The 350 species of parrots include macaws, parakeets, cockatoos, and more. These brilliantly colored birds use their powerful, curved beaks to effortlessly crack through hard-shelled nuts and seeds. Their feet have four toes — two that face forward and two that point backwards — which they use to climb through branchs with the assistance of their beaks.

Parrots often mate for life, and they can live to a maximum of 20 to more than 80 years, depending on the species. Parrots are easily trained and capable of performing a wide variety of behaviors and imitating sounds.

Q: How big do they get?
SW: The tallest parrot is the hyacinth macaw that reaches 3.3 feet and the smallest, the buff-faced pygmy parrot grows to only 3.3 inches.

Q: Are they endangered?
SW: Of the more than 350 parrot species in the world, only a handful continue to thrive in the wild. Many species are endangered or threatened because of habitat destruction and illegal capture for the pet trade.

Q: Do parrots make good pets?
SW: Although parrots are often kept as pets, they are extremely noisy, destructive, often bite, require a lot of attention, and are long-lived. Many pet parrots end up unwanted or displaced. You should only consider having a parrot as a pet if you research the species’ needs and know you can provide the proper level of long-term care to keep it physically healthy and behaviorally enriched.