Parrot Myths & Misconceptions

What myth/misconceptions about parrots irritate you most? What are the weirdest ones you’ve heard. Why do you think they exist? What are some pet peeves? What can be done to dispel these myths? Is there a category of people or demographic that makes them most? Who is responsible for starting them?

The one that annoys me the most…hmm…if it’s not a Macaw, it’s not a parrot? When I show my birds to people, be it in real life or pictures, I sometimes get “that’s a parrot?!” because they automatically imagine something like a Macaw.Honestly, I had someone argue with me that my parrots weren’t parrots…because apparently, they knew more Another one that annoys me is that people automatically ask if they talk, because all parrots apparently talk. It is always one of the first questions, if not THE first, that I get when I say I have parrots.

And if it doesn’t talk it’s not a parrot right? Too many pirate movies and fairy tales…One that I really hate is how most depictions of parrots lump all species into one green universal hybrid that represents not one kind of parrot. And I will be the first to admit that up until about 2 years ago, I really had no idea about anything about parrots. I blame the education system. Little kids learn about cat and dogs throughout school and social life but there is nothing about parrots. I’m not even saying that they need an in depth education but there are all these “educational” cartoons that could teach a little more about it. Instead of having some fake hybridization of all parrots they could have a character that is a specific kind and say so. Something people don’t realize but when they are comparing an Amazon to a Cockatoo, the taxonomic spread between the two is about as distant as between a cat and a dog! The order Psittaciformes parallels the order Carnivora of which cats and dogs are both part of. I don’t think people think of dogs/cats as really closely related and neither are some parrots. With some 300+ species of parrots, it’s kind of ridiculous to merge them together all like that. As a kid I knew about cats, dogs, and parrots. I never knew about different kinds and I’ve seen pictures of Amazons vs. Macaws but never gave it much thought. The movies/cartoons probably only made me understand parrots less by confusing me with different kinds all being blanketly called “parrots.” Considering that there are millions of people who keep them as pets, it’s a bit ridiculous how little known they are. I wish I would have learned about them sooner.Now I still have not gotten a straight answer from anyone whether or not a cockatoo is a parrot at all. Are parrots strictly Psittacidae or all Psittaciformes are parrots? I hear cockatoos being called parrots all the time, but technically are they or not? Anyone really know the answer?

When I show my birds to people, be it in real life or pictures, I sometimes get “that’s a parrot?!” because they automatically imagine something like a Macaw. I get that a lot too with Noodle.I take him to our local pet stores and Petco and people are suprised 1). that he’s a parrot and 2.) that he’s small. I’m always getting asked "will he get any bigger?"That questions bugs me! Like it’s a dog that going to grow bigger?All birds once fledged are going to stay that size! Don’t people know this??He’s not a snake that going to molt and get bigger each year!Urg!

Yeah! That’s definitely another one! People are always asking me why it’s so small and if it will grow up (like a puppy). I don’t know why people assume that everything is exactly like humans/dogs. It’s a very mammal centric world but the birds dominate a good portion of it but people just don’t care to look up.There’s one lady who keeps insisting that my parrot “has gotten bigger.” I tell her that it is impossible and she assures me that I couldn’t tell cause I’m used to her and see her daily (you know like parents may not notice kids growing but when they visit grandma she sees them 6 inches bigger). I explained that her weight has not increased since I got her and that her size is the same and yet whenever she sees my parrot she asks if she has or will grow any more!!!

I would say that’s my biggest annoyance. I find myself having to hold my tongue to keep from being sarcastic about it.

I was out with Duke once and he was in his little travel carrier.Some little boy came over and asked me, “Is that your parakeet?” I said, “Yeah.” Then he said, “I’ve had two of them for a year and everytime I try to play with them, they just bite me.” I said to him, “Well, you have to train them. They’re just scared of you, that’s why they bite.” He said, "Yeah well, what can you do?"The phrase “what can you do” is sort of like a saying… it’s used sometimes in a context that is almost like, something happens and it’s impossible for you to do anything to change the circumstances. The way he said it, his tone, and how he emphasized different things, it was a classic example of this phrase and he probably picked it up from his parents saying it or something…What I thought was annoying was that I just TOLD him what to do and he acted like it was impossible to train his birds but he just didn’t want to, didn’t understand, or didn’t feel like it!!He was probably about 10 years old so I imagine he’s too young to understand what to do but this is why I don’t like it that children are given pets. Adults should have the pets for themselves and let the child participate with supervision. I think children take a lot of joy out of spending time with pets and I think it is GREAT that they can learn responsibility by helping. But they shouldn’t have their own pets without their parents supervising and making sure the pet is well taken care of.

But they shouldn’t have their own pets without their parents supervising and making sure the pet is well taken care ofI agree completely! Well said!

Another misconception about companion birds is that a lot of people seem to believe you have to get two of them. Budgie owners especially do this.You don’t need to buy birds in pairs! In fact, if you do, the birds will more likely bond to each other and they won’t bond to you as much. The pair may become defensive of each other against you, or they might not get along at all and then you’ll have to get a second cage or give away one of the birds.

Kathleen wrote:Another misconception about companion birds is that a lot of people seem to believe you have to get two of them. Budgie owners especially do this.Can’t quite tell you how many times I’ve got this weird look as though I was evil for not keeping my lovebird in a pair. I think lovebirds are the worst when it comes to people believing they must be kept in pairs.