Who on this Earth doesn’t love Psittaciformes? What do you mean by what is that? They are the astonishingly intelligent, stunningly beautiful and very sociable, tropical birds- Parrots. And not to forget their bright and colourful feathers! These avian wonders can be often messy and irritating to ears but are a treat to the eyes and are easily distinguished by the peculiar curved beak and attractive feathers. These are known to be lovely feathered friends if taken proper care of.
Read on to check if you knew these interesting and lesser known facts about your favourite bird.
1.Parrots are highly intelligent birds. I know you know that! But not many know about Alex, an African grey parrot which was a matter of research for University of Arizona initially and later, by Harvard and Brandeis for 30 years.He not only had a vocabulary of over 100 words but also understood what he said! He had intelligence of a 5 year old human and emotional intelligence of a 2 year old when couldn’t even reach his full potential by the time of his death which came as a shock due to the fact that he was a absolutely healthy, 30 year old parrot till the the day before.
2.These are zygodactyls which makes them different from other birds. A zygodactyl bird has the 2 toes directed backward 2 pointing forward. This feature isn’t shared by many species and has been a prime reason of recognising parrot fossiles.
3.Parrots cannot eat chocolates ‘cause it is a poison for their body. Rather they can’t be given coke, pepsi, mountain dew or any other thing that contains caffeine. However, caffeine in large amounts is degrading to humans and other animals too.
4. There are over 360 species of this dazing bird. But, beauty comes with a price, right? Sadly, these innocent creatures are made to pay the price. About 100 species are threatened to extinction, mainly due to habitat loss and capturing for making pets. Laws and committes have been set up in order to ban the captivity of wild parrots and protect them. But the insane rage has often resulted in illegal trading of these beauties.
5.Parrots came into existence much before human walked on earth. The earliest parrot fossil dates back to Eocene epoch, around 40 million years ago.Barring accidents, predation and human interference, Kakapo can live upto 90 years whereas Hyacinth macaw upto 50 years on an average.
6.Parrots were a rage in upper class, ancient Asia and a symbol of royalty. When Alexdander the great conquered India, he took 2 ring necked parrots to Greece and named it Alexandrine parakeet. Popularity even today can be well understood by the fact that around 11 million parrots are kept as pets in US alone.
7.The earliest written references about parrots are recorded in Rig Veda- an Indian literature. In India, parrots were and are still regarded as ‘birds of love’ and are a subject of satire and fun.
8. Parrots are the only birds that can lift up food to their mouths using their feet. Other birds use their beaks to lift their food, or use their feet to grasp and carry it.
9.They are mostly monogamous and remain bonded with their partners even during the non-breeding periods or when they are in flocks. Learn humans!
10.Not really a fact though, but parrots are now reported of becoming addicted to drugs too. Check out how these ‘avian thieves’ are creating nuisance for opium farmers in India by stealing milk from opium plants.