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Edwards's Fig Parrot

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Is the Edwards's Fig Parrot right for you?

Species group:

Other common names: Scarlet-cheeked Fig Parrot

Scientific name: Psittaculirostris edwardsii

The basics:
The beautiful Fig Parrots are most commonly found in aviaries and zoos, because their highly specialized diet makes them a challenge to feed. As the name suggests, their wild diet is dominated by Ficus figs, although these fruits can be supplemented with the same fruits and nectar syrup you would offer a Lorikeet.They demand more vitamin K than the other parrots-- even more than the Conures and Mini-Macaws, so you should seek the latest information about what supplements to use from your breeder and/or advanced avian veterinarian. The natural figs they consume in the humid lowlands of northeastern New Guinea are reported to be exceptionally high in K and zinc.

As a result of these special demands, the Edwards's Fig Parrot is best reserved for the expert breeder. In fact, they can be quite difficult to breed successfully.

Appearance:
These little green gems stand out because of the scarlet bib or throat. The adult males also sport a bright orange-red belly.

Weight:
105 grams (3.7 oz.)

Average size:
18 centimeters (7 in.)

Lifespan:
10-15 years

Behavior / temperament:
Considering their size, Fig Parrots can be surprisingly chewy and aggressive. The Fig Parrot Husbandry Manual compiled by Liz Romer noted that they will harass other parrots, and pairs could gang up and harm other birds in their enclosure. Plan on providing a dedicated aviary.

Housing:
Housing the Edwards's Fig Parrot can represent a genuine challenge. They tend to have loose, squirtable feces that are sticky, sweet, and quickly develop an odor, so it's important to set up a cage that's easy to clean. Some people advocate clear acrylic on the sides and back of the cage. An added twist is that Fig Parrots set up in large planted aviaries sometimes have a bad habit of flying very fast at the wires and hurting or killing themselves. Evidently, if allowed to build up sufficient speed, they don't realize in time that they're flying into a wall. If you want to display your pair in a large walk-in aviary, makes sure it is well-planted with trees and shrubs to prevent them from bulleting along across open space.

They do enjoy chewing, and it can be a good idea to provide some safe browse or chewable toys to keep those beaks busy. They love bathing, and you can expect to need to change the water frequently.

Diet:
The Fig Parrot Husbandry Manual suggests several diets that zoos and aviaries have used with success, but keep in the loop and network wth active breeders to see what they currently recommend-- especially in regard to vitamin K and calcium supplementation. You'll need a dependable source of whole figs. These birds also demand items such as chopped fresh fruit salad, some live insects or grubs, and some soaked or sprouted seeds like millet and sunflower.

Written by Elaine Radford

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