Often referred to as "clowns," quaker parrots are known for their fun-loving, comical personalities and their energetic, spunky nature. Not everyone can meet their care needs, as they prefer a lot of attention. But for the right person, a quaker parrot can make an affectionate and entertaining companion. Before you bring a quaker into your home, first it's important to fully understand this charming parrot species.
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Quakers Are Known by Several Names
While they are most commonly called quaker parrots, these birds have some alternate names. You will often hear the species referred to as quaker parakeets, monk parrots, or monk parakeets. The scientific name of the species is Myiopsitta monachus.
Some people say quakers got their name because of the gray on the front of their necks that looks like an old-fashioned Quaker bib. (People also say the monk name came from the color going up the back of the bird’s head like a monk’s hood.) But most people attribute the quaker's name to the bird’s distinctive “quaking” motions. These birds bob and shake (or quake) in a unique way, especially when they’re excited or irritated. Baby quakers often quake when they’re begging for food.
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Quaker Parrots Can Live for a Very Long Time
Like many parrot species, quaker parrots can enjoy a particularly long lifespan in captivity. Their average lifespan is between 20 and 30 years. But with quality care, some quaker parrots can live for more than 30 years.
If you're considering a quaker, ensure that you have a plan to care for the bird for its entire life. Quakers are a very social species, bonding closely with their owners. So it is difficult for them to handle being bounced from home to home when people have to give them up. In fact, one of the few times quakers might become aggressive or resort to unhealthy behaviors, such as feather plucking, is when they feel neglected or stressed, which is often the case when they lose their home.
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Quaker Parrots Are Excellent Talkers
If you're looking to adopt a bird that can talk, then a quaker parrot might be right up your alley. Quakers are known for their exceptional ability to mimic human speech. Not only can they learn a diverse vocabulary of words and sounds, but they also tend to be able to speak very clearly and often rival larger parrot species in terms of the clarity of their voices.
While not every quaker parrot is guaranteed to talk, individual birds have greater odds of excelling at mimicry than birds of many other species. Overall, many owners say their quakers are little chatterboxes when it comes to mimicking, as well as their natural calls. It's usually not enough to bother neighbors because they don’t have the ear-piercing screams of some other species, such as conures. But they will make their presence known in a home.
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Quakers Are Relatively Small
Some people might be deterred from adopting a parrot because they assume they're all large birds that need a vast amount of space. However, quakers are just one of the many types of medium-sized birds that prove that notion wrong. Quakers are around 11 to 12 inches long and weigh just 3 to 5 ounces.
While it's true that all birds need as spacious of an enclosure as possible, as well as space outside of the enclosure to play, quakers and similarly sized species can do well with less space than a large bird, such as a macaw. Make sure your quaker’s housing is sturdy and avian-safe, as these birds are known to chew and to learn how to open cage doors. They also tend to have a strong nest-building instinct. So in addition to toys, offer them bird-safe materials with which they can make a nest if they wish.Continue to 5 of 5 below.
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Quakers Need a Varied Diet
Like some other bird species, such as cockatoos and Amazons, quaker parrots tend to become overweight if their diets aren't closely monitored. In addition to a high-quality pellet and healthy seed mix, offer fresh vegetables, fruits, and nuts. This mimics what they would eat in the wild.
The occasional millet sprig is typically fine as a treat for a healthy bird. But don’t overdo it with fattening nuts and seeds, such as peanuts and sunflower seeds, in their diet. These treats can cause rapid weight gain when offered freely.