Don’t see a bird species appropriate for your bird? “Click here & let us know” so we can add your bird’s, food category.

There are two types of greys. Timnehs and Congos. Congos have a bright red/violet tail but are also about 1/3 larger than timnehs. Congo’s may grow to be 14 inches long weighing in at approximately 300-500 grams. The timneh however weigh about 235-275 grams  and usually grow no more than 10 – 12 inches.

There are about 30 species of amazon parrots. White fronted amazons are the smallest at about 10 inches long with the mealy amazon more than 50% larger at a whopping 16 inches! There are many amazon parrot species many humans are unaware of so we wrote this blog post: 23 videos of 23 species of Amazon parrots many you never heard of.

Amazon’s are unique in that they have no uropygial (preening) gland.

Budgies are remarkable birds. We should know. We live with 10 of them, all rescues. They’re quite smart and extremely visual as well as vocal. Don’t discount the fact that they are small, they are highly enjoyable and will socialize individually but tend to be happier in a small flock. Seed is fine as they have lived on it for millions of years before humans got involved. Budgies and NASA (really?)

Pronounced “kai-eke” and comes in two basic flavors black-headed caiques and white-bellied caiques (pictured above).

Caiques our high energy, you’ve been warned.

They love to always entertain.

They are stocky with a square tail, weighing in at about 150 g (5.25 ounces) and 9 to 10 inches long,

For perspective cockatiels are 12 to 13 inches long but are considered heavy at 100 g (3.3 ounces).

In the wild caïques are considered “canopy dwellers” meaning they like heavily force in areas spending their time at the tops of the trees.

This begins your map for caique cagescaping, or how to design the bird cages environment.

We talk about the birdcage canopy effect in depth there here but basically it boils down to having enough toys in the upper third of the cage that you can’t see the bird through the birdcage.

Bird toys have other purposes aside from entertainment one of which is security.

Much like humans put window coverings in their home especially in the bedrooms, your parrot will appreciate providing privacy both day and night.

As people brought domesticated birds into their homes they discovered male canaries could provide entertainment long before television and the Internet. In some homes a solitary canary sat in a cage at either end of the room becoming the most basic of stereo sound. Finches are low maintenance birds. They do well in small flocks. Learn why canaries sing.

For the record the folks in charge of things like species taxonomy recently classified cockatiels as the smallest of cockatoos. These are the most popular pet birds anywhere and who could blame you for wanting one. The males can be talkers and the females tend to whistle but they’re quite entertaining and affectionate. 

Our albino cockatiel Popcorn would happily follow me throughout our 60 foot-long apartment from room to room having chosen her appropriate landing zones (with our help). 

They are one of the best flyers for small parrots and can attain in line speeds up to 30 mph. 

If you do keep your cockatiel flighted which we recommend, it’s important to make sure your home or those parts of your home that the bird will be flying in are made bird proof. Flight is a Bird’s Greatest Gift – Are You a Gift Giver or Taker?

 

Humans generally consider cockatoos to be white feathered birds. Actually cockatoos come in black, brown, pink and white with other brilliant colors.

Cockatoos can be loud but it’s really more species specific with a big cockatoos like the umbrella cockatoos and Moluccan Cockatoos being the most vocal, but Elenora and Major Mitchell cockatoos can almost be considered demure.

Cockatoos can be one of the more challenging species of birds to keep as pets.

They’re very intelligent and have a need to chew anything for a good part of their day.

Many are considered Velcro birds in that they must be close to their humans otherwise they may exhibit negative behavior like screaming and feather plucking.

With the exception of cockatiels, cockatoos are not starter birds but really should be embraced by those who have or have had other feathered creatures in the past.

Cockatoos – learning about a few of the species

It’s interesting to note that there’s actually 120 species of Conures.

They range in size from green cheek’s which way about 64 g approximately two thirds the size of the cockatiel.

To Patagonian Conures Wayne in at around 275 grams, the size of a timneh African grey.

This makes it impossible to find one-size-fits-all for the many species of these birds.

Conyers are very vocal which means if you live in an apartment, a conure will not be a good match.

They are quite right and entertaining and like most parrots require a lot of social interaction.

If you have any questions about feeding or caring for a conure, reach out 24/7 and we will do our best to answer your pet bird keepers questions.

List of types of Conure parrot species

The difference between doves and pigeons is nothing more than semantics.

Dove is more of an Nordic term whereas pigeon made it into English from French

In spite of what you may have read there is no scientific distinction between doves and pigeons

There’s probably a little over 300 species but the one we see most in the cities is typically called a rock pigeon.

Whether watching them feed at the park, or in the woods you’ll note that are typically ground feeders.

We get a lot of mourning Dove visits at are feeding stations where its very quiet so we can hear their sad and haunting cooing sound – a distinctive, cooOOoo-woo-woo-woooo, by males to attract females.

The cooing may be mistaken for an owl, but owls would be higher in the trees.

When mourning doves take flight the wings “whistle”.

They primarily eat seed but both mom and dad feed squabs (babies) something called crop milk, a substance that is generated from within their crop.

They have one of the largest ranges of all birds, over 4,000,000 mi.²

20% of parrots species are sexually dimorphic.

This means you can determine the sex of the bird by the color.

Female Eclectus parrots Eclectus have a red head and blue body well-suited for nurturing chicks in the dark hollows of trees.

Males are green which is an ideal color for camouflage while out forging food to feed newborns.

Eclectus parrots are one of the few bird species that are polyamorous.

Female Eclectus parrots will have sex with multiple partners as long as they provide “good regurgitation”.

Males will have their outside the marriage romps as well.

As with much information on the Internet, it is stated page after page of search results that Eclectus parrots have elongated digestive systems making them prone to vitamin toxicity

We did our fact-checking and had a conversation with Avian veterinarian Dr. Laurie Hess official spokesperson for Zupreem pet food.

Pin tailed whydah finch pictured.

If you are seeking low maintenance (relatively speaking) birds in your home, finches might be right for you.

There best In the small flock in cages large enough to allow flight as a probably never have much experience outside of their aviary.

Fresh food and water along with all the cleaning and vacuuming the come with birds.

You will want to make yourself smart about section of the birds because they are prolific breeders and you can end up with eggs and babies rather quickly.

Providing privacy zones with say small plastic plants and bird toys so females can get away from aggressive males or as some people prefer to keep a male and a female cage.

The majority of humans even pet bird keepers typically use the term parakeet to describe a budgie.

In fact there are hundreds of species of parakeets.

Bourkes parakeets are the size of a very large budgie, so if you’re looking for budgie size bird food, click on our budgie category.

All 120 (or so) species of Conures are are parakeets although not all parakeets are Conures.

Alexandrine parakeetscan grow to 24 inches long weighing as much as 300 grams (think timneh grey)

An Indian ringneck parakeet is 4 inches longer and about 25% heavier than a cockatiel.

Ringnecks also have bigger beaks than the smaller parakeets and so they tend to eat more like an African grey than a cockatiel feeding mostly with their feet occasionally dunking their food in water.

Ringnecks are part of the 20% of parrots that are sexually dimorphic meaning using tell their sex by their color.

Male ringnecks have the ring, females have none.

Ask most humans in the know “what does a macaw look like” and they’ll usually say is a very big bird that’s blue and gold or scarlet with a long tail .

Much the way we offer the two size categories of parakeets we split macaws into large and mini macaws.

We identified 43 species of macaws that you can read about here

Although many people know what the big blue Hyacinth macaw, where I’ve seen one way and at 2250 g and was 46 inches long the counterpoint to this is the Hahns macaw which is about the size of a sun conure.

Generally, I caution new pet bird keepers should nod have a macaw as their first but then who am I to judge?

We follow the rule of thumb that says bigger-bird-bigger-brain-bigger-voice-bigger-poop.

I try not to dictate bird cage size for any given bird in your home but I do recommend a dome top cage providing more headroom if you will.

You’ll also not want that beautiful longtail to be banging the sides of the cage every time he turns around nor their wing tips getting destroyed when stretching.

Rainbow lorikeets (above) are the most popular species of lorikeet that we keep as pets.

Surprisingly we have counted at least 62 species of lorikeets which you can explore here

Lorikeets 62 species of nectar slurping seed eating carnivores

As the blog post name implies lorikeets have a varied diet but mostly in liquid form.

Meaning what goes in liquid comes out liquid.

Housing lorikeets means protecting the walls behind the bird cage from the colorful projectiles painted upon said walls.

Lorikeets can range from 10 to 12 inches long and anywhere between 75 and 157 g making them anything from the size of the cockatiel to the size of a caïque.

In Australia where lorikeets are plentiful the so used to humans that most of them can be hand fed.

Much like feral Quaker parrots found in Chicago and other North American cities feral lorikeets are now considered pests and New Zealand and Western Australia near the University of Western Australia and are now classified as a pest.

Love birds can be fun little feathered flying pets.

Depending upon the species they can be from 5 to 7 inches long and 40 to 65 g.

If you need a lovebird fix, here’s a post with nine lovebird videos.

It is a misconception that little lovebirds must be in pairs to be happy.

A single lovebird can do well on its own but much like a parrotlet, unless you spend daily socialization time you’ll end up with nothing more than a pair of flying scissors.

Lovebirds like to play with their toys while hanging on the side of the cage so you needn’t put any in the center of the cage because it will probably be neglected.

There’s also a very easy way to determine the sex of the lumber that is fairly accurate.

Give the bird a square sheet of paper be a newspaper computer paper allowing them time to chew it up.

If long strips are the result and then get tucked under its wings you have a female.

If the bird makes confetti you,ve got a male

Some may have heard the term “mini macaw” without drilling down an understanding of how wide a variety of macaws are having at least 43 species that we’ve identified.

Here’s the thing, the smallest of the macaws is the Hahns macaw a.k.a. red-shouldered macaw (pictured above).

Putting things in perspective the bird is about 12 inches long and weighs up to about 165 g.

Now picture that demure yet vocal some macaw coming in at about 12 inches and about 130 g.

That’s right, a macaw the size of a small conure, now you know.

These mini macaws are smart trainable and bond well with people but sometimes choose a single human which may or may not be a problem in your household

Blue-Headed Macaw Babies a.k.a. Blue-wing Macaws are anywhere from 15 to 17 inches (38 – 43 cm) long from beak to the end of the tail and can live for 40 or 50 years.

Although the Noble Macaw is closely related to the Hahn’s Macaw they are both two distinct subspecies of the Red-shoulder Macaw. Hahn’s Macaws are approximately 12 inches (30 cm) long, have long narrow tails and large heads.

Find out what we else discovered on this blog post entitled Are Mini Macaws The “Second Bananas” Of Macaws?

Something you learn early on about parrotlets is that they don’t realize they’re not the size of a 1200 g blue and gold macaw.

This defines their attitude.

Parrotlets weigh between 25 and 35 g depending on the species.

Because it doesn’t understand its own size relative to the world it will challenge other animals and humans in the house.

They’re not noisy birds which makes them great for apartment dwellers but they need to be socialized daily.

Without human socialization, you’ll end up with nothing more than a flying pair of scissors.

The bite these birds offer is the equivalent of a mule kick, you won’t forget it.

Although they are only about 5 inches long they require a much larger cage than most birds that size like budgies.

They like to chew and need to be supplied with a lot of foraging and enrichment type chew toys.

It really doesn’t matter if you have a male or female, either way, the bird should work out well in your home.

Some parrotlets will show the ability to talk but there is no guarantee with any bird that it will acquire any size vocabulary.

Finally it’s interesting to note that these birds are actually parrots and they are the smallest birds of all parrots.

Because they look like some of their larger cousins they have been referred to as “pocket parrots.”

We need to spend more time educating ourselves and you the reader on parrotlets, until then please enjoy this post entitled “Do Bird Food Pellets Affect A Parrotlet Mutation Colors?

Most humans have not heard the term poicephalus referring to nine species of parrots indigenous to Africa.

The most familiar are probably Senegals and the Myers.

But we don’t at least seven more species (not counting subspecies)

Jardine’s Parrots, Rueppell’s Parrots, Red-bellied Parrots, Yellow-faced Parrots, Brown-headed Parrots, Niam Niam AND Cape Parrots (South African Cape Parrots, Brown-necked Parrots & Grey-headed Parrots – technically speaking).

If you’d like to drill down about the top level species, you’ll be interested in this blog post entitled “Poicephalus – 9 African Parrot Species not Ending in Grey

 

I know from experience Senegal’s and probably Myers tend to bond with a single person which could make it problematic for other humans and birds as well as other animals in the household.

 

Senegal’s are not very good flyers and probably will need landing lessons as they are slow and clunky having a larger head and beak than most parrots their size.

 

You will see pet bird keepers having Cape parrots which are quite interesting and very smart.

Like the Eclectus, Cape parrots are a good choice for the family because they can have a relationship with multiple people in the household and they’re not known to be biters, but every bird has its unique philosophy and biting.

Quaker parrots a.k.a. monk parakeets are cute little birds that can make great pets.

They grow to be about 11 inches long and as an adult weighing in at roughly 125 g not much more than a fat cockatiel.

Three things notable about Quakers are.

There are feral colonies of monk parakeets throughout the United States.

In Chicago, they can be found on the south side near the Museum of science and industry.

“But wait” you blurt out holding your hand high waving it to ask a question.

“Yes Martha”

“How do those tiny birds survive brutal Chicago winters”

First off Quakers are the only parrot that builds a nest.

Most of the parrots in the wild reside in the hollows of trees in caves or under rocks.

They not only have the vision of an architect like Helmut Jahn (who designed the state of Illinois building in Chicago) but can execute incredibly complex and large nests.

These nests are so large that they become communal where dozens of birds can reside in the winter keeping one another warm.

The second thing notable about Quakers is that they are illegal in many states.

We drill down on that subject in this blog post entitled “What types of parrots can you legally own in the US?”

File under your tax dollars in action.

The third thing is that they can be “nippy.”

This can usually be overcome with clicker training.

Quakers are bountiful in rescues as the utility companies usually partner with local rescues to help remove their nests from grid transformers where the birds seek warmth when the temperature begins to drop.

Cagescaping – a definition

to improve the caged bird’s home environment.

alter the appearance of a bird cage by arranging all the components to give the bird a sense for living in the wild.

  1. Improve the aesthetic appearance of (a bird cage) by changing adding the proper mixture of toys, accessories and feeders..

  2. “the bird home has been tastefully cagescaped”

Cagescaping refers to any activity that modifies the visible features of a bird cage  including:

  1. Placement of various of perches & ladders made from multiple textures

  2. Synthesize natural elements like creating a privacy canopy of toys in the upper ? of the cage

  3. Ensuring some food to be worked for not simply place in easily accessible feeding dishes

  4. Fixture(s) providing timed cycles of full spectrum lighting

 

 
 

Feathered Factoid: People have 9,000 taste buds, while parrots have 350.
 

Bird food & parrot food requires a science lesson: Because birds are small and have a high need for

Soft billed birds like Finches and Canaries swallow their seeds whole. Parrots are able to remove the hulls from the seeds with their beaks. Now that we know about the gizzard, we should note that the soft-billed birds could use a little help grinding down these whole seeds. This is why we introduce small amounts of grit they can swallow which will help grind up the seeds while in the gizzard.  
energy they can digest food rapidly. This is one reason young birds mature quickly and migrating birds are able to store fat which enableDigested food now moves to the first part of the small intestine which is divided into two parts and where most of the digestion and absorption of the food now occurs in the parrot's gut. A bird's pancreas is actually better developed than a mammal's pancreas. This is probably to compensate for a lack of some saliva and chewing. It produces proteins, digesting enzymes,

Parrots use the crop to store food eaten in a hurry so they don't get caught by predators. From the crop, food goes into the stomach where it finally begins to get digested. The stomach has two sections one of which produces the necessary digestive juices and enzymes which soak the food which is then passed to the gizzard. The gizzard has a lot of muscles that grind up the food - what we do with our teeth.

Birds may break up their food or crush it with their bill, they don't chew it. Parrots, birds of prey, and finches have short, thick, fleshy tongues which allow them to manipulate their food. Where humans swallow with our soft palates, birds have to tilt their heads back to get the food from inside their mouth (buccal cavity) to the first part of their throat (Oesophagus). The esophagus continues to draw the bird's food down into its body - where it stands at the Crop.

the long flights. There are species of birds that are known to increase the weight of 40% in 10 days.
carbohydrates

and fat which are delivered into the small intestine.

The food then moves into the large intestine which is really small compared to mammals and doesn't really have a lot to do with digestion and birds. The food journey ends at the cloaca (which also serves as a reproductive organ) where waste materials are collected and expelled.

African Grey Parrot Playing with Red Solo Cup - Video
(Toby Kieth song of the same name in the background)
Nothing to do with food - just really funny

That said a seed diet is okay, just be mindful that you need to supplement with some vitamins, minerals and amino acids. You can do this by supplementing with fresh fruits and vegetable. Halved walnuts for larger birds and cracked walnuts and slivered almonds for smaller birds are a good source of omega-3 fatty acids. You can also simply add a commercial supplement like Prime. Adding a powdered supplement to your bird's food can be a challenge so here's a couple of tips.

And then there are all the brands. We just added our 26th brand of bird food to the website, welcome Kaylor. Why do we carry so many brands? We offer everything we can base upon what you, our customer asks for. Which brand is better, that's up to you and your bird(s). To further complicate the issue, there are brands within brands Hagen offers Living World seed blend, Tropimix which is an enrichment blend of hulled seeds fruits and nuts and other nutritious items, and Tropican their pellet blend. Higgins offers seven lines of food including Mayan Harvest, a natural gourmet blend of seeds fruits and legumes and exotic spices, Nederlands Vita Seed an economy seed mixture and Worldly Cuisines cooked bird food.

is a very popular and very clean bird seed coming in a variety of Volkman
species specific blends. They even offer an Eclectus food (which can also be eaten by other species) which is not vitamin fortified in accordance with the most recent avian nutritional research. Volkman has no chemical preservatives or artificial flavors. Dr. Harvey's bird food is an all-natural blend containing only human grade ingredients too.

Birds in the wild are scavengers, they have to be in order to survive. Mark Hagen says it well, "Wild animals and birds are shown by their parents the right combination of sometimes very limited types of foods to meet their requirements for flight, growth, reproduction, and living! These wild food items have been selected through thousands of years of evolution. In captivity, they are under different conditions and eating different foods and we expect them to select the best combination immediately.

But it is not necessarily better to feed what birds eat in the wild to those in captivity. Many plants in the wild contain secondary plant compounds or are very low in many essential nutrients. Some Breeders have a romantic notion that captive diets which are complicated, labor intensive, using expensive ingredients are the most nutritious. Yet it is possible to feed easy to prepare, cost-efficient diets which do not compromise proper levels of essential nutrients".


Wild Sulfur Crested Cockatoos Foraging - Video


I do hope we made some headway in clarifying the options you have to feed your bird. Feel free

as an example.
California Blend although not as well-known as the others have been around for more than 25 years and is popular in zoos and animal themed parks as a daily diet. Their pellets are shaped to improve feeding techniques, ease of manipulation, and low waste. Roudybush offers pellets in several sizes and uses different fruits like dried peaches, apricots, plums, bell peppers and carrots in their Scenic bird food bird food has no dyes or preservatives. There can be benefits to these organic bird foods but just like in the grocery stores you'll find the cost of organic bird foods higher.Goldenfeast offer USDA certified organic bird food pellets. Totally Organics and Harrison's

although considered a bird treat offer a comprehensive nutritionally balanced diet for your bird consisting lots of human grade ingredients like pineapple, papaya, carrots, and raisins all rolled up in neat balls. The ball design provides your bird with a variety of beak and tongue sensations while enabling foraging activities.LaFeber's Nutriberries

offer colorful pellets that many birds find attractive.Pretty Bird Daily Select or Intune, Higgins Zupreem Fruit BlendThis is one of the reasons that pellets were developed. Pellets combined all the "good stuff " into one relatively neat package. We know parrots can be picky so a dish of food where everything looks the same offers less visual temptation to remove the contents. Zupreem makes pellets with colors and without. If your bird likes colorful food, 

to

contact us with specific nutrition questions. And remember we are the only company to offer free bird food rewards for all of your purchases

written by mitch rezman
approved by catherine tobsing

 

 

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