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Can Parrots Crossbreed (Hybrid Parrots)?

Ed Malaker

Parrots are a popular pet in the United States, and they continue to become more popular every year. Many people are concerned that keeping two different parrots in the same cage will cause them to breed, while others are hopeful, they will create a new species. However, there are a lot of things to consider, and only certain kinds of parrots can mate with each other. If you are thinking about keeping several parrots and would like to know more about their breeding habits, keep reading while we find out what parrot breeds can mate with other parrot breeds, so you know what to expect from your birds.

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Can Parrots Crossbreed to Create Hybrid Species?

macaw parrot perching
Image Credit: Richard Bernico, Pixabay

The short answer to if parrots can crossbreed to form new hybrids is sometimes. Parrots are psittacines, and there are more than 400 that make up the order, with 387 species existing in modern time. Scientists divide the psittacines into three categories, Psittacoidae, which means “true parrot,” Cacatuoidea, which is the cockatoos, and Strigopoidea, New Zealand parrots. Scientists further break down these three categories into multiple subfamilies or genus. Here are a few examples of each.

Psittacidae

  • Psittacus
  • Ara
  • Primolius
  • Aratinga
  • Psilopsiagon
  • Brotogeris

Cacatuoidea

  • Nymphicus
  • Calyptorhynchus
  • Cacatua
  • Eolophus
  • Lophochroa
two yellow crested cockatoos on the ground
Image Credit: Beverly Buckley, Pixabay

Strigopoidea

  • Nestor notabilis
  • Nestor meridionalis meridionalis
  • Nestor chathamensis
  • Strigops habroptila

Same Genus

In most cases, your birds will need to belong to the same genus to mate and have offspring. For example, the true parrot genus Aratinga contains the Sun Parakeet, Golden Capped Parakeet, Dusky Headed Parakeet, Nanday Parakeet, etc., and these birds can usually mate when kept in the same cage because their genetic makeup is quite similar. Mixing these birds may create some interesting color patterns and might change behavior slightly. Hybrids of the same genus stand a good chance of being healthy and living full lives.

colorful sun conure
Image Credit: Naypong Studio, Shutterstock

Creating Hybrid Parrots

In the wild, mating outside the genus is extremely rare. Most don’t live in the same areas and are too different genetically to create offspring in most cases. However, in captivity, it’s much more common for parrots to mate outside their species.  Captive parrots can get lonely and may try to mate with other species even if it is unsuccessful.  In fact, it’s not uncommon for parrots to exhibit signs that they are trying to mate with you, and a parrot becoming too bonded is a real problem. In most cases, your bird attempting to mate with other birds won’t produce offspring, but sometimes, it will create a hybrid.

Birds that might produce a hybrid include cockatoos and cockatiels, so you’ll need to be careful if you keep these birds in the same cage.

Ruby Macaw

The Ruby Macaw is a hybrid created by mixing the Scarlet Macaw and the Green Winged Macaw. Though they are both macaws, they belong to a different genus.

Sunday Conure

The Sunday Conure is a hybrid created by mixing the Sun Conure, an Aratinga solstitialis, with a Jenday Conure, from the Aratinga jandaya genus.

Raising Hybrid Parrots

Your hybrid parrot will look like a blend of its parents. Often sporting markings and patterns from both and will be an average size. Some hybrid parrots are infertile and will not be able to produce offspring, but others will. The Catalina Macaw is a mix of the Scarlet Macaw and the Blue and Gold Macaw. These Catalina Macaws can mate with other Catalina Macaws to successfully create a second generation. These birds can also breed with other macaws, but there is a greater risk of producing sterile offspring, especially in the third generation.

Catalina macaw side view
Image credit: Karl Dean Anderson, Shutterstock

Can Parrots Mate with Other Birds?

No. Parrots can only mate with other parrots, and most will only mate with those of the same genus. As we mentioned earlier, your parrot might get lonely and attempt to mate with the other birds, but there is no risk of them producing offspring. However, if the parrot becomes too attached to the other bird, it can become overly protective and become aggressive toward other birds and even you if you get too close. If you notice this behavior, you will need to split up the birds until your parrot calms down.

Related Read: How Do Parrots Mate and Reproduce?

Can Lovebirds Interbreed?

Yes. While there are many lovebird species, they all belong to the same genus and are quite similar. However, while they can create hybrids, not all will be fertile. When breeding lovebirds with a white eye ring with others that also have the eye ring, the children should be fertile, but when mixing them with lovebirds that do not have the eye ring, the birds won’t be fertile.

Lovebirds
Image Credit: Jondolar Schnurr, Pixabay

Can Macaws Interbreed?

All Macaws can interbreed to create 28 possible hybrid combinations. Breeders are primarily responsible for creating these hybrid macaws and do so in captivity. It’s relatively easy to find one of these hybrids at your local pet shop or from an online breeder, and they are likely the most popular type of hybrid parrot.

Can Conures Breed with Budgies?

People commonly call conures and budgies parakeets, so it’s natural to wonder if these two birds can breed. Unfortunately, these two species are too far apart genetically to produce any offspring.

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Summary

As you can see, there are many parrot species, and some can breed to create hybrid parrots while others cannot. If you are looking to get something unique that doesn’t exist in the wild, we recommend checking with your local pet store or contact a breeder about purchasing a macaw hybrid. These birds are relatively easy to find and usually don’t cost too much. If you are worried about getting frisky in your cage, it’s unlikely that you will end up with any offspring unless they are one of the birds mentioned here.

We hope you have enjoyed reading over this guide and found the answers you need. If we have helped you learn more about your birds, please share this discussion about crossbreeding parrots on Facebook and Twitter.


Featured Image credit: Cowboy54, Shutterstock

Ed Malaker

Ed Malaker is a veteran writer who has contributed to a wide range of blogs that cover tools, pets, guitars, fitness, and computer programming. When he’s not writing, Ed is usually performing DIY projects around the house or working in the garden. He’s also a musician and spends a lot of time helping people fix their guitars and composing music for independent films.