Mini Macaw

Mini-macaws are a loosely-defined group of small-to-medium-sized macaw species within the tribe Arini. The term has no fixed taxonomic meaning and is principally used in aviculture to describe a small macaw belonging to one of a number of different genera, with overall length being the sole criterion for inclusion. Any macaw with an overall length (including the tail) of less than about 50 cm (20 inches) can be described as a 'mini-macaw'. Additionally, the 'Mini-' prefix may be added to the species name when describing the bird in question (e.g. "Red-shouldered Mini-macaw").

In the pet trade, the term can be used to suggest that the species in question is better suited as a companion parrot for owners with less space in their homes than would be required by one of the larger macaw species
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The Cockatiel, also known as the Quarrion and the Weiro, is the smallest cockatoo endemic to Australia. They are prized as a household pet and companion parrot throughout the world and are relatively easy to breed. As a caged bird, cockatiels are second only in popularity to the Budgerigar.

The cockatiel is the only member of the genus Nymphicus. It was previously considered a crested parrot or small cockatoo; however, more recent molecular studies have assigned it to the Cockatoo subfamily Calyptorhynchinae (commonly known as Dark Cockatoos). It is, therefore, now classified as the smallest of the Cacatuidae (Cockatoo family). Cockatiels are native to the outback regions of inland Australia, and favour the Australian wetlands, scrublands, and bush lands.

Sexual dimorphism

All wild cockatiel (also known as the Normal Grey Cockatiel) chicks and juveniles are phenotypically female, and virtually indistinguishable from the time of hatching until their first molting. They display horizontal yellow stripes or bars on the ventral surface of their tail feathers, yellow spots on the ventral surface of the primary flight feathers of their wings, a gray colored crest and face, and a dull orange patch on each of their cheeks.

Adult cockatiels are sexually dimorphic, though to a lesser degree than many other avian species. This is only evident after the first molting, typically occurring about six to nine months after hatching: the male loses the white or yellow barring and spots on the underside of his tail feathers and wings. The gray feathers on his cheeks and crest are replaced by bright yellow feathers, while the orange cheek patch becomes brighter and more distinct. The face and crest of the female will typically remain mostly gray, though also with an orange cheek patch. Additionally, the female commonly retains the horizontal barring on the underside of her tail feathers.

The color in cockatiels is derived from two pigments: Melanin (which provides the gray color in the feathers, eyes, beak, and feet), and lipochromes (which provide the yellow color on the face and tail and the orange color of the cheek patch). The gray color of the melanin overrides the yellow and orange of the lipochromes when both are present.

The melanin content decreases in the face of the males as they mature, allowing the yellow and orange lipochromes to be more visible, while an increase in melanin content in the tail causes the disappearance of the horizontal yellow tail bars.

In addition to these visible characteristics, the vocalization of adult males is typically louder and more complex than that of females.


The Cockatiel's distinctive erectile crest expresses the animal's state of being. The crest is dramatically vertical when the cockatiel is startled or excited, gently oblique in its neutral or relaxed state, and flattened close to the head when the animal is angry or defensive. The crest is also held flat but protrudes outward in the back when the cockatiel is trying to appear alluring or flirtatious. In contrast to most Cockatoos, the Cockatiel has long tail feathers roughly making up half of its total length. At 300 mm to 330 mm (12 to 13 ins), the Cockatiel is the smallest and only parakeet type of Cockatoo species. The latter ranging between 300 mm to 600 mm (12–24 in) in length.

The "Normal Grey" or "Wild-type" cockatiel's plumage is primarily grey with prominent white flashes on the outer edges of each wing. The face of the male is yellow or white, while the face of the female is primarily grey or light grey, and both sexes feature a round orange area on both ear areas, often referred to as "cheek patches." This orange colouration is generally vibrant in adult males, and often quite muted in females. Visual sexing is often possible with this variant of the bird.

Distribution and habitat

Cockatiels are native to Australia, where they are found largely in arid or semi-arid country, but always near water. Largely nomadic, the species will move to where food and water is available. They are typically seen in pairs or small flocks. Sometimes, hundreds will flock around a single such body of water. To many farmers' dismay, they often eat cultivated crops. They are absent from the most fertile southwest and southeast corners of the country, the deepest Western Australian deserts, and Cape York Peninsula. They are the only Cockatoo species which can sometimes reproduce in the end of their first year.


The Cockatiel's lifespan in captivity is generally given as 15–20 years, though it is sometimes given as short as 10–15 years, and there are reports of Cockatiels living as long as 30 years, the oldest confirmed specimen reported being 36 years old. Diet and exercise are major determining factors in cockatiel lifespan.

Colour mutations

Fifteen different Cockatiel colour mutations are currently established in aviculture, including Grey, Pied, Pearled, Cinnamon, Whitefaced, Lutino, Albino (aka. Whitefaced Lutino) and Yellowcheeked Cockatiels.


Cockatiels are generally regarded as good pets. Like most other pets, the manner in which the animal is raised, handled, and kept along with inherited "personality" traits have a profound effect on the temperament of the animal. Some birds are quite gregarious and sociable while others can be shy, retreating to the back of the cage when an unfamiliar figure appears. If handled often and if they have a patient owner, cockatiels become tame very quickly compared to some other parrot species.

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Australian Pied budgerigar Mutation

The Australian Pied budgerigar mutation is one of approximately 30 mutations affecting the colour of budgerigars. It is the underlying mutation of the Banded Pied variety.


All pied budgerigars are characterised by having irregular patches of completely clear feathers appearing anywhere in the body, head or wings. These clear feathers are pure white in blue-series birds and yellow in birds of the green series. Such patches are completely devoid of black melanin pigment. The remainder of the body is coloured normally.

The Australian Pieds are very similar in appearance to the Clearflight Pieds, with a nape spot, clear areas on the wings and a clear area on the breast. They differ from the Clearflight Pied in the nape spot, which is not always present, and in their feet, which are usually pink. But the main point of difference is in the clear area of the body, which in the Australian Pied is located in the middle or lower breast, with the upper breast being always normally coloured, so that there is a clear division between the mask and the breast, just as in normal birds. In the Clearflight Pied the clear area on the breast, if present, is almost always adjacent to and running into the mask. Australian Pieds often have larger clear areas on the wings than Clearflight Pieds, with all primaries and many secondaries often clear, but this cannot be taken as a distinguishing feature as the pied areas are very variable in extent in both mutations. Australian Pieds have the usual white iris ring when adult, distinguishing them clearly from Recessive Pieds, which have no iris ring at any age.

In the Australian Pied the clear area often takes the form of a band running across the breast. Birds with such bands are highly prized, especially if the band is clear, sharp and symmetrical, and the feature is now quite common and distinctive due to selective breeding. Such birds comprise the Banded Pied variety.

Historical notes

Many isolated appearances of pied or variegated budgerigars were reported in Britain, in continental Europe and in Australia in the late 1920s and early 1930s, but reliable reports of breeding results and detailed descriptions of their appearance during that period are rare. One of the earliest reports of the appearance of a budgerigar which could have been an Australian Pied was of a bird owned by W G Bowden - it had a clear nape spot and its breeding behaviour clearly showed a dominant inheritance pattern. Mr Bowden obtained or possibly bred the bird in 1931 - he did not report its source. The bird, a cock, was basically a Light Green but it had 'a yellow patch on the back of the head, another on the base of the rump' and 'a yellow streak, about a quarter of an inch in width, from the left wing butt to halfway across the breast'. A number of its flights were reported to be white or yellow. When mated to an unrelated hen in 1933 this cock produced 14 young over three nests, of which 5 showed some clear feathers on the nape of the neck. This could have been the first report of a Clearflight Pied or an Australian Pied; which of these it was is now impossible to tell as the only description available matches both types of Pied.

Several similar pied birds were reported around the same time in Germany, bred by Herr Krabbe and separately by Herr Schucke, by Madame Lecallier in France, by G Wilson and T L S Dooley in England, in Holland and in Scotland, but detailed descriptions and the mode of inheritance are unknown.

The present-day Australian Pieds, including the Banded Pied variety, are believed to be descended from a strain first established in Sydney in 1935 by Keith Ings.

They were first imported to Britain in 1957/8, when Mr A M Cooper of Caerleon, South Wales, bought two such birds, a Pied Green and a Pied Grey, both cocks, from a dealer in Bristol. Most of the Australian Pieds in Britain are descended from the Cooper strain.


The Australian Pied allele is dominant over its wild-type allele, although with less than 100% penetrance. The extent and distribution of the clear areas shown by both single-factor (SF) and double-factor (DF) Australian Pieds are variable. The range of variability of the two genotypes appears to be identical, so it is not possible to determine the genetic make-up by considering the extent of the clear areas. In both single- and double-factor birds this variability ranges from no clear feathers at all, via just one or two clear feathers, to over half the body area affected, although the clear areas in cocks tend to be larger than those of hens.

The Australian Pied gene is located on one of the autosomal chromosomes. There is no known linkage of this gene with any other mutation.

There is no universally accepted genetic symbol for either the locus or mutant allele, so the symbol Pa+ for 'Pied, Australian' will be adopted here for the wild-type allele at this locus, and the symbol Pa for the Australian Pied mutant allele.

The factors governing the extent and distribution of the residual pigmentation are not known, although it is likely that at least some factors are sex-linked due to the different ranges in variability of the sexes.

Unlike the Clearflight Pied, the Australian Pied does not produce any Dark-eyed Clears when crossed with the Recessive Pied
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Cockatoo Care Tips

To help keep your parrot healthy and happy, you need to know how to care for him/her.

HOUSING-The bigger the cage, the better, but there are some general guidelines for cages. For a smaller cockatoo, its cage should be no smaller than 30" wide by 20" deep by 43" deep. For larger cockatoos (such as umbrella cockatoos), the cage should be no smaller than 40" wide by 30" deep by 50" tall, but no matter what size the bird, the cage must be made strong enough for a cockatoo to hang onto when (s)he climbs around, and can withstand a cockatoo's powerful beak. The bars of the cage shouldn't be any farther apart than 1".

Just as important for parrot care, would be toys. Toys should be made from very hard plastic or wood and should be brightly colored, zinc/lead free, and sturdy enough to withstand the great force of a cockatoo's strong beak.

Bells are also a wonderful toys for cockatoos, but make sure that the bell is made of a non-toxic metal. Stainless steel is safe for birds, however, be sure to get a bell for large birds. Bells that are too small can be easily taken apart, and small pieces can be swallowed, resulting in some real problems, even death.

A safe play gym, whether it is free standing, or mounts on the top of the cage is sure to bring plenty of fun.

Food is one of the most important things for good parrot care. A combination of a pelleted food and daily fresh fruits and vegetables will help to ensure a parrot's good health. Cockatoos can even have meats, however, beef and pork should be kept to a minimum, while more chicken and turkey is recommended. Cockatoos are not fussy eaters; however, do not give your cockatoo avocados, chocolate, or alcohol in any form. Deep fried should never be given to a cockatoo, nor should salted treats such as potato chips, pretzels that have salt, and saltines that have been salted. Diary products are safe for a Cockatoo; however, this too must be limited. Too much dairy product can cause diarrhea and dehydration from the diarrhea.

Good Cockatoo care also consists of time - your time. Cockatoos are very loving birds, and they are known for being 'cuddly' and they are demanding of their owners' time. They love to sit and have dinner with the family and at the same time they love their quiet time with their owner(s).

If a Cockatoo doesn't get the attention and love that it needs, (s)he can become quite loud and develop bad habits.

Many people who get cockatoos do not realize how demanding a cockatoo is, and soon become frustrated with them, leading up to the people either getting rid of the cockatoo or neglecting the cockatoo.

Medical care for a cockatoo should be done by a Certified Avian Veterinarian or an Exotic Animal Veterinarian. Many vets do not work with birds because this is a 'specialty field', and many vets do not know enough about birds.

So if you decide to get a Cockatoo, remember that they do require a lot of time, love, the right cages, toys, vet care, and food for the best cockatoo care that can be provided.

For information on parrot care, please click here. Danny L. publishes an online newsletter at where you can find killer tips and techniques that will help you turn your naughty bird into a well-mannered and well-behaved pet.

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History of African Grey Parrot

The history of African Grey Parrots being kept as pets can be traced as back as over 4000 years. The Egyptians are reported to be the first who keep these parrots as pets as it is clear from their hieroglyphics. Ancient Greeks also kept these parrot. The custom of owning African Grey Parrots was later adopted by some Roman families who often kept these parrots in ornate cages. King Henry VIII of England was rumored to have an African Grey parrot when he returned from Punjab. Portuguese sailors kept them as companions on their long sea voyages.

African Grey Parrots were also kept as pets in Roman Times where there were shipments of parrots from Africa to Rome. So it can be said with certainty that African Grey Parrots were traded at that time back in 1522 A.D.

Unfortunately In early days, natives who did not know the worth of African Grey Parrots killed these parrots for food and for their red tail feathers. The red tail feathers of African Grey Parrots were used for decoration and were also considered to have a magical power. It was the early 19th century when African Grey Parrots got the popularity and people started to know the ultimate intelligence of these parrots. African Gray parrots were sold to the Europeans and these birds gained popularity among them. At that time parrots were stuffed into reed cylinders and transported by sea. Even now, in spite of the fact that the export of African Grey Parrots is prohibited, being illegal, yet a large number of these birds are being exported in small boxes via ships, and because of suffocation & starvation many of these birds die even before reaching their new destination.

The import of African Grey Parrots has been ceased in USA since 1992 under WILD BIRD CONSERVATION ACT. In the European Union, an EU Directive of 2007 prevents importation of this and any other 'wild-caught' bird for the pet trade.

At present for the pet trade many African Grey parrots are hand-reared by breeders, and these parrots can make excellent pets. But the methods used to produce them for the pet trade greatly affects the pet quality of African Grey Parrots. .

Today African Grey Parrot is still kept as a prized pet. However, because they can b unpredictable at times, they may not be suitable for kids.
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