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Yellow-Faced Parrotlet

Nicole Cosgrove

The yellow-faced parrotlet is a beautiful, affectionate bird that can make a great pet for many types of homes. In our guide, we will discuss many different aspects of the yellow-faced parrotlet, including personality, food, and care. Keep reading to learn more about these birds and whether or not they might be a good fit for your family.

divider-birdSpecies Overview

Common Names: Yellow-faced parrotlet
Scientific Name: Forpus xanthops
Adult Size: 6 inches
Life Expectancy: Up to 20 years

Origin and History

The yellow-faced parrotlet is a small bird hailing from the north of Peru. Their natural habitats are the woodlands, thickets, and brushland of the Marañón River, a tributary for the Amazon. Unfortunately, the population has plummeted due to habitat loss and illegal trapping. While the yellow-faced parrotlet population has started to stabilize thanks to legal protections, there are very few remaining in the wild. It is estimated that about 1,000 birds currently live in their natural habitats. As a result, the species is considered to be vulnerable to extinction. As a result, the yellow-faced parrotlet is more difficult to find than other parrot species, but they are still sometimes kept as pets.

Two Yellow-Faced Parrotlet on the branch of the tree_DejaVuDesigns_Shutterstock
Image Credit: DejaVu Designs, Shutterstock

Temperament

The yellow-faced parrotlet is known for being a cuddly and affectionate bird. One thing you need to know about parrotlets is that they tend to be assertive; it’s sometimes said that these birds are a larger parrot in a tiny parrot’s body. As a result, they can sometimes be somewhat aggressive and nippy. With plenty of training, however, you can mitigate this behavior.

Some strategies you might try to prevent your parrotlet from biting are handling it more regularly, distracting your bird, and learning signs that your parrot is unhappy or does not like something you do. Try not to react too forcefully, such as pulling away or yelling, when it does happen; if you react, your pet will only learn that biting elicits a reaction. Know that birds sometimes bite because they are reacting with fear. When you take care to be very gentle with your pet, avoiding any sudden moves or noises, you can sometimes prevent bad behavior such as biting.

Pros
  • Less noisy than other parrot species
  • Affectionate and lovable personality
Cons
  • Rare & difficult to find
  • Has a tendency to bite

Speech & Vocalizations

One of the benefits of bringing one of these parrotlets home is that they do not make a lot of noise. They will make the occasional chirp or call, but they are much better suited for apartment living than other types of parrots that tend to be big talkers. In terms of learning words, the yellow-faced parrotlet may be able to pick up a couple of words or phrases, but they aren’t as skilled at mimicking human speech as other birds.

Yellow-Faced Parrotlet Colors and Markings

The yellow-faced parrotlet is characterized by bright colors, including, of course, its bright yellow face and head. The yellow color can also typically be found on the chest but will start to turn green at your bird’s abdomen. The back of the yellow-faced parrotlet’s head is typically light blue instead of yellow. The wings and much of the rest of its body are an olive green color, darker than the green feathers on its stomach; mixed in with the green color you will often find a gray tone. The tips of the yellow-faced parrotlet’s wings are a light blue color.

divider-multiprintCaring for the Yellow-Faced Parrotlet

Here we’ve broken down how to create the ideal habitat for your yellow-faced parrotlet.

Cage

When choosing a cage for your parrotlet, you need to make sure the enclosure is big enough for your bird to be able to spread its wings and not touch the sides of the cage. For most parrotlets, the cage should be at least 18 inches wide and 18 inches long. If you have multiple birds and plan to house at least two birds in the same cage, it needs to be at least twice as large, or at least 36 inches by 36 inches. It never hurts to buy a larger enclosure if you have the space; if you have room, consider buying an aviary that will give your parrotlet space to fly around. Plan to spot clean your bird’s cage on a daily basis and clean the cage in its entirety about once a month.

Related Read: What Other Birds Can Parrotlets Live Together With?

Setup

When setting up your bird’s cage, there are a few essentials you should include. First, provide your bird with multiple perches or branches at different heights. Your parrotlet will use these perches for climbing, playing, standing, or chewing. You should provide food and water bowls that are relatively high up. Never place water and food bowls beneath your bird’s perches to avoid droppings from contaminating its water and food.

In addition to food and water bowls, you may want to provide your parrotlet with some bird toys. Look for toys made for chewing. Chewing is a natural and very common bird behavior that allows them to better explore their environment and keep their beaks in good shape. By providing an outlet for chewing, you can mitigate chewing on other objects such as the sides of the birdcage and your furniture.

Common Health Problems

First of all, you need to remember that these conures are very small creatures. As a result, they can get into a lot more trouble than a larger bird could! Any time your parrotlet is out of its cage, make sure to supervise it so that it doesn’t get stuck trying to explore tiny crevices or get stepped on.

In terms of the yellow-faced parrotlet’s overall health, they tend to be fairly hardy creatures. However, like all animals, they are prone to certain health conditions. Below, we have listed some common health problems that you should look out for:

Common Health Problem
  • Polyomavirus
  • Respiratory diseases
  • Parrot fever or psittacosis
  • Pacheco’s disease

Diet and Nutrition

In the wild, parrotlets eat fruits, nuts, berries, and blossoms. In captivity, you should feed your birdseed a seed mix formulated specifically for parrotlets. Be mindful that bird seeds and pellets for other parrot species may not be suitable for your yellow-faced parrotlet because parrots can vary quite a bit in size. In addition to a commercial seed mix, supplement your parrotlet’s diet with fresh fruits and vegetables. Parrotlets enjoy a wide variety of foods and can even eat a bit of your food as long as it isn’t seasoned or covered in oil. Certain fruits and vegetables, such as avocados, rhubarb, and apple seeds, can be harmful or even toxic for birds, so make sure to verify that a particular food is okay for your parrotlet to eat before offering it as a treat.

Exercise

Like all animals, birds need a certain amount of exercise to stay healthy and happy. One of the best ways to ensure that your parrotlet is getting adequate exercise is by taking it out of its cage for a period of time each day. Not only will this out-of-cage time give your yellow-faced parrotlet the opportunity to spread its wings and get some exercise beyond its cage, but it will also provide it with mental stimulation as it explores different areas of your home. Aim for about 1-2 hours of out-of-cage time a day, ensuring that you can supervise your bird in order to prevent it from chewing your furniture or getting lost in small corners of your home.

Where to Adopt or Buy a Yellow-Faced Parrotlet

Unfortunately, the yellow-faced parrotlet is a relatively rare bird, so it is unlikely that you will find one at a local shelter. However, it doesn’t hurt to look. You can go in person to your shelter or use a search engine like Petfinder to see what bird breeds are available for adoption in your area. If you’re willing to travel to find a yellow-faced parrotlet, you can search without indicating any particular boundary to find one of these birds anywhere in the country.

If you aren’t able to find a yellow-faced parrotlet up for adoption, you will likely need to find a breeder. One of these birds from a breeder will cost you anywhere between $200-$500 depending on location and availability. Make sure to vet the breeder to make sure they are reputable before purchasing any animals. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about your bird and the breeding process.

divider-birdConclusion

The yellow-faced parrotlet is an affectionate and intelligent animal, but it doesn’t come without its challenges. For one, they are quite rare and can be difficult to find. They also have a habit of biting, which can be unpleasant, especially if you are new to keeping birds as pets. However, many people love these birds for their beautiful colors and lovable personality. If you don’t mind putting in some extra time and effort looking for one of these birds, it could be a great fit for your home.


Featured Image Credit: Agami Photo Agency, Shutterstock

Nicole Cosgrove

Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts' knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.