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Old 01-29-2014, 10:22 AM
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Question Choosing a parrot

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Greetings all,

I decided to register on the forum and start this thread to get as much information as possible on the topic described below.

As first thing, please, excuse my poor English. I am not native speaker and some parts of the text might be incomprehensible due to bad grammar.

For quite a long time, I have been thinking about purchasing a parrot. My long term dream, of course, is blue and gold macaw. After many consultations with people who own macaws, I decided to give up purchasing this bird for now and rather start with some smaller parrot. Reason is simple - lack of time. That is probably the only limit I have (besides the time issue maybe also having not so loud parrot is another objective, but this issue could be dealt with), but it is a big one.

Currently, I am leaving home around 8:15 am (waking up around 7:00 am) and coming back after 6:30 pm (sometimes later). In the morning during breakfast and in the evening after I return, I am capable of taking care of the bird and play with it. I live alone in bigger flat with large rooms.

The reason I want to own a parrot is to have a smart and funny companion which will bond to me. I definitely do not want to have new part of furniture (i.e. smaller parrot which is supposed to be rather observed than interacted with). That is the reason why I would like to have mid-sized or bigger parrot, which is clever, might learn to speak, learn tricks, like to cuddle, etc. Of course, I realize that bigger and smarter the parrot is, more time demands it has. But that is my situation I want the bird to be happy in the first place. In the childhood, I had some parakeets, then a dog for more than 13 years. I think I can say I am hypersensitive about animals and cannot stand if anything bad happens to them, no matter if I own them or just see them in the street.

Besides macaws, I feel a bit fascinated about amazons, Senegal parrots and maybe conures (although I have some doubts about their intelligence - owners of the conures, please, don’t hurt me ).

I know my situation is far from ideal, maybe even hopeless. However, I believe I could provide good home to a bird, should I find proper one. I would be glad for any advice you can give me.

Last edited by Schagi; 01-29-2014 at 10:36 AM.
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Old 01-29-2014, 11:02 AM
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Re: Choosing a parrot

Time is a very important thing to consider when getting any bird, especially the larger ones. Besides that, however, is the issue of experience. Parakeets are one thing, but making the jump to a macaw or even a medium sized bird like an amazon is a big one. Their demands are different and they need more time and attention the bigger they are. I have a cockatiel and a conure, and I'm at school for ~7 hours a day. I spend the time immediately after getting home with my birds and only with them, at least an hour and a half. After that, I still play with them while I do everything else I'm doing that day until bedtime. These birds are considered by many to be small, but they still need attention, and as much as you can give them.

For a larger bird, this time commitment is twice as important. If you leave your smaller bird alone and only take it out for two hours a day one day when you're busy, it isn't good, but it is still manageable for the bird. For a bigger bird, only two hours out of the cage is a problem. They'll scream for your attention, get nippy if you don't allow them enough attention for even two days in a row. It takes a lot of prior knowledge to really get what they need. Anything less and they're prone to plucking, biting and screaming. Considering your time constraints and experience, I wouldn't recommend anything bigger than a conure or such.

Make no mistake, the smaller birds are just as capable of learning tricks, and my own bird does speak, and imitate me a lot. It isn't that they CAN'T speak, its just that when they do try, it doesn't sound like perfect human speech like an African Grey for example. Their voices are gravelly or warbly sounding. The smaller birds learn to mimic and whistle songs. They are also capable of trick training. I wouldn't discount their intelligence based on their speaking ability or comprehension. In my opinion, it might be better to wait for a bigger bird until you've gotten some more one-on-one experience with a smaller bird like a cockatiel or conure. They're still a big commitment, and although I don't believe much in the idea of "starter birds", they do give you just as much companionship and friendship as a bigger bird, minus the loud screaming and huge time and energy commitment.
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Old 01-29-2014, 11:07 AM
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Re: Choosing a parrot

I agree, I am beginning to understand that (that’s why I posted this thread). The question is which parrot would meet my expectations and be ok with my time options.
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Old 01-29-2014, 11:25 AM
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Re: Choosing a parrot

First of all, welcome Your English is much better than some native speakers LOL! Don't worry here, it's just fine.

That was very responsible of you to do all the research, and then determined that a certain species (B&G) wasn't right for you now, even though you really wanted it. Not only is a Macaw more demanding and loud, but they are very headstrong and very much a challenge after mature. You will usually hear only the good things about Macaw personality, but after maturity you really need to know how to train and handle one. Some people do get a Macaw as a first bird, but they will tell you it's hard and they get a "crash course" in learning! Same with mature Amazons.

Now, onto your many great choices! I am not sure how available certain species are in your country, but I know Senegals are popular worldwide, and they make excellent pets. If socialized to be used to it when young, Senegals and other birds in the Poicephalus family can be very hands on. Smart, funny, 'hands on', can learn to talk and imitate many sounds, not very loud, completely adorable, as well as being very independent when they need to be. I think that sounds like what you're looking for? They can have a very strong bite for their size, and typically the males will be a bit more aggressive and nippy than the females, especially when hormonal. I'm sure you're aware you'll get bitten by ANY bird that you get eventually though The other Poicephalus parrots (besides Senegals) that are commonly seen are Meyers, Red bellied, Jardines, etc. but again, depends on what country you're in whether they're available or not.
So... My vote would be for a Senegal or any of it's family member species (Poicephalus parrots). Plus there are many people on this forum who have them and can give great insight. Good luck whatever you end up deciding on!

Last edited by RavensGryf; 01-29-2014 at 11:27 AM.
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Old 01-29-2014, 11:33 AM
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Re: Choosing a parrot

I am from the Czech Republic. When I started my research, I very quickly found out that apparently we are the nation of parrot breeders. Almost anything is available here J However, I would like to ask you to provide me with latin names of the birds because the translation doesn’t always work and it is difficult to find Czech translation of names of some not so common species.

Yea, Senegal seems to be a great bird and based on the gathered information, it really has a personality I could live with. There is only one problem. This bird is usually kept alone, because, according to the information I read, when it bonds to one person, it starts to become aggressive even to other bird of the same species. That wouldn’t be a problem, but I have encountered many advices to purchase two birds instead of one, so they can provide company to each other when I am out of home. I am not sure purchasing two Senegals would do me any good J
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Old 01-29-2014, 11:46 AM
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Re: Choosing a parrot

Oh, yes I've heard that about Europe. I think the Netherlands are especially known for aviculture.

Here are the scientific names for you to look up. All the "poi" species have the genus name 'Poicephalus'. These below are ones you usually see, and would be a good size for you:
Poicphalus senegalus - Senegal
Poicephalus meyeri - Meyer's parrot
Poicephalus rufiventris - Red Bellied parrot
Poicephalus cryptoxanthus - Brown Headed parrot
Poicephalus gulielmi - Jardine's parrot

* The inclination for them to be "one person birds" is mainly in how they're socialized growing up, but with some individuals it can change. Proof? Robin my 19 year old Red Bellied who I've had all his life WAS a one person bird until one day when he was in his teens, he met my husband and for the first time became a "two person bird"
When you hear about 'one person bird' with certain species, a lot of times it is a generalization which can vary between individuals. ANY parrot species who is capable of bonding with a human can become a one person bird. Most parrots by nature are pair bonders. Socialize them early against it and you'll have better chances of it being more social.

Last edited by RavensGryf; 01-29-2014 at 11:56 AM.
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Old 01-29-2014, 12:01 PM
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Re: Choosing a parrot

All of the Poicephalus seem nice...especially Brown headed and Jardine parrots are described as generally calmer and easier to keep than Senegal. But personality of all the parrots is described as "the one similar to big parrots", so the questions is, would the single parrot (let´s say Senegal) be happy in the conditions I described?

Update: Yesterday, I got in touch with a person currently selling young senegals (fed by hands or how is this properly called) and according to his opinion, if the parrot is trained to certain daily regime, it can sleep during the day and be active when I return; therefore, according to his opinion, it could be possible

Last edited by Schagi; 01-29-2014 at 01:00 PM.
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Old 01-29-2014, 01:12 PM
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Re: Choosing a parrot

The Brown Headed seems like a nice bird. I've also heard that they have a tendency to be a little more gentle (of course in a well socialized tame bird).

To answer your questions: We call it "hand fed" or "hand raised" here.
Our pet parrots can become accustomed to our schedules, but within reason. Obviously you know you can't go completely against nature and have it become a nocturnal animal where it sleeps during the whole day and is awake all night That's not what he's saying right?
I think he probably meant that it naps during the day, so it can become accustomed to your schedule if you need to keep it awake until you go to bed. Ideally they need 10-12 hours sleep (at night) but truth is, with our busy human lifestyles 10 hours is impossible for most of us. We just do the best we can.

Last edited by RavensGryf; 01-29-2014 at 01:14 PM.
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Old 01-29-2014, 01:37 PM
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Re: Choosing a parrot

No, he didn´t mean to make the bird nocturnal animal. The bird would ideally learn to be calm during the day - as you said, to nap during the day - and be active later in the evening.

I think the choice would still be Senegal, it is more common here and there are always some handfed younglings available on the market.

Also, the seller mentioned that even a single bird could be kept in these conditions, provided his personality can handle it...
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Old 01-29-2014, 06:58 PM
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Re: Choosing a parrot

Oh, forgot to comment on it - yes, they should be absolutely fine as an only bird. Just make sure he has plenty of favorite toys and foraging objects to occupy his day. Robin was an only bird at times, and over the past 19 years of his life, during a lot of that time I was very busy and had little time for him. He was fine. No behavioral problems. He was both as cuddly and independent as he needed to be.
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