Those who love quaker parrots describe them as intelligent, tenacious, and comical. Depending on where you live, you may have even seen them in your own backyard. The quaker parrot (also called the monk parakeet) is a unique feathered friend. Here’s five facts you should know:
Quaker parrots are hardy birds. These parrots are able to survive in climates that other bird species would find too harsh. This, in combination with their easy breeding, has resulted in the populated naturalized flocks we see in the United States today. Native to Argentina, many birds were taken from their habitats and brought to the US in the 1960s. Today’s North American flocks are descendant from these birds after many escaped or were set free.
Quaker parrots are illegal to own in some states. Due to the proliferation of these naturalized flocks, in several states it is illegal to own or sell quakers. Other states allow ownership, but require special regulations. The reasoning for this being a common misconception about the birds. As Ellen Krueger from the Quaker Parakeet Society (QPS) states, "In the wild, they are considered by many to be agricultural pests that interfere with other birds. This is not true. While they build big nests, often on poles with transformers, they pose no threat to other birds. In fact, they live well with other species, as long as they do not threaten the quakers. Quakers also do not destroy crops.”
Check your state’s regulations before bringing home one of these parrots. QPS works to promote the legalization of quakers in states where they are illegal to own.
You can see where quaker parrots are legal in this infographic here.
You can find naturalized quaker parrot flocks all around the United States.
Quakers are the only parrot species that will build their nests instead of seeking out tree hollows. This interesting behavior in the wild also carries over to the quakers living among us. "Many quakers like to build or weave while living in your home. My quaker weaves molted feathers into the bars of her cage. Others use drinking straws or sticks to build ‘nests’ in their cages. It's fascinating to watch them,” Kruegar said.
Quaker parrots are hardy birds. These parrots are able to survive in climates that other bird species would find too harsh.
Like many parrots, quakers are prone to fatty liver disease. Though they are hardy birds, quakers must have a nutritious diet. They do best on a diet of pellets along with fresh vegetables and fruits. Seeds, especially those high in fat, are better kept to a minimum. It is often suggested that any seed given be a mixture for intended for budgies, as fattier seeds are excluded.
Quakers are intelligent, and many will learn to talk. Although certainly not every bird will talk, many quaker parrots are capable of learning words and phrases. Kruegar explained, "If you speak to a quaker as you would to a young child, you will be rewarded with a companion who may speak in context and understand a lot of what you say.” Because they are inquisitive, potential Quaker parents must be ready to keep this bird entertained. Bored quaker parrots can be destructive and even pick their own feathers.
Want to learn more about quaker parrots?
All About Quaker Parrots
Smart Quaker Parrots