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common name for members of the order Psittaciformes, comprising nearly 400 species of colorful birds, pantropical in distribution, including the parakeetsparakeet
or parrakeet,
common name for a widespread group of small parrots, native to the Indo-Malayan region and popular as cage birds. Parakeets have long, pointed tails, unlike the chunky lovebirds with which they are sometimes confused.
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. Parrots have large heads and short necks, strong feet with two toes in front and two in back (facilitating climbing and grasping), and strong, thick bills, with the larger hooked upper mandible hinged to the bones of the head. They are arboreal, typically feeding (depending on the species) on seeds, fruits, nectar, pollen, and arthropods, but a few species, such as the kea (Nestor notabilis) of New Zealand, will prey on birds and animals. Parrots are notable for their intelligence, with a number of species known to have toolmaking, puzzle-solving, or number skills. They feed their young by regurgitation, and they have swellings (ceres) at the base of the nostrils.

Usually their voices are harsh, but the thick, fleshy tongue and special voice apparatus permit a wide range of articulations, and some species can be taught to imitate the human voice. The best mimics are the African gray parrots, Psittacus erithacus, and the Amazons, genus Amazona. In size parrots range from the 3 1-2-in. (8.7-cm) pygmy parrot of the South Pacific to the 40-in. (100-cm) Amazon of South America, while in build they vary from the stocky lovebirds, e.g., the yellow-collared, or masked, lovebird (Agapornis personata), to the slender lories, e.g., the purple-naped lory (Lorius domicella) and the cockatoo. The flightless kakapo (Strigops habroptilus) of New Zealand is the heaviest, weighing up to 9 lb (4 kg), and one of the longest lived, with a lifespan of up to 120 years. The plumage is typically brilliant, the bodies solid green, yellow, red, white, or black with contrasting red, yellow, or blue on the head, wings, and tail.

The cockatoos, crested parrots native to the Australian region, may be pink, white with yellow or scarlet crests, or dark-plumaged, like the great black, or palm, cockatoo, Probosciger aterrimus. They eat insects and are also able to crack extremely hard nuts. The smaller cockatiels are gray with yellow heads. The large, long-tailed macaws are found in the rain forests of Central and South America. The species are named for their gaudy colors, e.g., the scarlet (Ara macao), blue-and-yellow (A. ararauna), and red-and-green, or green-winged, macaws (A. chloropterus). In captivity adult macaws may be vicious. In the wild they travel in pairs. The small Old World parrots known as lovebirds are so named for the apparent fondness of the mates for one another. The Australasian lories and the smaller lorikeets feed on fruits and nectar.

Parrots are popular as cage birds, but they require intellectual stimulation, and many species can become aggressive as they mature if improperly raised. Care also should be exercised by selecting birds with known histories, since even apparently healthy birds may be carriers of infectious psittacosispsittacosis
or parrot fever,
infectious disease caused by the species of Chlamydia psittaci and transmitted to people by birds, particularly parrots, parakeets, and lovebirds.
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, or parrot fever. Captive parrots that have been released or escaped have become established and even invasive in some areas, such as the monk parakeet in New York City, peach-faced lovebirds in Arizona, and a number of species in S California.

Parrots are classified in the phylum ChordataChordata
, phylum of animals having a notochord, or dorsal stiffening rod, as the chief internal skeletal support at some stage of their development. Most chordates are vertebrates (animals with backbones), but the phylum also includes some small marine invertebrate animals.
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, subphylum Vertebrata, class Aves, order Psittaciformes, superfamilies Psittacoidea, Cacatuoidea, and Strigopoidea.


See study by J. M. Corshaw (1973).

What does it mean when you dream about a parrot?

As beautiful tropical birds, parrots may represent the paradise from which they originate. As trained mimics mechanically repeating words, they may symbolize someone who mechanically repeats the words or actions of someone else (“parrots”) without fully understanding them.


(vertebrate zoology)
Any member of the avian family Psittacidae, distinguished by the short, stout, strongly hooked beak.


bird able to mimic human speech; hence, parrot ‘to repeat or imitate.’ [Western Culture: Misc.]
See: Mimicry


chattering bird; mimics human speech. [Animal Symbol-ism: Mercatante, 157]


any bird of the tropical and subtropical order Psittaciformes, having a short hooked bill, compact body, bright plumage, and an ability to mimic sounds
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