Fig parrots are energetic and attractive little birds that are relatively uncommon in captivity, although their popularity is increasing. These active birds can frequently be seen fluttering about. They are social beings and should not be kept alone, even if you are not interested in breeding them. These little parrots need a playmate and friend to be happy. Like all parrots, they have a curious nature and require mental stimulation. (For tips to provide mental stimulation, please refer to: Foraging)
Fig Parrots as Pets:
The general opinion is that fig parrots don't make good pets as they can't be tamed. Even if hand raised, fig parrots are said to lose their trusting disposition after weaning. However, some opinions have been voiced that fig parrots can indeed be good companion birds - so there may be some individual differences based on either genetic disposition or different handraising methods used by breeders that would explain the different opinions. This being said, given a choice I am sure that any of these energetic beings would be happier in an aviary environment that allows them plenty of room to exercise rather than being confined to a cage.
These little parrots can be aggressive, which may present challenges when servicing cages as they will quickly bite the hand that comes into their cage to clean, or to change out their water or food dishes. They also get easily startled when someone approaches them.
Fig parrots don't learn to talk, but they make pleasant flute-like sounds.
The optimal environment for these active parrots would be a planted flight / outside aviary (with a shelter - heated in colder climates), where they can be watched, as they fly about, eat, climb around on the perches, or pop in and out of their nesting boxes. Fig parrots don't only use nesting boxes for breeding purposes, but also for privacy / sleeping; so these boxes should be provided to non-breeding birds as well. The minimum dimensions for a flight would be around 3 feet tall x 6 feet deep x 2 feet wide. Suspended aviaries / cages greatly facilitate cleaning and also maintain a more sanitary environment for the fig-parrots who are known for their messy eating habits that they share with all fruit-eating birds. Indoors, the cage can be smaller, but keep in mind that these are high-energy birds that like to move and flit about.
Fig parrots don't usually play with birds toys.
Branches: Fresh branches are eagerly accepted and provide them with the entertainment, exercise and nutrition they need. The birds peel the bark off the branches, and so get additional minerals, roughage and tannin acids, which have a dietetic effect. The birds may chew any flowers and fruiting bodies on the branches. Chewing on branches also keep their beaks trimmed. It is important to ensure that only non-toxic leafy branches be placed in the aviary for the birds to chew up. Natural branches of various diameters, and placed at various angles, can be used for perches. As these little parrots are heavy chewers, these natural perches need to be replaced regularly.
Water: These birds enjoyed bathing, particularly after feeding. Fig-parrots kept in outdoor aviaries enjoy rain and playfully slide down wet foliage in their aviary. Some breeders install overhead sprinklers for their enjoyment. Fig parrots will bathe in any water container (shallow dishes work best).
Aggression: Males can get quite aggressive and are able to easily take a chunk out of their caretaker's finger if given that opportunity. They are even more aggressive during breeding season when they are protective of the nesting site.
Many hours went into researching this topic - however, the most important message I would like to convey is: Don't rely solely on information published on this and connected pages. Your situation, and the condition / requirements of your birds may be different. Too little is known about fig-parrots, and if you are considering breeding this species - and, therefore, be part of a crucial conservation effort - I would recommend you discuss with breeders who have a successful track record with these species and consider any recommendations they may have pertaining to diet, housing and general care. Their experiences may be different and they may have the benefit of additional knowledge / research data not covered on any of these pages. Ideally, you would work in concert with those who have been successful with these species and a qualified avian vet who will be able to identify and remedy any problems before casualties occur. A better understanding is continuously gained with these species, and it's important to keep up on developments and new discoveries to ensure the health, well-being and, in fact, continued existence of the magnificent fig-parrots.
Species Research by Sibylle Johnson
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