Quaker Parrot (Monk Parakeet) – Profile & Care Guide

The Quaker parrot is a beautiful, fun parrot that makes for a great household pet. Its inquisitive nature makes it an attractive choice for many. If given the attention it desires, a quaker can make for a very affectionate companion.

Common nameQuaker Parrot (Monk Parakeet)
Latin nameMyiopsitta monachus
Length29 cm (11.3 in)
Weight127-140g (4.4-4.9 oz)
Life Span25 years
OriginSubtropical regions in South America
Noise LevelVariety of shrill screeches, squawks and chatter

NATURAL HABITAT

Natural Habitat for Quaker Parrot also known as Monk Parakeet

The Quaker parrot, native to Argentina, Brazil, and Uruguay, is a prevalent species in its natural habitat. These birds are often considered agricultural pests in their countries of origin due to their penchant for farmers’ crops.

Unlike many other parrot species, Quakers construct nests instead of using cavities or holes in trees. These nests are rather unique, as they tend to build large “complexes” where multiple pairs can cohabit and breed. All occupants collaborate in maintaining the cleanliness of their “apartment” building and safeguarding it against predators.

Each pair of Quaker parrots has a private entrance to the nest, which can expand to over 1 meter in diameter. They will fiercely defend their home, even against other Quakers.

The natural diet of the Quaker parrot includes flowers, tree bark, and fresh seeds. During the breeding season, they consume small insects like caterpillars to supplement their protein intake.

INVASIVE SPECIES

The Quaker parrot’s adaptability has led to escaped individuals thriving in urban environments. In these settings, invasive flocks can create significant noise disturbances, compete with native species for food, and even damage electrical infrastructure with their sizable nests.

This parakeet has become a global concern, establishing a lasting presence in many European countries, as well as in North America. Large populations often originate from just a few birds that have escaped or been released from the pet trade.

Owing to the species’ ability to decimate entire crops and its invasive nature, the Quaker parrot has been declared illegal to own in numerous US states and other countries. In places where it is legal to keep a Quaker parrot, certain regulations may apply, such as mandatory wing clipping. Something to keep in mind!

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INTELLIGENCE & PERSONALITY

Quaker parrots are known for their confidence and loyalty. Many owners describe their birds as highly intelligent, entertaining, and engaging. There’s never a dull moment when there’s a Quaker around! When a well-socialized parrot is allowed out of its cage, it will usually want to stay close to its caretaker at all times. Quaker parrots often form a strong bond with one individual, but they can still make reasonably good family birds.

Assertive by nature, Quaker parrots will clearly express their dislike if something doesn’t suit them. Children should always be supervised around these birds (and parrots in general), as they may occasionally bite if they feel threatened. In some instances, Quaker parrots can become overly protective and aggressive towards people approaching their cage. Territorial behaviour is especially common during the spring breeding season.

Intrigued by all sorts of objects, Quaker parrots’ curiosity may be attributed to their nest-building instincts. They enjoy playing with household items and retrieving various items. Try giving yours building materials like popsicle sticks.

TALKING ABILITY

Considered one of the more talented talkers among small parrots, Quakers are highly intelligent and social birds that are capable of acquiring a pretty extensive vocabulary of words and phrases. Pet quaker parrots may also imitate everyday sounds such as doorbells, alarm clocks, and ringtones.

Quaker parrots can often be heard conversing or practising their vocabulary on their own. Do keep in mind that all parrots are loud: if they disagree with something or desire attention, they will scream for attention. Most of the sounds they make, however, are typical chatter.

DIET

It’s important to feed your Quaker parrot a high-quality pellet diet as a staple, supplemented with a varied seed mix. Additionally, incorporating all sorts of fresh vegetables into their diet on a daily basis is crucial. Fruits should also be offered regularly.

To prevent mould, be sure to remove any uneaten fresh food after a maximum of 24 hours. Avoid feeding excessive amounts of fattening seeds, such as sunflower seeds and peanuts, as this can lead to obesity and fatty liver disease.

Calcium is the only necessary supplement required for an adequately fed Quaker parrot. You can introduce calcium into their diet by means of a cuttlebone or calcium block. It’s crucial to ensure that your Quaker gets enough vitamin A, which is found in red and orange fruits and vegetables.

Never feed chocolate or avocado to your Quaker parrot, as these foods are highly toxic to birds. Always provide fresh, clean water and wash food and water dishes daily.

To promote optimal physiologic use of the calcium you provide your bird, it should be exposed to UVB light for at least 3-4 hours a day. Placing the cage outside when it’s warm can help achieve this, though make sure shade and water are available.

Monk Parakeet - Quaker Parrot Diet

HOUSING

Quaker parrots need a clean, warm, light and mentally stimulating environment to thrive. A wrought-iron parrot cage, free of rust and chips, is the best home for a pet Quaker parrot. The cage should be as large as your home allows, but at least 24” x 30” x 24” in size. Bar spacing should be 1/2” to 5/8”. Horizontal bars are ideal, as they allow your bird to climb.

Place the cage in a quiet area away from direct sunlight, and make sure it’s in a family-centred and busy room to make your Quaker feel like a part of the flock. Don’t forget to spend plenty of time training and engaging with your feathered pet!

Quaker parrots enjoy a variety of toys, and it’s important to provide them with different items to play with. Adding new toys regularly can reduce boredom, a common problem in pet parrots. Your Quaker should have at least three different types of toys available in its cage at all times. Swings, foraging toys, plastic puzzle toys and more help keep their smart brains busy.

Allow your Quaker parrot out of its cage for at least a few hours daily. A play stand on top of the cage makes an excellent place for your bird to hang out while it’s out.

Since Quaker parrots have strong nest-building instincts, you can add some sticks or weaving material to the cage. Be aware that they may also try to build a nest using other objects, so it’s important to supervise them when they’re out of their cage.

FEATHER PLUCKING & COMMON ISSUES

Feather plucking in Quaker parrots can be caused by a variety of factors, including endocrine or liver disease, allergies to food and other environmental factors, or lack of (mental) stimulation.

It’s also important to identify whether your bird suffers from Quaker Mutilation Syndrome. This involves the parrot not only plucking its feathers, but also beginning to mutilate the flesh on its chest, wing webs, and thighs. A veterinarian can help diagnose these issues and will be able to guide you through the process of nursing your Quaker back to health.

Aside from these concerns, Quaker parrots are generally considered pretty hardy. Most health issues in the wild are related to parasites, which shouldn’t be a problem for indoor birds. Still, it’s important to take your Quaker for a vet check-up on a yearly basis!

FACTS

Interesting Facts about Quaker Parrot Monk Parakeet

Thanks to selective breeding, Quaker parrots are now available in a wide range of beautiful colour mutations. All of these variants belong to the same species – Myiopsitta monachus.

With proper care, Quaker parrots can live for over 30 years, making them a long-term commitment. Due to their highly social nature and tendency to form strong bonds with their owners, they’re not recommended for beginner bird owners.

In the United States, Quaker parrots are illegal to own or sell in some states due to concerns about their potential impact on native bird populations.

Quaker parrots are omnivores and feed on a variety of foods, including fruits, vegetables, seeds, and insects.

Quaker parrots are also known for their unique personalities. They can be very playful and curious, and they have been known to entertain themselves with toys for hours on end.

These birds are very intelligent and have been observed using tools in the wild. They have been seen using sticks to move objects, such as rocks or seeds, to get to food.

To view other Parrot Profiles & Care Guides, visit our Alphabetical list of Parrot Fact Sheets by visiting https://blog.parrotessentials.co.uk/parrot-profiles-care-guides/

SOURCES

Burger, J., & Gochfeld, M. (2005). Nesting behaviour and nest site selection in monk parakeets (Myiopsitta monachus) in the Pantanal of Brazil. Acta ethologica, 8, 23-34.

MacGregor-Fors, I., Calderón-Parra, R., Meléndez-Herrada, A., López-López, S., & Schondube, J. E. (2011). Pretty, but dangerous! Records of non-native Monk Parakeets (Myiopsitta monachus) in Mexico. Revista mexicana de biodiversidad, 82(3), 1053-1056.

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This Post Has 6 Comments

  1. I have a blue 5 year old Quaker which is a pre-loved bird. I love him dearly but I can’t touch him with my hands. He will sit with me & he will preen me & follows me around. I haven’t had his wings clipped. His diet is awful. I give him fruit & veg (cooked & raw) but he won’t eat anything except peas. I’ve had him 3 years. Has anyone got any ideas as to his lack of a good diet?

    1. Hi Amanda,
      I can certainly help you with introducing a new diet to your little one.
      I totally agree that eating one Veg only is not enough and the diet should be more varied to provide the required nutritional value.
      Please get in touch on 0800 327 7511.
      Regards,
      Anguel

  2. I have a Quaker parrot he is such a character he’s built a nest in a basket and robs my kitchen of anything that’s shiny sometimes I think he might be a magpie. He whips my spoon out of my cup of tea for his nest he doesn’t say too much but he does so many intelligent things I actually don’t need him to talk! I love him so much he is Harley he bites me when I try to take my things back so I wait for him to go to bed to take back my stuff!

  3. Hi! Bringing home my first 28 day old female Albino Quaker on Saturday! I’m so excited! I’ve researched for over a year, and I think I’m ready! I had a peach face love bird for 22 years! I now have budgie and really hoping because she’s so young, they will get along! I have her baby food, a spoon/syringe depending on what she wants, 3 different cages (a nite nite cage, a main room cage, and an office cage! All but nite nite cage has toys, with backup rotation toys! Any advice would be great! Especially “don’t dos”!

    Thanks Payton

    1. Hi Payton,
      There are so many Dos and Don’ts but two things spring to mind straight away.
      1. Never clip your parrot’s wings. NEVER, unless recommended by a vet for health reasons.
      2. Make sure you feed them properly and a good, healthy and balanced diet. A bad diet can lead to a lot of problems later on in a bird’s life.
      Thank you for commenting.
      Parrot Essentials

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