Moluccan Cockatoo – Profile & Care Guide

Salmon Crested Cockatoo

Common name: Salmon-crested Cockatoo, Moluccan Cockatoo
Latin name: Cacatua moluccensis
Length: 40 – 50 cm (15.6 – 19.5 inches)
Weight: 775 – 935g (27.1 – 32.7 oz)
Life Span: 40-60 years
Origin: Native to south Moluccus and eastern Indonesia
Noise Level: Shrill screech with quavering notes, out-volume any other bird, and are extremely loud.
Food, Toys, Cages & Accessories suitable for Cockatoo’s.

Moluccan CockatoosSalmon Crested CockatooMoluccan Cockatoo

INTELLIGENCE

Moluccan Cockatoo’s have incredible emotional intelligence, and are highly complex. These parrots are so intelligent that there have been many cases where they have figured out how to escape their cage, and are said to be equipped with a variety of technical skills that help them accomplish this.

TALKING ABILITY

Moluccan Cockatoo’s are recognised as one of the loudest parrots, and their vocal volume is considerably louder than most birds. Moluccan’s will scream for no reason, and will often do so in the middle of the night. Due to their loudness it takes a specific kind of household to live peacefully with a Moluccan. Moluccan’s are not known for their talking ability, however they are able to mimic a few words or more accurately put; yell a few words.

FEATHER PLUCKING

Moluccans demand attention from their owners, and when under stimulated or not provided with the adequate amount of attention they will easily become bored, and this will lead to preening. Consistent preening then becomes a plucking problem. Lack of attention can cause severe depression in these birds, as they are extremely social. Stress and boredom thus remain the main causes of feather plucking in Moluccan cockatoos.

HOUSING FOR YOUR MOLUCCAN COCKATOO

  • Moluccan’s are very large birds and need the biggest cages you can afford.
  • They require a lot of space. A walk-in aviary would be the most ideal cage.
  • Ideal aviary length should be 4.5m (14.7 ft.)
  • Minimum cage size should be at least 30-36 inches deep, 48 inches wide, and 6 feet high.
  • Provide them with a variety of chewable toys for mental stimulation.
  • Make available, sterilized pine cones, vegetable tanned leather items, hard plastic puzzle items, food finders, and different sized perches for mental enrichment.
  • Overhead misters or spray bottles for bathing a few times a week are ideal.
  • Allow your Moluccan a considerable amount of time out of their cage, because they highly dislike confinement.

FEEDING & SUPPLEMENTS FOR YOUR MOLUCCAN COCKATOO

  • Feed your Moluccan a high quality parrot seed mix or a complete parrot diet.
  • Supplement the staple diet with various fruits & vegetables.
  • Organic, and all-natural bird mixes are ideal.
  • Quality mixes contain a variety of seeds, nuts, dried fruits, and veggies.
  • Introduce calcium into their diets with the use of a cuttlebone or supplements like AVIMIX and BSP.
  • Fresh clean water should be available at all times.
  • Wash their food and water bowls on a daily basis.
  • Aim to provide a balanced and healthy diet and never overfeed your parrot.
  • Incorporate foraging into their feeding regime for mental stimulation.

FACTS

These birds are considered extremely needy, and constantly demand the affection of their human counterpart.

The world population is under threat as they are popular in the pet trade, and their IUCN status is vulnerable. As a result of the exotic bird trade there are  around 99,000 Moluccan cockatoo’s world-wide.

Their intelligence level makes them notorious cage escape artists.

Both males and females partake in the incubation process.

Moluccans will attack young coconuts by chewing through the tough outer layers to get to the soft pulp, milk, and are considered pests in coconut plantations.

Cockatiel – Profile & Care Guide

Cockatiel

Common name: Cockatiel
Latin name: Nymphicus hollandicus
Length: 29-33 cm (11-12.9 in)
Weight: 80-100g (2.8-3.5 oz)
Life Span: 15 to 20 years
Origin: Australia
Noise Level: Moderate. Males usually sing to attract a mate or at the beginning and end of the day, while females chirp to get the attention of their owner or mate.

Cockatiel       Cockatiel       Cockatiel
Cockatiels – Browse our selection of Food, Toys, Cages & Accessories suitable for this species by clicking HERE

INTELLIGENCE

These tiny crested birds have charmed the hearts of humans worldwide based solely on their level of intelligence. Cockatiels are extremely intelligent and very social. They are curious and playful in nature, enjoying interaction with their human “flock”. They are master communicators using their crest to express surprise, interest, or anger. When properly stimulated, they are relatively easy to care for and make wonderful companions. Cockatiels that are constantly ignored can also become cage bound, lonely or depressed. While bored birds can start plucking out their own feathers, a depressed one can even starve itself to death. As bird owners ourselves we cannot stress how important socialisation and attentiveness is for your Cockatiel. Therefore, it is extremely important to keep your Cockatiel entertained and to fill their cage with variety of mind teasing toys. Furthermore, well – trained Cockatiels become extremely devoted to their human counterparts, and are even disciplined enough to enjoy riding around on your shoulder for most of the day. They are very fascinated by shiny objects such as earrings and various pieces of jewellery. They are also intelligent enough to remove these without your notice, so ladies watch out!

TALKING ABILITY

Cockatiels have a moderate talking ability with a 25-word vocabulary which is said to be the average. Most males can learn to say a few human words quite effectively such as ‘hello’ or ‘pretty bird’. Once they have completely learnt these words you will most likely find them attempting to join your conversations. These parrots will imitate household noises such as the hum of a microwave, telephone ringing or a dog’s bark. Males are known for being more vocal than female cockatiels, whose chirping is softer. Although the sound of a cockatiel talking is more unclear and muffled when compared to the sound of larger parrots like an African Grey, it’s still incredibly entertaining to hear. The fact that these birds are extremely intelligent and are master imitators means they can eventually be taught various phrases, as well as songs. Check out this little guy for instance whistling the Darth Vader them song from Star Wars:

This little guy is even more impressive singing the theme song to The Adams Family, Darth Vader, and even saying ‘what you doing’:

FEATHER PLUCKING

Feather plucking is a very common complex problem indicating either a physical or psychological problem with your Cockatiel. The causes of feather plucking can be due to disease, allergies, skin toxins, dietary requirements, or parasites. Some plucking is even due to a behavioural response. Observation is key when dealing with a feather plucker. You should bathe your feathery friend frequently to minimise any bacteria or irritants. Avoid giving them any attention for plucking, and that includes distracting them to avoid plucking. Rather commend your Cockatiel when they are playing quietly or when they are resting peacefully. Due to their intelligence, cockatiels need mental stimulation from you and from their environment, so make sure your birds have an assortment of toys to keep them playing. A mirror or two wouldn’t hurt either.  There are also a variety of skin soothing products and supplements you can invest in to make sure you cross out any skin related causes of feather plucking.

HOUSING FOR YOUR COCKATIEL

  • The cage that you purchase must be as large as possible.
  • As a rule of thumb, the cage size should be a minimum of 24″ x 18″ x 24″.
  • The bar spacing is very important and it should be more than ½” to 5/8” (1.3 – 1.6 cm).
  • Ideally locate it in a quiet corner away from busy or noisy parts of the house. From there they can see people coming and going but aren’t surrounded by activity and noise, as cockatiels are afraid of loud noises.
  • Cockatiel cages with horizontal bars on the sides are nice because these little birds love to climb.
  • Locate it out of direct sunlight and draughts.
  • Variety of toys should be available for your playful cockatiel. They enjoy a variety of toys such as seed treats, swings, ladders, bells, and mirrors. Tree branches and wooden chews provide excellent exercise and keep the beak trim. Bright shiny plastic toys are for parakeets, not cockatiels! Never give them rubber toys!
  • They should be allowed out of cage on daily basis, so they can play around and stretch their wings.

FEEDING YOUR COCKATIEL

  • A commercial cockatiel seed mix is generally regarded as suitable along with a good vitamin supplement.
  • Pelleted diets will also provide a fairly balanced feed, however it does not contain the phytonutrients (antioxidant pigments) that are found in vegetables, fruits, grains, and seeds, so should be supplemented.
  • You can supplement your cockatiel’s diet with green foods such as dandelion leaves, weeds, carrot tops, celery, watercress, spinach, peas, seedling grasses, and millet.
  • Various fruits will also be enjoyed such as apples, oranges, bananas and others.
  • Cuttlebones are recommended to help provide calcium and to help keep the beak trim.
  • Proteins can be offered in the form of mynah pellets, game bird starter, dog food, and even mashed hard-boiled eggs.
  • Grit should not be provided. Although it was previously thought that grit was needed by cockatiels, it has been found that they do not need grit and can actually cause problems if given to cockatiels. Parrots that eat seed whole without shelling it first require grit, but cockatiels shell their seed before eating it, so don’t need grit.
  • Fresh clean water should be available at all times. You can also add soluble vitamins and minerals to the water.
  • Food and water dishes should be washed daily.

Summary

Most handfed Cockatiels have a very sweet, even temperament, and will exhibit a rather curious and inquisitive nature. They can bond closely with their owners and can be extremely affectionate. Small, intelligent, and easy to care for, Cockatiels have graced the homes of bird lovers for many years.

Their engaging personalities and high trainability have put them near the top of the list of the most popular pet bird species.

When cared for properly, Cockatiels can be affectionate and fascinating pets. They are a wonderful species for inexperienced bird owners because of their natural friendly dispositions and curious playfulness. Their dispositions are sweet and convey emotions with their crest.

Of all the parakeets Cockatiels experience the most bird dander or dust. This is indicative of a healthy bird and the ‘powder’ makes their feathers silky-smooth.

These birds are particularly frightful and may have night frights which may cause potential injury. Providing your Cockatiel with a night light is a great mechanism to let them know what’s happening in their surrounds. Remember, like any parakeet – treat your cockatiel like a child, alas a very intelligent child!

Congo African Grey – Profile & Care Guide

Congo African Grey

Common name: Congo African Grey
Latin name: Psittacus erithacus erithacus
Length: 33cms/13 inches
Weight: 400-600 grams
Life Span: 50 years or more
Origin: Central Africa, Tanzania, Western Kenya
Noise Level: Medium

Congo African Grey  Congo African Grey  Congo African Grey

Intelligence

Congo African Greys are extremely intelligent birds. One of the most famous Congo African Greys is the now – deceased Alex, a Congo African Grey studied for years by Dr. Irene Pepperberg in the USA. Alex had been shown to have the ability to process information and make appropriate choices with the correct choice of words, and understand concepts such as colour or shape. Alex was thirty-one years old when he died, which is relatively young, for a healthy Congo African Grey Parrot.

Talking ability

Greys are excellent mimics, and are usually known for their excellent talking skills, some with a recorded capacity of over 2000 words. Even those that don’t repeat words are very adept at repeating household noises such as the telephone or doorbell, often well enough to confuse their owners! Most greys have a large collection of sounds they repeat. According to Dr. Pepperberg in her studies with Alex, greys have a unique capacity for putting their words and sounds into the right context as opposed to simply repeating them, showing their overall intelligence.
Greys have been described as being the emotional equivalent of a two year old human child and having the intelligence of a five year old. This means they need a lot of attention and patience, along with a good deal of guidance to acceptable behaviour. And, they can be a challenging handful at times!

Feather Plucking

Congo African greys have a reputation of being prone to feather plucking. Greys will sometimes resort to feather plucking and in worse case scenarios other forms of self mutilation for a variety of physical and physiological reasons, and also if their emotional needs are not being met or they are stressed. It should be noted that any bird that is plucking its feathers should definitely have a thorough examination with an avian vet in order to rule out a physical cause first. Any increased tendency greys might have toward this problem is likely due to their intelligence and needs for attention and stimulation.

Housing for your Congo African Grey

  • You will need a large cage for your grey. A good recommendation would be a minimum in the area of 91 cm x 60 cm x 121 cm tall, but bigger is definitely better when it comes to housing parrots.
  • The bar spacing should be 2 cm to 2.5 cm (best to get 2 cm spacing for a Timneh).
  • At least part of the cage should have horizontally oriented bars to allow the grey to climb on the sides of the cage.
  • The cage should be placed in a part of the house where the bird will have lots of contact with people, but ideally not in the most hectic area of the home. Keep the cage away from windows where they would receive direct sunlight (to prevent overheating), away from draughts, and not too close to central heating vents or air conditioning ducts.
  • A selection of perches should be provided – varied in size and composition. Different varieties of perches can include beak and nail trimming perches and also the very popular Java multi-branches perches. Java multi branches and finch branches can be attached to either the inside, top or side of your bird’s cage. Java multi-branches are made from the wood from coffee trees which have been baked for at least one month to make the perches incredibly hard wearing.
  • Provide a good selection of appropriate toys – the right size and checked for safety concerns (parts that could be swallowed, strangulation or entrapment hazards). Having a good selection of toys on hand and rotating them through the cage a few at a time can help to provide entertainment and stimulation.
  • Try and invest in a good play gym, and plan on having your Congo African grey spend a significant amount of time on the outside of his or her cage daily.

Feeding Congo African Grey

  • Variety is the key here. A diet of pellets should form the foundation of the diet, but should be supplemented with a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables as well as grains and proteins. A small amount of seed mix can be fed as well, keeping in mind that seeds have some nutritional value and place in the diet but are largely fattening (high proportion of sunflower seeds) and poorly balanced as a main part of the diet.
  • If your bird is reluctant to try new foods, time and patience is the key here.
  • African greys are somewhat prone to calcium deficiency, so calcium levels should be monitored at a yearly vet check. Calcium supplements should not be used except under the advice of an avian vet, but it can be beneficial to feed a variety of calcium rich foods such as leafy green vegetables (kale, mustard greens, Swiss chard, spinach).
  • Fresh clean water should be available at all times. Food and water dishes should be washed daily.

In summarising, Congo African Greys are magnificent and amazing parrots, but are not the ideal bird for everyone. Potential owners really do need to carefully evaluate their ability to commit to the needs of these birds for their expected life span, and be sure they understand the best way to care for these wonderful parrots.

Green Cheeked Conure – Profile & Care Guide

Green-Cheeked Conure

Common name: Green Cheeked Conure
Latin name: Pyrrhura molinae
Length: 26cms/10 inches
Weight: 60-80 grams
Life Span: up to 30 years
Origin: South America (Brazil, Bolivia, Argentina and Paraguay)
Noise Level: Low to Moderate; quieter than other Conures

Green-Cheeked Conure     Green-Cheeked Conure     Green-Cheeked Conure

Intelligence

Outgoing, very playful, active and mischievous are some of the words used to describe this little character.
Green cheeked Conure is a very popular companion parrot. They are playful, affectionate and intelligent and are known for having big personalities in a small body. They have the ability to learn tricks such as lying on their backs and have also been known to use tools (especially their own feathers) for scratching hard to reach places They can be prone to biting, particularly when young, but an owner can easily cure this behaviour with time and patience.

Talking ability

They can learn to talk, albeit with a limited vocabulary and a gravelly voice.

Feather Plucking

These birds are not known for feather plucking, however they do require lots of stimulation (toys and human attention etc.) to keep them from getting bored.

Housing for your Green Cheeked Conure

  • As a general rule, the larger the cage, the better! Being smaller birds, green cheeks don’t really need huge cage, but at the same time they are quite active and will use all the space you can give them.
  • As a rule the cage size should be a minimum of 16″ x 16″ x 18″.
  • The cage should be placed in a part of the house where the bird will have lots of contact with people, away from windows where they would receive direct sunlight (to prevent overheating).
  • Like most Conures, green cheeks will sleep in their nesting area all year round. Conures naturally look for a dark, quiet place to sleep. Products like Happy Huts can be a solution. These are just cloth tubes hung from the top of the cage that the bird can enter. Young birds often take to these right away, but older birds may be wary of them. Given time, they should figure it out eventually.
  • Do provide a selection of appropriate toys – right for their size and rotate them through the cage a few at a time can help to provide entertainment and stimulation.

Feeding Green Cheeked Conure

  • An all-seed diet is not conducive to a healthy Green Cheeked Conure (true for all parrot-type birds) and could eventually lead to nutritional- related illnesses. Make sure to feed a rounded, nutritious diet consisting of fruits and vegetables, seed, pellets and a small amount of seeds.
  • The more the variety the better.
  • If your bird is reluctant to try new foods, time and patience is the key here.
  • Fresh clean water should be available at all times. Food and water dishes should be washed daily.

In summarising, Green Cheeked Conure is an amazing little bird and make wonderful and protective! companion. They are ideal for bird lovers who live in homes with limited space for housing a large bird cage.

Green Winged Macaw – Profile & Care Guide

Common name: Green Winged Macaw
Latin name: Ara chloropera
Length: 95 cms / 37 inches
Weight: 1100 – 1300 grams
Life Span: up to 60 years
Origin: Mexico, Central America, South America
Noise Level: Loud!

Green Winged Macaw     Green Winged Macaw     Green Winged Macaw

Intelligence

A bit more outgoing than some of the other macaws, the green-winged macaw will most likely make a very affectionate pet. They are also known to be the more intelligent of the species. Green winged macaws can adapt very quickly to a new environment and will soon become a very loving member of the family.

Talking ability

Very good but loud!

Feather Plucking

Whilst it is not as common in these macaws (as in African Grey parrots or cockatoos), to feather pluck, it does still happen. They do require lots of mental stimulation.

Housing for your Green Winged Macaw

  • The cage that you purchase must be as large as possible.
  • As a rule your bird should have access to a large enclosure, at least 15m long in which to fly for part of the year.
  • The indoor cage should be situated in a part of the house where the bird will have lots of contact with people.
  • Strong toys are a must, as the Green winged macaw (like the others) are prolific chewers!
  • They should be allowed a minimum of 3 – 4 hours out of cage time per day.

Feeding your Green Winged Macaw

  • They are not known to be fussy eaters.
  • Ideally feed a pellet-based diet supplemented by soaked or sprouted sunflower seed; walnuts, peanuts, pecans, Brazil nuts, pine nuts; corn on the cob, banana, orange; slices of wholemeal bread, small amounts of cubes of cheddar cheese. The nuts should be offered occasionaly rather than regulary.
  • Provide some extra protein in the form of cooked lean chicken and boiled egg
  • Fresh clean water should be available at all times. Food and water dishes should be washed daily.

In summarising, Green winged macaws are prolific chewers and can have overgrown beaks, so provide plenty of hard wood blocks and other hard toys to give their beaks a good work out. Because green-winged macaws are incredibly sociable and live in large flocks in the wild, they always need plenty of daily interaction with fellow flock members (aka humans!) These birds enjoy being part of the daily household routines.

Although they are “rowdy, loving, intelligent and LOUD”, they do make wonderful pets but are really only suited to owners who are dedicated, responsible, and very well informed.