Classification Order Psittaciformes, Family Psittacidae Scientific Name Forpus Xanthopterygius Other Common Names Turquoise-rumped Parrotlet
Species Description The Blue-winged Parrotlet is a short (12 cm)
stocky mainly green bird with a short tapered tail. Sexually
dimorphic, the males have blue on the primary and underwing coverts,
the remiges and the rump (blue in wings greatly reduced in F. x.
spengeli). The face, ear coverts, thighs and vent area are a
brighter emerald green. Females, which lack the identifying blue
coloration, are easily confused with the Green-rumped Parrotlet, but
there is little overlap in their distributions. The subspecies
varies primarily in the overall darkness and the amount of yellow to
Habitat It occurs in woodland, scrub, savanna, and
pastures. Flocks are usually around 20 birds but can grow to over 50
around fruiting trees or seeding grasses.
Distribution It is generally common and widespread, though
more localized in the Amazon Basin.
Captivity Intelligent and fearless, these curious little
parrots can get into a lot of trouble if they are not supervised
when out of their cage. Parrotlets are also very territorial and can
attack other animals, especially other birds, even those much larger
than themselves, if given the opportunity. While this does not mean
they need to be the only pet in the household, they should be
physically separated from other birds and pets for their own safety.
They must also be trained from an early age to not follow their
owners around or have free rein of the house.
Pet parrotlets are usually bundles of energy, spending hours
swinging, climbing and playing with lots of toys that their cage
should accommodate. Ropes, ladders, leather chew toys, bells, beads
and rings are particular favorites. However, parrotlets have very
strong beaks for their tiny size so it is important to be safe,
strong toys. Buy toys designed for cockatiels and conures not
budgies or finches.
Summary Parrotlets are a species of the smallest New
World parrots, comprising three genera. One of these genera, Forpus,
is growing in popularity within the world of aviculture, raising
interest in the group as a whole. Parrotlets are very small, with a
stocky build and a broad tail, much like the lovebird species of
East Africa and fig parrot and pygmy parrot species of Australasia.
At 4�–5 inches(11-12cm) long, they are the smallest kind of parrot
in the world.
The wild type coloring for this species is green, but several color
mutations have been discovered through selective breeding.
Parrotlets are sexually dimorphic, meaning males can be
distinguished from females. Males have markings of cobalt blue on
their head, wings and tail. Females generally lack these blue
These miniature parrots in the wild travel in
flocks which, depending on the species can range from as low as four
to over 100 birds. Most either species travel in flocks of about
5–40. This species forms strong pair bonds with mates.
With a healthy diet, much exercise and healthy environment, the
Parrotlet has a life expectancy of 10 to 20 years.
can learn more than 10–15 words and can "whistle" songs well. They
have about the same speaking and whistling capabilities of a
cockatiel. They are also very good learners for commands such as
"step up", "kiss-kiss", "step down", and other small commands. Some
parrotlets can learn advanced tricks, but not as advanced as a Macaw
or an African Grey Parrot. Having the ability to speak does not
necessarily mean a bird will speak; it depends on the specific
These feisty little birds should not
be overlooked in favor of more widely known types of birds; any
Parrotlet owner will tell you that these birds possess all the
intelligence and attitude of the largest of macaws. These birds are
fairly quiet companions, making them ideal for those who live in
apartments or condominiums. Males are more likely to talk than
The most commonly kept parrotlet in
aviculture is by far the Pacific Parrotlet, which now has several
color mutations such as yellow, blue, lutino and white. The Mexican,
Spectacled, and Yellow-Faced are also fairly common pets. Their
popularity as pets has grown due to their small size and large
personalities. Parrotlets are commonly known as playful birds that
enjoy chewing as much as their larger Amazon Parrot counterparts.
Being highly intelligent and active parrots, Parrolets must have
ample opportunities to play and exercise. Environmental enrichment
must be made a part of their lives as to prevent boredom. Parrotlets
keep themselves more than occupied when left alone for several
hours, so long as they are provided with an array of chewable and
destructible toys to play with. However, when their keepers get
home, they often greet them with lovely chirps and whistles to let
them know they want attention.