Placing healthy veggies and fruits on kabob skewers made for parrots makes it more fun and work for a parrot to eat them their healthy fresh foods.

    Mexican artist (1907-1954) who kept Amazon parrots and did several self portraits with them. What I have often wondered about is why her parrots seem to have been feather pickers, which is not as common in Amazons as it is in some other parrot-family birds. Could it have something to do with the fact that Frida Kahlo is as famous for her tortured soul as she is for her painting? Perhaps her parrots picked up her energy? Her self-portrait also shows her smoking a cigarette, so these Amazons might have had health problems based on second-hand smoke and/or nicotine dermatitis. For more information on Frida Kahlo and her parrots, go the article under Parrot Stories on this website.

KAKA (Nestor meridionalis
    A large unique parrot endemic to the forests of New Zealand. It is considered endangered because of habitat loss and also the introduction of non-native animals and insects, which compete with the Kaka for Honeydew, an excretion from native insects that seems to be important for breeding success. The Norfolk Island Kaka (
Nestor productus) was a close relative to the New Zealand Kaka that became extinct in 1851. The name Kaka comes from a Moari word for parrot. The Kaka is related to the infamous Kea described below.  

KAKAPO (Strigops habroptilis) 
    A truly unique member of the parrot family, the Kakapo is a critically endangered ground-dwelling flightless nocturnal parrot endemic to New Zealand. It is the heaviest parrot with the males weighing up to 7 pounds. The male performs a booming dance at a lek in order to attract multiple females. After mating, there is no paternal care of the chicks. These parrots also have facial disks that make it seem owl-like in appearance and it is often referred to as the Owl Parrot. This parrot evolved without the presence of any mammalian predators but once its habitat was colonized and predators such as cats, rats, pigs, dogs, and stoats were introduced to New Zealand, the Kakapo's populations plummeted to the edge of extinction. In the 1980s the Kakapo recovery plan was started. Once two islands were cleared of predators and the ecological niche of the Kakapo was restored, the remaining populations of these parrots were relocated there and are closely monitored. With intense conservation efforts, the numbers of these amazing parrots are slowly increasing. 

KAKARIKIS (Red-fronted or Red-crowned)  (Cyanoramphus novaezelandiae) 
    There are 3 species of Kakarikis. The Red-fronted, the Yellow-crowned (
Cyanoramphus auriceps) and the critically endangered Orange-fronted (Cyanoramphus malherbi). These birds are often called New Zealand Parakeets. Habitat destruction and the introduction of mammalian predators has classed these unusual little parakeets as near threatened on mainland New Zealand. Kakarikis breed well in captivity and some of the birds available as pets in the U.S. are actually hybrids of the Red-fronted and Yellow-crowned kakarikis. 
    I have really enjoyed time spent with these little birds. They are charming, curious, high-energy little busy-bodies. When they are tame to their caregivers, they will climb all over their bodies and explore every nook and cranny - they especially seem fascinated with ears. The whole world is a playground to a Kakariki. I often thought that working with them was somewhat like trying to keep a butterfly on your finger. 
    In the mid 1980's Kakarikis started to become very popular but although I see them occasionally, I have never seen as many as I did back then. A caution is that they need a good size cage because of their activity level but you have to make sure nothing dangerous is near the cage. Kakarikis will reach through the cage bars with their feet and their legs have an incredibly surprising reach.  
    Even when fed what seemed to be a decent diet, these parrots suffered from malnutrition so my concern was that there were either something that they were missing in their diet or something that was too plentiful and was causing them problems. I have wondered if their need for a fairly high-protein diet also resulted in iron-storage disease. It is also important to realize in keeping these birds, that they are from a naturally colder climate than many of us live in and cannot tolerate too high a temperature in their environment. I think that they are most comfortable with temperatures under 70
o. In fact one of the Kakarikis that I had seemed sick to me so I did what was recommended until I could get him to a veterinarian and put him under heat. In retrospect, I think it may have been the heat that killed him rather than what was making him seem a bit under the weather. I believe that the cage of a Kakarikis needs to be kept very clean and that materials such as corn cob bedding, ground walnut shell and others where bacteria, mold and fungus can grow should never be used in the bottom of their cages.   

    A highly nutritious green that contains vitamin A (beta carotene), vitamin K, lutein, and calcium.

KAWALL'S AMAZON (Amazona kawalli
    Also called the White-faced Amazon. This bird from the Amazon basin of Brazil was only discovered in 1989 and is rare in captivity.

    An organization that was started to buy parrot-family baby birds from multiple breeders to sell them as product to the large chain stores, particularly Petco and PetSmart. These birds were exposed to many unknown birds from many sources but the belief was that if they loaded them up with antibiotics and vaccinations, the birds would be healthy despite the fact that their care was minimal and their socialization was non-existent. Of course, prophylactic antibiotics can create serious problems for the developing immune system. At the super pet shops, most of the birds were in the care of people who had no idea what parrots were all about. I was also told that young macaws would go from store to store to attract people into the bird departments. This, of course, could play havoc with a young macaw's sense of security and well-being, Kaytee is just another pet industry company that is profit-motivated – I don't trust them or their highly processed foods that are full of chemicals.

KEA (Nestor nobabillis)
    New Zealand mountain parrot famous for its destructive abilities. Many years ago, my aunt and uncle visited the mountain habitat of the Kea in a rental car.After an afternoon hike photographing wild flowers, they returned to find that the Keas had gotten into the care and pretty much ripped the interior apart. They particularly enjoyed the rubber molding around the windshield. This seems to be a common story in regards to Kea curiosity. Several years ago, I visited a bird farm and got to handle two Kea youngsters. Although I knew they were a large parrot I was both surprised by their size on my arm and the sharpness of their long curved beak. I can't even imagine the idea that Keas will ever be kept as companions. They are clever and destructive and it makes me shudder to think of someone coming home to find that their pet Kea had escaped its cage (which I am sure wouldn't be difficult for them) and had ripped apart everything in the house!  

    The keel bone is the longitudinal ridge of bone under the sternum in the middle of the upper chest. Th keel bone is large in birds that naturally fly because the well-developed chest muscles attach to the keel (or sternum). Many baby parrots with trimmed wings are physically unbalanced and can be clumsy. It is extremely important to keep young parrots off of high places so they are not able to fall or throw themselves down. Landing on the keel bone can cause serious splitting of the tight chest skin, a serious and traumatic injury that requires a long healing time. Getting into the habit of feeling how sharp the keel bone is will help you to know if your parrot has gained or lost weight.

    A hard protein material that forms the structure of feathers, beaks and toe nails. It is essentially the same material that forms our finger nails and hair.

KEYS as Parrot Toys
    Several toy companies put keys in their toys. The ones that I have advertised over the years are careful about metal in the keys they use. If you let your parrot play with your keys, most of all, if they are plated and the metal can be chipped or scraped, don't give them to your parrots.  Hard plastic keys are best.

    Many tame companion parrots learn to give beak kisses and make kissy sounds. It is not a good idea to give a beak kiss to an unknown bird or let people try to kiss your parrot unless you absolutely know it is a safe thing to do.

    Another exotic fruit that is also known as horned melon. Like many exotic fruits, they are a good source of vitamin C. 

    Kiwi is another highly nutritious fruit with a high amount of vitamin K, which is necessary for proper blood clotting. It is also high in vitamin C, vitamin E, folate, and potassium.

    The configuration of a parrot’s leg is such that it looks as if the leg has a backward knee. What is often confused for a backward knee is actually the ankle. The knee is usually tucked up into the belly, under the wing and can't seen because of the feathers.. 

There are so many people in the world of parrots - especially on the Internet - who seem to think that they know everything there is to know about parrots. I don't trust people like this. I have worked with birds for over 35 years and would never profess to have all of the answers or to know everything. To me, one of the most exciting aspects about parrots is there is something new to learn everyday if you look for it.

 Most parrot-family birds fit into a biologically defined group that is referred to as K-selected Species. These mammals and birds have a long lifetime, mature slowly, have a large body size in comparison to other animals in their niche, and produce a limited number of offspring each year with intense parental care. They generally have a well defined and stable ecological niche and their young tend to stay in that niche. When all goes well, K-selected species compete well for nest sites, food sources, and other survival needs in their environment. It is when there is a major upset in their ability to get these needs met that K-select species are in trouble. It is the mammals and birds that are classed as K-selected species that are experiencing serious declines in their populations as their habitats dwindle and/or are drastically changed. It is these mammals and birds that are becoming increasingly endangered and many perch on edge of extinction. Other K-selected species besides parrots include elephants, raptors, gorillas, penguins, whales, large trees, and (taa-dah) humans.

    Kumquats (cumquats) look like miniature oblong oranges. I occasionally find these in my local supermarket and buy a couple for each parrot when I see them, mostly because they are fun for the parrots. Sometimes I think the birds think they are toys but they are getting  a little nutrition from them. Not a particularly nutritious fruit but they are a good source of vitamin C.  

    A stypic powder such as Kwik Stop is safe only when used properly. CAUTION: Never use a styptic powder like Kwik-stop on any part of a parrot except the tips of the toenails on in an emergency, the beak. Kwik stop can destroy tissue and prevent the healing of a wound. If you need to stop a wound from bleeding before you can get to an avian veterinarian, corn starch is much safer and styptic powder can cause serious tissue damage.




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