African Blue Parrot

Unlike some parrots, african blue parrots are willing to help a fellow bird in need without any reward for themselves. Such “instrumental helping” has only been seen outside of humans in bonobos and orangutans, says Desiree Brucks at Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich. The researchers trained eight African grey parrots and six blue-headed macaws to pass a metal token through a hole in their compartment to another bird of the same species, then exchange it for a walnut.

Habitat

While many parrots are green in color, there are also some with gorgeous blue feathers. These birds range from powdery light blues to deep indigos. They are often found as pet birds and can be a beautiful addition to any household.

Like their relatives, African greys live in tropical or subtropical forests and woodlands, reseeding the forest ecosystem after rain. They are not endangered in the wild, but are vulnerable to habitat destruction and trapping for the bird trade.

These clever birds can mimic sounds they hear in their surroundings, even human words and laughter. They can count, identify colors and shapes and learn a variety of other skills. They are very good at recalling social interactions and have been described as having the intelligence of a five-year-old child.

Parrots are known for their altruistic behavior, helping kin and strangers alike. One recent study showed that African grey parrots display altruism, willingly giving a conspecific partner a nut they might otherwise have eaten, even though it could lead to them being short on their own supply.

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Feeding

While their intelligence is impressive, these birds are sensitive creatures. They need a peaceful environment and several hours of human interaction per day.

If you want your parrot to learn to talk, speak to it regularly using the same words. This will help your pet to recognize the sounds of the words and repeat them back to you.

In the wild, African grey parrots live in large flocks with members of different species. As a result, they have developed a high cognitive ability to keep track of many social interactions at once and to understand which members of their groups are helping or hurting each other.

Feed your parrot specially formulated pellets and fresh fruits, vegetables, and greens. Avoid foods like avocados, raw meat, milk, chocolate, and raw eggs as they can be toxic to your bird. A weekly bath is a fun way to bond with your parrot; most birds enjoy splashing around in the water bowl.

Care

This intelligent bird can be quite mischievous and may indulge in destructive behaviors if not provided with enough to do. They need plenty of socialization and handling to maintain a sweet demeanor.

Parrots can live up to 50 years and will require a lifetime commitment on the part of their human companions. Be sure to weigh the pros and cons before adopting this fascinating companion bird.

They must be fed a diet containing high-quality pellets (available from breeders and specialist pet stores) and fresh fruit, vegetables and greens. Avoid commercial seed mixes that are high in fat, which can lead to obesity and nutritional deficiencies.

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They need to have a large cage, lots of toys and perches. Rotate the toys to keep their interest and provide them with a small basin of lukewarm water to bathe in. This provides another bonding opportunity, as well as the benefit of helping to remove shedding feathers. Bath time also helps prevent boredom and encourages natural foraging behavior.

Training

The african blue parrot makes a wonderful pet for families. They love to play and enjoy participating in daily activities. They can also learn complex tricks. These intelligent birds can even create musical instruments and unlock locks.

The training of your bird begins in the cage. When the parrot is comfortable in its carrier, begin target training. Hold a target stick (chopstick or dowel) in front of the bird and encourage it to touch it with its beak. If it does, click and reward with a treat. Repeat this a few times until the parrot touches the stick without hesitation.

Next, teach it to step up. Begin by holding the clicker, target stick and a treat in one hand and stretch your other hand towards the parrot. When the bird puts its right or left claw on your hand, say’step up’ and then present your other hand. Repeat this with different people so that the parrot is accustomed to stepping up for everyone.