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Home > Birds > 12 Fascinating & Fun Parrotlet Facts You Never Knew

12 Fascinating & Fun Parrotlet Facts You Never Knew

Two parrotlets on a fence

Parrots are among the most unique pets to own, and their gorgeous colors, quirky personalities, and long lifespans make them popular pets in the United States. The parrotlets, with their tiny size and huge personality, are all the more fascinating. Since they are easier to care for than their larger cousins, they are fast becoming one of the most popular pet parrot species.

If their beauty and ease of care are not enough to convince you, here are 12 fascinating and fun parrotlet facts you probably never knew!


The 12 Facts About Parrotlets

1. They can talk!

While they certainly do not have the hefty vocal capabilities of some of their larger cousins, parrotlets can still learn a handful of phrases and words. Most small birds are limited to chirps and squawks, but with dedicated time and patience, you can teach your parrotlet to have a rather large vocabulary for such a small bird.

Parrotlet perched on a wire
Image By Rafael Martos Martins, Shutterstock

2. Parrotlets are the smallest birds in the parrot family

When most people think of small pet birds, a budgie is the first to come to mind, but parrotlets are actually even smaller than they are. As adults, parrotlets will reach no more than 6 inches high, whereas budgies can grow to up to 11 inches tall! While it may be hard to believe, the parrotlet’s closest relative is the Amazon parrot. They are basically a miniature version of these large, exotic birds, leading to the common nickname of “pocket parrot.”

3. They have a small size but a big personality!

While their small size may make them seem unassuming, parrotlets have just as much personality as many of their larger cousins. In fact, these little birds are known to have somewhat feisty and fiery personalities to make up for their small size! These birds need plenty of socialization and regular interaction and handling to make sure they do not become too aggressive toward humans, as they are easily frightened and often respond in nips or bites.

Pacific parrotlet biting on notebook spring
Image Credit: klickblick, Pixabay

4. They have a long lifespan

It’s rare for such small birds to have long lifespans, but with proper care, parrotlets can easily live for 20 years in captivity, and some have even lived for up to 30 years! Of course, this long lifespan comes with a great deal of responsibility, so don’t assume that their short stature comes with a short lifespan!

5. Parrotlets are extremely active

Despite their small size, parrotlets are surprisingly active birds. In the wild, these birds spend most of their day flying, climbing, and foraging for food, so in captivity, they need plenty of exercise and stimulation to mimic their wild behaviors. They’ll need a large cage big enough for them to spread their wings, climb, and perch inside of and at least 3–4 hours of time outside their cage too—the more, the better.

parrotlet on grass
Image By: Chelsea Sampson, Shutterstock

6. They are extremely intelligent

While no official parrotlet IQ has been established, these little parrots are extremely intelligent birds. There is even evidence to suggest that wild green-rumped parrotlets name their young! According to a fairly recent study that looked at problem-solving skills, spectacled parrotlets performed better than some other intelligent parrots at complicated tests and were the only parrots to complete the final and most difficult task. Of course, most parrotlet owners do not need a study to tell them how smart these little birds are!

7. They are relatively quiet

When compared to larger parrot species, such as the cockatoo or Amazon parrot, which are known to making loud noises, parrotlets are far quieter. They will certainly make their fair share of chirps and whistles, but they are ideal for owners living in apartments where too much noise is an issue. Even though they are active and playful, these little birds are among the quietest parrot species.

Yellow-Faced Parrotlet Side view_Agami Photo Agency_Shutterstock
Image Credit: Agami Photo Agency, Shutterstock

8. Parrotlets have big appetites

While they may be tiny birds, parrotlets can pack away a surprisingly large amount of food. This is because they are so active and have a fast metabolism. As result, they need plenty of food and almost a constant supply of it in order to get their energy needs met. Of course, you should still be mindful of not overfeeding them, as this can have negative health consequences too.

9. There are over 20 different parrotlet species!

While only a few species are commonly kept as pets, there are over 20 species of parrotlets in the world. Common species kept as pets include:

  • Blue-Winged Parrotlet (Forpus xanthopterygius)
  • Green-Rumped Parrotlet (Forpus passerinus)
  • Mexican Parrotlet (Forpus cyanopygius)
  • Pacific Parrotlet (Forpus coelestis)
  • Spectacled Parrotlet (Forpus conspicillatus)
  • Yellow-Faced Parrotlet (Forpus xanthops)
parrotlet bird
Image By: Rafael Cerqueira, Shutterstock

10. They are native to South America

Parrotlets are native exclusively to Mexico and Southern America. They live predominantly in lowland forests but can inhabit shrubland too, and they can live happily both in wet and fairly dry environments. They are highly social birds that live in small flocks of a few pairs or up to 100 individuals!

11. Some parrotlets are sexually dimorphic

Some of the most common parrotlet species are sexually dimorphic, meaning males and females look different and are easily told apart. In general, males are more colorful than females, often with blue-tipped wings and tails, while females are predominantly green with yellow coloring on their faces.

blue parrotlet
Image Credit: klickblick, Pixabay


12. Some parrotlets mate for life

While it is not a certainty with all parrotlet species, celestial parrotlets are known to mate for life in the wild. They will remain with their flock but tend to mate only with their chosen mate for the rest of their lives and are known to be excellent parents.


Final Thoughts

Parrotlets make wonderful little pets, and their small size makes them far easier to care for than their larger cousins. With their long lifespan, though, they are still a huge responsibility that should not be entered into lightly. Everybody knows how adorable these little birds are, but hopefully, we’ve helped you learn more fascinating information about these wonderful pocket parrots.

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Featured Image Credit: analogicus, Pixabay

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