There are lots of different parrots in the parrot enclosure at Flamingo Land, so here’s a quick guide to who’s who – see how many of these you can spot next time you visit Flamingo Land!
Most of the large, brightly coloured parrots that we look after are macaws. Hyacinth macaws are mostly blue and are the largest parrots in the world, at one metre from the top of their heads to the tips of their tails. Blue and yellow macaws have more yellow markings than hyacinth macaws and are a little smaller.
If the parrot is mostly red, see what other colours it has; if it’s yellow and blue then it’s a scarlet macaw, if it’s green and blue then it’s a green-winged macaw.
Scarlet macaws are one of the most long-lived parrots, reaching 75 years of age. We also have two smaller species of macaw – military macaws are mostly green, as are yellow-collared macaws but they have a black head.
One of our parrots looks quite different to all the others – our sulphur-crested cockatoo is white with a yellow crest on his head.
We also have three species of Amazon parrots, all of which look small and green at first glance. However, yellow-shouldered Amazons have yellow heads, while blue-fronted Amazons have yellow and blue heads. Orange-winged Amazons can be tricky to tell apart from yellow-collared macaws but the macaw has a longer tail with some blue and red in it.
We only have a small selection of all the parrots in the world. There are 279 species of parrot, including macaws, keas, lovebirds, parakeets and kakapos. All of them have strong beaks – macaws have been known to snap broom handles with theirs! They also all have feet with two toes that point forward and two toes that point backwards, useful for gripping nuts and fruit. Most parrots live in warm climates but there are some, such as keas, which live in snowy, alpine areas. Parrots usually live together in flocks of up to 1,000 birds.
Parrots are popular as pets but it is important to always be sure of where they’ve come from to avoid encouraging the illegal pet trade. They are also noisy (especially early in the morning), messy, not house trained and demand lots of attention! Parrots can be trained to talk, although they will never understand what it is that they’re saying.
None of the parrots in our display enclosure can talk but if you ever go and see our Bird Show, they have several birds that can copy a variety of sounds.