5 Tips for the Daily Care of Your Parrot

Translated by Nick R

Parrots are very diverse and appreciated by people when adopting a bird as a pet. You’ve probably seen a talking parrot at a friend or neighbor’s house and thought it was great. Below, you can learn all about parrot care – read on!

Why adopt a parrot? 

Quite simply, parrots are cool! And yes, they are very interesting and intelligent birds capable of doing unique things. So, if you’re interested in adopting a bird and don’t know which one, here are the reasons to choose a parrot:

5 Reasons to adopt a parrot 

  1. They can talk thanks to a special organ called ‘syrinx’, located in the trachea. Parrots can imitate different sounds including human speech without the need for vocal cords.
  2. They are strong and almost never get sick.
  3. Their life expectancy is very long compared to most birds. Some types of parrots like the Macaw can live up to 80 years.
  4. They are active; you won’t get bored with them since they are not monotonous.
  5. They are affectionate; they like human contact and you will be their favorite person.

Can we have parrots at home? 

When referring to parrots, they are commonly thought of as a larger category that groups several species within the taxonomic order of Psittaciformes or commonly “parrot-like birds”. However, not all parrot species are allowed in the home and owners must have a permit to keep them under the International Treaty on Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES).

Some common pet parrot species include the lovebird, cockatiels and Australian parakeets (smaller parrot species). In this article I’m going to refer to the following larger domestic parrot species:

  • The macaws are the largest parrots reaching more than 70cm in size and with eye-catching colors.
  • The yacos or also called grey parrots.
  • The Amazons are the most common parrots, usually green.

Characteristics and behavior of parrots 

Characteristics of parrots 

Scientific NamePsittacidae
Common nameParrot
Place of OriginSouth and Central America
HabitatTropical regions
Size60cm to 90cm
Weight250g – 800g aprox.
Average sexual or reproductive age1 -4 years
Life expectancy in captivityUp to 80 years (depending on species)

Parrots have a considerable size between 35cm and 70cm and weigh between 250g and 800g (based on medium and large species). Some species can reach up to 1 meter in height with a weight of up to 1.5 kilos, which is not the case for the recommended domestic birds.         

Parrots are native to Africa, South America, and Australasia and are normally found in tropical areas in jungle ecosystems. They are mostly found in countries such as Australia, Brazil, Peru, Colombia, and Central America.

Appearance of parrots 

Parrots group several species with different characteristics and many colors, but some characteristics are shared by all species:

  • Their beak is their most distinctive feature, which is very curved with an upper jaw projecting in front of the lower jaw.
  • The head is in a well-defined vertical position.
  • The tongue is fleshy, thick and very mobile.
  • The legs of the parrot are very particular since it has 4 toes, two forward and two backward, which allows them an excellent grip.

Parrots have a colorful plumage, except for the Yaco parrot (a bird that is no longer domestic), which is grayish and has a black beak. Macaws, parrots, parrots, parrotlets, and Amazons are birds with beautiful and colorful plumage. An example of how splendid their plumage can be is the scarlet macaw (pictured above).

Males and females are very difficult to distinguish in species such as macaws, as they are monomorphic. That is, the two sexes are identical externally and will need some wisdom to know who is a boy and who is a girl.

The behavior of parrots in the wild 

In their natural habitat, parrots tend to group together as they are gregarious, highly social birds, forming harmonious communities. This behavior evolved as a structure that guarantees their survival against predators and the environment. In fact, the chicks are protected by all members of the group through a collective upbringing.

Parrots reach sexual maturity at an age between 1 and 4 years, depending on the species. The size of the species has a great influence, with medium-sized parrots tending to initiate their sexual life between 1 and 3 years of age and larger species between 3 and 4 years of age.

Parrots mate among members of their community and do so with the same partner all their lives, i.e., they are monogamous birds.

Parrots normally feed on seeds and fruits and flock in areas with food availability.

These birds have adapted to different types of ecosystems in the jungles and deserts of Australia, and their behavior varies greatly among species. But, something in common is their ability to express themselves through sounds and body language.

These little animals like to create their nests inside holes in trees, known as cavity nests.

The behavior of domestic parrots 

Your parrot is sociable and emotional so pay attention to them. They are very spoiled and intelligent birds that develop very strong bonds with their owners. They are talkative and love to talk, they learn words very easily.

Find them a companion 

They shouldn’t be alone. Your parrot requires a companion for life due to their sociable and communitarian behavior. Keep the number of males and females equal (depending on space). Keeping too many females together can be problematic.

Give them freedom 

Be willing to share part of your life and a large part of your house; they are active and playful birds that love to be free outside their cages. These birds are large and restless, they like to be in constant movement.

1. Ideal housing and space for your parrot 

Environment for parrots 

Clearly, parrots like tropical and dry areas and jungles and deserts are their favorite spots. This is complicated when you have them at home so you should consider the following to make your parrot feel at home:

  • Ample space that allows it to fly regularly out of the cage.
  • Provide a quiet space, not silent, but without excessive noise and in a safe place; remember that they are very active.
  • Guarantee their sleeping hours (approximately 8 to 10 hours) by covering the cage with a blanket as the natural light reduces.
  • Keep perches, sticks, and elements that make them feel as if they were in their natural habitat outside their cage, allowing them to roam freely around the house.
  • Access to sunlight. It does not need to be direct, but it does have to be close to natural light.

Cage equipment 

The cage is very important for any domestic bird. But keep in mind that it is a temporary space only, I don’t suggest you to keep it inside. With that in mind, these are the recommendations:


Although parrots can be allowed free in the house if they are educated (so that they don’t escape and get lost), it is also recommended that they have a cage. The cage should be at least 4 or 5 times bigger than the parrot so that it can move freely and stretch its wings, a large cage guarantees its well-being.

I recommend you to adjust the cage essentially for sleeping and eating, it is better to keep it outside the rest of the time so train it to do so. If you have trained it well, you’ll be able to take it out of the house, which will be very beneficial for your parrot.

Basic Accessories 

All cages require basic elements that provide excellent comfort and well-being for your bird. The basic elements for your cage are:

10 basic parrot cage accessories: 
  1. Base substrate. Not made of newspaper.
  2. Mineral and natural perches or as they are commonly known, perches or sticks.
  3. Eating platforms made of wood.
  4. Ceramic feeder.
  5. Ceramic drinking trough.
  6. Plastic or ceramic drinking trough, never metallic.
  7. Foraging tray with natural materials for biting.
  8. Ladders. Preferably made of natural materials.
  9. Calcifying grit for the bottom of the cage.
  10. Nest.

Toys for parrots 

Of course, toys are a must, especially because parrots need new and constant challenges to develop their great intelligence.

Some of the coolest toys for your parrot are:

  • Acrylic balls.
  • Wicker balls with seeds inside.
  • Rolling and spinning balls.
  • Swings and hangers.
  • Playgrounds.

Foraging toys such as cuttlefish bones or calcium stones and anything else that can be destroyed.

Perches, ladders and toys should be outside the cage as well so that he can interact, fly and play freely outside the cage.

2. Grooming and basic care of your parrot 

Cage maintenance and accessories 

Here are the basics of maintaining your parrot’s living space:

  • Clean the cage and areas your parrot spends time in every day. You must clean very well the feces or food leftovers that may allow the proliferation of bacteria or parasites.
  • Clean all accessories regularly such as feeders or toys.
  • Also, disinfect the cage and toys thoroughly at least twice a week.

Bathing for parrots 

Regular bathing is beneficial for everyone and parrots are no exception. Parrots need to wet their feathers regularly so they can groom themselves, avoid mites on their skin or feathers, and in addition, water helps them during molting when their feathers start to fall to make room for the new ones, as this can cause a little itching.

For bathing, you can use a spray bottle with water and two drops of fruit vinegar and spray your parrot all over its body (except the face). Then you can let it finish grooming itself. This should be done at least 2 or 3 times a week.

The bath can be indoors or outdoors if the weather is favorable (warm) and your parrot is well trained.

You can also use bowls or small fountains with water for your parrot to bathe whenever he wants.

Aesthetic care 

Y parrot requires additional care for its beak and feet.

Care of your parrot’s beak 

The beak is a fundamental part of any bird, and like parrots, all birds use their beaks for eating and grasping. Therefore, I highly recommend making beak wear a priority.

Parrots’ beaks are naturally worn down through foraging to prevent overgrowth and causing problems. However, it is more complex in captivity, because it requires help through accessories, for example, a cuttlebone and other utensils to help “file” its beak.

The beak grows from 1mm to 3mm per month. If you see that it has grown too much, you have to go immediately to your veterinarian to have it trimmed.

Care for your parrot’s claws 

This is a standard item for all birds, but many times we don’t know how to do it. Just like the beak, your parrot’s claws will grow and wear out naturally; but the story in captivity is different.

Keep accessories such as perches, sticks, branches, and other foraging objects available to your parrot to help it wear down its claws.

The bird’s claws have a vein that goes like a canal through the nail towards the tip, without going all the way to the end. Therefore, if you venture to cut their nails, you must be very careful, cutting far before reaching this vein.

If, on the other hand, you don’t dare to do it, take it to the veterinarian so that they can take care of the “clawicure”.

Pay special attention to the following information…

3. Feeding your parrot 

Feeding parrots is of utmost importance given their varied diet and marked differences from other domestic birds. Feeding will depend on the type of parrot, that is, the species of parrot you have as a pet, as they may have different needs depending on their anatomy that must be covered with food. That is why I recommend always going to a veterinarian specializing in exotic pets to help you with their nutrition plan.

Most parrots are frugivorous and herbivorous. That is, they eat seeds, fruits and plants, although sometimes they also feed on insects and flower nectar. Of course, they should always have fresh water within reach. You can give them food at least twice a day and occasionally a snack.

parrot eating fruit

Appropriate food for your parrot 

The following are the most beneficial foods for your parrot:

Feed for parrots 

50% of their diet should contain parrot feed. Parrot feed is the basis of their diet and unlike seed mix, this food ensures that they are getting all the necessary nutrients from cereals, fruits, seeds, vegetable oils, vegetables, and fruits.

Complementary foods 

Include other foods in your groceries that complement the other 50% of your parrot’s diet.

Fruits and vegetables 

Add 40% fruits and vegetables to their diet. Parrots love to eat fruits and vegetables every day, among them are:

  • Apple.
  • Pears.
  • Oranges.
  • Tangerines.
  • Strawberries.
  • Watermelon.
  • Apricot.
  • Pineapple.
  • Carrot.
  • Broccoli.
  • Spinach.
  • Cauliflower
  • Celery.

You can also feed them the following fruits and vegetables every 2 or 3 days:

  • Banana.
  • Melon
  • Peach.
  • Grapes.
  • Cherries.
  • Mango.
  • Lettuce.
  • Potatoes.

Complement 10% of the diet with other foods such as:

  • Cheese.
  • Yogurt.
  • Rice.
  • Egg.
  • Bread.

Forbidden foods for parrots 

Never feed your parrot tomatoes and avocado, they are very dangerous for its health. Also, cocoa (believe it or not), chocolate, and any kind of sweets, onions, fried foods, milk, and salty foods are harmful to your parrot.

Clarification! You might be wondering why milk and its derivatives such as cheese and yogurt are not harmful to your parrot. Well, these milk derivatives are not harmful as long as they are not salty, as well as other foods with high content of salt and sugar.

4. Basic health care for your parrot 

Although these animals rarely get sick, there are some threats that can affect their health. Here are some of the most common health problems in parrots.

Health problemsSymptoms and causeWhat to do?
Psittacosis It is one of the most common diseases in Psittacidae and is caused by the intracellular parasite Chlamydia psittaci. It manifests as a cold with moist dripping from the nostrils and wheezing. Cramps are a signal that the disease before it becomes fatal.You must take him to the veterinarian to receive a medication prescription.
 PneumoniaIt’s a disease mainly caused by air currents. Your parrot will show symptoms such as labored and noisy breathing, runny nose, and runny eyes.Avoid drafts. Take your parrot immediately to the veterinarian. 
ColibacillosisColibacillosis is caused by Escherichia coli and is the main cause of death in parrots. The disease manifests through fatigue, loss of appetite, joint pain, restlessness, and gastrointestinal symptoms. Maintain excellent hygiene of the cage and all its accessories. Visit your veterinarian to prescribe a treatment based on antibiotics.
CoccidiosisAs its name indicates, it is a disease caused by Coccidiosis, a parasite that enters the body through the ingestion of contaminated food and water. The clinical picture includes diarrhea, dejection, weakness, and blood in the stool. Visit your veterinarian urgently. To avoid it, as well as many other diseases caused by parasites, maintain excellent hygiene. 
AcariasisMites are very common external parasites in birds, including parrots. They are evident when the bird scratches more than usual. Clean the cage regularly and give him a bath frequently to keep the mites away. If he already has the disease, take him to the vet for an acaricide. 

Signs of a healthy parrot 

  • A happy parrot is a sign of good health as they are normally active and playful.
  • They eat well. If they have not lost their appetite, they are in good health.
  • The feathers don’t fall out; otherwise, if it has excessive feather loss, your parrot may be suffering from avitaminosis or lack of vitamins, which are essential for healthy feathers.
  • Look at its beak and legs. Its beak should be free of scabs and its legs should not be swollen.
  • If your parrot doesn’t have ruffled feathers and doesn’t hide its head under its wings, it’s healthy!

5. Devote attention and love to your parrot 

It may not seem so important in most birds, which tend to be very independent. However, this is not the case of parrots and other species.

Show affection to your parrot 

Parrots are very affectionate birds, so it will be vital that you offer them lots of attention and love. They are a favorite at many homes because they are much more affectionate birds; they like to be in contact with their owners. Talk to your parrot frequently, this will help it exercise its ability to speak and learn new words, as well as build bridges of communication with it.

Train and pay attention to your parrot 

parrot training toys

Teach some tricks to your parrot 

You can teach it various tricks such as climbing on your finger and sitting on your shoulder to bond with it. Additionally, you can use different obstacles and treats to make him go towards them and practice.

You may be interested in Basic bird training.

Set up a flying field for your parrot 

You can build a flying space. If your parrot is already an adult and doesn’t know how to fly, you can train it to start exercising its muscles with short flights until it can fly easily. Then, once it has learned to fly, make it a daily exercise, Fly! and Fly!

Daily routine of physical exercise for your parrot 

You can use different perches outside the cage and around the room for your parrot to have several options for exercise since in addition to flying, he needs to grasp and walk. Adapt exercises to suit its foraging behavior.

Play with your parrot! 

It’s essential that you have a variety of toys to play daily. The idea is to have toys that will challenge your parrot and enhance its intelligence.

What you didn’t know about parrots 

Parrots have a prodigious memory 

Can they understand what they say or do they only repeat sounds? Several studies have investigated the capacity of parrots to remember words, and these animals can learn around 150 words.

However, they cannot understand exactly what they say or separate words between different contexts as we do, they can simply relate them to objects or certain situations to which they are exposed.

On the other hand, research conducted by Dr. Irene Pepperberg with Alex, an African grey parrot, showed that these birds are more intelligent than we think. The doctor trained

Alex was able to differentiate different objects, materials, and even colors.

Alex even managed to hold conversations and even ask a question.

Parrot body language 

Parrots have several ways of communicating, including vocalization. But, also through their body. I’m sure you’ve wondered about this throughout the article when I mentioned it maybe twice; well, now I’m going to tell you what it’s all about.

Your parrot feels nervousness 

If your parrot faces an intense situation or stimulation his pupils will dilate. This means he is nervous and may be preparing to defend himself.

Your parrot feels happiness 

There will be several ways to tell if your parrot is feeling happy, one of which is when it flicks its tail and inflates its feathers. It does this to show satisfaction, for example, when it finds something interesting.

Another way to show his joy is to emit sounds to be heard while he has brief tremors in his body.

Your parrot can love 

When your parrot is feeling amorous or likes another animal, including humans, a typical behavior is regurgitation. Your parrot will move its head up and down.

Now that you are a parrot expert, you’ll be able to offer the best care to your little friend. I hope that everything I have told you here is useful and that you take the best care of your parrot.

If you are interested in other species of domestic birds, here you have: