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Pet birds are the third most popular pet in the U.S., behind dogs and cats. According to a National Pet Owners Survey, more than six million people in the country own a pet bird. Canaries and Parakeets are two of the most common pet bird species. The Domestic Canary is a domesticated form of the Wild Canary, which is of the Finch family. First bred in captivity in the 17th century, Canaries first became popular in Europe. In England, the birds were first owned by the rich, but eventually they also became popular with others. Many different breeds arose through selective breeding. The colorful birds became very popular for their voice, and this remains true today. They come in colors such as yellow, orange, black, white, red and brown. Parakeets are also colorful birds that belong to the Parrot species. Their smaller size and long, tapered tail feathers distinguish them from larger Parrots that generally have stockier bodies and square-shaped tails. In fact, the name “Parakeet” means “long tail.” There are about 120 different species of Parakeets with many sub-species. Parakeets are full of energy and are very social, both with other birds and people. Parakeets are not too difficult to handle and are hardy birds, are intelligent and, like all Parrots, crave attention from their human companions.

There are two families of Parrots: the Psittacidae or “True Parrots” and the Cacatuidae (Cockatoos.) Parrots have strong, curved bills and an upright stance, strong legs and clawed zygodactyl feet. They walk with an endearing rolling gait. Parrots are one of the most colorful members of the bird kingdom, most are predominately green with other mixed bright colors, while some species are multi-colored. There are many sub-species of Parrots, including Macaws, Cockatiels and Budgies. Parrots are among the most intelligent of birds and their ability to imitate human voices make them popular pets. Bringing home a pet Parrot is, in many ways, like bringing home a new baby. Some adjust very well to a new home and will eat anything you serve them. However, they can be moody and stubborn (especially the larger birds) and they like a lot of attention. If not given enough attention, they will let you know by becoming very loud. The most popular pet Parrots are Macaws, Amazon Parrots, Cockatiels, Cockatoos and Parakeets. These birds are popular companion pets due to their intelligence, charismatic “personalities,” beautiful colors and musical abilities. The male African Grey Parrot is the most accomplished imitators of the human voice, as well as all kinds of sounds and whistles. African Grey’s also tend to bond strongly to one person. Each one has its own personality, much like people. Parrots also are notorious feather pluckers. Reasons for this include boredom, emotional abuse and dietary imbalances. A screaming Parrot is often distressed and can be calmed down by flying them on your finger or taking them for a walk around the house. The more time you spend with your new feathered friend, the more trust you will build between you. You must be prepared for the care they require and Parrots shouldn’t be purchased on impulse. Parrots live a long time - sometimes 80 to 100 years, so it is possible they could outlive you. They also bond closely to their owners and grieve if they lose them. All of this should be taken into consideration. Lots of research and education about Parrots is the best way to understanding these fascinating creatures before deciding if owning one is for you.

Love birds is the common name for the genus Agapornis, which is also of the Parrot family. Lovebirds are very social and affectionate creatures. For this reason, many people feel very strongly that Lovebirds in captivity should be kept in pairs. However, if you are willing to spend enough time and devoted attention on your Lovebird, just one alone can be a good companion. Lovebirds are approximately 13-17 centimeters in size and 40-60 grams in weight. They have a small, stocky build and a short, blunt tail, but their beaks are rather large for their overall size. Lovebirds are among the smallest Parrots in the world and their lifespan is about 10 - 15 years. Some species, such as Fischer’s, Black Cheeked and Yellow Collared Lovebirds, have a white ring around their eyes. Lovebirds have bright, loving personalities and, like most other Parrots, can bond strongly with their human companions. Also, like other pet Parrots, Lovebirds need lots of care and attention, but for anyone prepared to give them the attention they crave, Lovebirds make excellent pets.


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