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Friday, May 29, 2009

Interesting Facts About Parrot

* While eating, parrots hold their food in one of their feet, which can be either left or right, making parrots left as well as right handed.


* Parrots, when not nesting, live in groups known as flocks and are prone to squawking and screaming.


* Parrots, mainly pet ones, are very good at mimicking. They can easily imitate the speech and calls of other birds and animals, even humans. African gray parrots are the best mimics.


* Parrots are zygodactyls i.e. they have four toes on each foot. Two of their toes point forward and two point backward.


* Most of the parrots build their nests in holes in trees, termite mounts, rock cavities or ground tunnels. Only a few build stick nests.


* Wild Macaws and Cockatoos can fly up to 500 miles in a day, while searching for food.


* The vocalizations of some parrots can be heard for up to 1 mile.


* Larger parrots can live more than 75 years, while smaller ones live up to 15 years only.


* Parrots cannot eat chocolate because it is poisonous to their body.


* Parrots have a thick muscular tongue that helps them eat fruit, seeds, buds, nectar, and pollen.


* Three hundred and twenty-eight different species of parrots live on the Earth. Parrots are divided into groups such as cockatoos, lories, lovebirds, macaws, and parakeets.


* Parrots range in size from the pygmy of the South Pacific which is only 3½ inches long to the hyacinth macaw which is about 10 inches long. Much of its length is in its long tail. Parrots weigh from just a few ounces to 3½ pounds. Most parrots are predominantly green, especially the ones from South America. Some American parrots are mostly blue or yellow. However, parrots may have red, green, blue, purple, white, pink, brown, yellow, and even black. They have large heads and short necks. The zygodactyolus feet of the parrot have two toes that point backwards and two toes that point forward. These toes make the parrot excellent climbers.


* Smaller parrots live 10 to 15 years. Larger parrots such as the macaws and cockatoos live more than 75 years. These birds reach maturity in 1 to 4 years. Wild parrots live in the forest of tropical zones including South America, Australia, and New Guinea. A few live in Africa and mainland Asia. Parrots are hole nesters. They build their nests in holes in trees, termite mounts, rock cavities, or ground tunnels. A few exceptions will build stick nests.


* Most parrot fossils were excavated in Europe. The earliest dates back to the Eocene, and are 50 million years old. Most of the complete skeletons were found in Germany and England. These birds are considered the great “parrot ancestors.” However, fossils of modern parrots—with the same bone structure and appearance as the ones we see today, are about 23 million years old.


* There are actually two major groups of parrots: the psittacidae, and the cacutaidae. The latter has a movable head crest while the psittacidae have brighter, more vibrant colors. There are also enormous skeletal differences. For example, the cacatuidae have a gall bladder and a different type of skull bone.


* Some parrots are in danger of extinction. This includes the Spixs Macaw, of which only 7 survive in captivity. Naturalists once thought they had completely disappeared from the wild, but one was seen spotted flying in the South American rainforest. Breeding efforts have been stepped out to increase the parrots’ numbers.


* Most parrot conservation efforts are actually spearheaded by pet owners who love the birds and want to make sure they thrive. Efforts include fund raisers and information campaigns. Their projects have helped fund zoo and wild life centers, and have led to brochures and other important collaterals distributed to schools nationwide.


* Tony Silva, former director of Europe’s largest parrot park, was actually jailed for 82 months and fined over a hundred thousand dollars for smuggling Hyacinth macaws. Silva was a highly respected parrot expert. The case started an outcry for stricter parrot protection laws.


* These colorful birds have been mentioned in ancient texts, magazines, and even Hollywood films. This includes movies like the comedy Paulie and documentaries like The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill.


* Parrots come in almost every color of the rainbow, but the eggs are always a simple white.


* Parrots don’t have vocal cords, so they actually “trumpet” the sound by pushing air out of their trachea. They can control the pitch of the sound by manipulating the shape and depth of the trachea. Experts say that when parrots talk, they are actually making variations on whistling.


* Most parrots will love seed and flowers, but there are some that don’t mind a little “steak”. The Golden-winged Parakeets like to eat water snails, while the New Zealand Kees even scavenge abandoned sheep carcasses.


* The thick muscular tongue helps the parrot eat fruit, seeds, buds, nectar, and pollen. Sometimes they will eat insects. Their strong beak is hooked. They feed their young by regurgitation.


* Parrots have a wide range of articulations. Wild parrots do not imitate. Only pets will mimic people and noises they hear. The African gray parrots are the best mimics.


* Some species of the parrot have become endangered. Thousands are brought to Europe and North America as pets. Many of these die making this journey.

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