Pacific or Celestial Parrotlet
(Forpus Colestis)

Parrotlets are the smallest of the parrots. They were originally found in northwestern Peru, living in the dry tropical forests and savannah. The Pacific Parrotlet is quickly becoming a popular pet, and like many other birds, is sometimes smuggled across the border. Captured and smuggled South American parrots fetch a high price, but unfortunately, many don't make the trip over. This happens to humans, too.

The smuggling doesn't happen as much anymore, since they're becoming more popular to breed. Expect to pay a pet shop about $200-$300 for a Celestial. Occassionally, a pair of Celestials will give birth to a color-mutated baby. Some are yellow instead of green, and others are white, but the most popular mutation is the bright blue parrotlet. Though stunning, the color mutations can sometimes double the price.

These birds are about three to four inches tall, with a six inch wingspan. They're primarily a green color. The males have beautiful, deep blue feathers under their wings and blue eye-stripes. The females have emerald green eye stripes.

In the wild, they eat berries and fruits. They flock together, but are very territorial. As pets, they can be stubborn. If angered, they will bite and behave as if they're bigger than they actually are. But if you spend enough time bonding with one, he will become your friend. When they're in a good mood, parrotlets are kind and affectionate. They will preen you and talk a lot. But for the times when you're not around, make sure they have enough toys.

Pacific Parrotlets can develop decent size vocabularies and have raspy voices. They also enjoy mimicking sounds, such as those on the television. Unlike many parrots, Celestials do not scream, and are generally quiet, unless angered. They occassionally chirp when happy, but certainly never loudly enough to become annoying.

Pacific Parrotlets are, in many aspects, like Cockatiels. They shoud be fed similar food mixes. They also enjoy grain foods like corn, bread, and pasta. Make sure they have a cuttlebone in their cage. The cage should be about 2' x 2' x 2'.

Pacific Parrotlets can be easily bred. The birds should not be bred until they're two years old. They must be provided with sufficient calcium and a nesting box. Budgie or Cockatiel-sized boxes are sufficient size. They can be bred year-round and will usually produce about six eggs. Incubation takes three weeks and the birds will fledge after about five.

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