The Blue-headed parrot

Or Pionus mentruus, range from Central America down to Northern South America in the wild. They are one of the more stunning of the Pionus group with their dazzling blue head. The feet and beak are dark grey to black in color. Their body is almost all green, with different shades of green depending on what part of the body. The top parts tend to be a darker green and the bottom parts tend to be lighter. The feathers over the ears are black underneath the beak, sometimes there will be feathers tinted a pink color.

The Red-billed parrot

Or Pionus sordidus, is not commonly found in the USA. The coloring is almost all green similar to the blue-headed parrot. There are blue accents under the beak and some blue around the cheeks. The beak is pink and the eyes are yellow, making for a nice contrast against the rest of the feathers on this bird’s body. They are found on the Northern edge of South America in forested areas.

The Scaly-headed parrot

Or Pionus maximiliani, is one of the plainest of all the pionus birds. The colors are very subdued making this bird unable to really stand out. Olive green covers most of the body of the bird and the beak is a nice tan color with darker shades of gray at the base. The legs are gray. They head has a distinct scaly appearance giving the bird its name. They are found in Argentina and Brazil and are also quite common in the United States.

The Plum-crowned parrot

Or Pionus tumultuosus, is mostly feathered in green and red with some splashes of purple. There is a bit of red on the side of the head, forehead, and neck. The “plum” in the name comes from the purple on the chest and around the neck. The beak is a delightful bright yellow, the eyes are brown, and the legs are gray.

Dusky Parrots

Or Pionus fuscus, are found in northern South America. They are a light blue in color. They almost look gray or blackish from far away. They have nice accents of purple and red feathers. They have speckles of white feathers on the neck and sides of the head. They have a deeper blue on the wings and the tail and purple feathers flowing down the breast. The beak is a yellow that melts into a gray color near the base. Their eyes are dark brown and the legs are gray.

The White-capped Parrot

Pionus senilis, fits its description well. It looks just like it has a cute little white hat on the top of its head. This is another bird that is primarily green. The wings have accents of violet and blue. The abdomen starts at the top as brownish-blue and blends down to green near the lower belly. The iris is either brown or dark orange and the legs are pink. The beak is yellow with a hint of green. It is found in southern Mexico down to Panama.

Bronze-winged Parrot

Pionus chalcopterus, is primarily royal blue in color. The wings, as described in the name, are a bold bronze color. The beak is yellow, the iris is brown, and the legs are tan colored. The naked ring around the eye is pink. The bronze-winged parrot is found in Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, and Venezuela.

White-headed Parrot

Or Pionus seniloides, is not commonly found in the United States. This one is different than the white-capped parrot because of the amount of white on the head. This one’s entire forehead and crown is white instead of just having a white cap on the top of the head. Edging the white coloring is orange. Along with the white, the head sports many different colors on the remaining area, such as red, gray, blue, black, and pink. The chest area is a red and brown color. The legs are gray, the beak is yellow, and the eyes are brown. This particular bird is found in Venezuela, Ecuador, and Colombia.