What Is A Quaker Parrot? (Everything You Need To Know)
If you have come across these birds, you may well have wondered “What is a Quaker parrot?”
A Quaker parrot also known as a monk parakeet is a medium sized bird that comes from South America, and they can live for 30 years or even longer in captivity.
This parrot species has a variety of different names, including Quaker parakeets, monk parrots, and monk parakeets. Their Latin name is Myiopsitta monachus.
BeautyOfBirds also lists them as being called the grey-breasted parakeet. There is speculation that the Quaker in its name comes from its gray bib, which resembles a Quaker’s gray bib.
TheNest, however, claims that Quaker parrots are named that way because they quake. When excited or asking for food, these birds bob around in quite a unique and unusual way, which is highly entertaining to watch.
They are found across the world, as feral populations have spread, probably as a result of escaped pets.
Monk parakeets originate from parts of South America, and they usually live in woodlands. However, they are also adapting well to urban areas, and are becoming widespread throughout Europe and North America.
In some places, there is concern about these feral species posing a danger to other animals and to crops, and they are considered controversial in the United States. There are programs in place to control their spread and eliminate them, although the birds seem to be more accepted in Europe.
One of the most interesting characteristics of these birds is that they are the only parrot that builds nests. They will even join up with other parrots and build nests alongside one another.
This helps to protect the community, and according to ParrotQuaker, they can make up entire colonies like this. They form monogamous pairs that mate for life, with the male building the nest and feeding the female while she incubates the eggs.
Other parrots tend to use holes in trees, but a wild Quaker can build amazingly elaborate nests, even with individual rooms. Colonies can get quite large, containing many nests.
The adults defend each other and their young through this group living, and they will nest on telephone poles and other manmade structures when that’s what is available.
According to TheSprucePets, monk parakeets are sociable and confident birds. The species has been nicknamed “clown” because of its love for entertaining people, and these birds need a lot of your time and attention.
No pet birds like to be left to their own devices for too long, but a pet Quaker really needs you to be around a lot. They bond strongly with their owners and will be miserable and stressed if they don’t get enough time and attention from you.
These birds like to be petted and played with, and they are generally gentle, meaning they can be good with children provided they are respected and well-socialized.
It’s important to make sure you are keeping an eye on your Quaker parrot’s diet, or it may encounter a health issue or two. These birds are prone to becoming overweight, especially if they lack exercise and are given lots of treats.
These parrots eat seeds, nuts, fruits, vegetables, and things like boiled rice and pasta. You need to limit fruit and the fatty nuts and seeds, or your parrot will get too much sugar and fat in its diet, and will gain weight.
Obese parrots are more likely to suffer from health problems, so take responsibility for your parrot’s meals and don’t give them too many treats. Try to vary the foods you offer, and provide lots of healthy vegetables like kale and carrots, to create a balanced diet.
Quaker parrots are classed as a medium sized parrot, and ParrotFunZone says that they are a little heavier than cockatiels, but around the same size. They are one of the smaller parrot species, which makes them more suitable if you don’t have room for a large one like a macaw.
However, they do still need plenty of space. You cannot keep a Quaker parrot in a cage that is much smaller than twenty inches in each direction, or it will be miserable. It needs more room to exercise than that.
Quaker parrots must have an aviary, or access to free flying around your home so that they can stretch and exercise their wings. Without this, they will rarely be happy, and they are at greater risk of obesity because they aren’t burning enough energy.
Don’t assume that because they are a small bird species, they don’t need plenty of room for flight and play.
Quaker parrots have gray chests and heads, but they are predominantly a bright, attractive green. This helps them to remain camouflaged in their native environment, and they are almost invisible when perched in trees.
Their flight feathers may be tipped with blue and some birds have white flecking, but overall, they are green.
However, some domestic Quaker parrots have been bred with others to provide new colors – usually red and yellow. In the wild, these parrots are almost always green and gray.
They have gray feet and gray rings around their eyes, with a light brown beak. There is no real difference between a male and a female, and even the babies look similar, with slightly more green on their gray heads.
What Do They Look Like?
These are attractive birds, and according to BeautyOfBirds, they are around eleven or twelve inches long. They have a wingspan up to twenty inches, and they can weigh up to about five ounces.
They are somewhat stocky birds, with strong bodies and neat, rounded heads. In flight, they are gorgeous to watch, and their bright eyes are very engaging, intelligent, and appealing.
Where Do They Live?
As mentioned, Quaker parrots come from a small area in South America, but they have spread far beyond their native home. They have feral populations in many parts of Europe and North America, and they are widening their territory in their native home too.
Quaker parrots can live in a lot of different environments, and indeed they are so successful that they are considered a cause for concern in some parts of South America. Some states have banned them as pets because they pose a threat to crops and native species.
How Long Do They Live?
In the wild, most Quaker parrots are only expected to live between fifteen and twenty years, but in captivity, some live for thirty years or even longer. It is not known how old the oldest Quaker parrot was or is, but they have an impressive lifespan if given good care.
Unfortunately, many people don’t fully understand the needs of their parrots, and may underestimate the amount of care that they require. Highly sociable and loyal birds, Quaker parrots aren’t happy if they aren’t treated as intelligent pets.
It is important for an owner to understand a Quaker parrot’s dietary needs, exercise needs, and how to detect illnesses. This is the best way to prolong its life.
A stressed Quaker parrot is unlikely to live as long as a happy one, so take its emotional needs into account, as well as its physical needs.
The length of their lives is partly why this species is so successful, because they are also prolific breeders. Most clutches contain six to eight eggs, and the parents can raise up to six clutches in a year, according to ParrotFunZone.
That’s a lot of baby Quaker parrots in just one year, let alone twenty years!
How Much Does A Quaker Parrot Cost?
This will depend heavily on where you buy the bird and where you are, but Quaker parrots often cost somewhere between $400 and $1000 just for the parrot. You will also need a large cage, feeders and drinkers, nesting material, toys, perches, food, treats, and many other things.
Parrots are not a cheap species to keep, so remember to take all these things into account before you consider getting one, and look into the prices of veterinary care in your area. You may find that this is extremely expensive, as many vets do not see birds, so you will probably have to find a specialist.
Don’t buy a Quaker parrot unless you can definitely afford to take care of it, because these birds bond closely with their owners and will suffer extensively if they have to be re-homed. It is important to be responsible before taking one on as a pet, particularly because they live for so long.
Are They Suitable For New Parrot Owners?
This depends heavily on the owner. Be.Chewy says that Quaker parrots can be great for new parrot owners, but with the caveat that the owner must be willing to learn and understand a lot about their pet.
If you are an inexperienced owner, you really need to talk to some experts before you take on a Quaker parrot. While they are wonderful and intelligent birds, they can exhibit some behavior that is difficult to deal with. We’ll cover a few of the points you need to be aware of below.
Firstly, Quaker parrots can be very territorial about their cages. They may attack other birds if you try to introduce a companion too quickly.
They may even attack you if you put your hand into their cage. While they are usually gentle birds, they do not like having other creatures (or hands) in their home, and may turn vicious.
It is important to recognize and respect this, for your own safety, the safety of other birds, and for your parrot’s well-being too.
Secondly, Quaker parrots are highly intelligent, and if they think they can manipulate you, they will. This is not malicious; it’s just part of their nature to try and get what they want.
A first-time parrot owner may struggle to read their parrot’s body language and may give in when they shouldn’t. If your parrot learns it can get its own way once, it will persist in trying on a continuous basis.
Thirdly, these birds are excellent at escaping. You need to install a lock on the parrot’s cage to prevent it from opening the latch, because it will watch how you do it and then repeat the process itself.
Do not underestimate how smart your parrot is. It will watch the things you do and learn how to do them itself, so you need to make sure you think about this in terms of other things, not just the cage door – but the cage door is an important start.
These parrots are escape artists, so you need to make sure their cage is secure and they cannot slip through the bars, which should be less than half an inch apart.
Next, be aware that Quaker parrots can be destructive if they are unhappy. While they can be trained well, if they aren’t stimulated and don’t feel their efforts are worthwhile, they can be difficult to handle.
A bored Quaker is a destructive one, and they will attack and destroy things both inside and outside their cage. They like dismantling things, and if they haven’t got anything else to do, this is what they will settle on, no matter what the “thing” in question is.
Finally, another of their tricky quirks is their keenness to borrow your things, even if they don’t damage them. TheFurryCompanion lists this as something they do when nest-making, so be on the lookout for this behavior.
Say goodbye to pens, spoons, forks, and anything else stick-shaped as it disappears into your parrot’s home!
In spite of all those negatives, however, Quaker parrots can be wonderful and loyal pets if they go to an owner who is interested in learning how to handle them. As long as you have done thorough research and you are prepared to adapt when you make a mistake, a Quaker parrot will be a wonderful friend.
They love to socialize and prefer to be with their humans most of the time. If you are at home a lot and you take pleasure in your bird’s company, you will quickly form a strong reciprocal bond that is wonderful for both parties.
Their intelligence also works as a point in their favor, because it means that if you are patient, you can train them away from undesirable behavior and teach them tricks. Quaker parrots are definitely smart, so if you want a bird that can really learn, they are a great option.
Another benefit is how funny they are. TheSprucePets remarks upon what natural-born entertainers they are, and if your Quaker parrot can make you laugh, it will.
They have wonderful personalities and will usually greet their owners excitedly when they return, so look forward to lots of enthusiasm when you get back from work.
Overall, therefore, Quaker parrots are a reasonably good starter parrot for anyone who is willing to put in the time and effort to understand them – and really, that caveat goes for all parrots. They are a lot of work, but they are rewarding and beautiful creatures.
If you’re thinking of getting a parrot of any species, try to spend some time around them, or even offer to pet-sit if you know a friend who has a parrot. This will supplement research and give you the best chance of success.
Facts About Quaker Parrots
So, what else might you want to know about Quaker parrots? Well, they have an amazing capacity to mimic human speech, and this talking ability makes them very popular pets.
Indeed, Quaker parrots are considered real chatterboxes. They can even link meanings with certain phrases, meaning that you can hold a conversation with your parrot and it will understand at least some of what you are saying.
Quaker parrots don’t have such an ear-splitting scream as some of the other parrots, but they are not quiet birds. If you have never owned a parrot before, you might be surprised by how loud they are.
Next, you might be interested to learn that even if Quaker parrots aren’t breeding, they may still choose to build a nest. This is a very instinctive behavior, so you should allow them to do it, and provide suitable material for them.
You might be impressed by what they build – it could have up to four different chambers! Of course, some will build much simpler constructions, and some may not nest at all.
Finally, it may interest you to know that although chicks usually leave their parents after three months in the wild, in captivity, many can be kept with their parents for a couple of years. They may even help to raise the next brood.
Occasionally, this behavior can be seen in the wild too.
Monk parakeets are bright, intelligent, medium sized parrots that are found across many parts of the world. They are banned in certain parts of the U.S., so if you are thinking of getting one, make sure you do some thorough research.
Like all parrots, these birds need a lot of time and energy, but they are very rewarding and loyal pets, and will bring a lot of joy to the right home.