The Pirate's Parrot from Treasure Island
What Kind of Parrot was He?
by Sally Blanchard
The Cap't Flint from the original 1934 movie was an Amazon - A Double Yellow-head. Although in some photos or drawings, it looks like it could have been a Yellow-nape, Red-lored, or Festive Amazon. However, over the years Cap't Flint and/or parrots on pirate shoulders have been depicted as Macaws of various species, African Greys, Eclectus, cockatoos, conures (including a Hyacinth sized Carolina Parakeet), a budgie, and even many totally unidentifiable parrots. I have seen so many different species of parrots sitting on a pirate's shoulder in drawings, paintings, photographs, ceramics, sculptures, and movies. I supposed if you want to envision yourself as a pirate with a parrot on your shoulder, it can be any kind you want it to be. Just say "Arghhh" if someone asks you what kind it is.
An Excerpt from Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson
“HERE’S Cap’n Flint—I call my parrot Cap’n Flint after the famous buccaneer—here’s Cap’n Flint predicting success to our voyage. Weren’t you, Cap’n?”
And the parrot would say, with great rapidity “Pieces of eight! Pieces of eight! Pieces of eight!” till you wondered it was not out of breath, or till John threw his handkerchief over the cage.
“Now that bird,” he would say, “is, maybe, two hundred years old, Hawkins—they lives forever, mostly; and if anybody’s seen more wickedness it must be the devil himself. She’s sailed with England, the great Captain England, the pirate. She’s been at Madagascar, and at Malabar, and Surinam, and Providence and Portobello. She was at the fishing up of the wrecked Plate ships. It’s there she learnt ‘Pieces of eight,’ and little wonder; three hundred and fifty thousand of ‘em, Hawkins! She was at the boarding of the Viceroy of the Indies out of Goa, she was, and to 100k at her you would I think she was a baby. But you smelt powder, didn’t you, Cap’n?”
“Stand by to go about,” the parrot would scream.
“Ah, she’s a handsome craft, she is,” the cook would say, and give her sugar from his pocket, and then the bird would peck at the bars and swear straight on, passing belief for wickedness.
“There,” John would add. “You can’t touch pitch and not be mucked, lad. Here’s this poor old innocent bird o’ mine swearing blue fire, and none the wiser, you may lay to that. She would swear the same, in a manner of speaking, before Chaplain.”