Quaker Parrakeet

Myiopsitta monachus

» Length about 11" with the weight about 130-150 grams
» Also known as the Quaker parrot and the Monk parakeet
» Endemic to Central Bolivia, southern Brazil to central Argentina
» Self-sustaining feral populations occur throughout the United States and Europe
» In addition to the nominate species, there are three subspecies.
» Very common as an avian companion 

Quakers, also known as Monk parakeets, are one of the most popular companion parrots. I tamed a few wild-caught Quakers in the Midwest before I moved to California. Since Quakers are banned as an agricultural pest in California (pretty stupid, huh?), I don’t have much experience with hand-fed babies. The first babies I saw fascinated me because of their endearing head bobbing behavior. California, Georgia, Kansas, Kentucky, Hawaii, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Wyoming outlaw sale and ownership of a monk parakeet, while Connecticut, Ohio, New York and Virginia allow them with restrictions. This is due to the belief that they will be an agricultural pest. However there are feral colonies throughout the United States from including well-known populations in New York and Chicago and at this time there is no evidence that they create serious problems for farmers. Since they build big, bulky apartment nests, they also don't compete with native arboreal cavity nesters. 

Many Quakers are excellent talkers and I love to listen to them talk. Sometimes it is as if they are really trying to convince you of what they are saying. If there was such a thing as a parrot debating team, Quakers would easily qualify. Socialization and guidance are critical components in shaping their personality. Quakers wouldn't be so popular if they weren't wonderful companions, but there can be a flip side. Some have a tendency to become very attached to one person and aggressive to others in the household. There are ways to prevent this with a young bird and also to change this behavior in older birds. The most important aspect is that each person gives the bird individual attention in a neutral room away from the cage.

Some quakers can become very cage territorial. Since an entire flock builds one huge bulky nest, they may have the same dynamic as a New York City apartment building … very possessive of their particular area. I used to believe that you had to insist that a parrot has to come out of his or her cage in response to the “UP” command. I think that was a bit too rigid. Now I think that trying to be too much of a boss with any parrot can create problems. With a Quaker, I recommend opening the cage door, saying something like, “do you want to come out,” and then tapping on the cage door so that the parrot steps out of his cage. Then you can say “Up” and have him step on your hand.

Not all Quakers are aggressive about their cage but some are. Sometime with a cage-aggressive parrot, it is best to take the bird away from the cage and put him on a stand or gym before you service the cage. This helps avoid the drama of the Quaker protecting his
 cage territory.

Quakers are commonly bred in captivity so much so that there are mutations. The most common is the blue quaker, which comes in various shades and is very popular with quaker lovers. 




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