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, as 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 year for these birds as it marks the period 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 by farmers.
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 molt, 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 mischief. You don’t have to worry about your pet having fun, as they can independently find their 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 than the males and they often dominate 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 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, but 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.
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.
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.
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 molting. This is unique to Vasa parrots as most other parrots have to molt 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.
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.