“A” GLOSSARY AND DICTIONARY: Parrot, avicultural and ornithological terms
Look up something in particular or read the whole Section of interesting information.

A.A.V. (Association of Avian Veterinarians)
    A professional avian veterinarian group which involves the ongoing professional learning that is essential in the complex world of avian medicine. http://www.aav.org


Black and white thinking, massive generalizations that usually contain the word ALL, sweeping generalizations or statements about parrots that usually contain the words ALL, NEVER or ALWAYS. For example, "NEVER allow your parrot on your shoulder." is a classic generalization that may be true for some parrots but is certainly not true for others. Thinking of this kind is rarely accurate and can create serious problems in people's thinking about their parrots. Two examples that could lead to unrealistic expectations is that ALL African greys are excellent talkers and African greys are NEVER cuddly birds.  
    I believe that there are only few absolutes that are always true. They are.
1. Parrots are more comfortable with people who are comfortable with them.
2. Our interactions with our parrots should always be trust-building and not trust destroying.
3. A parrot's personality and behavior is a unique combination of nature and nurture.
4. Baby parrots are learning sponges and need to be taught their social and survival skills.
5. We have to take responsibility for the relationships we have with our parrots.
6. Input equals output. The people who have the best companion parrots are the ones who invest time and energy into creating a positive relationship.

    The concept of Abundance weaning means that baby parrots are weaned to a variety of healthy foods just as they are by their parents in the wild. In the wild, babies are first fed a sort of pabulum regurgitated from their parents' crops. As they mature, the natural foods become less and less processed by the wild parents and eventually the babies are offered food that is fed just as it comes from the plant. This way the young parrot learns the mechanics of eating. Abundance weaning is a logical theory of handfeeding that matches the feeding of wild baby parrots. This theory states that baby parrots are far more secure and likely to eat on their own when they are fed a variety of nutritious foods often and abundantly. This is not only appropriate from a physical standpoint but also encourages security and emotional health. It is logical that baby parrots should be weaned to a variety of healthy foods as they are by their parents in the wild. Being fed an abundance of healthy foods means that young parrots will not become food rigid as they mature and they will eat a variety of healthy foods. It is not the same thing as overfeeding a baby. The concept of abundance weaning doesn't mean continuing to use a syringe to feed formula. It involves feeding small pieces of healthy fresh foods as transition for the baby to eat them on his own. 
    Many years ago I developed this theory with a breeder who later reneged on the concept stating at a conference that she was "tired of raising fat babies." However, the person actually no longer bred parrots when she made this statement and when she was a breeder, it was absolutely clear to anyone who saw her babies or bought a parrot from her or was aware of her breeding practices that she had NOT bred fat babies. Why did she change this groundbreaking idea that she practiced extensively when she bred and raised baby parrots? It seems totally illogical to me for her to have changed her mind on this concept, which is the natural way baby parrots are fed by their parents in the wild.

    The concept that adult parrots should be fed a varied abundance of nutritious and healthy natural foods rather than a narrow restricted diet of seed only or pellets only which, I believe, will eventually cause our parrots serious healthy problems. I am a dedicated proponent of feeding a diet that consists of a high percentage of fresh vegetables, fruits, quinoa, whole grains and other healthy foods. I don't like the vast majority of pelleted diets because they are highly processed diets that essentially made from a chemical soup with many of them potentially harmful. These include soy, Menadione, food coloring, peanuts, BHA, GMO corn and so many other ingredients that are not healthy for your parrots. The only pelleted diet that I recommend is TOPS Parrot Food because it is a cold-rolled pellet which means it is not heated at such a high temperature that it loses sensitive nutrition that the extruded (crunchy) pellets do, It also depends on sustainably-farmed natural food powders. The food has NO soy, chemicals, fillers, coloring, corn, peanuts, or any of the other crap that is in the other pellets.

    Acai berries come from the acai palms that live in Central and South America,. The hype that they are a super fruit has put these berries in great demand, Acai berry drinks are available with varying degrees of the actual acai berry juice. Studies have shown them to have considerable polyphenols content and antioxidant potency. Read the label to know just how much actual acai berry juice that $6 drink has.

    Parrots are so curious that they are bound to get into trouble unless we supervise them when they are out of their cages. My caique, Spikey LeBec, has always been an adventurer and a bit of a Houdini cage escape artist. He used to have a cage that had a door on the side for a nest box. I kept it locked by using a quick link that I had tightened with a pair of pliers. Without me knowing it, over a period of months he had loosened it. I was in the other room and I heard a commotion. He had escaped his cage, climbed over to the drapes, repelled down the drapes to the nearby kitchen counter, climbed up to the top of the microwave, and onto a can of chocolate powder, which I had unfortunately closed properly. When I got into the kitchen, I found a chocolate covered caique on the counter. It was obvious that the chocolate powder was on him and not in him. I called my vet and and he told me to do what I planned to do anyway and that was to brush as much of the powder off of him as I could, rub more off of him, and then give him a series of baths until the powder was all gone. 

Also called West Indian Cherry, acerola berries are noted for their anti-inflammatory properties. They are also high in vitamin C and are a decent source for vitamin A, magnesium, and potassium. Acerola berries are generally a sour fruit but if they are well-grown, they can be sweeter. 

Highly nutritious vitamin A rich vegetable (see Winter Squash) I like to bake it for awhile and then stuff it with a brown rice veggie mix and then bake it until it is soft. My  parrots totally enjoy digging into the squash for the other yummies!

Adding another parrot to your life should not be done without great consideration as to how it will change your life and the lives of the parrots already in your care. More parrots are MORE WORK. If you have the time, love, and space for a new parrot in your life, consider adopting a parrot in need of a new home. Without realizing it, some people go from being parrot caregivers to being parrot collectors or even hoarders when they get more parrots than they can care for properly.

ADVERTISING (Parrots in)
Over the years, parrots have been used to advertise hundreds of products that have no associations with them (in some cases totally inappropriate), These include cigarettes, liquor, soft drinks, candy, breakfast cereal, cat food, cars, shoes, clothing, stockings, jewelry, appliances, electronics, cameras, carpets, and paint.

This term describes the strut and puff that so many birds, including parrots, do when they are trying to attract a mate. The reason that many male parrots tend to be more colorful than the hens is that they are the ones that usually put on the displays to show off the intense color accents of their feathers.While male parrots can be very showy in advertising to potential mates, some birds such as the Birds of paradise have evolved fancy plumes and iridescent colors, and their displays can be incredibly elaborate. The bird to the left is a Golden-winged Bird of Paradise by John Gould. 

AFRICAN GREY PARROT (Psittacus erithacus erithacus
The Congo African grey is the nominate species of African grey.. African greys come from the rainforests of west and central Africa. These parrots are probably the most popular and beloved human companion parrot and have been kept in captivity for hundreds of years, mostly because of their talking ability. Because of continual trapping for the pet trade, wild populations are declining and although African greys are not yet considered endangered, they are now considered to be threatened and have been extirpated from much of their natural range. It is sad that these parrots are still illegally poached for the pet trade, when domestically-raised birds (which generally make better companions if they are well-socialized) are available throughout the world.

Is it normal for African grey parrots to dig in the ground? Yes! In the wild they spend a great deal of time on the ground digging for calcium rich grasses. This behavior seems to be instinctive for baby greys who can spend a lot of time digging on the floor of their cages.

Evidently wild African grey parrots have some dependence on elephants for one of their major food sources. Why? Because of their weight, elephants stomp out depressions in the ground that form shallow pools of water where calcium rich grasses grow. These grasses are a major food source for the greys. One video shows a large flock of wild African greys flying into a group of trees. About half of them fly down to the ground where there are shallow pools of water with these grasses growing in them. The other half stay in the trees, probably acting as sentinels. After the greys on the ground have fed, it appears that the two groups change places

(see Older Parrots or Elderly Parrots) Sally now has a .pdf publication available on living with elderly parrots.

This is a term for behavior such as attacking, fleeing, threatening and submission. It is believed that these behaviors have similar causes.This drawing was when Pascal and Spikey first with close supervision. Pascal was actually being friendly but Spike was put off by her approach at first. Eventually he leaned forward and the tables changed a bit. Neither bird became great friends with the other, but they will tolerate each other on the same perch or plagym.

Attacking or defensive behavior can be based on the protection of perceived territory or mates. It may also be returned aggression in response to aggressive handling. Aggression is not necessarily natural in companion parrots but may become patterned behavior if birds are treated with aggression, threatened on a regular basis, or have no guidance to stay gentle. If people insist on being "the boss" with their parrots and do so with aggression, their parrots will most likely show aggression whether it is predictable or unpredictable. With tame companion parrots, a lot of what we perceive as aggression comes from fear or confusion in a situation. When the person doesn't read the more subtle body language where the bird is communicating his or her fear, the parrot has no alternative but to bite to get the person to leave them alone.

(see CAGE: Getting an aggressive parrot out of its cage) 

The flow of air in a room where parrots live is essential for their health. Comfortable air flow is vastly different than a draft. While parrots that are not used to ceiling fans may be afraid of them, gradual introduction can help get them past that fear. I have always used a ceiling fan all year round in the room my birds live. The blades can be set to send the hot air down in the winter and bring it up in the summer  (see drafts)

(see Traveling with Parrots by Airplane) 

 Air sacs are balloon-like parts of the respiratory system. They are tissue-thin, bubble-like sacs that go from the parrot's trachea to different areas of the bird's body; the abdomen. the cervical area, and even the humerus bones of the wings. They are used for air exchange (breathing), ventilation, body heat control and in flight. 

A mutation where the normally colored feathers of a bird are white and lacking in their normal color. True albinos lack any color and have red eyes. Some cockatiel mutations, especially albino and lutino, can have serious problems with their health and feather growth. Often the keratin sheath that protects emerging and growing blood feathers doesn't develop correctly and the sheath breaks with little pressure. This is probably a result of the bird's inability to process proteins properly.

Alcohol is very toxic to parrots. One time many years ago at a bird fair, I saw a woman letting her cockatoo guzzle wine out of her wine glass. I couldn't help myself and asked her if it was wine or apple juice. Her defensive and somewhat snotty reply was, "It's wine and she drinks it all of the time. Why is it your business?!"  I replied, "Maybe because if you let your cockatoo drink it all of the time, it will kill her." Then I shrugged my shoulders and walked back to my booth.  When I got back, the woman who was helping me said that a woman had stopped by with a new parrot product that she wanted to show me but she said she would come back a bit later. An hour or so later, I saw the woman who was giving wine to her cockatoo walk towards my booth. Then she saw me and she did a double take and turned around and walked away.  

I have also seen situations where people who drink too much have really messed up their parrots with their inconsistent and unpredictable behavior. Companion parrots thrive with dependable caregivers. Most people can be capricious from time to time but those people who have problems with substance abuse generally exhibit severe push-pull personality traits that provide their parrots with confusing mixed messages. It is almost impossible for a parrot to be comfortable with people if they have the Dr. Jekyl/Mr.Hyde personality that many heavy drinkers exhibit. Consequently, people who drink a lot should expect irregular behavior from their parrots in response to their irregular behavior.  

Alex is the primary African grey parrot in Dr. Irene Pepperberg's over 30 years of study of African grey intelligence. Dr. Pepperberg's work with Alex has clearly shown the world that the term Bird Brain is a compliment and not the insult that people
 thought it once was. Unfortunately Alex died in 2007. However work is being carried on in the Pepperberg lab with Griffin and Arthur (aka Wart)  I have also seen situations where people who drink too much have really messed up their parrots with their inconsistent and unpredictable behavior. Companion parrots thrive with dependable caregivers. Most people can be capricious from time to time but those people who have problems with substance abuse generally exhibit severe push-pull personality traits that provide their parrots with confusing mixed messages. It is almost impossible for a parrot to be comfortable with people if they have the Dr. Jekyl/Mr.Hyde personality that many heavy drinkers exhibit. Consequently, people who drink a lot should expect irregular behavior from their parrots in response to their irregular behavior. 

ALEXANDRINE PARAKEET (Psittacula eupartia)
For years Alexandrines were commonly considered to be aviary birds and not companion parrot material. This is nonsense and in my opinion they are still an underrated companion parrot. The ones that I have met who were cared for properly are gorgeous birds with delightful personalities. They are often very good talkers. These long-tailed parrots are still common in the wild and are native to south Asia and south-east Asia. The have been kept in captivity for hundreds of years and were named after Alexander the Great.

Some animals and bird species rely on a certain number of individuals in order for breeding behaviors to be stimulated and therefore, for successful breeding. When populations dwindle below a certain level, it can decrease breeding successes to the point where it can actually lead to the extinction of the species. The Allee Effect was a significant factor in the extinction of the Passenger Pigeon. At one time flocks of Passenger Pigeons darkened the skies. As their populations decreased and their flock traditions changed, the Passenger Pigeon was not able to reproduce fast enough to survive the onslaught of market gunning that killed hundreds of birds at a time. When I first learned of the plight of the passenger pigeon, it genuinely saddened me that I would never see them flying in the sky. Our ancestors hunted these birds out of existence. We need to have the prescience to save as much of the natural wonders of our world for our descendants.

Also referred to as hypersensitivity pneumonitis, parakeet dander pneumoconiosis, pigeon lung disease, a most likely now would fit into the category of COPD. This can be a serious problem for some people and for some parrots. This is especially true when people keep large numbers of powder producing birds in less than ideal situations. It doesn't usually become a problem for non-smoker who have just a few companion parrots that are well-cared for and kept clean.


Parrots can develop allergies to a lot of the same allergens that can cause us problems. Respiratory allergies include those to chemicals and other pollutants in the air, seasonal allergies to various pollinating grasses, flowers, and trees, and molds and fungi.  It is known that some macaws, particularly blue and golds can have serious reactions to living with cockatoos. If a macaw has respiratory problems and lives in the same room as a cockatoo, he or she should be moved to another area of the house. If that is not possible, a quality air cleaner will help to some degree. Parrots also develop food allergies and the major allergens seem to be corn, wheat, peanuts, and soy. However parrots may have food allergies to a host of other foods that haven't been defined yet. Testing for food allergies can be a problem and involves systematically removing and then adding foods to determine if a particular food causes a reaction.  The major symptom for allergies are usually chronic rhinitis with swelling around the nares and eyes and drainage from the nares. The bird may also exhibit fatigue and in some situations allergies may result in feather destructive behaviors. Food allergies can also cause digestive upset. 

Mutual preening "you scratch my back and I'll scratch yours." One of the ways a mated pair of parrots increases their pair bond. With companion parrots, if one of the birds usually preens another but the "preened one" doesn't reciprocate; the "preener" is usually submissive to the "preenee."

A healthy nut to feed parrots. Almonds are a source of calcium. Almond Butter can also me a wonderful additive or treat for parrots. Make sure that there is no mold on the shell and that the nut meat is fresh. You can also feed unsalted raw almonds out of the shell. There are also soft shelled nuts available that parrots also enjoy. 

 When American aviculture got started, there were a lot of misconceptions about raising them because people didn't have a sound understanding of ornithology. They made it up as they went along and the following is just one example. An altricial bird species is one where the chicks are hatched blind, naked, helpless, and are totally dependent on parental care. Parrots are an altricial family of birds. The way that altricial birds are raised is very different than the way that precocial birds are raised. Ducks and quail are examples of precocial birds. They stay in the egg longer and are far more developed when they hatch. In fact some precocial birds are almost ready to be on their own when they hatch. Some need very little parental teaching because much of their behavior is instinctive. The Megapodes (one is called the Brush Turkey) of the Australasian regionprepare a large mound of grasses, etc. and lay their eggs in the middle inside the mound. At that point, they are through being parents. The heat of the fermenting grasses incubate the eggs and the babies hatch pretty much knowing what they need to know to survive. 

Parrots are altricial, which means that they are hatched blind, naked and helpless. Without long-term parental care, they won't survive. For too many years some aviculturists confused the traits of altricial and precocial birds. The major mistaken belief was that parrots imprint in the same manner that precocial birds do. For example, ducks are precocial and a baby hatchling will imprint on pretty much the first moving bird, mammal or human that they see. This led to the mistaken belief among some aviculturists that if a baby parrot even saw other parrots, he or she would never bond to people as a companion. Babies were often raised in "isolettes" without any contact with any other living creature with theexception of when they were fed.  Of course the proof that this is nonsense is that so many wild-caught parrots did become good human companions. Domestically-raised parrots don’t imprint like precocial many birds do; they form gradual social bonds and those bonds can be transferred to loving people if the birds have been well socialized to accept change. This is the major reason parrots can be such good human companions. A lot of breeders also felt that if they gave the baby any physical affection, it would be "spoiled" and not make a good pet. Consequently a lot of seriously under-socialized parrot youngsters were with varying degrees of dysfunction. I think that the birds who suffer the most with poor early socialization are cockatoos and African greys.

 A small projection at the bend of the wing that is used in adjusting air flow over the wing during flight. 

 There are up to 60 species in the cosmopolitan genus of Amaranthus.  Most are valued by indigenous peoples from around the world for their nutritious seeds (grain) and greens. The seed (grain) is a good source of protein, vitamins C, E, Thiamine, Riboflavin, vitamin B6, and Folate.

Nutritious greens that is an excellent source of vitamin A and C with good amounts of calcium, potassium, and manganese. It is difficult to find except in specialty food stores that carry exotic fruits, vegetables and grains.

AMAZON FOOT MUTILATION (Amazon Foot Necrosis) 

During certain times of the year, some Amazons pick at their feet and legs until they become raw and bloody. In some cases the feet and lower legs will develop lesions, which the bird will exacerbate as the picking continues. This problem may have several causes including possible viruses, infections, malnutrition, and lack of cleanliness. Many veterinarians attribute this problem to cigarette smoking. Nicotine stays on a person’s hand and fingers and it can be toxic and cause nicotine dermatitis when a parrot sits on the person’s unwashed hand. In some cases, staphylococci are found in the wounds. Be sure to keep your parrot's feet washed and keep their perches clean. Remember that our parrots are on their feet all day and that they often eat with their feet. Consequently, food particles end up on their perches. Foot necrosis can also occur in other parrot species but is most common in Amazons.

AMAZON PARROTS (Amazona genus) 
Because of their delightful personalities and talking ability, Amazons have been kept as human companions for hundreds of years. Many Amazon species are now in serious decline because of habitat destruction and capture for the pet trade. If you are interested in information about specific Amazon species, please look in the glossary under their common names. Sally also has a publication on Companion Amazons. (For more information, go to Parrot Species Profiles) 

 Attention given to a parrot while they are in their cage or on a playgym and you are either in the room with them or nearby. This attention basically involves initiating and responding to contact calls. It is interaction without physical contact. Many parrots love this type of interaction because they know you are a part of what they are doing but you don't have to be holding them. The most important aspect of ambient attention is conversation back and forth. For example, you could look at them and give them a cue for a behavior you have taught them such as "Gimme four", then when the parrot lifts his foot in response, you can give them a lot of praise for behaving so well. 

An organization started in the mid-1970s primarily to protect the interests and rights of bird breeders and collectors. The impetus was the confiscation and euthanasia of many parrots presumed by government agencies to have come incontact with parrots that MAY have been exposed to birds that had Newcastle's disease. This is a disease that can devastate the poultry industry. Although parrots were blamed for a serious Newcastle's outbreak where hundreds of thousands of chickens and turkeys had to be killed, it was NEVER actually shown that parrots had anything to do with it. However, the government killed many parrots by putting them in garbage bags and attaching the bags to automobile exhausts during the extremely ignorant and bureaucratic government parrot "witch-hunt" that included many states that didn't even have Newcastle's disease in their poultry stock. Unfortunately after starting for a positive reason, the A.F.A. became an organization far more concerned about the "rights" of their members to own parrots and to keep them in any manner they wanted to, regardless of whether it was neglectful and abusive. Their other purpose was to defeat any and all legislation and regulation that had anything to do with birds. Anyone who disagreed with their policies was summarily dismissed as an "animal right's fanatic." It has always been interesting to me that so many aviculturalists and A.F.A. members refer to me as an "animal right's fanatic" at the same time the real animal right's fanatics refer to me as a "shill for the pet industry." However in the last few years, the A.F.A. has become far more involved with the actual care of parrots and is actually striving to set standards for the proper care of parrots in aviaries and in homes. Unfortunately there are still far too many members who still devoutly believe that many of the 'production methods' of raising babies such as gavage feeding, forced weaning, no socialization, etc. are still valid. They too often argue their point by insulting those that disagree with them. I have been insulted by several of these people frequently. 

The concept of rotating toys made me think about the fact that certain parrots have certain toys that they use for other reasons than play. I call these "anchor" toys. A good example of this is my caique, Spike, who consistently pulls several of his toys in front of his sleeping tent and naps or sleeps behind them. Twiggy, my slender-billed conure has two toys that she pulls together at night to lean on while she sleeps. Then there is Whodee - he is lucky enough to have an intact "Birdie Man" toy. This is a toy I designed for a company called Perma-play that is now defunct. A couple of times a day, he grabs the toy and smashes it around as if he is taking all of his frustrations out on it. It doesn't seem to increase his aggression in any way but I am not always sure what this is all about. It does, however, seem to be an important part of his daily routine so this is a always stays in his cage. Since the toy is in a human shape, I have to be careful not to take it personally! Other caregivers have reported that their parrots exhibit similar behavior towards the Birdy Man toy. It seems to me to be a way that parrots can have a quick release of energy.

There are many levels of belief systems in this concept. I agree with some of the ideas a great deal. Generally speaking, however, animal right's people are far more fanatical than people who believe in animal welfare principles. For example, to me, a fanatical animal right's person is one who believes that no animal should be kept as a human companion or should in no way be in service to humans. This includes keeping, breeding, raising for food and the use of animals and animal by-products in anyway. I believe that P.E.T.A. is one of the mainstream Animal Right's Groups that encourages the most fanaticism. Many of the most adamant animal right's organizations revert to shock value to attract people's sympathies. However, from talking with people who live with and deeply care for their animals, the shock value of showing animals receiving horrible care or being tortured usually turns people away from supporting the more fanatical animal right's groups. I believe that people would be more likely to support an animal welfare organization if they were given a positive possible solution instead of having to become inured to photos that are meant to shock and are unbearable to look at. For most of my life just about every one of my animals has been a rescue that came to me from somewhat strange situations and I have loved them and treated them with respect. I know I have my limit and I really don't want to watch the manipulative and often guilt-mongering stories about the mistreatment of animals.

An "animal welfarist" is generally someone who believes in humane and proper care for animals both in captivity and in the wild. However, they are rarely adamant against people keeping various companion animals if they receive quality care. I refer to myself as an "animal welfarist" as do most of the people I know who really take proper care of their parrots. 

Know what you and/or your parrot needs in a certain situation before the situation causes behavioral problems. If needs are anticipated, they can be properly met. For example, most parrots are social eaters and feeding a parrot before you sit down to eat will most likely keep him from screaming to be fed. In one situation, a Pionus screamed to greet the husband of his caregiver when the man came home from work after a long commute. The man liked the parrot but couldn't stand the noise when his nerves were already frayed. I advised the woman to take the bird into a back room about 10 minutes before her husband came home, give him his food, cut back the light in the room and leave him there for about a half an hour or so until the man had his cocktail, relaxed and was happy to have the parrot around. This was not punishment but simply a way of providing a nurturing time-out, which helped the parrot keep his happy home.
    Another example of planning ahead involves putting a parrot back in his cage. Sometimes when a parrot doesn't want to go back in his cage, he may balk or become aggressive about it. Anticipating this as a problem involves changing the routine. If you know that your parrot doesn't want to go back in his cage, don't just take him to the cage to try and put him back in. If he is on his playgym, have him step on your hand and give him a special treat; something he really likes that he doesn't get in his cage food bowl. Then take him to a place near his cage (like the back of a chair) and put him down there and talk to him in a friendly manner for about for a minute or so. Then pick him up and put him in his cage. Changing the routine will usually change the parrot's pattern he has established and make it easier to do things that may have created an aggressive routine for the parrot.  

The attribution of human characteristics to nonhuman beings or things. A label often misapplied by certain factions of the parrot industry to anyone who even suggests that parrots are capable of emotion, intelligence, or any kind of thought process. Far too many of the people accusing other people of anthropomorphism have little knowledge of actual behavioral studies that show that parrots actually have many of the emotional and intellectual traits that they dismiss as anthropomorphism.  

Used to fight bacterial infections in parrots. Cultures are usually required to know what antibiotic will work with the particular bacterial infection that the parrot has. Many antibiotics are very hard on a parrot’s system and pro-biotics should be used to balance the system after antibiotic treatment. Some production breeders use prophylactic antibiotics on their chicks, which can reek havoc on the proper development of their immune systems. (see Bursa of Fabricious and Cloacal Sipping)

In the wild, some birds will pick up ants and place them in their feathers, while others will simply squat down in an active anthill. Why? The formic acid that the ants produce may be a sort of "dry cleaning" that keeps ectoparasites from "colonizing" on their bodies. While other parrots may "ant", the New Zealand Kakariki is the only one that I can find records of them actually doing so. It is believed that some of the strange behaviors that cockatoos exhibit with toy parts, seeds, pellets, and other small items is a form of anting behavior. I have watched many Cockatoos stuff various items into their feathers.

 Some people collect old photos of parrots and people with them. It can be quite interesting to see how parrots were kept several decades ago.

An apple a day probably doesn't keep the doctor away unless it is accompanied with a lot of other healthy foods.  Apples have a good amount of antioxidant phyto-nutrients, dietary fiber, some calcium, vitamin A, vitamin B, and vitamin C. Don't let parrots eat a great number of apple seeds as they do have trace amounts of arsenic.If a parrot eats one of two seeds, it shouldn't be enough to cause a problem.  

Apricots are high in beta-carotene, vitamin A, vitamin C, folates, and fiber. Don't let parrots chew on the pits.

AQUARIUMS (Used for baby parrots)
Aquariums are for fish, not for baby parrots! Baby parrots in the wild live in dark tree cavities until they are old enough to start peeking out of the nest. Until that time, they live in a world with very little light. SO WHY do so many breeders and bird shops keep their babies in well-lit aquariums. It simply doesn't make sense! (see Boxes)

 Most parrots live and nest in trees, which makes them arboreal. This doesn’t mean that they don’t also spend time on the ground. The corellas (small cockatoos), African greys, and macaws are examples of parrots that are comfortable both places. The Red-fronted Macaw and the Patagonian Conure are two parrots who nest in cliffs instead of trees.

More commonly called Black Chokeberry and are very high in antioxidants, especially the black chokeberry. The black chokeberry is often found in juice form. The Aronia berry has flavonoid levels that are five times greater than those found in cranberries. It also has  antioxidants, polyphenols, minerals, and vitamins (B2, B6, E, C, and Folic Acid.

ART (parrots in)
Ever since people started creating art, parrots have been a subject for artists. Once parrots were brought into Europe from their native habitats, they were still quite rare and artists often put parrots in their paintings as a sign of opulence and wealth.

This is a common problem with older and elderly parrots. The best way to minimize these problems as your parrot matures is to provide an excellent diet of fresh foods such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains and quality protein and to make sure that your parrot gets a healthy amount of exercise as he or she matures. Adding softer perches or platforms may help the comfort level of an aging parrot.

     When I lived in the San Francisco Bay Area, I would drive down to Carmel every month or so to visit my grandmother. There were some wonderful vegetable/fruit stands on the way and I would often stop to buy produce for both my parrots and my grandmother. The trip down went right through the "artichoke capitol of the world" so I would buy artichokes when they were in season. While they are normally fairly expensive, I could get tender little ones that were blemished in some way for very little money. I cut the sharp leaf edges on the top and then steamed them for my parrots and they loved them ... as much as a toy than as a food. Artichokes have a high level of potassium, with decent amounts of folate, magnesium, and vitamin C. It is claimed that they also have high levels of antioxidants.

Please don't give these crappy colored foods to your parrots!!
I don’t believe that putting artificial food coloring in parrot diets is healthy for them and, therefore, I don't advise feeding any pellet with food coloring to parrots. Putting food coloring in pellets is a gimmick to attract people to buy food, not to improve the quality of the food for the parrots. It has been proven that artificial food coloring causes problems in children. There is also evidence that artificial food coloring can prevent the absorption of important nutrients. I have and NEVER will feed or recommend any foods with artificial food coloring. Would you feed a child nothing but Fruit Loops? (see food coloring)

An acute, often fatal, disease caused by a fungus or mold. Aspergillus is normally present in the environment but increased amounts and/or if a parrot has a compromised immune system it can create serious illness and even death. An environment that contains a great amount of mold and fungus can overload even the healthiest immune system. Walnut shell, corn cob, and other similar sub-strata that give people the illusion that the cage is clean, can actually develop high levels of mold and fungus in a short time and are therefore, not recommended. This is particularly true if people don't clean the droppings and food waste on a daily basis. 

Aspiration occurs when food enters the airways and lungs instead of the esophagus. This is a common problem with inexperienced handfeeders and can be fatal. However, this is also a problem that can occur with adult birds and can be fatal if the bird can’t breathe. If aspiration is suspected, an immediate trip to a veterinarian is essential. Even then if the veterinarian doesn't catch it, the bird could ide. This is how Twiggy, my beloved Slender-billed conure. Died.  

ASSERT (Assertive)
    To state positively, to affirm, to be clear and decisive. There is a great difference between being assertive and being aggressive with parrots. Being decisive and positive without aggression is essential.  

    A method developed by Shari Beaudoin of Parrot Island in Minnesota to exercise non-flighted parrots. By holding them with both hands in a way that allowed their wings to flap, Shari walks quickly or runs around a room with the parrots flapping their wings. It is an effective way to give parrots much needed exercise. 

 According to many avian veterinarians, this is a common problem with parrots who have been on a primarily seed and fatty junk food diet. With atherosclerosis plaque builds up inside the parrot’s arteries and this prevents these blood vessels from carrying oxygen-rich to the bird’s heart, organs, and other parts of the body. This can lead to strokes, heart attacks, and even death. 

The Three Levels of Attention (see Ambient, Casual, and Focused. For more information, look up each.)

Born in what is now Haiti, Audubon was raised in France but moved to Pennsylvania in 1803 where he eventually studied and painted many of the birds of North America, including the well-known painting of the Carolina Paroquets 

The feathers that cover the region of the ear openings.

A major zoogeographic area of the world that includes the eastern area of Indonesian, Australia, New Guinea, and New Zealand. Many of the animals and birds in this area are quite unique.

AUSTRAL CONURE (Enicognathus ferrugineus
The only other parrot in this genus is the Slender-billed Conure. They are also called the Chilean conure and come from the southern tip of South America. These conures are fairly rare as human companions but have a delightful, playful personality. 

    Authentic Austrian Bronzes were made in the late 1800's to the early 1900s. They were cold-painted, which means that paint was added to the figure after the bronze was cast and cooled. Because of their color, parrots were a popular subject for Austrian bronzes.

(See Traveling with parrots by car) 

The class of birds in the Animal Kingdom 

AVIAN CHLAMYDIA (Psittacosis Chlamydophila psittaci)
Psittacosis is one of the best known bird diseases. If caught early enough, it is treatable. This disease is another reason that you are playing “Russian roulette” with your parrot’s health if you expose it to unknown birds. A zoonotic infectious parrot disease that can be contracted by humans from animals. Also called chlamydophila, Chlamydiosis, ornithosis, or parrot fever. A parrot with psittacosis sheds the bacteria through their droppings and nasal discharges. The bacteria can live up to several months, even if the discharge become dry. Often with an infected parrot, the droppings become pasty with a yellow-green color. Some parrots seem to be healthy but are carriers of psittacosis and can infect other parrots and people. This seems to be particularly true of cockatiels, which should be tested by an avian veterinarian before placing them in a home with other birds. Avian chlamydia is a zoonotic disease, which means that it can be transferred to humans. I have had psittacosis twice and for me the symptoms were those of a bad respiratory flu. If you are around parrots in a rescue situation, work in a bird shop, an aviary, or even attend a lot of bird shows where there are unknown parrots and you come down with a flu that is not getting better after a few days, you need to see your doctor. Be sure and tell your doctor that you are around parrots. The doctor I saw years ago told me I couldn't have psittacosis because I would have to have been exposed to parrots to get it. I worked in a bird shop at the time. Duh? 

A highly contagious disease that commonly affects young parrots but some veterinarians believe it can also be contracted by some adult parrots, particularly caiques. There is now a controversial vaccine that some veterinarians recommend but there are veterinarians who believe it is useless and even dangerous to some parrots.

A family of bacterium that can make parrots very sick. Some of the species of salmonella can be transferred between animal and humans and therefore it is considered a zoonotic infection. It is usually consumed in tainted food. As far as parrots are concerned, it is most likely to be found in under-cooked eggs and under-cooked chicken. I have been very sick at least twice from eating restaurant food with salmonella and I can't imagine a parrot being that sick. To avoid this happening, make sure that any food you feed your parrots is well-washed and very well cooked ... particularly eggs and poultry. Soft foods should not be left in good cups for more than an hour depending on how hot it is. Another important rule with human foods, if you wouldn't eat it, don't feed it to your parrots.  

AVIAN TUBERCULOSIS (Mycobacteriosis)
While many companion parrots can become infected with this disease, it seems to be most common in older Amazons, pionus, and grey-cheek parakeets. When grey-cheeks were imported by the hundreds in the late 1980’s, these birds often succumbed to this infectious disease. Because of this and the fact that they seem difficult to breed, it is difficult to find these parrots as companions now. Avian tuberculosis is transmitted through dried droppings that have powdered and disbursed through the air. When birds ingest or inhale the infectious organisms they can become sick within a matter of weeks to months. This highly contagious disease can be difficult to diagnose because the organisms are not always found in the droppings and it can mimic the symptoms of other avian diseases including Borna Virus.

In the world of aviculture, there are people who are just as fanatical about their rights to keep parrots regardless of their proper care as there are Animal Right's fanatics who believe that parrots (or any animals) should never be kept as human companions. The beliefs of the "Avicultural Right's Fanatics" usually include the paranoid idea that any legislation or regulations involving birds or parrots will result in the government confiscating everyone's birds. One of their favorite propaganda methods is to exaggerate their point of view about a situation involving parrots and then exclaim, "You're NEXT!!" to whip people into an illogical paranoid frenzy. An example of this occurred in Denver a few years ago when breeder Lisa McManus had birds confiscated from her aviary because many of them were kept in filth and, therefore, suffered serious health problems. Her friends and supporters pulled the "You're NEXT!" nonsense. It is very unlikely that anyone who cares for their parrots in anywhere near a proper manner would have them confiscated by any animal care or government agency. I know of a breeder whose employees keep everything clean. Her birds are languishing in her care because she will only sell them for top dollar in a bad economy, they get very little handling and a diet of seed and pellets. Warehousing is the word. She won't be next - No one will ever confiscate her parrots.

A veterinarianan who either specializes in or has extensive knowledge about the medical care of parrots and other birds. Some veterinarians who don't specialize in parrots claim to be competent in diagnosing and treating birds. However, avian medicine is a very complicated field and if that vet doesn't stay current, he or she will not be able to provide proper care for your parrot. If a veterinarian does not see birds as at least 25% of the patients in their practice, I would also be concerned that they might not have the experience needed to understand the complexities of your companion bird/parrot. As with human doctors, veterinarians are not infallible and if you are not getting the answers that you need, there is nothing wrong with seeking a second opinion. Veterinarians only receive superficial information about behavior and nutrition and while some avian veterinarians have done more in-depth studies in these fields others have not. One of the major disagreements that I have with some avian veterinarians is how hard they push parrot caregivers to feed manufactured diets as the major part of a parrot's diet when fresh foods intelligently fed are a nutritious alternative.

Outdoor enclosures for birds or a parrot breeder’s facility. In warm weather, companion parrots enjoy being outside for fresh air and sunshine. It is also very healthy for them because it helps them develop vitamin D3, which is important for the absorption of calcium in the parrot's body. People should use common sense in placing birds outdoors even if they are in a proper aviary. Your bird getting out is not the only possible problem. Discuss the size of the space between bars with the seller to make sure that critters can't get in or reach in through the cage bars. It is important that the aviary is well built and that other animals and birds can't get into the aviary or any food in the enclosure. Parrots should not be left out at night unless the aviary is secure enough to protect the parrots from raccoon attacks. If a raccoon can reach through the bars of the cage to grab the parrots, they will try to pull them through the bar and kill them. Keep the bottom of the aviary clean to avoid rodents coming into the aviary. They can frighten a parrot and can carry dangerous disease. The best time for parrots to be outside is from about 9 am to dusk. but if there is no covered top on the aviary, you should provide shade protection. If you build your own aviary, the spaces in chain link can be a problem. Most wire is galvanized, chain link included, and is coated with zinc, which presents a problem because it can be toxic if a parrot chews on it. Stainless steel, even though it is more expensive, is the safest choice for an aviary.

An archaic name for an aviculturist

For many years most of the Austral-Asian parakeets, including the psittacula, rosellas and grass parakeets, were considered to be aviary birds who didn't make good companion parrots for people. Mostly because people have lived with these parrot-family birds, this generalization has changed a great deal and many of these parrots are not considered to be good companions.

 The keeping, breeding, and raising of birds in captivity. 

Avocado is on the No-No list to feed to parrots. Evidently it is the pit, the flesh around it and the skin and the flesh next to it that is toxic to parrots. However, even if the flesh that doesn't touch the pit or the skin is not toxic, it is not worth taking a chance. 




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