Pacific Parrotlets are native to the dry tropical forests and savannahs of Peru and Ecuador. Parrotlets have not been kept as pets until recently; although there are seven subspecies, only three are popular pets. They are much loved by almost everyone who encounters them. Pacific Parrolets, sometimes called Celestial Parrolets, are the most popular subspecies in aviculture. These little birds with big personalities have a life expectancy of up to 25 years, and are relatively aggressive compared to other parrots. Pacific Parrotlets,, sometimes called Celestial Parrolets, are sweet, playful little animals. In the wild, they flock in large groups at feeding sites, where they eat cactus fruits, grass seeds and berries. In aviculture, they are extremely curious and playful. They are known for being a bit more pushy or dominating than many parrotlets, however. Simply teach your Pacific Parrotlet from the start that you are the boss and you should have no problems with it! Parrotlets should be kept alone or they can develop jealousy or aggression problems concerning everything from toys to owners- parrotlets in general do not like sharing what they consider their possessions! You should spend as much one on one time with your parrotlet to keep him attached to you, if you don't intend on spending a lot of time with him/her you might want to consider having more than one in order to prevent your Pacific Parrotlet from becoming bored or depressed, having a mate of the opposite sex and similar age might be a good idea. Pacific Parrotlets need lots of toys, and adore swings and rope or anything they can chew on! They are quite strong, so be sure the toys will stand up to their hard beaks. Parrotlets bond strongly with the person who spends the most time with them, especially during the time when they are between six and 12 weeks old. Be sure your Pacific Parrotlet's environment remains above 50 degrees Fahrenheit and that it does not become overheated in summer temperatures. Pacific parrotlets are the Yorkshire terriers of the bird world. They have absolutely no comprehension of how tiny they are, and will bravely take on all comers. Pacifics are willful, stubborn, and can be quite aggressive. If you are late with their breakfast you will be treated to an angry tirade of parrotlet cussing, accompanied by foot-stomping and ruffled feathers. They WILL be the boss, if you let them. And don't be fooled by the size of that beak; it may not be large enough to remove body parts, but the amount of pain it can inflict is surprising! Potential parrotlet owners would be wise to read all they can about bird behavior, because Pacifics can be every bit as challenging as Amazon parrots. But that is exactly what makes them so endearing; who can resist such a brazen attitude in something so tiny? Properly socialized and handled, they are endearing, affectionate and entertaining pets.
Pacific Parrotlets grow to around 5 inches in length, the smallest of the true parrots, and their plumage is predominantly green in color. Their irises and legs are brown, and their bills are horn-colored. Male Pacific Parrotlets have a blue line behind each eye and their forehead and faces are washed with bright yellow coloring. The necks and upper backs are a bluish-gray color, while their under-wing coverts and lower back extending to the rump are a brilliant cobalt blue. All of the wing coverts are bright blue except the undersides of the flight feathers, which are bluish-green. Males' flanks and the sides of their breasts are gray. The upper tail coverts are a bluish-green also, and the rest of the tail is green. Females have emerald green feathers where males have blue, but they may have rumps, which are turquoise and a slight blue coloration behind their eyes. Where the undercarriage of the male is grayer, females have a brighter green coloring. Female Pacific Parrotlets also have less yellow coloration over their heads than do males.
Both male and female parrotlets can learn to talk, although their voices are squeaky and robot-like and may be difficult to understand. They are busy and energetic little creatures who love interacting with their humans, snuggling under hair, and being scritched. They can be pocket-trained, making them fun companions even outside the home. They do not scream like larger parrots, and a medium-loud chirping chatter is the most noise they will make, which makes them ideal apartment pets. Two parrotlets housed together will quickly bond with each other and lose their pet quality, so separate housing for each individual is recommended, although supervised play time together is fine.
Housing - Width is more important than height when considering cage size. These are busy little high-energy creatures, and need more space proportionally than you might expect. Minimum recommended cage size is 24" long, 16" high, and 14" deep, but the larger the cage the better with lots of perches, swings, and toys. Maximum bar spacing is 1/2 inch.
Favorite toys - boings, rope-type swings, and destroyable toys of leather, wood, cane, etc. A variety of color and texture are appreciated. Some parrotlets will run in plastic hamster-type wheels, which is comical to watch, but be careful to find wheels with small openings so heads can't be trapped. A plastic slinky stretched from side to side or top to bottom of the cage will provide hours of entertainment. Mirrors and snuggle toys may cause bonding and loss of pet quality in some birds, so watch carefully and remove them if there is indication of that. Enclosed areas can encourage egg-laying in female pets, and should also be carefully monitored and removed if necessary.
Diet - Parrotlets need seed in their diets. The extra fat and energy provided is essential to their high-energy nature. A good cockatiel mix should be available at all times, and daily soft foods are essential — cooked grains, chopped veggies, leafy greens, sprouted grains, whole-grain breads, fruits, birdy bread etc. are all highly recommended. Spray millet is a favorite, and provides essential vitamins and protein. New birds should always have spray millet available while settling in to new surroundings, as it is the one thing they are sure to eat, even when nervous, you'll wonder where they put it all!
Pellets may be fed if desired, but not as more than 20% of the diet. Pellets are NOT recommended for the color mutation varieties, as the potential stress on liver and kidneys may be too much for their more compromised systems. Cuttlebone and mineral blocks should be provided, also liquid vitamins added to their water tube, but only if your feeding seed. Liquid vitamins are not needed when feeding a pellet diet. Also grit is not needed and may cause crop impaction if fed. Some parrotlets will refuse to eat from enclosed food dishes, so dishes without hoods or covers are best. I provide both an open water dish and a water tube for my parrotlets. *Pacific Parrotlets will become sick if fed a vitamin supplement in addition to a pellet diet. Many parrotlets will not eat from hooded or covered dishes. Be sure to place perches in their cages in places where they birds' tail feathers will not dip into their food or water. Pacific Parrotlets love bathing in their water bowls, so be sure to keep the water fresh! They do have a tendency to become obese in small cages.
**With a feisty, playful nature, the brightly colored Pacific Parrotlet is sure to become a cheerful addition to any bird lover's home! Parrotlets are the smallest of the true parrots and are adorable.**
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