The parrotlet is the tiniest member of the parrot family. Adults typically don’t grow larger than 5 inches. Although they are small, parrotlets have dynamic personalities. They are popular pets due to their cute appearance and affectionate nature.
Another reason the parrotlet is a popular pet bird choice, especially among apartment dwellers, is that they are quite quiet. While they do make sounds, the noise level is nothing like that of some other parrot species.
Keep reading to learn about the parrotlet’s speech ability, sounds, and the meaning behind the sounds they make.
In the wild, birds use sounds for many different reasons. The sounds they make all have meaning and communicate a message to other birds in the area.
The 3 Types Parrotlet Sounds
Parrotlets are known for being quieter than their other parrot relatives. The sounds that they do make are lower in volume than their screechy cousins. Ornithologists divide the types of sounds that birds make into categories.
Songs and calls can often be lumped into the same category, but they are two different types of sounds. Songs are generally longer and have a clear pattern. They are used to attract mates and mark territory so songs are more commonly used by males.
Calls are generally much shorter and lack the complexity of songs. Both male and female birds make calls frequently. Depending on the situation, a call can signal alarm, flight, or many other purposes.
These can be any other sounds made by your bird. Flapping wings, pecking, chewing, and any other noise can be categorized as non-vocal.
The 9 Parrotlet Sound Meanings
You can decipher your parrotlet’s mood by listening closely to the sounds they make. Body language is also important as some of these sounds are similar to the human ear. Here are some common sounds parrotlets make to help you better understand your bird’s mood.
1. Alarm calls
Alarm calls indicate to other parrotlets that danger is near. If your parrotlet is the only bird around, it can still make alarm calls to show it is annoyed with something or afraid.
Unlike tongue-clicking, beak-clicking indicates a bird feels threatened. Your parrotlet will click the top and bottom of its beak together in rapid succession. This will often be accompanied by a stretched neck, feather-ruffling, and dilated pupils.
Parrotlets are like all parrots in that they only talk when they are relaxed and content. The parrotlet’s speech isn’t as strong as a parrot’s, but they can imitate some speech and learn up to 15 words.
Parrotlets sing when they are happy. Their songs sound like this.
Short, frequent chirps, like these, indicate excitement.
Similar to chirps, whistles are short and repetitive. They also demonstrate that your parrotlet is happy or excited.
Unlike beak clicking, which indicates agitation, tongue-clicking noises show contentment and a desire for attention. The sound is similar to a human clicking their tongue on the roof of their mouth.
When your parrotlet is calm and relaxed, they may sing to themselves or make sounds that imitate noises around them, like music or other ambient noise.
Parrotlets are not as chatty as other parrot species. Sometimes they are silent which also indicates a relaxed state.
Understanding the reasons your parrotlet makes certain sounds can help you better care for your bird. It’s nice to know that your bird is happy and relaxed when they are singing and chirping. Paying attention to their alarm calls and beak clicks will also let you know when they are upset so you can better understand how to make them more comfortable.
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Featured Image Credit: Chelsea Sampson, Shutterstock
I am broadly interested in how human activities influence the ability of wildlife to persist in the modified environments that we create.
Specifically, my research investigates how the configuration and composition of landscapes influence the movement and population dynamics of forest birds. Both natural and human-derived fragmenting of habitat can influence where birds settle, how they access the resources they need to survive and reproduce, and these factors in turn affect population demographics. Most recently, I have been studying the ability of individuals to move through and utilize forested areas which have been modified through timber harvest as they seek out resources for the breeding and postfledging phases. As well I am working in collaboration with Parks Canada scientists to examine in the influence of high density moose populations on forest bird communities in Gros Morne National Park. Many of my projects are conducted in collaboration or consultation with representatives of industry and government agencies, seeking to improve the management and sustainability of natural resource extraction.