Mexican Parrot

This little parrot is native to Mexico, but you probably already know it. The Mexican parrot is sometimes mistaken for a green parakeet, but this bird is actually smaller than a parakeet and has a distinct personality.

Mexican parrots are also called blue parrots and turquoise parrots and are part of Mexico’s illegal bird trade industry – as many as 8,000 are illegally caught each year.

So, if you’re interested in learning more about this lovely pint-sized parrot, you’ve come to the right place. Read on for more on this pint-sized parrot.

Species Overview

Common Name: Mexican parrot, blue tufted parrot, turquoise tassel parrot
Scientific name: Forpus cyanopygius
Adult Size: 5 inches
Life expectancy: 20 to 25+ years old

Origin and History

Mexican parrots are native to the western region of Mexico – from Colima to Sinaloa and Durango. They are found in plantations, forests, and open spaces in tall trees in and around towns and villages, and particularly around fig trees.

BirdLife International and the IUCN have placed the Mexican parrot on the Red List Near Threatened for the illegal parrot trade. Their population in the wild is dwindling, with fewer than 50,000 adult Mexican parrots found in their natural habitat.

Back in 1995, there were an estimated 208,000 Mexican parrots, so that’s a decline of 158,000 birds in 26 years.

Their decline is mainly through the illegal trade in parrots and the destruction of their habitat.

Temperament & Behavior

Mexican parrots are very active in the afternoon and first thing in the morning. They form flocks of 10 birds and up to 100, sometimes with orange-faced conures, and spend their time feeding and flying through fig trees. They spend time looking for food and will pick seeds from the ground.

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They are very friendly and social birds both in the wild and in captivity. Mexican parrots are small, feisty birds that can be affectionate and moderately trained due to their intelligence and need for stimulation. They are very active parrots who need the opportunity to fly as often as possible for their general well-being and health.

Calling

They don’t talk as much as larger parrots, but they can be trained to imitate some sounds. In the wild, they sometimes babble while eating and will make a shrill sound when flying or when perched.

While Mexican parrot calls can be heard from a considerable distance, they are not as “squeaky” as other parrots.

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Mexican Parrot Colors and Signs

The Mexican parrot is an overall green color. They have a blue or turquoise rump, back, and forewings. The main difference between males and females is that females have yellow-green markings, while males have a blue tint.

Because they spend so much time in the trees, they are difficult to spot because they are almost the same color and size as fig leaves.

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There are subspecies of the Mexican parrot, namely:

  • Grayson’s Parrotlets (Forpus cyanopygius insularis): They are dark green with a bluish-grey underside and yellowish-green on the sides of the head. The buttocks are blue and darker on the lower back. They can be found in the Tres Marias Islands.
  • Sonoran parrot (Forpus cyanopygius pallidus): These birds are slightly paler and paler in color, and the female does not have the blue tint on her wings. They are found in northwestern Mexico.

Habitat

Mexican parrots are not migratory birds, but they will often move around in search of their favorite food. For this reason, Mexico’s wild parrot numbers fluctuate slightly, and it can prove difficult to track numbers in certain areas.

They prefer tropical or subtropical dry scrub, open grasslands with few trees, deciduous forests, plantations, forests next to the water, and forests that have been heavily degraded.

Social group

Mexican parrots, as already mentioned, fly in small as well as large flocks that can consist of groups of families and pairs. When flying in flocks, they fly in tight formations and are quite fast.

Breeding

The breeding season generally occurs between May and July, and they can breed in a single colony. The female’s beak will begin to turn silvery blue to indicate that she is ready to breed. They average 3 or more eggs in a clutch, and incubation usually lasts about 19 days, and seedlings emerge after about 4 to 5 weeks.

Diet

The diet of Mexican parrots in the wild consists of figs (which are undercooked or ripe), grass seeds, berries, and seeds. They tend to forage in trees, shrubs, and on the ground.

In captivity, they usually eat:

  • Fruits: Papaya, banana, orange, pear, apple, mango
  • Vegetables: Green beans, carrots, celery, peas
  • Leaf greens: Lettuce, kale, swiss radish, chickweed, rosehip, dandelion
  • Seed blends: Oats, millet, oats, weed or grass seeds, sunflower

Mexican Parrot as a Pet

Mexican parrots have been kept as pets for many years and make great pets thanks to their charming personalities. They can act like little fools, and that, combined with their energy and affectionate side, has made them a sought-after parrot species.

However, due to illegal trade and being listed on the IUCN Red List as Near Threatened, these birds are no longer imported into other countries. It is illegal to import Mexican parrots from Mexico, and are only allowed to be collected from the wild for scientific reasons.

This parrot species does not appear to be available at this time, and there do not appear to be any Mexican parrot breeders, at least in North America. They do make great pets if you can find them, but you need to be sure that you get them through a reputable breeder and not through illegal means. Due to the illegal trade, the number of parrots in the wild is decreasing.birdcage divider

Conclusion

Mexican parrots are beautiful, tiny birds that would make a wonderful addition to your family – if you can find one. The best parrots to bring into your home are hand-bred parrots that will come home with you healthy and fit.

These birds are certainly rare in captivity, so it will take a lot of searching to find them. Hopefully more breeders are interested in starting a breeding program so that more and more can enjoy this beautiful and unique little parrot.


Featured Image Credit: Ron Knight, Wikimedia Commons, CC BY 2.0

Mexican Parrot
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