Few can resist the parrot's faculty of imitating the human voice. If you live alone, you will especially enjoy a companion who with patience can be trained to converse in a fashion almost human.
The parrot, or Psittaciformes, has a long life, 25 to 35 years being average, although records are known of these birds living in confinement up to 90 years.
There are three cage-parrot families—lories, cockatoos, and the one which includes macaws, parakeets, lovebirds and others. The macaws are larger, gaudier and noisier. Lories are very delicate. Cockatoos are the hardiest, and they have either white or solid black plumage, although some are tinged with other colors.
The baby parrot has a dull grey iris which changes to pale yellow. It is difficult to Judge the age of the mature bird. His movements sometimes become slower as he grows older. Sometimes his bill and claws become coarser.
The parrot will live in a cage, but he likes to fly out now and then. His cage should be warmly covered at night, and his room should not cool off suddenly. He is sensitive to chill and drafts. He is also sensitive to dust, so remove him from the room if you sweep it.
Always provide logs and blocks of soft or partially decayed hardwood so the parrot can exercise his bill. His digestive system seems to need wood fiber. Pulverized charcoal and crushed oyster shells also aid his digestion.
Young birds need soft food such as cornmeal mush and bread and milk. Older birds eat seeds, unhulled rice, cracked corn, apples, bananas, raw and cooked vegetables, insects and nuts. The bird should not be given too much water until he accustoms himself to new climate.