Which bird has been described as "smarter than you are"? This
challenging statement refers to the lovely Quaker Parakeet- you will have to
meet one to take the intelligence test!
Quaker or Monk Parakeets are incredible nest builders. Generally,
they will take over an existing nest and build on top of it, making large
apartment buildings! In the wild, Quaker Parakeets eat fruits, seeds, berries
and insects. They are prolific breeders. Quaker Parakeets are very intelligent
little animals. Owners often report logical reasoning in them. For example, they
will call their owners' names to get their attention. Then they declare whatever
it is they would like to express using unrelated words and phrases that they
have been taught, which are shockingly appropriate to the particular situation!
Quaker Parakeets are also great at mimicking noises, and can imitate human
speech, other birds and animals, and squeaky doors or household noises. They
will even compose song, setting their favorite phrases to simple tunes they
know! Be careful if you have other pets with your Quaker Parakeet, as they have
been known to chase large dogs, which could result in disaster if the dog is not
cowed by the Parakeet's confidence! Quaker Parakeets need lots of exercise and
baths, both of which they love. Their aviary should be as large as possible,
probably sized for a small Conure or Cockatiel. Quaker Parakeets are
mechanically intelligent and can quickly learn to open their cage doors, so be
careful! They love to have loose twigs on aviary floors for nest building and
need a variety of toys, changed every few weeks, to prevent them from becoming
bored. They need fresh water at all times, and a pellet based diet, which
consists mainly of fresh fruit and vegetables with seeds as special treats, will
be perfect for a Quaker. Quaker Parakeets are very hardy and can tolerate some
cold. They need lots of love and attention and adore cuddling with you and
playing or talking with you.
Quaker Parakeets are about a foot in length with very long,
gorgeous, green and blue tail feathers. It weighs around 100 grams and the
predominant color is green. Lutino, blue-cinnamon, albino, pied and cinammon
mutations are available. Generally, Quaker Parakeets have a light gray forehead,
face and upper breast. The feathers on the chest have white tips, giving the
effect of scalloping. Quaker Parakeets have blue webbing in their primary flight
feathers, whose coverts are also blue. The bills of Quaker Parakeets are horn
colored or light yellow and their irises are chocolate brown. The feet are
generally gray. Quaker Parakeets' tail feathers are gradated in length.
Quaker Parakeets consist of several subspecies native to the
dryer, low altitude woodlands of Bolivia, Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and
Uruguay. They have been kept as pets in the United States and Europe for years.
Because Quaker Parakeets are such prolific breeders, they are illegal in some
states. The logic is that escaped birds can breed up into large populations and
it is speculated that they could become a threat to crops, though no evidence
has been seen. As always, captive-bred birds make much better, healthier, calmer
pets than wild-caught birds.