Quaker Parrot
PO  Box 126 Mitcham Vic 3132 ( Victoria, Australia )

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. Quaker parrot
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    photo of 2 quaker parrots Quaker parrot nesting
  • Scientific Name:  Myiopsitta monachus       (Click on photos to enlarge)
  • Sub Species in country / area of origin:  4.  M. m. monachus,  M. m. calita,  M. m. cotorra,  M. m. lushsi.
  • Origin / Distribution:  South America and north-eastern USA.
  • Habitat In Wild:  Low rainfall areas.  Open forests, scrublands, palm groves and treed areas along water courses.  Has adapted well to farmland and cultivated areas.  Feral colonies have established in some American states.  Often regarded as a pest in orchards, corn fields and grain crops.
  • Status In Wild:  Secure. Increasing in many urban areas and farmland areas.  Has established as feral populations in some overseas countries including the USA.
  • Status In (Australian) Captivity:  Secure.
  • Age To Sexual Maturity:  About 12 months
  • Adult plumage: attained at about ? months
  • Best breeding years (estimate):  2 years of age onwards.
  • Lifespan (estimate): approx. 20 or more years
  • Sexing:  Monomorphic / Dimorphic. DNA or surgical sexing is often necessary.
  • Colour mutations:  Yes. Powder Blue is becoming more common. The yellow form is still rare and expensive.
  • Availability:  Bird dealers and specialist breeders.
  • Temperament:  Pairs or groups of Quakers can be very noisy and are generally un-suitable for a residential area.  Single birds are usually fairly quiet.  They build a nest of branches and twigs with two compartments, one for nesting and one for roosting.  Best kept one pair per aviary.  May be housed as a colony if the aviary is sufficiently large.  Like to chew timber and branches.  Often hand reared and kept as a pet or companion bird.  The Quaker is becoming popular as a pet or companion bird.  Pet Quakers can become good talkers and may mimic sounds they hear in and around their cage.  Quakers are social birds and need a lot of attention when kept as a single bird.  The owner/ keeper must interact with the bird on a regular basis if the bird is to avoid developing bad habits or behaviours.  Quakers can learn to mimic human words and environmental noises.
  • Cost (Victoria) Per Pair: - Normal colour (Approx.) $300
  • Description Of Adults:
  • Length: Approx 290 - 300 mm (or approx. 11.5 - 12 inches)
  • Colour ( "normal" colour ): Refer photos above.  (Right photo is of normal and blue colour mutation.)
  • Weight: Approx. 110 - 140 gms (or approx  3.5 - 4 ozs)

Sole member of the genus Myiopsitta.

Aviary Notes:

Level Of Knowledge Required: Beginner / Intermediate / Advanced / Specialist Breeders Only.

Government Regulations & By-Laws:  Refer to " Government Laws " web page.

Housing Requirements:  Refer to " Housing Birds " web page for general details on the housing of Non Australian Parrots or read on for specific details for this parrot.

The Quaker parrot requires a minimum aviary length is about 2 metres (7 feet) and width of 1 metre (3.5 feet).  About 3 metres (10 feet) is preferred.  If space allows, larger aviaries will allow these active birds more room to fly and exercise and minimize the risks of the birds becoming overweight.

They can be housed and bred in a suspended cage.  For best long term breeding results, it is best to allow birds that have been confined to a suspended cage during the breeding season access to an aviary during the non-breeding season.  A suspended cage should be about 1 metre wide and 1 metre high and 2 to 3 metres long.

Can be a noisy bird that may annoy neighbours.

Can be destructive of timber and require a steel framed aviary.  Placing suitable parrot toys in the aviary will help avoid boredom and provide beak exercise.  They love destroying wooden parrot toys.

Best breeding results are one pair per aviary.  May be housed as a colony if the aviary is sufficiently large.  Quakers are usually intolerant of other species of parrots in an aviary.  Quakers build a nest from branches and sticks.  The nest may be used for roosting during the non-breeding season.

Non-toxic leafy branches can be placed in the aviary for the birds to chew up. This will entertain the birds, help minimize boredom and give the birds some beak exercise. Natural branches can be used for perches. These natural perches will be chewed by the birds and may need to be replaced regularly. The birds will chew any flowers and fruiting bodies on the branches.

The Quaker is a social bird, living as a flock or colony in the wild, and as a pet they require plenty of interaction from their keeper.

The Quaker is an intelligent bird and will test the integrity of the aviary, cage, doors, walls etc and make a game of trying to get out.  They may gain access to an adjoining aviary or cage and injuries or death may occur to the Quaker/s or to the next door neighbour/s.

Diet / Feeding:   Refer to " Feeding Birds " web page for general details on the feeding of Non Australian Parrots or read on for specific details for this parrot.

Typical aviary diet for the Quaker parrot includes a good quality parrot seed mix along with a variety of fruits, vegetables, nuts and green foods including green leafy vegetables.  Seeding grasses and soaked or sprouted seed can be offered.

Insects may form part of their natural food intake.  Some aviary birds will consume mealworm larva, pupa and beetles as well as crickets, especially during the breeding season.

Commercial parrot pellets can form part of a balanced food intake.

The fruits, seeds or fruiting bodies on trees such as the eucalypt, hawthorn and pine trees (seed cones) may be consumed.

Nesting:  A basic overview only.  Dimensions are typical / average and can vary widely, influenced by the owner's preferences and the birds preferences.  Parent bird's preferences can also be influenced by the size and type of nest-box / log in which the bird was hatched and reared.  If space allows, offering a choice of sizes and types of logs or nest-boxes, and placed in various locations within the aviary, can allow the parent birds to make their own choice.  Once a pair has chosen a specific nest-box/log and been successful in it, offer that one to them each breeding season.  Try and keep that one for their exclusive use.  Once a pair has chosen its log or nest-box, the other ones can generally be removed.  If the "spare" boxes are to be removed and moved to another flight, ensure the log / nest-box is cleaned to ensure the receptacle has the minimal contamination of mites, parasites and pathogens.

  • Nesting months:  October onwards.
  • Log / Nest-box:
    • Length / depth  400 mm (or approx. 16 inches)
    • Log internal diameter approx. 200 mm. (or approx. 8 inches)
    • Nest-box internal dimensions approx. 200 mm square (or approx. 8 inches square)
    • Diameter of entrance hole approx. 70 - 75 mm (or approx. 3 inches)
    • Inspection hole (square or round) 100 mm (or approx 4 inches)
    • A removable top / lid can be a useful access point for inspections and for cleaning.
    • Location and height of log / nest-box = high in the covered part of the aviary but not too close to the roof to be affected by heat from the roof in the summer months.
    • Angle of log or nest box =  45 degrees through to vertical.
  • Nesting log / nest-box material: Decomposed non-toxic saw dust, wood shavings or other suitable material/s.
  • Who incubates the egg/s: Hen / cock / both share. The cock bird may stay in the second chamber of the nest structure.

Quaker Parrots prefer to build a nest using large quantities of twigs and sticks but if these materials are not offered to these birds they will nest in a nest box or log in the aviary.  Quakers are not known to use hollow branches or tree trunk hollows in the wild.  If a nest box is used in the aviary, the birds may place chewed up pieces of twigs and sticks in the nest box as nesting material.

Adults use the nest year round and in the wild the birds will extend the nest (making it bigger) during the non-breeding season.  These nests can also be built by more than one pair and each pair has their own entrance and breeding chamber.  The communal nest may achieve weights of up to 200 kilograms.

Timber nest-boxes generally require a climbing structure attached inside the box below the entrance hole. Both logs and nests need an entrance hole/opening about 100mm (about 4 inches) from the top. Many species of parrots like the entrance hole to be just big enough to squeeze through.

A stick nest may be made on a platform.  A nest can be made in a wire basket or on a wire saucer shaped base.  The "wire" should be strong, free of sharp edges and have a wide mesh opening.  Galvanized reinforcing mesh with a 100 mm aperture is ideal.  The platform or wire structure must be adequately secured so the nest will not fall after it has been built.

The birds like to use green branches of the eucalypt as well as green pliable material from bamboo and the willow.  The green leafy branches allow the birds to strip the leaves and bark off this material and chew the branches/twigs.  This activity will give them some exercise, entertainment and mental stimulation.  The leaves may be incorporated into the nest.  Any fruits, seeds or fruiting bodies on the branches may be consumed.

The bulky Quaker nest in often difficult to get access to the young birds or eggs.  A torch and mirror, or a fibre optic device may be necessary to inspect some nests.  In the aviary, nest hygiene in these bulky nests may present a problem for multiple clutches.

Birds that were bred in a standard/typical parrot nest box may want to breed in a similar type nest.  For these birds, give them the choice of a parrot nest box as well as the opportunity to build a "natural" nest.  As this species becomes more domesticated, their natural instinct to build a branch and twig structure may diminish.  If you are buying a young hen try and find out what type of nest in which it was raised.

More details on parrot nestboxes/logs and a selection of parrot nestbox/log photos can be found on the "nests", "parrot nests" and "parrot nestbox photos" web pages.  Click on "Up" then "Nests" then "parrot nests" and "parrot nestbox photos" in the navigation bars.

Breeding: Egg Colour White.  Clutch/s per year 2 - 3.  Eggs per nest 5 - 8.  Incubation approx. 21 - 24 days.  Fledge approx. 6 - 7 weeks.  Independent approx. another  2 to 4 weeks.

A pair may start breeding at 2 years of age.  Quakers form strong pair bonds.  Best breeding results are usually obtained from birds that are "paired up" as youngsters.  Best breeding results are one pair per aviary.  Young Quakers are often removed from the nest for hand rearing for the pet or companion bird trade.

Quakers build a nest from thin branches and sticks.  The twigs, sticks and branches used are of lengths of up to 500 mm (18 inches), sometimes a bit longer.  The preferred diameter of the branches and sticks is up to 10 mm (less than half an inch).  The nest may be used for roosting.

With the increasing number of colour mutations, the use of a closed metal leg ring is necessary to maintain an accurate record of each bird and its breeding background.

Artificial incubation and hand rearing or fostering will not be covered on this web site.  It is too complex and diverse in nature to be attempted here.

Health Issues:  Refer to "Avian Health Issues" web page for information and references.

  • Worming and parasite control and Quarantine requirements of new bird/s or sick bird/s are considered to require veterinary advice and therefore not covered on this web site.  Refer "Avian Health Issues" web page option.
  • Avian medicine is advancing at a rapid pace.  Keep updating your knowledge and skills.

General References:  Refer to references listed on "Book References" web page.

Specific References:

  • Australian Aviculture
  • A/A Vol 40 No. 11 Nov 1986 Page 261-262
  • A/A Vol 27 No. 8 Aug 1973 Page 149-152 (Inc photo)
  • Australian Birdkeeper
  • ABK Vol 18 Issue 10. Aug-Sept 2005 Page 612-613 (New colour mutations).
  • ABK Vol 18 Issue 9. Jun-Jul 2005 Page 528-530 (Quaker parrots in New York City).
  • ABK Vol 12 Issue 12. Dec-Jan 2000 Page 602-606
  • ABK Vol 11 Issue 5. Oct-Nov 1998 Page 218-220
  • ABK Vol  8 Issue 10. Aug-Sept 1995 Page 494-495
  • ABK Vol  1 Issue 4. Aug-Sept 1988 Page 104-106

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