The parrotlet is the smallest species of pet parrots. His natural habitat is found in Mexico and Central and South America. The parrotlet’s feather colours are indicators of their gender.
As a pet bird, the parrotlet is playful and affectionate, but with a bit of stubborn streak. He is a highly sociable companion that needs daily interaction. When it comes to intelligence, the parrotlet is adept at learning a handful of words and mimicking sounds.
The parrotlet can live up to twenty years in captivity if well taken care of. He is prone to a few health diseases. Ensuring that he has a consistent daily routine and a clean and stress-free home will prevent him from developing illnesses.
Where do parrotlets come from?
The vibrant-feathered parrotlet bird is a miniature parrot. He originated in Mexico and Central and South America. This is an extroverted bird. Thus, he is commonly found travelling in a flock. A flock can be composed of about four to over one hundred birds depending on the species.
There are many types of parrotlets, including celestial parrotlet, Mexican Parrotlet, Spectacled Parrotlet Pacific parrotlet, green-rumped parrotlet, and yellow-faced parrotlet. Do you want a parrotlet bird? Find the perfect one for you here.
What does parrotlet look like?
The parrotlet is the smallest pet parrot species. A full-grown parrotlet measures around 28.5 cm in length and weighs around 33 g. Because of his miniature size, he sports the shortest individual wingspan of approximately 24 cm. In general, their feathers are green in colour.
To know a parrotlet bird’s sex, observe his plumage. The feathers of males are dark blue behind his eyes, back, and wings. Their female counterparts either have no blue feather or a lighter blue or green streak behind their eyes. They tend to have darker shades of colour on their wings, whilst their faces have light green feathers.
READ: 8 Best Pet Bird Breeds
How big should be the parrotlet’s cage size?
In general, this parrot species can grow approximately 28.5 cm in size and weigh about 33 g. An 18″ x 18″ is the recommended minimum cage size for your pet. If you are able to provide a bigger one, the better. It will give him more room to exercise and stretch out his wings.
The cage’s bar spacing should be around 1/2″ or 5/8″. This is to prevent his head from getting stuck and also avoid the risk of him escaping.
Place perches inside the enclosure as it allows him to exercise his feet. It can be made of cement, sand, or natural wood such as manzanita or eucalyptus. Avoid using sandpaper covers on perches since it can damage your parrotlet’s feet. Be sure to place the perches away from food and water bowls to prevent contamination.
Put the cage in a corner with slightly heavy foot traffic. The parrotlet is a sociable bird, so interaction with his family is greatly encouraged. At night, cover the cage with a blanket to ensure that he gets a good night’s rest. Your pet bird needs an average of twelve hours’ sleep daily.
How to care for a parrotlet
The parrotlet needs regular exercise and bonding time with his human companions. Allow three to four hours of your time for interacting with your pet bird. Give him various bird-safe toys such as chew toys, ladders, bells, ropes, and leather to keep him busy and entertained. Make sure that each toy doesn’t have sharp edges to prevent him from being injured.
Bathe your pet parrot every day to keep his skin and feathers clean and healthy. You may use a shallow bowl filled with warm water. Or you can also opt for using a spray and gently spritz him with water. Be careful to avoid misting his face and nose.
After bathing him, make sure to completely dry his plumage to prevent him from getting sick. Placing his cage near a sunny window will help in drying him off.
Fully clean your parrotlet’s cage once a week. Make sure to choose a bird-safe disinfectant and thoroughly rinse it off when cleaning. This is to protect your bird from the risk of poisoning.
Food and water bowls are a breeding ground for bacteria if left uncleaned. Thus, these should be washed daily.
Are parrotlets good pets?
The parrotlet is a small bird with a big personality. He is bubbly, loving, yet feisty. Handling and socialisation are important in shaping him to be an affectionate companion.
Since he loves interacting with people, leaving him for long periods is not advisable. This can result in behavioural problems such as biting or becoming excessively noisy.
Hand-fed parrotlet is very friendly and quite playful. He enjoys doing adorable antics such as hiding on shirt pockets or relaxing on his owner’s shoulders. His spunky nature also has its drawbacks. They can be very stubborn and he will not hesitate to vocalise his displeasure if something offends him.
Since the parrotlet can be slightly moody, he is not the best option for families with children. If you opt to get one, be sure to supervise his interaction to prevent any accidents.
The parrotlet is one of the smallest pet birds with a delicate body. Mishandling can lead to injuries of both parties. Therefore, teaching your children how to properly interact and gently handle pets is highly important.
Do parrotlets need to be in pairs?
The parrotlet does not need to be kept in pairs if you want to share a close bond with your pet bird. Having a pair will only lead them to be attached to each other. Then, you will be more likely to end up getting excluded.
For bird enthusiasts who have less time to spend with their parrotlets, consider getting a pair so that they can keep each other company. However, regardless of their sex, they should be kept in separate cages. This is to avoid accidental breeding and bird aggression.
Can parrotlets talk?
This bird has a talent in learning words and mimicking sounds. However, he is not the most proficient talker in the parrot family. Males are known to be good at speaking than females. They can learn to talk over ten to fifteen words and even imitate whistles and household noises.
What should parrotlets eat?
Provide your parrotlet with fresh water every day. His daily diet should consist of 25 to 45 per cent of pellets. Low-fat seed mix such as anise, barley, cantaloupe, flax, and millet must comprise of 15 to 25 per cent of his food. 30 to 50 per cent is a mix of grains, vegetables, legumes, and fruits.
Make sure to wash the fruits and vegetables thoroughly before serving. Do not forget to remove pits and seeds as well, since they are choking hazards. Below is a list of fruits and vegetables that are healthy and safe for your parrotlet to eat:
How long does a parrotlet live?
If properly cared for, a parrotlet bird can live up to twenty years in captivity. The best way to ensure that he lives a quality life is by meticulously providing his daily needs. Be sure to give him proper housing, balanced meals, a stress-free home environment, and ample amounts of exercise and interaction.
What are the most common health problems in the parrotlet?
The parrotlet is prone to diseases similar to all birds. Sudden changes in routine or unsanitary living space are some of the many causes of these illnesses. Below is a list of the most prevalent health issues found in the parrotlet:
- Pacheco’s virus
Be sharp in any changes in your bird’s behaviour, appearance, and routine. These alterations can be red flags of health problems. Unkempt feathers, sneezing, lethargy, flakiness of the skin, difficulty in breathing, and discharge on the nose, eyes, or ears. If your pet bird is showing these symptoms, bring him to the vet immediately.
Cost of Ownership
How much does a parrotlet cost?
Buying healthy parrotlet may cost you about £50 to over £70. The overall yearly food expenses can amount to £300–£400. The price tag for his birdcage can range between £30 and £100 depending on the size. For his basic items including food and water bowls, budget approximately £40–70.
You will need around £40 to buy bird toys, stands, and perches. Every session of vet check-up has a fee of £30, whilst microchipping costs £20.
Getting your pet bird insured will require you to pay about £8. Interested in having pet parrotlet? Check out our For Sale and Rehoming page to find the right one for you.
Parrotlet Fun Facts
- The parrotlet is less noisy than his other parrot cousins. This trait makes him a great companion for people living in apartments.
- Although the bird is small in size, he is a hefty eater. Be sure to provide him with the right amount of food to meet his nutritional needs.