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Old 11-13-2017, 04:23 AM
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Choosing the right parrot

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Hello
So after years of dreaming about having a big parrot (I mean bigger than cockatiel and budgies, I had those since I was 10yo, not anymore though) I finally can get one. I do not work and I have a 7yo child, plenty of experience with many medium sized parrots (second hand experience from friends). So for few months I was reading about every single "bigger" parrot species, but also about smaller amazons, senegals and greys. But... They just are not for me. Their personalities sure are great to many but they do not appear as good pets for ME. I need to say that since I was a child I LOVED white (umbrella, mollucan, ducorps, etc.) cockatoos. For me they are the most beautiful birds. So after I decided that those common parrots that are often recommended as pets are not the type of personality I want. I started reading more about too's and found out that I still love the personality they have and they would be perfect for me even with those flaws they have. But they have flaws that I do not know if I can handle.

The biggest problem is the aggressivity I read about so much. They say that when cockatoo bites, he doesn't give many (if any) warnings like macaws do and that it is because cockatoo (unlike the macaw) WANTS to bite.
Next is the plucking tendency they have. I told myself that macaws and greys are very sensitive too and often pluckers (at least as I read). But unlike those parrots, it's actually pretty hard to see a too in YT without plucked feathers and you would have to try hard to find a macaw or grey plucked there.
The third and fourth problem is not the parrot's. But in my country it is pretty hard to find umbrella cockatoo (which is the only one out of too's, that I am interested in, others are not really easy to find at all and often their price is very high).

So I started searching more and found out that blue and gold macaw would fit my household too. They are cute guys, not like the too's, but also very beautiful. So first instinct I had was to search about them. Which I did and they appeared pretty similar to cockatoos. So i tried to find comparisons and I think I found like only one or two. In which they told the guy who asked, that he should think about it more because he choose COMPLETELY different parrots and because of that he probably doesn't know anything about owning one and this stuff. And on the second I think no one compared them really, they said they are very different and recommended another species. And I want to say first that I see they are different. Just by searching videos, you can see that both are displayed in specific situations. The word I was shocked by was the "completely" not the word "different".

I would like to ask you guys who know these parrots (umbrella and b&g) if you could compare their personalities. Things I care most about in parrots is: affectionate (and cuddly, I mean I have my dog for biiig cuddles, but I do not want the "look at only" parrot), playful and full of energy (I love how cockatoos argue with their people like children do), intelligent (I like to say that cockatoos have the cute smart look, that makes you think how innocent they are, but we know the reality ), engaging and interest in stuff people do.

The last thing is my biggest fear when thinking about macaw. Most videos on youtube with macaws are: parrot is sitting somewhere (most often perch or table), lets the owner pet him a bit, but without really doing anything. And it feels like, they are not very active and playful. But are described as very playful. So I don't know what is true.

Thank you for answers and please, do not recommend other parrots and please do not comment about how difficult they are and about cage needs, time needs, or that I should not buy them if I only had cockatiels and budgies and so on. I already read those and still read them everytime I search parrot stuff. I just need the comparison, because, even though I tried, I couldn't find much info about macaw personality and if I found some. It would say the same as about cockatoo - needy, affectionate, sensitive, playful, very noisy. Thank you very much and please excuse my bad grammar (and the lenght of this). I am not from english speaking country and it is hard for me to explain such stuff through other language.
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Old 11-13-2017, 07:32 AM
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Re: Choosing the right parrot

Blue and gold vs umbrella cockatoo? Blue and gold hands down. Cockatoos are just so sensitive, and Iíve heard (and agree frankly) that umbrellas and Moluccan never should have beeen brought into the pet trade.

Coulda shoulda woulda.

Also, personal bias (NOT routed in fact exactly) - I donít trust cockatoos for the reason you cite. I view them as unpredictable, and can turn on you. They are just so sensitive

Blue and gold vs U2 for someone who has never owned anything more complicated Han a cockatiel? Blue and gold all the way. They are much more docile and easier to handle. They can absolutely be mushy love bugs. Especially for their person. The challenge with macaws is that they can easily become one person birds - they will choose a favorite and can be aggressive to everyone else. This can generally be overcome with socialization (get the bird out and about meeting new people and things).

Your perception of blue and golds is very inaccurate. Remember a video is only one snapshot. Macaws in general are very active animals, though individuals will vary. Maybe not as energizer bunny as U2, but still active.

U2s are also non stop with their activity. You may get over it quickly. It look fun but imagine that 24/7 when youíre trying to accomplish things. So you put him away in his cage, and he starts screaming for hours. THAT is reality.

You wanna see perch potato? Check out male eclectus!

Last edited by chris-md; 11-13-2017 at 07:36 AM.
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Old 11-13-2017, 08:10 AM
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Re: Choosing the right parrot

what I will say in regards to the differences between the two is very simple this.

There's a reason Cockatoos are filling up rescues more than every other species combined
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Old 11-13-2017, 09:32 AM
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Re: Choosing the right parrot

Have you thought about how much these guys cost? Take a look at this thread recently started, the cost of owning parrots.

You mentioned you do not work and have a child. Not sure if you have a spouse that works that you didn't mention but you will spend thousands of dollars in the first year alone on a blue and gold or cockatoo. If a hand-fed baby, along with cage, toys, food, you'll likely spend around $5000 on start-up costs and then around $300 a month after that just on toys and food (for the next 40+ years), not to mention vet care which can be several hundred dollars a visit. Just something to think about, as I know the idea of getting a large species can sometimes overweigh the logistics of owning such a magnificent creature.

Both species you've mentioned have the capacity to be loving, affectionate, family pets. However, they are widely different.

Macaws like the blue and gold are very active, mischievous, constantly need to be chewing something (again, that toy fund each month will be around $300 if you get a chewer!) and will test your boundaries. Not to mention they have ear-piercing 747 jet screams heard for miles.

Cockatoos are pretty neurotic -- meaning they are pretty dang sensitive when it comes to being ignored or not being picked up right or talked to in a certain way and can be extremely moody. They do generally like cuddling more than macaws, but they have temper-tantrums, can scream just as loud as a macaw and often develop behavior problems when their owners don't give them their full attention and can lash out.

Big birds like that.... you have to work with them. Some days they will be moody and don't want to be handled, others they will gladly step up and cuddle under your chin.
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Old 11-13-2017, 11:05 AM
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Re: Choosing the right parrot

Given the stark choice you suggest, a B&G would be the safer bet over the long term. Macaws are large and appear intimidating, but proper socialization is crucial. They are wonderful companions and generally more predictable. You can do all of the right things with some cockatoos and wind up with an unhappy relationship. And yes, I am a cockatoo guy!

The better comparison may be with a variety of small/medium cockatoos. Goffins, Citrons, and the pink/grey Galahs are incredibly captivating and have higher levels of success for a happy bond.

None of this is meant to dis the large white cockatoos! Many members have Umbrellas and Moluccans and live in harmony. I frankly believe living with a cockatoo requires the right combination of person (or people) and the specific bird. Strongly believe cockatoos do well in pairs or small flocks, though that is not practical for all homes. Many have a dual nature that allows very deep bonding with people yet enjoying their own species.
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Old 11-13-2017, 03:16 PM
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Re: Choosing the right parrot

Thanks to all of you guys!

I have decided that a macaw will be best as a pet for me after reading your answers. I was inclined to him even when I wrote the question. But I just needed the "kick" to finally choose him. It is hard to decide, because I adore cockatoos in every single way - their appearance, personality and that childish behavior. With macaws it never was like that and I just couldn't make myself want b&g instead of U2. But I do not want such a intelligent and delicate creature to suffer just because I was selfish. If I will remember I will post here a picture of him once I get him
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Old 11-13-2017, 03:27 PM
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Re: Choosing the right parrot

Cool, that is why we are here!

I would highly recommend reading the Macaw Forum, so many active and archived threads of great value.
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Old 11-14-2017, 04:15 AM
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Re: Choosing the right parrot

Sounds good! As Scott said read the Macaw sub-forum and read it until it hurts!

I would also suggest to start teaching your son immediately on how to act around a bird so he can avoid any nasty incidents. The last thing you want is for either to get hurt and become scared of the other as that just isn't sustainable
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Old 11-14-2017, 01:16 PM
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Re: Choosing the right parrot

Since the bird's personality seems so important to you, consider adopting an adult instead of buying a young bird. Young birds can change personality drastically when the reach puberty - some become almost vicious, biting and attacking and screaming. With an older bird, the personality is more fixed. You will know if they are calm, intelligent, playful, talkative, whatever - all things which are unpredictable in a young bird. Plus, these big macaws wind up in rescues all the time or in need of new homes, because the first owner didn't know what they were committing to, or maybe the first owner became ill ... etc. ...
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