Parrots are small- to medium-sized birds native to the rain-forested areas of the Southern Hemisphere. Parrots' natural enemies include snakes, such as pythons and boa constrictors, eagles, hawks, owls and monkeys, who primarily prey on the parrots' eggs and chicks. Due to their size, intimidating brightly-colored plumage, large, sharp beak and claws, adult parrots are not easy prey, falling only to the largest of predatory birds and humans.
Humans, the ultimate predator, typically attempt to capture rather than kill parrots. Though the birds are legally protected worldwide, and many are endangered species and cannot be legally imported into many countries, parrots are illegally captured and smuggled around the globe. Smuggling is extremely lucrative, third only to illegal weapons and drug trafficking. Up to 60 percent of illegally smuggled birds die in the smuggling process. The desire to own parrots as pets has driven many popular species, such as the macaw, to the edge of extinction.
The majority of parrot species come from South America. Parrots eat nuts, seeds and fruits, small animals and insects. Highly prized as pets for their intelligence and mimicry skills, parrots are a long-lived species, with many parrots in captivity living up to 100 years. According to A-Z Animals, one African gray parrot is known to have a vocabulary of 800 words.