Species group: Other Parrots
Other common names: Quaker Parrot; Monk Parakeet; Grey-breasted Parakeet
Scientific name: Myiopsitta monachus
The Quaker Parakeet is active, social, and intelligent. However, what makes Quakers one of the most unusual parrots around is the fact that it is one of only two species that can build its own nest. The other one is the Cliff Parakeet, Myiopsitta luchsi, a very close relative, which was only recently split off into a separate species.
The fascinating Quaker Parakeet is a South American native to Bolivia, Brazil, and northern Argentina, but it has introduced itself to several new locations around the New World. In the wild, these social birds build huge colony nests, containing multiple units, where pairs can roost and raise young. Sometimes, the nests become so big that they cause a branch to break, and all or part of the construction falls to the ground. The flocks are talkative, active, and tolerant of human activity, becoming famous in recent years for establishing themselves in several highly urbanized cities in North and South America including Brooklyn, New York, and Chicago, Illinois.
They can tolerate extremes of weather, from the sticky heat of the Bolivian pantanal to the cold of a Chicago winter, so they're hardy birds as long as they've got the right diet. In New Orleans, the introduced Quakers are building colonies in introduced Canary Island palm trees, making it clear that these intelligent birds can adapt and build different nests for different situations.
There is little evidence that these introduced birds venture into agricultural environments. But because there is still some question about the Quaker Parakeet becoming an invasive species, some states in the US ban you from owning or even traveling through with these birds. Before obtaining a Quaker, please check with your state's Department of Wildlife and Fisheries for current laws. According to the Quaker Information Center, it is illegal to possess Quakers in California, Hawaii, Kansas, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, and Wyoming. There may be some technical details or permits you need in some of the other states. Since laws change all the time, double check before you give your heart to a pet you're not allowed to keep.
A modest green parakeet with a gray face and a gray breast marked with a light scallop pattern. While its natural plumage is understated, there are lovely color mutations available, including lutino and powder blue.
127 - 140 grams (4.5 - 5 oz.)
29 centimeters (11.4 in.)
20 - 30 years
Behavior / temperament:
Quaker Parakeets continue to attract new fans because they're intelligent, vocal, and social. Like many vocal birds, they can be very noisy, and they may call or scream when you go out of sight. It is wise to invest some time training these birds to talk, so that they can call you by name, instead of with a shriek. A Quaker would, quite simply, never really be alone in the wild, so a single pet Quaker works best in situations where the bird always has someone around.
A neglected Quaker or even a Quaker who just considers itself neglected may be at risk for feather-plucking to the point of mutilation. Any time a Quaker starts over-plucking or self-mutilating, get to a vet fast, to find out if there is an underlying health issue. If the cause is emotional, you will need to work with the vet and/or a parrot behaviorist to see if you can short-circuit the plucking. That said, there are some good, caring owners who hold Quakers who pluck. It is difficult for one person to substitute for the entire social web that a Quaker would encounter in a state of nature.
Keep in mind that a wild Quaker would have a small compartment to hide itself in from time to time. Consider providing a small basket nest or a smaller wooden cavity nest for the bird to use as a security blanket. Replace the nest as it gets chewed up. Also, provide a playpen with plenty of toys for times when the pet is feeling more active. At certain times of the year, when hormones strike, these birds like to weave nest materials, so provide them with items they can use for the purpose like smaller unsprayed mulberry branches or vegetable-tanned leather strips. You may be fascinated to see how gifted your pet really is.
An individual pet Quaker Parakeet should have lots of room and toys in order to work off its high energy. The minimum sized cage for a single Quaker would be 24”w x 24”d x 24”h with no more than ¾ ” bar spacing They chew, so the cage should be a metal one with a powder coating. Place a sturdy manzanita perch in the areas where you don't want to replace the perch very often, but also include chewable perches and toys for the bird's entertainment. They also need a separate playpen with its own collection of perches, ladders, and toys. An outdoor aviary set-up to allow a colony to breed might be an interesting project, but don't try it until you have checked to make sure that you can comply with local and state laws regarding the breeding of this species.
Bring your new Quaker Parakeet to your vet for a check-up, and take the opportunity to talk about diet. Quakers are considered to be at risk for fatty liver disease, which means that you should restrict high fat foods such as oil-rich sunflower and safflower seeds. Hold back these seeds for special rewards while training, unless the vet says your bird is overweight and should not be eating them at all.
Quakers may need supplemental calcium or simply a cuttlebone, if they are willing to chew the cuttlebone. Otherwise, even though they are not conures, you can follow a good conure diet such as a high quality pellet combined with around 20% chopped fresh fruit and vegetables on the side. A high quality soak-and-cook or a homemade recipe that includes plenty of well-cooked beans, whole grains, and brown rice might be a good alternative. These curious birds might ask for the food on your dinner plate, but never give avocado or chocolate to any parrot species.
Written by Elaine Radford
BIG personality, friendly little birds, super smart bird, loving personality, great first parrot
fatty liver disease, cage aggression, screamer, stubborn birds, LOUD, sexually mature, hormonal issues
medium sized birds, Good socialization, sexlinked lutino, good fruit diet, mischevious little beings
Wonderful Starter Parrot
This parrot was purchased for my younger sister, though ultimately as the only one in the house that knows anything about birds I've been tasked with taking care of it. It's incredibly friendly so long as it is raised in a social environment, and prefers to be with the family in the daytime in our living room, where we have a perch and play-area for her. When we were still paying off the $600 it took to bring her home from Casa la Parrot , I frequently visited her. By the time we finally did, she was initially closer to me than anyone else. She was also going through a molt, and had a lot of pin feathers on her head that nobody at the store had bothered with, even though she was alone in her boarding cage. When I removed the sheaths, I followed up with comforting words and always apologized and gave kisses when I ran into the occasional sensitive feather. Now, she follows up the majority of bites with an apology and kisses, too. It's definitely one of my favorite things about her..
From danibanani Feb 3 2017 6:47PM
A Natural Alarm Clock
Cuca is the only Quaker Parakeet I've had as a pet. I've interacted with many over the past 5 years since I see them in college everyday. There is a gigantic colony of them in my campus.
The experience with Cuca was loads of fun. She was extremely playful and loved attention which is very important for this type of parakeet because they are VERY social. And sassy. Cuca was no exception to this.
Cuca had a great personality she learned many words, some because of how often she heard us say them and some because of me trying to teach her. She also learned how to mimic my dog, Lulu and would "bark" at her to mess with her. They didn't get along but Cuca would generally just try to mess with my dog while my dog would attempt to bite her tail feathers off.
I never liked the idea of keeping her in a cage so from day one she was allowed anywhere in the house except the bathrooms and the kitchen. This was troublesome when it came to pooping but, with time and loads of repetition and discipline I got Cuca to poop in a specific spot covered in news paper.
Monk Parakeets in the wild are adorable and its magnificent to see their syncronized flying and watch them look down from their nests in the tree. The only downside I always found to Cuca was that she was loud. They start early, too. From 5-6am and later on from 6-8pm are their loudest times of the day..
From shamy12 Mar 6 2015 4:51PM
Monk/Quaker Parakeet: not as peaceful as the name suggests
Beelzebird had a plucking problem when we rescued him. He plucked his neck feathers until he bled and the vet fitted him with a collar shaped like an upside-down dog cone. His feathers have not grown back the 10 years that we've had him. The vet told us this is a psychological problem that tends to effect monk/quaker parakeets.
When he first arrived, he was a very sweet little parrot. He was always ready to climb on anyone's finger and press his head into their cheek. Over the years, he has become aggressive towards members of the family, often striking at them as they walk by him. When he does clamber onto someone's hand he will more likely than not end up biting them. And he bites hard for a cute, little parakeet.
For the most part, he's quiet, but sometimes he likes to compete with our other bird (an orange wing amazon) and his squawk is high pitched and rhythmic. We've tried to teach him to talk, and he has achieved only three or four words.
If trained and persuaded to be sweet, this parakeet seems suitable for someone in a reasonable sized apartment or house looking for a social, sweet bird. Beelzebird, who used to be Aragorn before he bit me one too many times, had the capability of being a truly sweet little friend, and I wish I knew what happened to change his mind..
From EmersoRichards Jul 12 2015 9:46PM