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Precious Parrotlets

Updated on March 28, 2014
Pacific Parrotlet
Pacific Parrotlet

Parrotlets Are The Smallest Parrots

At under 5 inches long, and a mere 25 grams, the Parrotlet is the smallest New World parrot. It is the second smallest parrot in the world (the Buff-faced Pygmy Parrot being the smallest). They come from the South American countries of Peru and Ecuador.

There are seven species of Parrotlets, but only three of these are kept as pets. Of these, the Pacific Parrotlet is the most common.

These little powerhouses have a stocky build and a broad tail, similar to lovebirds. They travel in flocks ranging from four to over 100 birds (5-40 being most common). The Parrotlet is the smallest bred Parrot species in captivity.

Parrotlet Personality Plus

Parrotlets, though the smallest of the Amazon Parrots, have all the personality of their bigger cousins. They are just as intelligent, energetic and capable of speaking just like other Parrots, though more along the lines of a Cockatiel, who is capable of learning 10-15 words. They are very good at whistling. Since they can't scream, these little guys are great pets for apartment dwellers. They are one of the quietest hookbills available.

One great personality trait of the Parrotlet is that they seem to be content to entertain themselves for long periods of time. Though they are devoted to their human companions and love spending time with them, tucked in a pocket, or hiding in your hair, they will also entertain you by hanging playfully off their toys and climbing about on their ropes.

With the proper diet, care and exercies, the life expectancy of these Parrots is about 20 years, so instead of thinking you're just getting a tiny pet, remember that you are commiting to a very long time of caring for a special friend.


Common Parrotlet Pets

  • Pacific - These little guys are the most parrot-like in personality. They are a beautiful green color with mutations including blue, yellow, white and lutino.
  • Green Rumped - Somewhat shyer and more gentle than the Pacific, Green Rumps need to have things introduced a bit slower, but have just as much personality. They are good pets for older children.
  • Mexican - This variety is showing signs of extinction, so breeding programs for the pet trade is encouraged. They are more difficult to breed, but are very loving, with sweet personalities. They are not as active or bossy as the Pacific Parrotlet. You most likely will only find a female for sale, as the males are in short supply and are reserved for breeding and preservation of the species. These are considered somewhat rare and not easily obtainable, as are the Spectacled, and the Yellow-Faced.

Parrotlets are sexually dimorphic, meaning you can visually distinguish between the males and females.

Fresh and Interesting Variety is Important For Your Parrot


Appropriate Diet for the Parrotlet

Parrots are herbivores, therefore they should be fed vegetarian diets, supplemented with vegetal proteins. Quality and variety are important in all Parrot's diets. Please do not feed seed-only diets, as this is a diet that lacks nutrition and will cut their lives very short.

  • Whole cereals and whole grains: barley, couscous, whole-grain pastas, oat, wild rice.
  • Greens: broccoli, cabbage leaves, seaweeds, bok-choi, kelp
  • Fruit: apples, bananas, berries, citrus, melons, most any except avocados, which are toxic to them.
  • Legumes: beans, lentils, peas, almonds, nuts, tofu
  • Vegetables: the darker the color, the more nutritious. All vegies (except uncooked onions, uncooked potatoes and all mushrooms)
  • Pellets: specially formulated Parrot food - don't offer pellets alone without a mix of the above.

If your bird is currently on a seed-only diet, start improving their health today by slowly introducing new foods. Just remember that some birds can become frightened by new items suddenly showing up in their cages, and therefore you don't want to overwhelm them with any more than a small stick of carrot or the such at first.

You can attach a small piece of broccoli to the cage bars off to one side with a clip, and this will spark curiosity to investigate.

Alternate foods to keep your Parrotlet interested and open to new foods. No chocolate, avacado, (see above) and no processed foods. Don't forget clean water every day!

Adorable Talking Parrotlet

Parrotlet Hut

Peekaboo Tent

This perch tent is the perfect decor for your buddy!

Since these mighty, little parrots love to play, and because parrots, in general appreciate a place to rest without feeling like they need to guard themselves from predators, this would be a welcome addition to the cage decor.

With beads and a bell added to a string, just watch and see how much it gets used.

Parrot Awareness

Though Parrotlets are small birds, their cage size needs to be large enough to have room for stretching and flapping their wings without touching the cage bars.

Provide several toys that are chewable and colorful (vegetable dyes) as they are intelligent and it would be sad to leave them in a cage without mental stimulation.  Make their cage a place of entertainment without being overcrowded.  Rotating toys, and placing food surprises in various areas are good ideas.

Small and perfect for those not wanting a large Parrot with it's space requirements, and their loud vocals, Parrotlets are still parrots and have moments of feistiness and stubbornness.  They still need fresh food and water even when you are gone for several days, and will make it known that they want attention at times when you don't feel like giving it. 

Remember the 20+ year lifespan?  This is a huge commitment because they will grow very attached to you, and will not appreciate being passed on when you grow tired of their care.  Once you have become close to your little guy, you will most likely never regret your decision.


Parrotlet Quiz

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    • profile image


      9 years ago

      You are so welcome! I'm glad you enjoyed the article. They are amazing little parrots.

    • annstaub profile image


      9 years ago from Round Rock, TX

      I have worked with so many different birds and I must say that parrotlets are definitely my favorite! I recently worked with a board certified avian specialist and we saw one who unfortunately lost his lower beak in an accident. With great care from his owner and veterinary team, he did wonderful adjusting to life without it! I also had never heard that they were sexually dimorphic before. Thanks for sharing!

    • lindajot profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Willamette Valley - Oregon

      ahh - so you have a little cutie as well - nice!

    • profile image

      kathi lombardi 

      10 years ago

      ur dog pic looks exactly like my dog

    • lindajot profile imageAUTHOR


      10 years ago from Willamette Valley - Oregon

      Yep, conures have powerful voices. After having a cockatoo rescue for many years, I'm thinking a Parrotlet sounds pretty tempting. I met one named Pesto, and he was soooo sweet.

    • AliciaC profile image

      Linda Crampton 

      10 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

      I enjoyed reading your hub and learning about the parrotlet. When you mentioned that the parrotlet likes hiding in a pocket or in hair it reminded me of my dusky conure, who loves to hide under my clothes or up my sleeve. However, you also mentioned that parrotlets are quiet birds – dusky conures definitely aren’t quiet! Luckily I live in a house instead of an apartment.


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