Domain Eukarya
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Subphylum Vertebrata
Superclass Gnathostomata
Class Aves OR: Class Archosauromorpha
Subclass Neornithes OR: Subclass Dinosauria, Infraclass Aves
Order Psittaciformes
Family Psittacidae

The family of parrots, parakeets, lories, lorikeets, macaws, and conures, containing 268-332 species in about 50 genera. The family once included cockatoos, but these have been moved into their own family, Cacatuidae.

Parrots are recognizable by their heads and bills. Parrot species sport a nearly endless varieties of plumage, some plain, some quite gaudy, but always interesting. Ironically, a given species' plumage is a for of natural camouflage for its particular habitat.

Nearly all parrots (except those in genus Nestor) mate for life; they imprint on another parrot and stay loyal to it forever. This behavior makes them extremely loyal pets. Another notable feature is their ability to mimic sounds they hear; pet parrots can learn to imitate human speech, a few phrases that are repeated to them over and over.

Native Psittacidae species are found throughout the tropics, and into subtropical areas: South America, the Carribean, Africa, Madagascar, Southeast Asia, Indonesia, the Phillippines, New Guinea, Australia, and New Zealand. There is even one species native to the southeastern United States. In a few places (such as Hawaii), pet parrots have escaped and formed large populations in the wild, putting pressure on native birds.

In addition to the ordinary challenges facing wildlife such as habitat loss, their desirability as pets put the stress of poaching on wild populations. A few species are widespread, but many are endangered and some have become extinct.

Subfamily Ariidae (New World Parrots): Subfamily Loriidae (sometimes put in their own family, Loridae): Subfamily Psittacinae (7 tribes):
  • Tribe Micropsittini
    • Micropsitta (pygmy parrots, 6 species) (NEW GUINEA & MOLUCCAS)
  • Tribe Nestorini
    • Nestor
      • N. notabilis (Kea) (NEW ZEALAND)
      • N. productus (Kaka) (NEW ZEALAND)
  • Tribe Platycercini (37 species)
  • Tribe Psittacini (African Parrots)
  • Tribe Psittaculini (12 genera, 67 species)
  • Tribe Psittrichadini (Brush-headed parrots)
  • Tribe Strigopini (Owl Parrots)

  • Don Roberson, CREAGRUS, featuring Bird Families of the World,

    Lexicon of Parrots online:

    NatureServe Explorer: An online encyclopedia of life [web application]. 2002. Version 1.6 . Arlington, Virginia, USA: NatureServe. Available: (Accessed: February 16, 2003)

    I wanted to add the fictional species Psittacus Norvegicus azurei, also known as Psittacus morituri, but thought better of it.

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