What are parrotlets?


Quick Answer

Parrotlets are small parrots that are native to the Americas. There are several different species of parrotlets, though the two most common in the pet trade are the Pacific parrotlet and the green-rumped parrotlet.

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Full Answer

Parrotlets are small, colorful birds, rarely more than 5 inches long. Although diminutive, their care needs and behavior are similar to much larger parrots. In captivity, they require large cages and plenty of toys because they are very active and intelligent birds. Due to their curiosity and small size, they are prone to accidental injury if left out of their cage unsupervised.

The Pacific parrotlet and the green-rumped parrotlet are the most common species of parrotlet sold as pets, but the group actually contains 16 species and three different genera. Both the Pacific and green-rumped parrotlets are members of the genus Forpus.

Pacific parrotlets are native to Ecuador and Peru, though some sources incorrectly describe them as Mexican in origin. They are common throughout their native range, and they are the most commonly sold parrotlet in the international pet trade. They resemble Amazons, and have green and blue feathers. They are not very noisy birds and are capable of repeating words or phrases, though their ability to mimic is not as good as other parrot species.

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