If you’re a bird enthusiast who has done research into owning a parrot, you may have decided that you’d like to get a large parrot. It could be for the talking ability, the bonding and interaction, or the shear beauty of larger birds. If you are willing to put the same amount (or more) of time in as is required to train and keep a dog, perhaps a larger parrot is the right bird for you!
The majority of bird owners choose smaller birds, such as songbirds like the finch and canary. Budgies and cockatiels are also very popular birds. Conures and quakers fulfil the need of some owners for a more interactive and intelligent bird. However, the following four larger parrots supply affection and interaction with an enthusiasm that rivals pets like dogs and horses.
Amazons are the smallest of the four parrots described here, measuring about one foot from head to tail. As with the rest, they are loud and very outgoing. Amazons talk very well, in a clear voice. They come in many colours and personalities, guaranteeing that no two amazons are alike! They are not shy birds and tend to make friends easily. They are extremely demanding and strong-willed, but less so than the other three large parrots. As with all large parrots, you should do extensive research before deciding to buy one, and you should be dedicated to training them and learning their body language.
African greys are the best talkers of the parrot world. This is the major reason that most owners decide to raise and train an African grey; they can mimic incredibly clearly and speak with a vocabulary of over 100 words! Unlike most other birds, they are always grey. They are intelligent and friendly and are very sensitive to people and their surroundings. Like all large parrots, they need daily time out of their cage. Their personalities are much like that of the cockatoo.
Cockatoos are beautiful white parrots with a lovely crest of feathers. They can sometimes also have yellow or orange colouring with white. Cockatoos are like small children. They are adorable and charming, and yet at the same time are demanding and manipulative. Along with African greys, they seem to be the birds most prone to destructive feather-plucking in response to frustration or boredom. These birds need to be continuously occupied. A cockatoo’s ability to talk is like that of a smaller bird, such as a conure. With these birds, allergies are also a big consideration. Although all birds can be allergenic, cockatoos have what is called ‘feather dust’, which is an allergenic powder commonly released from the feathers of cockatoos.
Macaws are challenging pets. These birds are what the average person pictures when they think of the word ‘parrot’. They are very colourful and beautiful. But there are reasons that this large parrot is less commonly owned than the other three. Standing about two and a half feet, on average, the shear size of the bird is intimidating. There is a very big personality to go with that size. Macaws are very dominating, and can easily boss a human around. They are very playful and intelligent, and make incredible companions if properly socialized and trained.
All rewarding pets generally come with lots of challenges. This applies to parrots very well. These large birds become affectionate companions for bird lovers who are willing to take the time and effort to properly train them. There are a few common and important challenges to take into consideration when you own a large parrot. These parrots are very loud, and normal parrot behaviour includes squawking at sunset and sunrise. In the wild, this time of day is when the parrots communicate with each other. Just as puppies will chew your shoes or electronics, there are some behaviours that we must learn to accept in birds. In this example of normal bird behaviour, daily squawking can be modified in various ways, but will likely not be stopped entirely.
It is imperative that you properly socialize your parrot. This will ensure that they grow up to be interactive with you and will also be independent while you’re away at work. In addition, they need to be taught to accept you as the boss and taught not to bite. Socialization, at the minimum, involves taking your bird out of the cage for 1-2 hours a day and interacting with it in a play area such as an intriguing stand or perhaps an entire room dedicated to the bird.
That leads us to the major concern of large bird owners. These birds become easily bored. Part of that boredom can be solved with proper socialization, which makes them comfortable on their own. You also need to supply your parrot with many toys, bark, areas to bath, and an interesting diet. There are many ways you can keep your bird happy, from getting it to forage for food to turning on the TV.
Large parrots are challenging and rewarding pets. If you are familiar with birds, and are willing to put in the effort, this may be the pet for you! All you need to do now is figure out which bird best suits your interests. From the talkative African grey to the kingly macaw, large parrots are among the most gratifying and affectionate pets we can own.
By Ashley O’driscoll – Pets.ca writer