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Feathered Favorites

Here is more information on some of the birds seen on this NATURE program.


A cockatoo.

Cockatiel and cockatoo
You might confuse a cockatiel with a cockatoo by name, but these Australian natives have little in common. Cockatiels are relatively small 8-to-12 inch birds that live up to 25 years. They make good pets because they are easily trained, and their voices are not very loud. Cockatoos, which can come from Indonesia as well as Australia, can grow to be a foot and a half long, and they may live to be over 100 years old. They are also good talkers, and can deliver a loud squawk.

Those of us unfamiliar with birds may not think of parakeets as "wild," but these small parrots range throughout the world. The most famous species in America, the Carolina parakeet, became extinct in 1918. Farmers who considered the bird an agricultural pest eradicated it from orchards in the southeastern Unites States.

Yellow-headed Amazon

Flo sings opera 

A Yellow-headed Amazon.

These large parrots, native to the tropical forests of northern Mexico, are very social and adept at singing. They are some of the best "talking" parrots, which makes them popular pets. They are the most sought after of the seven Mexican Amazon species, and traders often paint the heads of other parrots yellow to fool buyers into spending more money: in the United States, these birds sell for as much as $1500 each.

Scarlet, blue and gold, green-winged, and hyacinth are all names used to describe some of the largest and most charismatic parrots. The largest of these birds, the hyacinth, can grow as long as 42 inches. In the wild, they range throughout the forests of tropical South and Central America. There are 26 macaw species, and they make great pets, as long as you have lots of spare energy and attention.

Photo: bottom, Michael Schindlinger.

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