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Birds + Characteristics

  • African grey parrots are highly intelligent birds and are now commonly bred in captivity as pets. The African grey has a charming personality and is recognized as one of the best talkers among all pet parrots. It is important to keep these smart birds busy, as boredom can lead to problems, such as feather picking and screaming. African greys require regular, preventative veterinary health checkups.

  • Some commonly kept Amazon parrots include the double yellow-headed Amazon, yellow-naped Amazon, blue-fronted Amazon, green-cheeked Amazon, and orange-winged Amazon. They bond readily, often with one member of the family. This one-on-one bond occasionally may lead to aggression towards others. Amazons are generally very affectionate and often solicit petting and head scratches. Like all pets, Amazon parrots require regular, preventative veterinary health check-ups.

  • Canaries are lovely small birds. The males have a very melodious song. Canaries are generally easy to care for, and with a proper diet and routine veterinary check-ups, they can live up to 10 years.

  • There are multiple methods of inheritance including autosomal dominant, autosomal recessive and sex-linked inheritance that determine which characteristics (or phenotypes) are displayed by the offspring. There are also many polygenic traits (i.e., associated with multiple genes) as well as environmental factors that make prediction of disease or likelihood of passing disease onto offspring much more complicated.

  • Lories and Lorikeets are small to medium size, energetic parrots. They come from southeastern Asia, Papua New Guinea, Australia, and Polynesia. They are fun-loving, social birds with a variety of brightly colored variations. Lories and Lorikeets can be high-maintenance pets and require a specific type of diet.

  • Mynah birds are best known for their ability to talk and mimic sounds. They are lively, social birds and have wonderfully outgoing personalities. A young, hand-raised mynah will be easier to tame and train compared to a wild, colony, or parent-raised bird. As with all pets, mynah birds require regular, routine veterinary checkups.

  • The domestic pigeon includes over 300 breeds, all descending from the rock dove. They originated in Eurasia, but are now found all over the world. They come in many color combinations and their plumage can include anything from feathered feet to crested, maned, or hooded heads. They are generally hardy birds that are easy to tame and care for. As with any pet, pigeons require regular, routine veterinary health checkups.

  • Psittacine beak and feather disease (PBFD) is a serious condition in parrot species for which there is no cure. The highly contagious virus attacks fast-growing epithelial cells, commonly causing visibly abnormal formations of the beak and/or feather follicles. The clinical signs vary depending on the species of bird and the age at which it was infected. Diagnostic testing is available and precautions must be taken when purchasing a new bird.

  • At certain times of the year, birds are under the powerful influence of sex hormones and will behave instinctively in distinct ways that you may not have witnessed before. Humans may cause frustration or confusion in their birds with what may be our inappropriate responses to their sexual behaviors. This handout describes several of these behaviors in birds and how to prevent or manage them.

  • There are many methods and opinions described by various people to tame and train birds. This handout is designed to give some guidance to you during this process. Your patience may be strained, and you may sustain some bites, but the rewards of your new relationship with your bird will be fulfilling and long-lasting.