Pale-headed or Blue-cheeked Rosellas
The Pale-headed Rosellas occur naturally along the northeastern and eastern seaboard of Australia, from Cape York throughout most of eastern Queensland to Southern New South Wales. They are mostly absent from the more arid (drier) interior regions. They are considered to be "resident" (non-migratory) and its population is reported to be abundant throughout much of its range (del Hoyo et al. 1997).
They mostly occur in open, savanna woodland and dry forest dominated by Eucalyptus and Callitris, Casuarina, Acacia and Melaleuca trees; often along water courses. However, they have adapted well to human-modified habitats, such as gardens, parks and farmland. They often visit local bird feeders, or feed in fruit and nut orchards and on agricultural lands.
Parrotlets are popular pets due to their compact size and playful personalities.
They are very intelligent and active and should have ample opportunities to play and exercise. Their personality is similar to that of the larger parrots and may be quite fearless of larger animals, including dogs, cats and larger parrots - which puts them at danger. They can be very territorial inside their cages and may attack those intruding in its personal space, even humans trying to feed them (this would be the case if they were not properly socialized to start with). Tamed parrotlets can be very affectionate.
The most commonly kept parrotlet species are:
Philippine Hanging Parrots
The Philippine Hanging Parrot averages 5.5 inches (14 cm) in length.
Its general plumage is green. The breast and abdomen are yellowish-green. They have a red forehead bordered by narrow yellow line. The forehead, front of the crown, throat patch, upper breast, the lower back and upper tail-coverts are red. The back of the crown and the head are suffused with gold-yellow. There is a narrow gold-orange band to the nape. The sides of the lower back are washed bright pale blue. The greater under wing-coverts are blue. The underside of the flight feathers and tail are greenish blue.
The bill is orange-red. Their irises are brown and the feet are brownish-flesh colored.
Hens look like males, except they lack the red throat and breast patch, which are replaced with a light yellowish tinge. The forward cheeks are tinged with blue.
Young birds look like females except that they have a paler bill and there is no or only little red to the forehead.
Pileated Parrots, Red-capped Parrots
The Pileated Parrot or Red-capped Parrot (Pionopsitta pileata) is endemic to north-eastern Argentina, South-eastern Brazil and Paraguay, where it can be found in subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests and subtropical or tropical moist montane forest areas.
NOTE: The Australian Red-capped Parrot (Purpureicephalus spurius) is also called the Pileated Parakeet, which leads to an easy confusion with the South American Pionopsitta pileata featured on this page.
These parrots form noisy flocks of short-tailed parrots that are seen flying high overhead in their characteristically erratic manner.
They are difficult to spot when perching, as they are well camouflaged by their green plumage and they tend to be silent when foraging up in the canopy. Although, at various times, loud, babbling chatter can be heard from perched flocks.
Pionites - Caiques
The average length of an adult caique is 23 cm or 9 inches in length. They weight around 150 to 175 grams or 5.3 - 6.2 oz. Their average expected lifespan is 30 years.
The Caiques are very distinctive and beautiful in appearance. They are often referred to as the "Seven-Color Parrot" because of their highly defined black, green, yellow, orange, white and blue feathers.
Caique wing feathers produce a distinctive flapping sound in flight.
Pionus - Red-backed Parrots
Pionus is a medium-sized parrot with a chunky body, bare eye ring, (which can vary in color) and a short tail.
They are similar to Amazon parrots, but smaller.
Coloration is generally subdued yet complex; under bright lighting, their feathers shimmer with iridescent brilliance. All species share a bright red patch of feathers under the tail; the scientific name of one species, the Blue-headed Pionus, (P. menstruus), refers to this.
Males and females look alike, and surgical or DNA (blood) sexing is recommendef for all Pionus species if gender needs to be confirmed for breeding purposes.
The Plain Parakeets (Brotogeris tirica) are endemic to, and common in, southern and eastern Brazil; its range stretching from southern Bahia to Sao Paulo west across southern Minas Gerais to southern Goias. They appear to be restricted to that area of South East Brazil that used to be covered in Atlantic Rain Forest.
Their natural habitats include open country with trees and bushes, lowland evergreen forest areas, second-growth forests, degraded former forest areas, partially cultivated land, woodlands, parks and urban areas.
They can be found at elevations up to 1,200 to 1,300 meters (~4,000 to 4,265 feet).
They occur in pairs, groups or small flocks. These noisy parakeets are often seen flying between trees or buildings.
This parrot is native to La Paz and Cochabamba in northern Bolivia, northeast to eastern Cajamarca and southwest Amazonas, northwest Peru. The populations are fragmented in their range and groups of them can be found in South Colombia, Northwest Venezuela and Ecuador, as well as Northwest and East Peru and Cochabamba.
The prefer forest areas in temperate zones and adjoining cultivated areas with trees at altitudes ranging between 6,700 ft (2,000 m) and 9,300 ft (2,800 m). These parrots can occasionally be seen foraging in cultivated areas and banana plantations.
Seasonal migration patterns have been observed.
Their numbers have been declining in some areas due to deforestation and loss of habitat, and they are now generally rare.
Plum-headed Parakeets aka Plum Head
This is a green parrot, averaging 13 - 14 ins (33 - 35 cm) in length, with the tail accounting for about two thirds of the length.
The male's head is red, becoming purple-blue on the back of the crown, nape and cheeks. There is a narrow black neck collar and a black chin stripe. There is a red shoulder patch and the rump and tail are bluish-green, the latter tipped white. The upper beak is orangish-yellow, and the lower beak is dark.
The female has a grey head, corn-yellow upper beak and lacks the black neck collar, chin stripe and red shoulder patch. Immature birds have a green head and both upper and lower beaks are yellowish.
The different head color and the white tip to the tail distinguish this species from the similar Blossom-headed Parakeet (Psittacula roseata).
Females attain the adult plumage at 15 months; young males attain full adult male plumage at about 30 months.
Similar Species ID: This species if often confused with the Blossom-headed Parakeet. The male Plum-headed Parakeet has a darker red head, while the male Blossom-headed Parakeet's head is pink. The Blossom-headed Parakeets have yellow tail tips, while the Plum-headed Parakeet has white tail tips.
Purple-bellied Parrots aka Blue-bellied Parrots
he Purple-bellied Parrots average 11.2 inches (28 cm) in length.
Their general plumage is green - although the head, breast, abdomen and under tail-coverts are yellow cast. The chin and thighs have a faint bluish tinge. The lower breast and middle area of the abdomen are purple, as are the outermost primaries (= longest wing feathers). The remainder is green with a bluish tinge to the tips. The upperside of the middle tail-feathers and the outer tail feathers have faint bluish tips and a blue edging to the outer webs. The underside of the tail and the flight feathers are bluish-green.
These parrots have horn-colored bills and grey feet. They have a grey periophthalmic ring around their eyes and brown irises.
Hens look like males, but lack the purple patch to her breast and abdomen.
Young birds look like adults, but young males have much smaller purple patches that are restricted to the center of their abdomen. Some males (especially captive-bred birds) may not have any purple to their breast or abdomen. Their irises are dark.
The purple-bellied parrots are available in aviculture, but in the United States they are rather expensive (between $4,500 and $5,000).
The Pygmy Parrots of the subfamily Micropsittinae all belong to the genus Micropsitta. They are native to the tropical forests of New Guinea and nearby islands.They are the smallest members of the parrot family.
Pygmy Parrots are the smallest parrots in the world; followed by the Asian Hanging Parrots, the Fig Parrots (from Australia and New Guinea) and, last - but not the least - the well-known and popular African lovebirds and Australian Budgerigars.
Pygmy parrots have never been successfully kept in captivity. All attempts to do so have resulted in the quick deaths of these little parrots. It is assumed that stress and dietary deficiencies are to blame. Little is known about their precise dietary needs.
Quaker Parrots are small parrots. They are about the length of a cockatiel, but with bulkier bodies. They measure 11 to 12 inches (28 - 30 cm) in length, including the long tail. Their wingspan is 19 - 20 inches (~48 - 53 cm). They weigh between 3 - 4.9 oz (90 - 139 g).
The upper plumage is green. The face, throat, chest and legs are pale grey. The chest is brownish-grey, each feather edged with pale grey. The upper abdomen is olive-yellow and the lower abdomen, rump, thighs and upper tail-coverts are yellowish-green. The outer webs of flight feathers are blue. The tail upperside is green with a blue down center. The underside is pale green with a greyish-blue base..