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Types of parrots

Types of parrots

Discover All Pet Birds and  All  Types of Parrots Species

There are very many breeds of parrots. Each species or breed has its own specificities and characteristics. It is important to take the time to choose before deciding to adopt a parrot as a pet. Whatever the species, raising a parrot requires certain qualities, such as patience and care.

Characteristics of parrots

These birds form an order containing more than 370 species that inhabit the tropics and subtropics of the planet and which is divided into three super-families (Strigopoidea, Psittacoidea, and Cacatuoidea) which are differentiated by characteristics such as size, the color of plumage and geographic distribution. They have a wide variety of particular characteristics such as those we will see below:

  • Legs: they have zygodactylous legs, that is to say, they have two toes forward and two backward which, in addition, are prehensile which allows them to handle their food. They are short but sturdy and with them, they can firmly grip tree branches.
  • Beaks: their beaks are powerful, thick and they end in a pronounced hook, a characteristic that differentiates them from the rest of the birds, their tongue is muscular and it acts like a sponge when it comes to feeding on pollen or like a finger when they use it to extract some of the bark from a tree. They have a crop where they partially store food and then regurgitate their contents to their babies or their partner.
  • Diet: It is very varied and it is composed of fruits and seeds, although some species can supplement it with pollen and nectar and others eat carrion as well as small vertebrates.
  • Habitats: they inhabit coastal deserts, dry forests and humid jungles to certain anthropized environments such as plantations and crops. There are some very generalist species that adapt easily to changes in their environment and others that are more specialist and need very specific environments to develop and thrive, a characteristic that makes them very vulnerable and for which many species are threatened.
  • Behavior: the different types of parrots are gregarious birds, that is to say, they are sociable and they form very large groups that can go as far as regrouping several thousand individuals. Many species form lifelong pairs and nest in tree holes or abandoned termite mounds, with the exception of the kakapo (Strigops habroptilus), which is the only non-flying parrot that nests on the ground and Widow conure (Myiopsitta monachus) which makes common nests with branches. They are known to be one of the most intelligent groups of birds and for their ability to learn both words and elaborate sentences.

Taxonomic classification of parrots

The Psittaciformes order is divided into three super-families which, at the same time, have their own classification. Thus, the main types of parrots are classified into the following super-families:

  • Strigopoidea: includes New Zealand parrots
  • Cacatuoidea: includes cockatoos
  • Psittacoidea: includes the most famous parrots as well as other Psittacidae

Strigopoidea superfamily

Currently, there are just four species belonging to this superfamily: kakpo ( Strigops habroptitus ), nestor kea ( Nestor notabilis ), Nestor meridionalis meridionalis, and Nestor Superb ( Nestor meridionalis spetentrionalis ).

The Strigopoidea superfamily falls into two families, which include the following types of parrots:

  • Strigopoidae: with the genus Strigops
  • Nestoridae: with the genus Nestor

Superfamily Cacatuoidea

As we said, this superfamily is made up of cockatoos, so it just includes the Cacatuidae family, which has three subfamilies:

  • Nymphicinae: with the genus Nymphicus.
  • Calyptorhynchinae: with the genus Calyptorhynchus.
  • Cacatuinae: with the genera Probosciger, Eolophus, Lophochroa, Callocephalon y Cacatua.

There are species such as the white cockatoo ( Cacatua alba), the elegant cockatiel ( Nymphicus hollandicus ), or the Banksian cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus banksii).

Superfamily Psittacoidea

With over 360 breeds of parrots, this is the largest of all superfamilies. It is divided into three families, each with its different subfamilies and genera:

  • Psittacidae: it includes the Psittacinae subfamilies comprising the genera Psittacus and Poicephalus and Arinae comprising the genera Anodorhynchus, Ara, Cyanopsitta, Primolius, Orthopsittaca, Diopsittaca, Rhynchopsitta, Ognorhynchus, Leptosittaca, Guarusaya, Neusopsathanata, Cyandruba, Neusopsathanolis, Pyrilia, Graydidascalus, Alipiopsitta, Pionus Amazona, Triclaria, Forpus, Pionites, Deroptyus, Hapalopsittaca, Touit, Brotogeris, Bolborhynchus, Myiopsitta, Psilopsiagon, and Nannopsittaca.
  • Psittaculidae: includes the subfamilies Platycercinae (with the genera Barnardius, Platycercus, Psephotus, Purpureicephalus, Northiella, Lathamus, Prosopeia, Eunymphicus, Cyanoramphus, Pezoporus, Neopsephotus, and Neophema), Psittacellinae (with the genus Psittacellinae (with the genera Psiella Oreopsittacus, Charmosyna, Vini, Phigys, Neopsittacus, Glossopsitta, Lorius, Psitteuteles, Pseudo, Eos, Chalcopsitta, Trichoglossus, Melopsittacus, Psittaculirostris and Cyclopsitta), Agapornithinae (with the genera Bolbiculopsus and Agapornithinae (with the genera Bolbiculopsus and Alapornithinae (with the genera Bolbiculopsus and Alapornithinae) (with the genera Bolbiculopsittus and Alapornacus) Aprosmictus, Polytelis, Eclectus, Geoffroyus, Tanygnathus, Psittinus, Psittacula, Prioniturus and Micropsitta).

In this superfamily we find the typical parrots, so that there are species such as the Bourke’s Parakeet ( Neopsephotus bourkii ), the Gray-headed Lovebird ( Agapornis canus ) or the Red-throated Lory (Charmosyna amabilis).

The types of parrots can also be classified by size, as we will see in the next boxes

PSITTACIDAEPsittaciformes parrotPsittaciformes

Arini tribe

Small Parrots

Medium Parrots


Small Conure
Lories & Lorikeets

Alexandrine parakeet

Pionus Parrots

Large Parrots

African Grey

Amazon Parrot
Small Cockatoos
Large Conures
Hawk Headed Parrots


X-Large Parrots

Large Cockatoos


Parrots Habitat

where do parrot live

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Types of parrots


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