Pacific Parrotlets

Pacific parrotlet (Forpus coelistis), small green and blue parrot sitting on a branch, side view
Cyril Laubscher/Dorling Kindersley/Getty Images

Common Name:

Parrotlet, Pocket Parrot, Pacific Parrotlet, Celestial Parrotlet, Lesson's Parrotlet.

Scientific Name:

Forpus coelestis.

Origin:

Peru and Ecuador.

Size:

Small. At between 4 1/2 and 5 1/2 inches, they are a great size for those who live in apartments, dorms, or condominiums.

Average Lifespan:

It is believed that Parrotlets can live for up to 30 years.

Temperament:

Known as feisty, somewhat impish birds, Parrotlets can become unruly without proper handling.

They often do best as pets when kept by themselves, as they are prone to becoming aggressive toward other birds. Nonetheless, tame hand-fed Parrotlets who are well cared for make very sweet and affectionate companions.

Colors:

Pacific Parrotlets are a dimorphic species, with the normal coloration being mostly green. Males can be distinguished from females by the splashes of bright blue on their backs and behind their eyes. Parrotlets also come in many color mutations, such as lutino, blue, and albino.

Feeding:

Pacific Parrotlets have extremely high metabolisms and must have food available at all times. They are known for their voracious appetites and thrive on varied diets consisting of fresh bird-safe fruits and vegetables, small seeds such as millet, high-quality commercial pellets, and nutritious protein sources like eggs.

Exercise:

Quite active, Parrotlets need plenty of room to play, and plenty of toys to play with.

They are inquisitive little birds and will get into your things if you don't provide them with toys of their own! If you want to own a Parrotlet, you should be sure that you can set aside a bird-safe area for your pet to play in for at least 1 - 2 hours a day. They need to be able to come out of their cages, stretch their wings, and exercise their leg muscles to maintain their physical and mental health.

Parrotlets as Pets:

Colorful, charming, and intelligent, Parrotlets have become increasingly popular pets in recent years. Their small size and quiet nature make them an ideal choice for people who live in apartments or condos.

Nicknamed "Pocket Parrots" in the pet trade, these tiny birds are in fact the smallest members of the parrot family, and are just as intelligent as many larger species. Some learn to talk quite well, although the species is not especially noted for talking ability.

An interesting fact about Parrotlets is that their closest relative is the Amazon Parrot. Although the two species differ greatly in size, owners often report striking similarities between them.

While the Parrotlets may be small, they are by no means "low-maintenance." While it's true that they are naturally easier to clean up after as compared to larger birds, they to be socialized with and handled daily to keep them tame.

Photos (c) 2008 Alyson Burgess