Monk parakeet, also known as Quaker parrots, are known for their intelligence, friendly, comical and charming personalities. Their willingness to learn how to talk earns them recognition among bird lovers.
The monk parakeet is best for beginner bird owners who are looking for birds they can quickly warm up to and can adapt perfectly well to their surroundings.
- Common Names: Monk parakeet, Quaker parrot, Quaker parakeet, Montevideo parakeet, green parakeet, monk parrot, gray-breasted parakeet
- Scientific Name: Myiopsitta monachus
- Size: Adult monk parakeet can reach up to a size of 12 inches from tail to beak and can weigh about 4 and 5 ounces
- Life expectancy: Monk parakeets can live for 20 to 35 years in captivity, and sometimes even more.
History and origin
The monk parakeet is a native to a small area of South America. They dominate parts of southern Brazil down to some parts of central Argentina and central Bolivia. They naturally live in woodlands and have been noticed to build firm community bonds.
Unlike other species that house themselves in tree cavities, the monk parrots are interestingly the only parrots that build nests.
They take their time to build elaborate nests out of tree branches and twigs. These nests are so well made that they have multiple rooms where eggs have their own space and young chicks they own separate area.
Naturally, flocks of monk parakeets would build their nests next to each other. Mating pairs have their corner, but are separated from their neighbors by walls to form what we call Quaker apartments” or “Quaker condominium.”
The endurance level of the monk parakeet is very high and would even survive extremely cold climates. As a result of this, coupled with their impeccable breeding, feral colonies of monk parakeets have been spotted in major cities around the world. They migrate in small flocks and have their condos built in some of the weirdest places like power line poles.
Monk parrots have been spotted in cities like New York, most areas in southern Florida, Chicago, and Puerto Rico. How these birds develop and survive has been linked to them escaping from captivities and then finding each other, building nests, and raising families.
By nature, these birds are social and very confident. For small birds, they seem to have large personalities. Bold, active, and outgoing, they chatter on and on talking about only God knows what. They maintain active communication with their flock and are famous for their phenomenal talking ability.
They are very loyal when kept as pets, and would bond really tight with just one person. Most handfed monk parakeets are quite humane, and many make lovely companions for younger bird owners.
They only show aggression when their cages or nests are threatened or when they are neglected. A bored monk parrot, like other parrots, isn’t fun to be around. They need just as much attention as other parrots do.
They can get possessive over their enclosures when not in the wild. So it’s best to be careful when handling them. It’s advisable to create a bond with two monk parakeets in separate cages if you intend to introduce another monk parakeet or another species of bird to the one you already have.
This makes it easy for them to form a bond without any hassle. Failure to do this could result in fights that may lead to severe injury, and in some cases, death.
Yeah! It’s that serious.
Ensure to keep an eye on your feather buddy if you have cats or dogs around. Monk parrots are known to be fearless and may want to engage even the biggest dogs or cats around. Some of them may avoid your bird due to shock; others may not. You don’t want to find out how that would end.
Monk parakeets colors and markings
Adult monks come in bright green on the back, wings, and head. The bird’s most prominent feature is the cheeks, gray breast, and throat, which duplicates Colonial-era Quaker clothing and how the bird got its common name.
They possess beautiful blue flight feathers, and a luminous green imbues on the underside of their tails. They have grey feet and horn-colored beaks. In retrospect, they look like a fine cockatiel.
A variety of fantastic color mutations in monk parakeets in captive breeding programs have been produced. One popular result of this program, known as the blue hybrid Quaker parrot, was created in the early 2000s. Albino, lutino, cinnamon, and pies Quakers have also been developed by breeders.
Males and females look like carbon copies. Like all monomorphic bird species, the one way to know the sex of your bird is through surgery or DNA sexing.
Caring for Monk parakeets
Although it is easy to become fascinated with these sweet little birds and they’re low-priced, be careful before getting yourself one. Since monk parakeets can adapt very well to different climates, they are still illegal to keep in some parts of the United States.
In some places, especially southern states, wild monk populations have rooted breeding colonies and pose a risk to native bird species and crops. Many of these states will have pet Quakers euthanized if they are found.
It’s advisable to check with the “U.S Fish and Wildlife Service,” as well as local laws to ensure that it is illegal to have a monk parakeet as a pet so that neither you or your pet get in trouble.
Many monk parrots have lost their homes due to plenty of reasons and are ready to be adopted. Reach out to the nearest bird adoption agencies for information on how to get one of these active companions.
Monk parakeets, similar to other parrots, would pluck out their feathers if neglected. They require verbal and physical stimulation and would self-mutilate if they get bored.
If you can spare the time and patience to care for your bird, they would bounce back to being cheerful almost immediately. Monk parakeets are relatively easy to rehabilitate when compared to other parrots.
Often, they are most affected by the broken connection with the original owner. They long to be loved and be part of seeming to them as their flock. They become happy when shown love and attention. Do you have enough love to share your parrot?
They adore being petted in the head and enjoy cuddling. They can get very vocal when they have their owners on sight. These intelligent birds are very entertaining and are considered little clowns. They can even put multiple phrases together to get a message across.
Mimicking sounds and sometimes singing are some of the amusing things these little clowns can cheer you up with. They can also get sassy, which plays well into their personality.
How loud your monk parakeets get is very subjective. While some owners arrested for the fact that their monk parrot is too noisy, others say it’s a tranquil bird. Indeed, monk parrots are little radios and would have a good show if you have more than one of them in a place.
They aren’t like other parrots that give ear-piercing screams, but they aren’t shy to call out every now and then. Despite how loud they can be, many owners say their noise is very tolerable.
Feeding a Monk parakeet
Monk parrots are known to be incredibly voracious eaters, and their diet should copy the vegetables, fruits, and nuts they get in the wild.
They maintain a healthy diet of fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, leafy greens, and healthy table food. Essential foods that shouldn’t be excluded from their diet include peppers, root vegetables, and colorful produce.
They remain vibrant in homes where they are supplied with a diet rich in quality commercially formulated pellets and healthy seeds such as flax, hemp, and chia seed. They also enjoy occasional snacking on millet sprig.
Some monk parakeets tend to get overweight if owners feed them too much fattening nuts and seed treats like peanuts, sunflower seeds, and millet. This can be prevented if you ensure to give your monk parrot pasta, legumes, fresh greens, and other vegetables as the primary food source.
Monk parakeets are very active birds, and an adequate amount of space should be provided to allow them to explore and play. A minimum of 18 inches square cage should be provided for them, but the bigger the cage, the better. Make sure the cage is tough enough, so they open and escape from it when they chew on it.
Plenty of chew toys should be provided, as well. This helps them exercise their beak instead of chewing on their cage. It’s also an excellent way to have them entertained for when you aren’t keeping them company. Another thing that’s necessary for their cage is a bath. This is also a way for them to entertain and exercise themselves.
Monk parakeets are naturally programmed to build nests. Don’t be surprised if you find your bird building a nest at the corner of its cage from random things it finds. It would help greatly to have them supervised for an hour or two when they are outside their cage.
Time-out in the cage is important for your bird as it helps it to stretch its legs and wings and satisfy plenty curiosities, and it help them stay physically fit and happy.
Do you have a monk parakeet? What exciting ways do you stimulate your bird? What do you feed your bird with? Share with us in the comments.