Parrots: the most popular species and their specificities

Some things you need to know about these incredibly smart birds

Photo of author

By Alex

We always talk about parrots as if they were a single species, when in fact there are numerous species, distinct in color, size, and temperament. In this special, we learn more about parrots, birds easily recognized by their robust, hooked beaks and colorful plumage.

Parrot is the common name given to an order of neornithic birds, the Psittaciformes. These flying animals are often characterized by colorful and vibrant plumage. They usually come from tropical forests where they live in trees. A distinctive feature of all specimens of this order is the typical hooked and very stout beak.

In many cases these birds are sociable with humans and need to spend much of their time outside the cage. Before considering adopting these animals, it is important to take into account the potential management difficulties.

One must start with the assumption that these are birds accustomed to living in tropical forests or on the savannah. Therefore, the possibility of domesticating and raising them in a domestic setting is not necessarily so easy.

Talking parrot

The ability for these animals to speak is usually related to a learning process. They have also entered common speech because of their ability to repeat and reproduce the human voice or other noises and sounds.

Having the opportunity to hear these animals speak or imitate sounds is a very curious and sometimes amusing experience. But not all parrot specimens are capable of “talking”. Depending on the species, there is a certain physical predisposition of their respiratory system that makes some specimens more apt to do so.

Stimulation and training over time then allow real learning to take place. Continuous stimulation and a lot of patience on the part of the human instructor can make it possible to achieve excellent results. In this way some parrots become skilled imitators of voices and sounds.

Distinctive features of the various specimens include their hooked beaks and bright colors.

The species of parrot

They are very numerous, indeed. As mentioned above, there are some characteristics common to all parrots. From species to species, however, many specificities can be observed, such as plumage color, sociability, object manipulation skills, and ability to reproduce sounds.

Depending on the species they belong to, the type of feeding required may also vary. This is easily understood when one considers that different specimens may come from very different environments and original habitats.

For most parrots, however, the diet includes seeds. Vegetables, fruits, berries, and sometimes insects may be among the other foods needed in the diet of these animals.

Grey parrot

This is one of the most intelligent species among parrots. It stands out especially for its remarkable ability to imitate sounds, both from humans and other animals. The plumage of this specimen, although not very flamboyant, makes it elegant. The predominant shades of gray produce a contrasting effect with the vivid red tail coloration.

This animal, native to the African continent, tends to be monogamous and congregates in large groups. Being very sociable and intelligent, the ashen tends to require special attention. It therefore needs regular interaction with its human companions by having the opportunity to spend a good deal of time outside its cage.

Grey parrot
The grey parrot is one of the biggest African parrots.


Parrots of this species are made recognizable by their distinctive erectile topknot. Beautiful and elegant, cockatoos usually display black or white plumage. These parrot specimens are among the noisiest so it is good to be aware of them to avoid domestic problems.

Cockatoos in their natural environment.


One of the best-known and most common, the macaw has plumage with rich color shades. Usually its typical feather colors are golden yellow and blue. Native to the Amazon area, they are distinguished by their special ability to manipulate objects. In particular, they are able to handle food with ease, even helping themselves with their beaks.

Due to their docile and calm temperament, they are ideal as pets.

Macaw parrot is one of the firsts that come to mind.


They are among the most popular domesticated and bred specimens. This is probably also due to the low difficulty in managing and maintaining these animals. They are rather small in size and can have plumage of a variety of color shades. Character-wise, the parakeet tends to be rather lively.

This parrot may be an ideal choice for those who want to keep a specimen at home but do not have much experience with parrots.

It may be able to learn to imitate some words or sounds. With good exercise he may also be able to learn some small skill exercises.

Parakeet parrot
Parakeets are a species of parrot that is small to medium in size.

Amazon parrot

These medium-sized (20 to 30 cm), green-feathered parrots are native to Central and South America. Common species include the blue-fronted amazon, white-fronted amazon and yellow-fronted amazon. It is the spots and spots that liven up their green coloration that distinguish them from other parrots. Morphologically, they are characterized by a compact and robust, almost massive structure; a conformation also accentuated by having a rather flattened beak and tail.

Amazon parrot
Amazon parrots are playful and really smart!


These are also medium-sized parrots and are native to sub-Saharan Africa. They are divided into about 30 or so subspecies: the most common include the poicephalus senegalus, poicephalus meyeri, and poicephalus ruppellii. They are parrots characterized by their spatula-shaped tail and robust structure. They are often red and brown in color, with smaller yellow or blue patches. Female specimens are generally brighter in color than males.

poicephalus parrots
Poicephalus parrots tend to be quieter on average.


These medium-sized parrots are native to Australia and surrounding islands. The most common species include the eastern rosella, western rosella and Pennant’s rosella. It is certainly one of the most colorful and showy plumage parrot species in existence: it is no coincidence that its scientific name is Platycercus elegans!

parrot rosella
Rosella or Platycercus elegans.

What to say… Parrots are amazing. Aren’t they?

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