Parrot Family

Parrots are found mostly in tropical climates all around the world. South and Central America are particularly rich in parrot life. Africa and India contribute some very popular members of this family. China and other Oriental countries have many varieties. The Philippine Islands have some very choice parrots which are seldom seen in this country. Many of the South Pacific Islands boast a wide range of parrot types. However, it is Australia that provides the largest selection of the world's really exotic parrots. From Australia come the Budgerigar and Cockatiel, the world's most popular and easily bred parrot-like birds. Most of the world's family of Cockatoos and a majority of the species of large parakeets are native to Australia, New Guinea and New Zealand.

Every conceivable color combination has been tried by Mother Nature in adorning the parrot family. A variation in shape is also characteristic of the parrot family. Technically speaking, any member of the Parrot family is a parrot. Speaking less broadly, but more correctly, the Order of parrots is divided into many different categories and many different kinds of birds. The Order of parrots is called Psittaciformes, and all members have certain general characteristics. For example, all parrots have similar hooked billes and peculiar mallet-shaped tongues. Most hooked bills can exert great force, useful in ontaining food or as a weapon against enemies. Most parrots have strong, heavy legs and feet, useful in climbing through trees in search of food. In this respect, the bill also aids in climbing. All parrots are mainly vegetarian. They have harsh natural voices and the ability for mimicry.

African Prey Parrot
African Prey Parrot

The technical term for Parrot Family is Psittacidae. This huge family is broken down into 6 subfamilies of which 3 are relatively important from the avicultural standpoint.

Subfamilies are divided into genera, the singular form for which is genus. Each genus has certain clearly defined characteristics which separate it from other genera. The members of each genus show a close relationship to each other. In some cases, the genus is subdivided into a further category called subgenus. Although the subgenus is given a definite name, it is not included in the specific name of the bird. Members of the subgenus have further peculiar characteristics which separate them from other members of the genus.

The next subdivision is the species. In many birds, the species name is the end of the complicated structure of nomenclature, but there are several divisions in some species which are called subspecies. The differences that divide species into subspecies can be geographical habitat, size, or pattern and color variations. In some instances, there is a wide variation in color among subspecies, but this is the exception rather than the rule.

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All scientific names are in Latin, are written in italics, and are of universal usage. Popular names often lead to confusion. Many birds may have the same popular name, but the full scientific name is never duplicate. Genera names can refer to characteristics of the genus. The names of species and subspecies frequently denote characteristics, habitat, or person for whom named. In many works the name of the ornitologist who first discovered and named the species follows the scientific name.

A frequent practice in aviculture literature is to eliminate the second or species name if the bird is a subspecies. For example, Swainson's Blue Mountain Lorikeet is most frequently listed as Trichoglossus moluccanus rather than Trichoglossus haemeatodus moluccanus. Confusion often arises due to indiscriminate usage of the words "parrot" and "parakeet" or "lory" or "lorikeet." The terms "parakeet" and "lorikeet" generally apply to long-tailed slender birds; "parrot" and "lory" apply to short-tailed birds. Size has very little to do with these categories. There are many parakeets larger than some parrots and many lorikeets larger than some lories. The practice of calling parakeets by the designation parrots and lorikeets by the term lories is mainly a holdover from early ornitological practices.



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