A bird that belongs to the Psittacine order is considered a parrot. Psittacine is pronounced "sit-a-seen". An easy way to remember which birds belong to this family are the ones with "hookbills", which is another common name for them. Their beaks are shaped like a hook. Birds like canaries and finches have straight beaks and are not considered parrots.
Besides their beaks, psittacines have different toes. They are called Zygodactyl toes. This means that the have two toes pointing forward, and two toes that point backwards. Birds like chickens have 3 toes that point forward and one that points backwards.
|Zygodactyl toes on a Goffin's Cockatoo.|
Photo via Eric C Bryan
Psittacines also have extremely muscular tongues. They use their tongues to move food out of their mouth and down into their esophagus. This is important because parrots do not produce saliva and have dry tongues. This is a reason why they like to dip their food in water, causing a big water bowl mess.
Parrots are intelligent animals that are very good at communicating. Most live in large flocks in nature. In the wild, they form strong bonds with other birds in their flock. Their ability to bond with others like this is one of the reasons they are popular pets. Many parrots can even learn how to talk or mimic sounds.
Here is a list of common psittacines, most of which have several variations.
- African Grey
- Jardine's Parrot
- Quaker Parrot
So what's your favorite type of parrot? There are so many different types, it's hard for me to choose!