. Quaker parrot
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- Scientific Name: Myiopsitta
(Click on photos to enlarge)
- Common Name/s:
QUAKER PARROT, MONK PARROT, GREY BREASTED PARAKEET.
- 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:
- Age To Sexual Maturity: About
- Adult plumage: attained at about
- Best breeding years (estimate): 2
years of age onwards.
- Lifespan (estimate): approx.
20 or more
- Sexing: Monomorphic
/ Dimorphic. DNA or surgical sexing is often
- Colour mutations: Yes.
Powder Blue is becoming more common. The yellow form is still rare
- Availability: Bird dealers and
- 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 -
- 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.
Level Of Knowledge Required: Beginner / Intermediate / Advanced
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
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
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:
- Log / Nest-box:
/ depth 400 mm (or approx. 16 inches)
- Log internal
diameter approx. 200 mm. (or approx. 8
- Nest-box internal dimensions approx. 200
mm square (or approx. 8 inches square)
- Diameter of
hole approx. 70 - 75 mm (or approx. 3 inches)
- Inspection hole (square or round)
(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
- Angle of log or nest box = 45 degrees through to
- Nesting log / nest-box material:
Decomposed non-toxic saw dust, wood shavings or other suitable
- Who incubates the egg/s:
/ 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
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
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
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.
References: Refer to references listed on "Book 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
- 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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