Species group: Parrotlets
Other common names: Lesson's Parrotlet; Celestial Parrotlet
Scientific name: Forpus coelestis
The Pacific Parrotlet is the most popular pet parrotlet by a long shot. These active little birds chirp or chatter but they can't scream, which makes them an attractive choice for apartment dwellers. This parrotlet has a full-sized parrot's personality inside a tiny package, and they can be aggressive, so be prepared to bring all your parrot-handling skills.
The Pacific Parrotlet has a rather small range on the Pacific slopes of the Andes in western Ecuador and Peru, although apparently they've also been reported from southwestern Colombia. They seem to be highly adaptable little parrots able to tolerate a diversity of habitats, from moist to dry subtropical or tropical forests, degraded cactus scrubland or developed agricultural areas such as banana or mango plantations, even busy urban centers where they may perch conspiciously on telephone wires. As a bird that may benefit from deforestation, they may be expanding their range.
A tiny green parrot in the wild, the Pacific Parrotlet can be found in a wide variety of colorful mutations, including yellow, cinnamon, pied, and shades of blue. The normal adult birds are easy to sex, since like most Forpus species, adult males have bright blue rumps that the females lack.
33 grams (1.2 oz.)
12 - 13 centimeters (5 in.)
20 - 25 years
Behavior / temperament:
The Pacific Parrotlet has an outgoing and feisty personality. They can also be very stubborn and strong-willed, especially if they are allowed to retain the power of flight. They are known for being more pushy or dominating than many parrotlets, and so they need to be taught limits and commands to manage their behavior. They generally have a shrill, high-pitched twitter or screech and are not inclined to much mimicry, so it would be unrealistic to expect most of them to learn to talk. A well-socialized, properly handled Pacific Parrotlet is a colorful loving bird that isn't a bit shy and is happy to exhibit comical behaviors. They are curious and intelligent, and they are one of the better species at being able to entertain themselves. To maintain the pet quality of the bird, keep only one Pacific Parrotlet and focus your undivided attention on that bird.
A pet Pacific Parrotlet should have a powder-coated metal cage of at least 24”w x 18”d x 24”h with a ½ inch bar spacing. Provide a variety of perches from bird-safe wood. Be aware that even though they're small, they can be territorial. You need to have a play area away from the cage where you can remove the bird every day, so that you can play together on neutral territory. Some people have reported that toys like bells or mirrors in the cage could cause the Parrotlet to become angry or aggressive, so watch carefully for that if you choose to supply those toys at all. Train your bird to step up on command on a perch or stick, so that you can easily remove it from the cage without an argument. These little birds don't know their own size, so you must handle them gently, yet somewhat assertively, to prevent them from deciding to stay in the cage and become dictator of their tiny domain. You may also be able to prevent them from becoming aggressive simply by paying attention and keeping the wings neatly clipped.
Like their larger South American relatives, the Pacific Parrotlet requires a nutrient-rich, varied diet, and they cannot be expected to subsist on seed alone. In the wild, Pacific Parrotlets are known to eat grass seeds, buds, flowers, cactus fruits, and berries, and a good diet could be based on a high quality pellet, a limited amount of seed, and a variety of fresh vegetables and fruits. They may also enjoy healthy cooked food from time to time like whole grain rice, beans, and whole grain pasta. You might also consider a good commercial or home-created soak and cook diet. There are many healthy fruits and vegetables that can be fed including apples, grapes, garden vegetables such as spinach, watercress, field lettuce, dandelions, carrots, corn on the cob, peas, endive, and well-cooked sweet potatoes. However, never feed avocado or chocolate to any bird, including Parrotlets.
Written by Elaine Radford
apartment life, affectionate, Huge Personalities, excellent first birds, cute little voices, cuddle bird
major hormonal season, mood swings, screaming, nippy, favorite person
little dynamos, high metabolism, excellent shoulder bird, Colours, socialization training
Tiny and energetic companion birds
Parrotlets are supremely adorable tiny parrots. They have a similar body structure to lovebirds and move around in much the same way.
They’re not terribly impressive fliers and seem to enjoy climbing as much as flying, making them suitable for small cages. Parrotlets should still be given as much room as possible because these are incredibly active birds. They adore toys of every kind and hang or swing from just about anything you give them.
These little acrobats go non-stop and are not for those looking for a calm or peaceful bird. Parrotlets are quiet for a parrot, but do have a high pitched chirp and can vocalize quite a bit while they’re playing, especially when attacking a favorite toy.
Parrotlets can make excellent companion birds as long as you keep them entertained. They can’t do any real damage with their tiny beaks, but do have a surprisingly painful bite and these rough birds can be nippy. My parrotlet was a tame companion bird, but still at times got overly excited when playing and thought it was funny to take a nip at my finger.
They do tend towards being one person birds, but mine did fine with letting other people handle him on most days. Some days he would again apparently think it was funnier to take a nip at an offered finger rather than step up onto it.
Despite, or rather because of their wicked sense of humor, parrotlets are one of the most entertaining small parrots you can get. They’re hilarious to watch and obscenely adorable. Mine was even cute when he slept, tucking himself into a little tent at night.
These little trouble makers do require constant supervision when they’re out and about. Their small size makes them both especially vulnerable to physical injury as well as just easy to lose sight of if you turn your back.
This species isn’t as hardy as other similar sized parrots and can be more delicate. They are also a handful for their size, but if you’re looking for a micro parrot to fit into a tight space, the parrotlet is a superb choice..
From gardenfairy Sep 21 2014 11:28PM
Big Parrot Personality in a Little Parrot Package
My husband and I purchased Hurley when he was six weeks old from a breeder nearby. We sat with the breeder who enthusiastically told us all about his experience with birds and the best methods for caring for our new parrotlet.
Hurley warmed to us very quickly -- but much prefers me to my husband. Every day when we got home from work, we would get him out of his cage and work on training with him. He's very affectionate, loves giving kisses, and thoroughly enjoys talking with us.
He knows several phrases including "Hurley's a pretty bird," "Tickle Tickle," "Come here," (including context on that one), "Choo choo choo," (calling one of our dogs), and "Peekaboo."
He prefers to be out of his cage and is good friends with one of our cats (but not the other). He's most happy when we leave his cage door open and let him roam about the top of his cage freely.
We bought Hurley to be our "baby" as we didn't plan to have kids for several years. But about seven months after adopting Hurley, we found out that I was pregnant. Since having our son, we haven't had near as much time as we used to for Hurley and it couldn't be at a worse time. He's currently going through his "terrible twos" and needs a lot of attention and affection.
Several solutions that we've tried is allowing him out of his cage whenever we're sitting down at the computer. We make sure that we both take the time to talk to him and handle him at least once a day -- if not more. This has begun to help. He had begun to revert back to his wild ways, but is now calming down once again.
If you are considering getting a bird, please note that they require a lot more attention than you might think. They are also extremely loud. Scolding them does not work -- it's just in their nature to be vocal. Hurley has woken our son up from his nap multiple times, despite us moving him as far away from the nursery as possible. He simply wants attention.
But overall, he's very affectionate and prefers to be with us as opposed to in his cage..
From bjolson Nov 2 2014 4:10PM
Small bird does not mean easy bird
It might be easy to assume that a larger bird pet would involve less maintenance and attention than a smaller species. This is definitely not the case. All birds are highly intelligent, requiring affection and attention.
I lived for a year for a year who owned two birds: Pete the Pacific Parrotlet and his "brother" Mack the Macaw. I got along much better with Pete than with the other bird, but both could be difficult room mates. Pete was loud, and there is simply nothing an owner can do about that. They do not respond to chastisement. Vocalizations served an important evolutionary role for these animals, and as far as I know cannot be untrained.
Pete was very affectionate however, both with my room mate and myself. Please, if you are considering this pet, make sure you will have time enough to care for such an intelligent and special creature..
From Satchmo Apr 3 2015 8:37PM