The Quaker parrot is an extremely popular pet. They come in many different mutations - colors ranging from blue, aqua, turquoise, cinnamon, pallid, grey, albino, and many more. They are good talkers and generally are a family pet more than a one-person bird.
In many states there are laws regarding the keeping and trade of this parrot. They, in many states, have been known to form wild flocks and nest in electrical posts. They have thus been seen as an invasive species.
The most common health problems with the quaker parrots are feather destructive behaviors, such as plucking out feathers, and fatty liver disease, which is associated with a high-fat diet; namely a seed-based diet.
The advantage of purchasing a quaker parrot is that they are not as pricey as the large parrots that talk (e.g., African greys and yellow-naped Amazons). For a sturdy bird with a more reasonable price and life expectancy, many who fancy a talking bird are now turning to the quaker parrot. They tend to use human words with understanding before six months old. Some have found that it is not unusual for baby quakers to learn human speech at six weeks of age. While most talk by ten months, it is not unusual for a quaker parrot to learn to say its first human word after it is one year old. The average age at which a quaker spoke its first word was four months. Quaker parrots are especially prone to accidents in the home, including flying away.
Because they are famously territorial, quakers have special behavioral needs. Like humans, if quakers do not learn cooperative habits and limits of acceptable behavior by the the time they reach sexual maturity, they may be completely out of control. It is best for quaker parrots to learn cooperative behavior just after weaning in order to prevent the development of early aggressive behaviors during the developmental period called the terrible two’s (which usually appears sometime between nine and eighteen months in quakers).
Most behavior is comprised of a series of habits that are routinely reenacted. A bird that learns to habitually cooperate will be less likely to try to dominate humans in the environment. In order to create good habits and to establish a pattern of cooperation in the bird’s behavior, we practice a couple of interactive exercises - step-ups and the towel game - most days in neutral territory.
Because of the quaker parrot’s instinct for territorial aggression, it is important not to service the cage with the bird in it. Just open the door, let the bird come out of the top of the door, then step the well-practiced up to a hand or hand-held perch and put it on a play pen. A well adjusted quaker parrot is too busy to be nosy. If the bird is making lots of unpleasant sounds, it may be unhappy. Try to find out why. Much chronic noise-making is a habit, like any other. First assess and improve the environment, then guide the bird to replace habitual noise-making behaviors with more appropriate behaviors.
Like cockatiels, the genus of Myopsitta has only one species. While there are subspecies of quakers, they are seldom identified to the consumer, and there are no reported behavioral differences among the subspecies.
The quaker parrot constructs its own nest. It is the only parrot that builds its own nest. It is an extremely adaptable bird and is weather tolerant, with feral populations established in New England, New York, and even Chicago, the birds surviving in areas where they occasionally endure arctic spells. The genus Myopsitta traditionally contained four subspecies, these divided into two categories - the larger, barred-breasted (Myiopsitta monachus monachus, Myiopsitta monachus calita, and Myiopsitta monachus cotorra) and the smaller, non-barred-breasted type (Myiopsitta monachus luchsi).
The quaker parrot is used collectively for Myiopsitta monachus monachus, Myiopsitta monachus calita and Myiopsitta monachus cotorra, the most common races in aviculture (where no effort to distinguish them is made) - naturally occulty the low lands of South America.