Are you thinking of owning a parrot? Please think before you buy.
Is our love affair with pet parrots, causing a decline in Worldwide Parrot numbers? Parrots have become a favourite pet in Britain's households, these cheeky, charming characters mimicking swear words and singing songs have grown in popularity over recent years.
The parrot's appeal is evident with the full range of colours and sizes. Parrots seem to be still growing in popularity as pet choice which is causing major welfare issues from bad, ill-informed care in captivity to causing the decline of the species worldwide, from the global demand from breeders/pet pedlers of mass exports of wild-caught parrots.
All but four of the roughly 350 species qualify for protection under the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species or CITES.
Some species are faring worse than others, like the African Grey, the best talker and its modest size has more of an appeal and is fuelling the trade in the decimation of wild grey parrot populations in Africa. The legal and illegal trade in wild-caught greys and habitat loss being the primary factors for the crash in the grey parrot species in Africa.
As a result, in 2016 the African Grey was listed on CITES Appendix I, a designation covering species threatened with extinction. To continue selling birds abroad, breeders must now prove to CITES inspectors that their African greys captive born and not caught in the wild. Most captive-born chicks have a permanent ID ring placed on their legs. This listing also covers all Grey parrots currently in the British isles, and there is now a requirement for a CITES article 10 paperwork to be with the bird for its life, and it is now illegal to use one commercially without one this includes its sale.
The trade in parrots has also had an environmental impact issue a little closer to home. The ring-neck parakeet has naturalised in the southern regions of England from unintentionally released birds from the pet trade, that are now breeding and growing in numbers and doing well in our climate.
The environmental impact effect of this newcomer is yet to be known, and there could potentially be an ecologically damaging effect on our environment.
So you want to buy/adopt a parrot and bring it into your home? Have you thought and researched if a parrot is a right pet for you?
Here are a few things to consider before you go ahead and search for the perfect parrot,
Q1- Is a parrot a good pet for my lifestyle?
A- Parrots are very intelligent, curious and form strong bonds all these traits mean you have one needy bird, it demands your attention constantly.
If you ignore a parrot, i.e. leave a parrot shut up in a cage, and you will store up and experience negative types of behaviour like aggression, self-mutilating/plucking its feathers out or severe destructive behaviour.
So if you spend a lot of time outside the home and have an active outdoor type of lifestyle or its important to you to have a pristinely furnished home.
A parrot isn't for you.
Are you the type of person to get easily bored?
A- Due to the high care needs of a parrot together with the emotional needs parrot ownership puts upon you to show them attention and respect for them to be happy inside and out.
It is a big lifestyle change and commitment, some parrot species are very long lived and can live many decades and will require this care for their whole life.
Q3- Are you house proud?
A- Parrot beaks are perfectly designed to crack seeds and nuts as this makes up some of a parrots diet, the more substantial the bird, the stronger its beak will be and capable of more significant damage if it should decide to chew your furniture.
Parrots are constantly testing objects out with their beak, and you will have to change the way you live to make your parrots available living space parrot friendly.
Think carefully also that whatever you feed your parrot has to come out and they seem to defecate regularly?
Important to remember that a whole life in a cage is no life at all.
Many people say owning a parrot is similar to having a human toddler, but this one has wings and can reach anything it desires, so think to yourself? Could I live like this for upwards of 20 years?
Q4- Do you enjoy a quiet environment?
A- Most parrot species are adapted to live in tropical rainforests or forested habitat and require a loud vocalisation call, that is great in their natural habitat but in your front room when you are trying to watch your favourite programme, and your parrot is loudly vocalising frequently for the next 20 years or more.
Is this something you could get used to and put up with to keep your bird happy?
In conclusion, if all that sounds like something you could deal with a parrot could make an enjoyable and entertaining pet, but please have some thought about parrot ownership and plenty of research to match the type of parrot to your lifestyle and where has your bird come from?
Can you commit to being able to provide all your new parrot's needs for him/her to stay happy and healthy for many years?
Another consideration is vet care. Usually, birds require a specialist exotic vet, and these can be a distance from you and typically command a premium in vet care costs. Can you afford large vet bills?
Still happy to get a parrot, please consider a rescue bird, please visit our rehoming section for further details.