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Although they are the smallest of the parrot family, sometimes less than 5 inches long, Parrotlets (pronounced “parrot” “let”) have a personality that belies their small size.


The many species of Parrotlets all originate from Mexico, Central and South America; however, only three types are commonly purchased as pets – the Pacific Parrotlet, the Green-Rumped Parrotlet, and the Spectacle Parrotlet. All Parrotlets are thought to have a lifespan of about 15 to 20 years.


The Pacific Parrotlet is the most well-known and popular of all the types. They are usually about 5 inches in length. Both males and females are olive green, with the males having cobalt feathers extending from the eye, as well as on their rumps and wings. Females have emerald green eye streaks, yellow-green feathers around the face, and dark olive green backs and wings.


The Green-Rumped Parrotlet is another commonly known species. One of the smallest of all the Parrotlets, less than 4 ½ inches long, the Green-Rumped Parrotlets are delicate, streamlined birds with small beaks. Apple green, the males have cobalt blue primary wing feathers and turquoise secondary wing feathers, while the females have a patch of yellow feathers just above the nostrils.


The Spectacle Parrotlets are also diminutive, measuring less than 5 inches in length. The males are a deep evergreen with a bright violet-blue eye ring, rump, primary and secondary coverts, and primary, secondary and underwing coverts. The females are not quite as dark green as the males and have an emerald green eye ring.


All Parrotlets are intelligent and active birds. They can be taught to do tricks and to talk. Because of their nature, they require a large cage and plenty of toys to keep them stimulated and happy. Ropes, ladders, chew toys, rings, bells and beads are some of their favorite toys. Despite their small size, they have powerful beaks, so buy toys designed for cockatiels rather than finches. They also like natural wood perches, and these also help to exercise their feet.


Parrotlets usually do best as single birds, they can become territorial or jealous and may pick on the other Parrotlet. For the same reason, Parrotlets should be closely supervised, and perhaps separated, from other pets within the house. They have no regard for animals that are much larger then themselves and may try to attack them.


Because of their highly energetic personalities, Parrotlets require a diet of high quality food, in quantities that will seem disproportional to their size. They have a very high metabolism and must have a seed or pellet diet designed for cockatiels, supplemented with fruits, vegetables and grains daily. They enjoy fresh fruits, vegetables, cooked rice, pasta and potatoes. Most grain and protein foods, as long as they are of human quality, are suitable for the Parrotlet.


If you are looking for an active, intelligent, energetic pet, a Parrotlet might be the bird for you!

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