The parrot isn't one type of bird, but actually a large family of bird species. The huge macaw and the cockatoo are two kinds of pet birds that are actually parrots. Another kind of parrot that is extremely popular is the African Grey parrot. African Greys
make excellent companion birds, are among the smartest birds in the world and will readily learn to speak. Most parrots are native to Australia, just like the lovely bird of paradise. The parrot family also includes popular pets like lovebirds, conures and parakeets.
Even though all types of parrots are related, you still need to consider your particular species when it comes to choose the right bird food. Simple bird seed that you might use to feed wild birds at your backyard bird feeder just isn't right for parrots. Bird food for parrots is usually in a pellet form instead of just a mix of raw seeds. All parrot species will enjoy and benefit from treats of raw vegetables, fruit and other healthy snacks.
No matter what kind of parrot you have, you'll need a sturdy bird cage that is large enough. A macaw might need a bird cage as large as 5 feet high, but a smaller African Grey parrot would be happier in a smaller home. Your bird should be able to open its wings fully and turn around without touching the bird cage walls. Be careful with the doors. The cockatoo and macaw are extremely smart birds and can easily solve the puzzle of a locked door.
Weekly sprays with warm water will keep your pet bird looking shiny and clean. Most parrots will also enjoy a splash in a bird bath occasionally too. A parrot shouldn't be considered a decorative item in your home. You need to take time every day to let your bird out and play. Even if you load the cage with bird toys, these pet birds are social and still need attention from you.
You should find a bird magazine that focuses on the species of bird you have and subscribe.
Photo courtesy of Gina Spadafori, co-author of Birds for Dummies and other books