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Family: Psittacidae. By: Erin Moloney. Cacatuinae (cockatoos, galahs, and cockatiels). Psittacidae (parrots, parakeets, macaws, lovebirds, and budgerigars). Psittrichadinae (psequet’s parrot). Loriculus (hanging parrots). Micropsittinae (Australian pygmy parrots).

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family psittacidae
Family: Psittacidae

By: Erin Moloney

psittacidae phylogeny

Cacatuinae (cockatoos, galahs, and cockatiels)

Psittacidae (parrots, parakeets, macaws, lovebirds, and budgerigars)

Psittrichadinae (psequet’s parrot)

Loriculus (hanging parrots)

Micropsittinae (Australian pygmy parrots)

Loriinae (lories and lorikeets)

Nestorinae (kaka and kea)

Strigopinae (kakapo)

Psittacidae Phylogeny
  • approximately 330 extant species and 15 extinct
  • primarily restricted to the southern hemisphere
  • habitat: tropical and subtropical

brightly colored

relatively short neck

large robust bill

psittacofulvins: unique color pigment in parrots

zygodactyl feet

prehensile tongue

size range
Hyacinth Macaw

(Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus)

length: 100cm

weight 1.5 to 2kg

native to South America (Brazil, Bolivia, and Paraguay)

Pygmy Parrots

(genus: Micropsitta)

length: 8cm

weight: 65g

native to New Guinea

6 species

Size Range
natural history
Natural History
  • relatively long life span
    • lorikeets – 20+ years
    • macaws – 70+ years
  • mainly herbivorous
    • seeds, fruits, nuts, nectar, etc.
    • occasionally will consume grubs and insect larvae
    • consume clay – neutralizes acidity in food
  • predators – hawks, eagles, falcons, snakes, mustelids, cats, etc.

monogamous - usually for life

cavity nesters

female incubates eggs while male brings food

altricial chicks

biparental care


flocks of up to thousands

bright colors help group cohesion

visual and auditory communication


eclectus chick

cockatoo chicks

  • Intelligence and emotional state of a 3-5 year old child
    • communication capability of a 2-3 year old child
  • capable of
    • mimicry
    • communication
    • intelligent play
    • tool making
    • counting
    • differentiation
alex and irene pepperberg
Irene – wanted to understand how birds’ minds worked

purchased Alex in 1972 – Chicago pet store

learned over 100 words

could count to 7

would ask for things – food, walks, etc.

could differentiate and describe shape, color, size, and number of objects

Alex and Irene Pepperberg

Alex intelligence video

north american parrots
Thick-billed Parrot

(Rhynchopsitta pachyrhyncha)


originally: southern Arizona and New Mexico to Venezuela

currently: Sierra Madre Occidental Mountains in northern Mexico

habitat: high elevation coniferous forest

Carolina Parakeet

(Conuropsis carolinensis)

native distribution: eastern United States

habitat: deciduous forests and forest edges

extinct by 1920s

habitat destruction

agricultural pest

over hunting for feathers

North American Parrots
thick billed parrots
Thick-Billed Parrots
  • causes of decline
    • habitat loss
    • over hunting
    • pet trade
  • conservation
    • 1983: reintroduction in southern Arizona
    • organizations pay landowners NOT to log forests (The Wetlands Project and The Wildlife Preservation Trust International)
feral parrots
released pets

success due to…

earlier sexual maturity

no natural predators

can have two chicks at a time

problematic pests

threaten native species

damage agriculture


London – rose necked parakeets (Psitacula krameri)

1983: 500

today: 10,000

Florida – 2800+ monk parakeets (Myiopsitta monachus)

Chicago – 150 monk parakeets (Myiopsitta monachus)

Phoenix - ~2000 peach-faced lovebirds (Agapornis roseicollis)

Feral Parrots
feral parrots monk parakeets
Monk Parakeets

(Myiopsitta monachus)

popular pet during 1960s

1968-1972: over 64,000 parakeets were imported into the US for the pet trade

1967: 35,000 feral parakeets

1972: feral populations East Coast through Mid-West and California

eradication programs: 4,000 to 5,000 parakeets removed in New York, New Jersey, Virginia, and California

Feral Parrots – Monk Parakeets
Habitat Destruction

increasing human populations




Over harvesting



crop destruction

pet trade

Natural History

monogamous for life

slow maturity rate

one clutch / year

small clutch sizes

1/3 of Neotropical parrots are endangered

almost all parrot species listed on CITES Appendix I or II

pet trade
parrots can be sold for $200 to $10,000 each

~ 800,000 parrot chicks are removed from the wild each year

75% mortality rate – stress, disease, rough handling, crushing, dehydration, etc.

1998-2000: over 1 million parrots traded worldwide

US imports declining

1990: 150,000

today: 17,000

US-Mexico border significant smuggling point

Pet Trade
United States Efforts

25 listed by the U.S. Endangered Species Act

Wild Bird Conservation Act – 1992

prohibits import of wild parrots

except countries with approved management and conservation


International Efforts

    • 40 on Appendix I
    • all other parrot species on Appendixes II or III
    • cockatiels and budgerigars not regulated
  • IUCN Red Listed Species
    • 95 species listed
  • Allaby, M. “Psittacidae”. Dictionary of Zoology. 1999. Oxford University Press. Accessed 18 Mar. 2008. <>.
  • “Birds: Thick-billed Parrot”. Animal Bytes. 2008. San Diego Zoo. Accessed 19 Mar. 2008. <>.
  • “Carolina Parakeet”. All About Birds. 2007. Cornell Ornithology Lab. Accessed 18 Mar. 2008. <


  • Ehrlich, D., Dobkins, D., and Wheye, D. “Feral Birds”. Birds of Stanford. 1988. Standford University. Accessed 25 Mar. 2008. <


  • Owen, J. “Feral Parrot Population Soars in U.K., Study Says”. National Geographic News. 8 July 2004. National Geographic Society. Accessed 22 Mar. 2008. <http://>.

  • “Parrot Trade”. Wildlife Trade. 2008. World Wildlife Fund. Accessed 28 Mar. 2008. <>.
  • “Pet Trade Dangers: Poaching Major Threat to Parrots”. Science Daily. 31 May 2001. Accessed 25 Mar. 2008. <


  • Roberson, D. “Parrots Psittacidae”. Bird Families of the World. 20 Feb. 2008. Creagrus at Monterey Bay. Accessed 18 Mar. 2008. <>.
  • “Thick-billed Parrot”. 2002. National Audubon Society. Accessed 18 Mar. 2008. <>.

Hummingbirds are in the order Apodiformes, meaning “without feet”

The Order consist of 3 Families:

-Hemiprocmidae (Tree swifts)






325-340 species of Hummingbirds

geographic range
Geographic Range

Hummingbirds are only found in the New World in the Neoarctic and Neotropics.

Most species are found in the tropical and subtropical region

anatomical features
Anatomical Features

Hummingbirds have characteristically small feet.

Family includes the smallest bird in the world- Bee Hummingbird (Mellisuga helenae )

Have taken flight to extreme!

Wingbeats range 70-80 beats per second in small hummers, 10-15 beats for giant hummers

Long slender bill

feeding habits
Feeding habits

Hummingbirds are nectivores and insectivores

Specialization has co-evolved with certain hummingbirds and flowers

Hummingbirds will also feed on sap during scarce times


Hummingbirds are polygynous

Birds will breed during peak season of nectar

Only females are involved in parenting

Clutch size average are 2 eggs

Atricial chicks

response to climate change
Response to climate change

-Some species of hummingbirds migrate while others move toward higher elevations in response to seasonal changes

-Rufous hummingbird has been documented to fly distances of more than 5000 miles round trip!

-Torpor is used in some hummingbirds to save energy during low temperature conditions

hummingbirds found in az
Hummingbirds found in Az

Black- chinned Hummingbird

Anna’s Hummingbird

Rufous Hummingbird

Costa’s Hummingbird

Broad-tailed Hummingbird