Colourful and clever

The beauty of their colourful feathers, their ability to imitate human speech and their role in fantastic stories like pirate adventures make parrots an animal that have always fascinated humans.

Characteristics of a parrot

The parrot family is very large and includes around 350 species and approx. 850 sub-species. From the tiny Pygmy Parrot (approx. 8 cm long) to the Hyacinth Macaw (around one metre long), everything is represented. It is not easy to classify birds correctly but there are a few characteristics that all parrots share: a distinctive beak with a movable tongue and climbing foot with two toes at the front and two at the back.

The famous Macaw

For many, the Macaw is the epitome of a parrot because of its size, its magnificently coloured plumage and its intelligence. In the natural habitat of most Macaws, the tropical rainforest of South and Central America, these sociable animals are rarely seen alone. Outside of breeding season, many species band together and fly together as a flock to resting and feeding places. They descend onto trees and fields with wild screeches. These parrots got their name from their distinctive call. The American Indians called them “Ara” or “Arara”. It’s hard to imagine that these vocal birds could be anything but – and not just because they are able to create understandable words. These intelligent birds also demonstrate their remarkable voice repertoire in close contact with their partner.


Once a bird couple have found one another, they never separate. They feed each other and groom their feathers or nestle up closely and lavish each other with affection. Strangely enough, they do not mourn the death of their partner very long – unlike the famously inseparable lovebirds. But if you remember that Macaws can live 60 to 80 years, a Macaw partnership is a pretty big achievement.


If you want to get a parrot as a pet, you should keep in mind how long they can live. The space available also plays an important role – a large aviary where the bird can comfortably spread and flatter their wings is ideal. However, being let out to fly every day is also essential and you need a room that can be made “bird-safe”. Parrots are ultimately sociable group animals and are unhappy if kept alone. Humans can not replace members of the same species, regardless of how much love and rapport they build up with their pet.

Call into your local store today to discuss your bird’s personal needs with our Maxi Zoo Pet Experts.