Parrotlets are small, colorful parrots that make wonderful family pets. They are known for their intelligence and playful personalities, making them a great choice for those looking for an interactive bird.
Parrotlets can be a variety of colors and sizes, ranging from the larger Pacific Parrotlet to the smaller Green-Cheeked Parrotlet. All of them have bright, vibrant colors and are known for their intelligence and ability to learn tricks.
Parrotlets are the smallest birds of the Parrot family. They were originally found in Mexico as well as Central and South America. They are a very active and curious bird that has a bold personality. Parrotlets are very friendly and loving birds. They enjoy interacting with people and will happily greet visitors who come to visit. They are also very smart and can learn tricks quickly.
Parrotlets are the perfect pet for your family if you are looking for a bird that is easy to care for, won’t destroy your home, and only needs the occasional play session to keep them happy. Parrotlets are sweet, affectionate, and love to play games, which makes them a wonderful companion pet for kids. Parrotlets are natural learners and are curious, which means they will enjoy new toys and games and will keep you entertained with their antics.
Parrotlets are the smallest parrots, and they’re also among the most affectionate. Known for their silly antics and their ability to learn, they are great birds for your family, especially if you’re looking for a pet that everyone can enjoy. As playful and people-oriented as they are, Parrotlets are wonderful pets for kids. They’re small enough that they can be handled by little ones, but they’re big enough that they’re not overwhelming.
While some Parrotlets can be trained to talk, this is not generally known to be a noisy bird. Feeding is pretty straightforward, their diets consisting mainly of pellets, fresh vegetables, fruits, and seeds.
Parrotlets are relatively easy to care for, but they do require regular vet visits to ensure that they stay healthy. It’s also important to give them plenty of toys and activities to keep them entertained.
Overall, Parrotlets make wonderful family birds. They’re intelligent, social birds that can give your family countless hours of fun and companionship. If you’re looking for a bird that is both interactive and low maintenance, then a Parrotlet may be the perfect choice for your family.
Information about Parrotlets
- Average length: 4 to 5 inches
- Average Weight: 1 ounce
- Colors: Green, blue,
- Grooming Needs: Low
- Tolerance to Heat and Cold: Yes
- Good Pet: With early socialization and training, yes
- Safe with Children: With training
- Good with Other Parrotlets: Yes
- Good with Other bird species: Moderate
- Suitable to live in an Apartment: Yes, because they aren’t as noisy as other parrot species
- Good for Less Experienced Pet Owners: Yes
- Training: They learn fast but you need to make them trust you first
- Health Concerns: Pacheco’s disease, Parrotlet Pox Disease, Beak and Feather Syndrome, and Papilloma Disease
- Allergies: None
- Average Life Span: 20 to 30 years
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Physical Appearance of a Parrotlet
Parrotlets look like green Parakeets but are smaller. There are two common types of Parrotlets kept as pets, although there are other species which have not been domesticated as pets.
The Pacific Parrotlet is the most common Parrotlet and they’re known for their short bodies and equally short tails. These birds are varying shades of green in the wild, but domesticated Parrotlets can have a number of different colors. Yellow, green and blue are the most common colors for domesticated Parrotlets.
Green-rumped Parrotlet is the other common Parrotlet and is named because of the green color on its rump. The reality is it’s not just their rump that is green, they’re entirely green. The males also have some blue on their wings while the female Green-rumped Parrotlets don’t have any blue on their wings. These specific species of Parrotlets are smaller than the Pacific Parrotlet. All Parrotlets have pink feet and beaks.
Temperament of Parrotlets
Compared to other birds, Parrotlets are a bit aggressive. Each Parrotlet is unique and has a different personality. Because their personalities are unpredictable you never know how they will be until you’ve spent time with them.
Parrotlets are less aggressive compared to other parrot species but can occasionally bite their caregivers and other pets in the house. Many owners have said that their birds enjoy biting their nails when they try to do stuff inside its cage. If you let your Parrotlet outside of their cage, they may nip on pets like your dogs and cats.
Parrotlets are very social and enjoy the company of other Parrotlets. We recommend placing two Parrotlets in one cage for socialization otherwise a single Parrotlet could become lonely. One Parrotlet kept alone often requires a lot of attention from its family to meet its social needs.
It’s possible to train Parrotlets but you’ll need to take time to build a strong bond with them first. The two of you have to learn to trust each other before you can start with the training process. Training sessions should not last longer than 10 minutes because Parrotlets have short attention spans. It’s important to reward your bird with a treat any time they do the desired behavior.
Some of the more fun tricks that a Parrotlet can learn are speaking, waving, and following simple commands. When teaching your bird to speak, the word you want them to say will need to be repeated until your bird can say them back. For example, if you want your Parrotlet to say “hi” every time you get near their cage, say “hi” as soon as you approach their cage. The males tend to learn how to speak better and faster than females.
Your birds will learn faster if you create a routine so that they’re trained at the same time every day. With a routine your Parrotlet expects to learn something at that time and will probably get a treat for it.
Compatibility of Parrotlets with Children
Parrotlets are tiny, funny, and friendly which tends to attract kids. The birds also enjoy human contact and handling. As noted earlier, Parrotlets may become agitated and it’s possible they could bite, which may scare a child. The small sizes of Parrotlets make them fragile to handle and if squeezed too tight it might end up hurting the bird. If a young child is going to take care of a Parrotlet, they should handle it with the supervision of an adult.
Children also tend to outgrow their interest in pets. Parrotlets can live for up to 20 years, this is a long commitment for a child to make.
Best Habitat for Parrotlets
A cage makes the best habitat for a Parrotlet over an aviary because Parrotlets do not do well with mixed bird species normally kept in aviaries. A minimum size cage for a single Parrotlet should measure 18 inches long, 24 inches wide, and 24 inches tall. The bar spacing within the cage should be less than ½ an inch to keep your bird from getting stuck. Parrotlets can easily get stuck in between bars due to their small size.
A good habitat should also have different sized perches. Having same size perches may hurt the feet of your bird because of standing in the same position for long. The best perches should have a thickness between a half inch and 1 inch. Having pedi-perches is also a great idea because it helps your bird trim nails preventing them from overgrowing.
Toys are a great addition to your Parrotlet cage, especially if your bird is kept alone. Toys help keep your bird busy and help them overcome boredom. The toys and the perches should be placed in a way that there is enough space left for the bird to flap their wings and move around.
The cage should also have a newspaper substrate to make the process of cleaning super easy. We recommend placing the newspaper in several layers so that you can remove the dirty layer every day to leave a clean floor in your cage. A newspaper substrate is ideal because it’s not only cheap but mold doesn’t usually grow on it.
The Attention a Parrotlet Needs
A Parrotlet requires between 10 to 12 hours of sleep a day. Make sure to cover their cage with a dark cover and switch off the lights near their cage. If kept alone, spend several hours with your bird every day or give it many toys to reduce loneliness and boredom. If it’s safe, release your Parrotlet to fly around in your house as long as you can supervise to avoid accidents.
The feeding bowls of your bird should be cleaned every day using warm soapy water and then rinsed with clean water. Once a week their cage should be deep cleaned and be disinfected. This will prevent mold growth and accumulation of other fungi.
It can be difficult to know when your Parrotlet is sick because the birds tend to maintain their normal behavior even in sickness. It’s important to identify any signs of illness early enough so that they can be quickly treated. Here are some of the general signs of a sick Parrotlet.
- Ruffled feathers
- Watery feces
- Flaky skin
- Weight loss
- Loss of feathers
- Overgrown beak and nails
- Changes in talking habits
It’s also important to note that most Parrotlet diseases are airborne making them hard to control. It’s advisable to visit a veterinarian as soon as you notice any signs of illness to prevent sudden deaths. Here are the most common illnesses that affect Parrotlets.
Pacheco’s virus is a highly contagious disease that affects many species of birds. It was first discovered in turkeys in the United States in 1986, and since then it has been found to infect a wide range of other bird species worldwide. The virus is spread through direct contact between birds, or indirectly through contaminated items like feed or water. Birds infected with Pacheco’s virus often have signs of respiratory illness and can die within 1-2 days.
Pacheco’s virus is an avian paramyxovirus, which is closely related to the viruses that cause measles and mumps in humans. The virus affects birds by attacking their respiratory tract and causing severe inflammation leading to difficulty breathing, weight loss, and ultimately death. There is no known cure for Pacheco’s virus, and prevention is the best approach to protecting them from infection.
Beak and Feather Syndrome
Beak and Feather Syndrome is caused by a newly identified virus called circovirus psittacus (PsCV). The virus is spread from bird to bird through contact with saliva, feces or feather dust. The virus has also been found in feed, water and cages that are contaminated with infected bird droppings.
Infected birds usually have symptoms of the disease within 6-12 weeks of contact with the virus, and it can take up to a year for all symptoms to manifest.
Symptoms of Beak and Feather Syndrome
Symptoms of Beak and Feather Syndrome include:
- Feather loss
- Discoloration of the feathers
- Deformed beaks
- Overgrown claws
- Swollen joints
In more severe cases, beaks can become fused together or a bird may develop difficulty balancing or walking. The virus can also cause weight loss and weakness in infected birds. In extreme cases the disease can lead to death.
Avian papilloma is a viral infection that affects birds and can cause tumors to form on their skin or their organs. It’s caused by a DNA virus called Avipoxvirus, which belongs to the family Poxviridae. The virus is highly contagious, and it can spread quickly throughout an aviary.
In most cases, the infection is benign and won’t cause serious health problems for your bird. In some cases, tumors can develop and cause ulceration or other complications.
Symptoms of Avian Papilloma
Avian papilloma can cause several different types of lesions to appear on a bird’s skin or organs. These can include:
- Small wart-like growths
- Clusters of bumps
- Raised scabs
- Soft tumors
In some cases, the virus can also cause inflammation, itching, and pain in the affected area.
Parrotlet pox is a viral infection that primarily affects parrotlets, a type of small parrot. It’s caused by avian pox, an infectious virus that is distributed through contact with infected birds or their droppings. These lesions will often appear as raised white bumps and can become scaly and crusty over time. The disease can also cause respiratory problems, including difficulty breathing, coughing, sneezing, and eye and nose discharge.
Infected birds should be isolated immediately to stop the spread of the virus to other birds. Treatment consists of antibiotics to control secondary bacterial infections as well as antiviral medications to help fight the virus itself. In severe cases, surgery might be needed to remove lesions.
Good hygiene and regularly disinfecting their cages and other equipment can help prevent the spread of the virus.
Bathing and Cleaning
Parrotlets come from places with lots of rainfall and they actually enjoy getting wet. If you want them to bathe themselves, just give your Parrotlets a bowl of warm water every day and they will keep themselves clean.
Some Parrotlets enjoy being sprayed with mist in a bowl. Different birds prefer different ways of being cleaned, over time you’ll discover what works best for your Parrotlet.
The right diet determines the health and life span of your Parrotlet. Parrotlets are like humans when it comes to taste. They enjoy tasty food and will even smack their beaks when fed sweet food.
Experts recommend a low fat diet with lots of protein. Commercial seeds and pellets make the best meals for your Parrotlet but should be supplemented with other foods to meet all their nutritional needs. As much as seeds and grains are good foods, they’re junk food for your Parrotlets because of the high fat content. Seeds, grains, and pellets should only make up about 25 percent of their diet and that the other 75 percent come from lower fat foods.
Parrotlets require about 20 percent of protein in their diet. Most pellets made specifically for Parrotlets contain protein. Insect larvae or mealworms are also a great source of protein. You can also prepare a protein meal for your Parrotlet using beans right at home.
15 – 20 percent of the bird’s diet should come from fruits and vegetables. Parrotlets enjoy fresh vegetables and fruits such as spinach, cabbage, carrots, oranges, bananas, and tomatoes. The vegetables should be finely chopped so that your bird doesn’t choke on them. They can eat the vegetables raw or cooked depending on what your bird prefers.
Vitamin A is an essential nutrient for Parrotlets because it helps them develop healthy skin, shiny feathers, and prevents some illnesses. The vitamin is present in most of the mentioned fruits and vegetables. According to experts, dark leafy vegetables and fruits contain a lot of Vitamin A including broccoli, lettuce, zucchini, and leeks.
Since Parrotlets enjoy feeding all through the day, place food in their bowls so that they can eat it anytime. Make sure that their water bowl is clean and has fresh water every day so that your Parrotlet can drink when it wants.
Is Wing Clipping Necessary for Parrotlets?
There’s a lot of controversy on whether to clip the wings of a Parrotlet or not. Experts recommend not clipping the wings for the general health of your bird. Some people clip the wings to prevent their Parrotlet from escaping. The choice of clipping the wings is entirely yours but you should consult with your vet before making a decision.
Maryna is an animal expert that has had dozens of animals in her life over the years. She has never found an animal that she didn't love immediately. It seems like every year she finds kittens that have been abandoned by their mom and she nurses them to health and finds homes for them. She contributes her vast knowledge about animals and family pets to our website and we're forever grateful to have her working with us. She's also an amazing graphics designer and has designed all of the social media images that we use across all platforms.