True parrot

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True parrots
Blue-and-gold Macaws
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Psittaciformes
Family: Psittacidae
Illiger, 1811

Loriinae (lories and lorikeets)
Psittacinae (typical parrots and allies)
(but see text)

The true parrots are about 330 species of bird belonging to the Psittacidae family, one of the two "traditional" families in the biological order Psittaciformes (parrots). The other family is the Cacatuidae (cockatoos) which are also parrots, but not classified as true parrots. True parrots are more widespread than cockatoos, with species in the Americas, Africa, Asia, Australia and eastwards across the Pacific Ocean as far as Polynesia.

The true parrot family is often considered to contain two subfamilies, the Psittacinae (typical parrots and allies) and the Loriinae (lories and lorikeets). However, there are other systems of classification and these two groups are sometimes ascribed full family status, being called Psittacidae and Loriidae.

Like most parrots the Psittacidae are primarily seed eaters. There is some variation in the diet of individual species, with fruits, nuts, leaves and even insects and other animal prey being taken on occasion by some species. The lorikeets are predominately nectar feeders; many other parrots will drink nectar as well. Most Psittacidae are cavity nesting birds which form monogamous pair bonds.


The order Psittaciformes (parrots) contains two families of parrots, the cockatoos and the true parrots. These seem to be less distinct from each other than the true parrot lineages are among themselves, and it appears as if eventually most major groups of living parrots will be given the same taxonomic rank. They will probably be treated as subfamilies for the most part, as the living Psittaciformes seem monophyletic with regards to several prehistoric families.

Image gallery

Species lists

Lovebirds Lovebird is the commonly used name for any of the nine species of the genus Agapornis (Greek: αγάπη agape 'love'; όρνις ornis 'bird'). They are a social and affectionate small parrot. Eight species are native to the African continent; the Grey-headed Lovebird is native to Madagascar.

The name Lovebird stems from these parrots' strong, monogamous pair bonding and the long periods of time in which paired birds will spend sitting beside one another. This is reflected by the bird's name in other languages: in German, "die Unzertrennlichen", and in French "les inséparables", both meaning "the inseparables".

Lovebirds live in small flocks and eat mainly fruit, vegetables, some grasses and seed. Abyssinian Lovebirds also eat insects and figs, and the Black-collared Lovebirds have a special dietary requirement for native figs making them almost impossible to keep in captivity.

Some species of the genus are amongst the most popular parrots kept as pets, and several colour mutations have been selectively breed in aviculture. Their average lifespan is 10 to 15 years.


  • Bruce Thomas Boehner - Parrot Culture. Our 2,500-year-Long Fascination with the World's Most Talkative Bird (2004)

External links