quaker parrot

Everything You Need to Know About The Quaker Parrot

 

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The Quaker parrot, also known as clown parrot or monk parakeet, is one of the most charming, energetic, and comical animals. They are a handful because they require a lot of social interaction. But, it is also for this reason that they are the perfect furry companion for every animal lover out there. 

The bird’s name comes from its distinctive “quaking” motions. They bob and shake in a manner that might seem unusual to us but is perfectly normal for them. This bob and shake happen every time they feel excited or irritated. For example, baby Quaker parrots are more prone to this behavior when asking for food. While the adults quake whenever they are hungry, sick, or are luring a mate. 

If you want to learn about these lovely creatures, we have information on everything you need to know about them. Read on to discover if a pet Quaker parrot is the right fit for your personality. 

 

Physical Characteristics

 

The average Quaker parrot has a height of 11-12 inches and weighs 100 grams. Although they are relatively small, they are easily noticeable, for they are remarkably attractive. They have beautiful plumage, long and pointed tails, relatively narrow wings, and dull orange beaks. 

The lifespan of a Quaker parrot is around 20 to 30 years, which is longer than the typical lifespan of a bird or even of a cat or dog. Some of them can even live beyond 30 years if they are provided with the quality care they need.

The Quaker parrot has its males and females looking exactly alike, making them a monomorphic species. Females are commonly 10 to 20 percent smaller. However, the only sure way to determine their gender is through DNA testing or a surgical testing procedure. 

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Colors and Markings

 

Quaker parrots are commonly vivid green on their head and wings and grey on their breast and cheeks. However, there are breeding programs that produce new varieties of color mutations in Quakers. With this, we classify the different varieties of Quaker parrots through their colors and markings.

 

  • The Blue monk parakeet has a beautiful blue color.
  • The Lutino monk parakeet is quite yellow because they lack melanin to mix with the blue color.
  • The Parblue monk parakeet’s amount of blue or green on their plumage is based on the amount of psittacine they produce. The psittacine provides red or yellow pigments.
  • The Cinnamon monk parakeet is a product of mutation to the natural colors of a parakeet.
  • The Pallid monk parakeet usually has attractive yellow or green colors.
  • The Grey-green monk parakeet has a darker structural color. It is also one of the more well-known varieties. 
  • The Fallow monk parakeet is similar to Cinnamon Quakers, but with red eyes. However, breeders are starting to find it difficult to breed them. 

 

Just to add, the mutations are a disadvantage to these domestic birds since it provides them with less camouflage than their relatives in the wild. In any case, each of them still makes lively and beautiful pets.  

 

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Personality and Behavior

 

Quaker parrots are delightfully entertaining because of their confidence and social skills. Their personality mirrors that of a large bird stuck in a small bird’s body. They are famous for their exceptional talking ability. To give an idea, Quakers greet by squeaking excitedly the moment you get home. If you want to greet them back, they are happy with head petting and some cuddles. What is more, they are loyal creatures that instinctively bond with a person.

 

Quaker parrots appreciate the company of their humans or other Quakers. They quickly bond with other Quakers when introduced at a young age. Meanwhile, their bond with their human will remain even when they start to have their own Quaker families. Bear in mind that they need this constant social interaction, or else they become depressed and develop neurotic behaviors. These neurotic behaviors involve screaming to something as extreme as feather plucking. 

According to Rick Axelson, DVM, “Try to choose a young [Quaker], hand raised bird. Older, wild, colony or parent raised birds may prove challenging to tame.” He adds, “Young birds are easier to tame.”

 

More on their personality and behavior, Quaker parrots can learn tricks using food or praise motivations. Hand-raised Quakers can be as tame as a companion bird can be. However, if you adopt them untamed, you will have to give it some time before training them.

Speech and Vocalization Talents

 

Amazingly, Quaker parrots have no trouble in trying to learn or mimic human speech. This characteristic helps them adapt well to urban environments. Most Quakers can develop a vast vocabulary and string together multiple phrases at a relatively young age. They can also mimic sounds and sing beautifully. 

 

Each of these birds has a different range of loudness. Some say that Quakers are quiet, while some say they are noisy. Quaker’s noise level does not usually bother neighbors, but a Quaker parrot is undoubtedly not ideal for people sensitive to noise.

 

Quakers call out to their owners on occasion, but they do not make ear-piercing screams like other parrots. Some wild Quakers can establish official dialects for the colony to use. Those that descended from small populations can develop a dialect that is distinct from other groups.  And those that descended from larger populations have a range of said dialects. 

Quaker Parrot Diet

Quaker parrots need the varying meals that their species eat in the wild, which is a mix of fruits, vegetables, and nuts. Adding to this list of hearty snacks are peppers, pasta, legumes, root vegetables, and table fresh foods. They need three tablespoons of pellets per day and at least 1/4 cup of these fresh fruits and vegetables. Both of which are served in the morning or night. And with their passion for endless chatting, it is no doubt that Quakers require all-day access to freshwater. 

There are also some precautions to look out for when planning a Quaker parrot’s diet. They cannot ingest food with chocolate, avocado, and coffee because these are toxic for birds. Also, be mindful of feeding them too many seeds and fattening nuts because these can easily make them overweight. Refrain from giving them peanuts, sunflower seeds, and millet. Just give these fatty snacks as treats instead, especially when you start to teach them some tricks!

 

Nesting

Wild Quakers build stick nests on trees and man-made structures, like power transformers that provide heat. But, their natural habitat is in the woodlands. As mentioned earlier, Quakers are social birds,  so they are naturally seen in groups. They typically socialize and build relationships with their nesting neighbors. 

 

Quaker parrots are sole parrot species who can build oven-shaped nests since other species simply dwell in tree holes. They do this extensively that their nests even have different chambers, which is analogous to human apartments. Each chamber has its entrance and houses a breeding pair.  

 

In the wild, Quakers build nests near other Quakers to build communities. These nests attract other tenants such as birds of prey, ducks, and even mammals. Domesticated Quaker parrots, meanwhile, rebuild nests by “borrowing” items around the owner’s house. 

 

Breeding 

If you are a beginner breeder, Quaker parrots are a great start since they are easy to breed. Breeders usually house 3 or 4 pairs of male and female Quaker parrots together. However, the Quakers will do better in an aviary environment with plenty of space and shrubs. 

Quakers mate during mid-fall to early spring. So, their breeding season is during the rainy season. This time is when the eggs are fertilized.  The Quaker subsequently lays her eggs, with one egg every 24 hours. One batch or clutch has around 4 to 8 eggs. The next clutch of eggs is laid in about four weeks, following the same pattern. They lay at most eight clutches per year. Then, the fertilized egg hatches after 23 to 28 days.

The young Quakers usually leave the nest at six weeks old. They will show signs of sexual maturity at 7 to 24 months old, which is their breeding age. And they fully mature at around two years old.

 

Female Quakers can lay eggs despite lacking a male partner. However, the eggs do not develop and are abandoned by the Quaker after they break. But if you remove these eggs from her cage, she will continue laying them. If you let the Quaker sit on her eggs and they eventually break, she will stop laying them. In other words, this is the way for her to realize that laying these eggs are not worth her efforts.

 

The breeding season of Quakers is difficult for both the breeders and the Quakers. It is because Quakers undergo hormonal changes that make them behave strangely.

 

  • They start biting when they feel sexual frustration. 
  • Quaker parrots also tend to start screaming as an outlet to release the frustration they face during these months. It is advised not to punish or scold your Quaker as they would scream louder. Instead, you should ignore their unnecessary sounds until the season ends.
  • They start plucking and losing feathers because they over-preen themselves more than usual. 
  • They become possessive of their belongings, such as food, toys, cage, and even their favorite human beings. And if they are kept in pairs, they become overprotective of each other.
  • They start showing creative physical displays such as eye pinning, wing flapping, regurgitation, and tail fanning. They do this to attract a mating partner. Your Quaker might consider you as his flock-mate and try to woo you too. This action is a good sign because it means that you have a strong bond with your pet.

 

Health Problems and Remedies

 

Some Quaker parrots have feather destruction behaviors, where they pluck out their feathers. This behavior can be avoided by ensuring constant interaction with your pets and by giving them enough exercise. This self-mutilation is a common way for parrots to deal with boredom and angst. With that said, avoid leaving the Quakers alone for long hours inside the cage. However, Quaker parrots are still easier to rehabilitate compared to other parrots.

Birds naturally hide these disease symptoms because of their honed survival instincts. So, you need to be attentive to your Quaker to notice subtle signs of illness. 

 

  • Visit the veterinarian for any sudden changes such as coughing, favoring a wing or leg, discharges in eyes, blood in droppings, changes in droppings, or plucking of feathers.

 

  • You should also see a veterinarian once you begin to notice any unusual behaviors. Look out for are when they start sitting on the bottom of the cage. Or when they stop doing what they usually do, like singing. 

 

  • Have routine veterinary check-ups so your veterinarian can physically examine, groom, and perform laboratory tests on your pet. 

 

Territorial Instincts

Quakers are possessive over their territories, so it is best not to place them together with other bird species. When introducing a new Quaker to your current Quaker, the new bird will appear like an intruder. They are likely to fight over who takes charge of the territory. To avoid them fighting, acquaint the two Quakers first in separate cages. In this way, they can form a bond before living together.

 

Keep in mind that when your Quaker attacks you, it does not necessarily mean that it hates you. It has an intense innate fear to protect its home from anyone who seems to be disturbing it. 

 

When you want to clean the Quaker’s cage, make sure that you have a smaller cage to transfer the bird to. This method is so to let the bird feel safe while you clean.

 

 

Exercise for a Quaker Parrot

 

The ideal time frame for Quaker parrots to be outside their cages to exercise is at least two hours every day. The perfect place for Quaker parrots to exercise is a play gym filled with various toys. Some typical toys for these intelligent creatures are puzzle toys, balls, bells, and smaller chew toys. 

To make sure that the play gym is a safe environment, close the windows and doors, and turn off ceiling fans. Also, block fireplaces, remove potentially toxic plants, and other pets inside the play gym. 

Since they have a nest-building instinct, they might try to weave things in cage bars or start nesting. Keep watch of the random things that are lying around your house. Quakers usually pick these up, so carefully supervise them when they are out of their cages.  If possible, prepare the materials you want them to use for building their nests, such as sticks, grass, or paper. Then, just leave these around the play gym’s floor.

 

Up until this point, you are already halfway into bringing home your very own Quaker parrot. After getting yourself informed, any Quaker will be lucky to have a caring companion like you. If you are ready, the succeeding sections will guide you in starting to take action.

 

Physical Preparations Before Getting a Quaker Parrot

First, check your local laws if it is legal to keep a Quaker parrot. You have to check because many regions outlaw the sale and ownership of Quakers. Sadly, they are seen as pests or agricultural threats that devour fruits and vegetables in gardens or fields. 

If you wish to adopt a Quaker, contact your area’s bird adoption and education foundation. If you wish to purchase a Quaker, you can buy one from pet stores or Quaker parrot breeders with a price range of $300 to $1,000. The price varies depending on the Quaker’s color mutations. It is recommended to purchase from a reputable breeder than from a pet store. Reputable breeders can provide them with the proper socialization they need.

 

If you choose to adopt, spend time with the bird first because it is very likely that it was not hand-raised. So, it may not be as affectionate. However, this is not a lost cause; you can still form a bond with an uninterested Quaker. As said earlier, this is done by spending time with them.

Next, you need to purchase other necessities such as a cage, food bowl, food, and toys. An unbendable and unbreakable cage for a parrot can cost as much as $1,000, while parrot food costs around $65 per month.  

Since Quaker parrots do well in pairs, you will eventually have to buy a partner for your pet. As much as possible, partner them at a young age since it will become harder to bond older Quakers. 

 

 

Mental Preparations Before Getting a Quaker Parrot

As mentioned earlier, Quaker parrots can live up to 30 years. It is a real advantage for people who are looking for a steady and reliable companion. For those who are unsure whether or not to take on this commitment, you can take your time. Among other factors to consider, think if you are ready to reciprocate consistent attention to this loving creature.

To better understand the importance of the Quaker parrot’s needs, Pippa Elliott, BVMS, MRCV explains, “Without plenty of social interaction, you will endanger your pet’s life as it becomes depressed and acts neurotically, by screaming and plucking its feathers. If you’re only interested in a pretty bird to look at, a Quaker parrot does not suit you. Even if your pet has a partner, it still requires human interaction.”

Pet Care 

Once you have jumped over the decision hurdle and decided to bring home a Quaker parrot, you can start playing! Little tricks such as helping it learn how to get on your finger establish trust and develops a bond between you two. Consistency is vital in ensuring the best training results.

Make time each day to interact and play with your Quaker. The amount of time you devote depends on your pet. Some Quakers love to spend all evening on your shoulder, while others may want to chatter with you for about an hour. Also, try to keep your Quaker in an active area of the house to keep it entertained.

Scott L. Ford DVM, Dip. ABVP-Avian says, “Balancing daily activities should, as closely as possible, fit the natural biology and behavior of your bird’s species as well as the lifestyle constraints of your home. Maintaining a balance of healthy social interaction, foraging and nutrition, and maintenance behaviors requires conscious effort by the owner.”

 

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You need to Quaker-proof the house for your curious bird to ensure its safety. This precaution can be done by covering any open water to prevent it from dunking itself. Also, remove laced fabrics that could tangle up the bird. Hide knick-knacks, silver wear, or eyeglasses that your pet could “borrow” for building its nest.  

Provide enough room for them to have their own space. In this way, they would not feel forced to interact with other birds or animals. Most Quakers do not get along with other birds. They are known to break into cages, so their cages must be secured at all times.

Since Quakers are chewers, you need rigid, secure cages and perches that cannot be chewed through. Provide them with a cage that is at least 1.5 feet by 1.5 feet or bigger. They need sufficient room for building their nests and for moving around. Something as simple as a bowl of freshwater can be put inside the cage as a makeshift birdbath. It can provide your Quaker with hours of entertainment, exercise, and mental stimulation.

 

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You also need to distance small children from nearing your Quaker parrot. Small children tend to tease these furry creatures, so your Quaker will most likely bite them. The recommended age of a human who can be left alone with a Quaker is at their pre-teens.  

Conclusion

Quaker parrots are fascinating creatures for their unique attitude, intelligence, and strong desire to make and keep a home. They might be high-maintenance in terms of their need for socializing, but maybe, that is what you need right now — a lively and chatty bird who will never fail to brighten the room. 

 

If you need more tips on caring for a pet Quaker parrot properly, The Furry Companion offers reliable and detailed discussions. Visit the site for informational materials regarding pet care of various animals. 

Frequently Asked Questions

 

Is a Quaker parrot a good beginner’s parrot?

No, because they require high maintenance and are for more experienced bird owners. Although you can put in the effort by learning from these experienced bird owners, we recommend that you try other parrots first. You can begin taking care of cockatiels, budgies, Lineolated parakeets (Linnies), or Bourke’s parakeets. 

What is parrot fever?

It is also called Chlamydiosis, which is a contagious bird disease that is transmittable to humans. Many birds carry the C. psittaci microorganism but remain healthy since they only act as carriers. When the bird is stressed, the microorganism produces the disease. Birds with parrot fever are generally weak, lack appetite, lose weight, and are depressed. They also have watery green diarrhea, nasal discharge, and some experience sudden death. 

Do Quakers undergo molting?

Yes, their feathers molt out. A slow molt is normal for Quakers as long as there are no bald spots. Their clipped feathers also molt out. When they lose tail or wing feathers, they lose one from each side to keep the bird balanced. 

 

Why does my Quaker scream when I leave the room?

This phenomenon is common, and it is called flock calling. Your Quaker considers you as a part of the flock and wants to know where you are and if you are safe. You can whistle or say a phrase like “I’m here,”  to indicate your presence.

Do Quaker parrot bites hurt?

Yes, they do because Quaker parrots have sharp beaks that can easily pierce the human skin. If they are out for someone, they can give puncture wounds or stitches through their bites.

How to train Quakers not to bite?

You can reward their good behavior with treats. Quaker parrots will soon associate good behavior with treats and will learn to adopt that behavior. Give your pet a time out inside the cage when it bites, and walk away. After a few minutes, when your Quaker calms down, offer your finger to be stepped on. With just that, it can be trained not to bite.

What if I need to leave for a week to go on a vacation?

Leave your Quaker with someone it is comfortable with. If there is not anyone, try asking your Quaker’s veterinarian if they board parrots or hire a professional bird sitter. Let your pet know that you are going away but assure it that you are coming back. 

Why is my Quaker always screaming when the light is on?

Your Quake is trying to tell you that the light is bothering them. Sleep deprivation in Quakers leads to behavior issues and feather problems. You should move the cage to a darker room and cover it. Leave her undisturbed for around a 12-hour sleep.  

Why do Quaker parrots puff up?

Feather puffing allows Quaker parrots to retain body heat, which is useful in colder weather. Feather puffing can also get extra air inside, which keeps the Quakers cool in hotter weather. 

Why do Quakers purr?

It is common among Quakers and a good sign because they only purr when they are happy and content. It is a soft and subtle growling. If your Quaker seems to be purring with dilated pupils and fluffed feathers, it is not a purr but a growl. This certain purr indicates aggression.  

How do Quaker Parrots show affection?

They show affection by snuggling, contact calling, singing songs, whistling, or purring, kissing or licking, sleeping carefree on the lap of their favorite human, regurgitating food to their human mate, preening their favorite human, tail wagging, or fluffing up their feathers.

How much sleep do Quaker parrots need?

They need 8 to 12 hours of sleep to remain healthy. They can do this when you provide a quiet and dark environment for your Quaker.

Why can’t my Quaker use his feet to hold anything?

Not all Quakers can use their feet to hold things, while others choose not to do so. The larger the Quaker, the more it can hold the food with its talons.

What is the best solution if another Quaker is bullying my Quaker?

Try to separate their cages and exercise periods. If the relationship does not improve after this, they really cannot be friends or acquaintances. You can opt to rehome either one of them. In this way, they can be permanently separated. 

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