Quaker Parrot: Bird Profile

Quaker Parrot

Quaker parrots (or monk parakeets) are known for their charming, fun personality and willingness to learn human language. They are a great choice for bird lovers who want the fun of a large parrot in a smaller package. They are a popular pet that is well suited to dedicated beginners and adapts well to life in a “human flock”. However, in some parts of the U.S., it is illegal to keep them as pets. Check local laws before acquiring a parrot.

Breed Overview

COMMON NAMES: City Parakeet, City Parakeet, City Parakeet, City Parakeet, Green Parakeet, Gray-breasted Parakeet, Montevideo Parakeet.

SCIENTIFIC NAME: Myiopsitta monachus

ADULT SIZE: 12 inches from beak to tail, weight between 4 and 5 ounces.

LIFE EXPECTATION: 20 to 30 years at least.

Origin and history

The range of the Quaker parrot extends from central Bolivia and southern Brazil to parts of central Argentina. They usually live in forests and are known to form strong community bonds.

They are the only parrots that build nests. These birds spend a lot of time building elaborate dwellings out of twigs and branches. Their nests even have several rooms. Quaker flocks often build nests side by side to form Quaker communities. Some nest communities can reach the size of a small car.

This hardy bird also lives in wild colonies in many urban areas around the world. In some places, particularly in the southern United States, wild Quaker populations pose a threat to crops and native bird species.


Quakers are very confident and sociable birds by nature. These birds are delightfully funny; they are like little clowns. They have the personality of large birds in a small bird body. They are cheeky and outgoing, tend to chatter a lot, and are known for their exceptional talking ability. These little guys need just as much attention as larger parrots.

In captivity, they tend to bond very closely with a person and are known for their loyal nature. Once a relationship is established with a Quaker parrot, it will be with them for years. They love cuddles and head rubs, and you can expect the exciting squeak they greet you with when you come home. Most hand-reared Quakers are quite docile and make excellent pets for children. 

Speech and vocalization

Most Quakers develop a large vocabulary and can even form several sentences. Imitating sounds and singing are other talents of these little beauties. Quakers are little chatterboxes, especially if you have more than one bird in a room.

The loudness of this parrot is subjective. Some owners consider it a quiet bird, while others think it is too loud. They do not emit piercing cries like other parrots, but they do call from time to time. Their noise level should not disturb neighbors.

Quaker Parrot Colors and Markings

The color of a Quaker is green on the head, wings, and back. The bird’s most striking feature is its gray breast, cheeks, and throat. This coloration resembles the clothing worn by Quakers in colonial times and has given the bird its name.

They have beautiful blue flight feathers and a lighter green coloration on the underside of the tail. Its beak is horn-colored and its legs are gray. Overall, they look like a parakeet.

Captive breeding programs have also produced a variety of beautiful color mutations in Quakers. One of the most popular mutations is a blue Quaker hybrid developed in the early 2000s. Breeders have also bred albino, cinnamon, lutino, and pied Quakers.

This bird is a monomorphic species, meaning that males and females are exactly alike. The only way to determine the sex of your bird with certainty is DNA determination or surgical sexing.

Caring for a Quaker parrot

Quakers are very active birds and need plenty of room to play. Their cage should be at least 18 square inches, but they do even better in a larger enclosure. Make sure the cage is sturdily built. Not only do these birds like to chew, but they have been known to learn to open the cage and escape.

Place a bowl of fresh water in the cage as a bird bath; this can provide hours of entertainment, exercise, and mental stimulation.

Quakers can become aggressive if they feel their home is threatened. Because they are proud of their home, they can become possessive toward their cage. If you bring another Quaker to the bird you already have, let them get to know each other in separate cages and build a bond first. Otherwise, the other bird will be perceived as an intruder. Quakers are willing to fight and even kill to protect their homes.

If you have a dog or cat, you will also need to keep an eye on your Quaker. They can be somewhat fearless and will try to attack even larger dogs.

Common Health Problems

The most common health problem in Quaker parrots is obesity, which can lead to fatty liver disease and nutrient deficiencies that cause feather plucking. In most cases, you can prevent feather plucking if your birds get enough exercise and have social interactions with you. Self-mutilation is a common, albeit unhealthy, way for parrots to cope with boredom and anxiety.

Diet and nutrition

Quakers are known to be excellent eaters and their diet should include fruits, vegetables, and nuts that they normally eat in the wild.

As captive birds, their main diet should be a mixture of high-quality commercial pellets. Offer them a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, green leafy vegetables, nuts, and healthy table foods. Root vegetables, peppers, and colorful products are essential to their diet.

Give birds about 3 tablespoons of pellets daily and offer them at least a quarter cup of fresh fruits and vegetables in the morning. Discard fresh food that has not been consumed at the end of the day. You can offer a second ration of fruits and vegetables a few hours before bedtime.

Some Quakers tend to overeat if they can afford too many nuts and fatty seeds such as sunflower seeds, peanuts, and millet.

As with all birds, you should provide fresh water. Never feed foods that are toxic to birds, such as avocado, chocolate, and coffee.

 Tips for bird diet and nutrition


Provide plenty of toys and a playroom for your Quaker to burn off energy and play. Quaker parrots need to spend at least two hours outside their cage in a bird-proof room.

Balls, bells, and small chew toys will pique your bird’s interest. These shiny birds often play with puzzle-like toys.

Allow Quaker parrots to exercise their nest-building instincts. Your bird may try to weave objects into the bars of its cage, or it may choose to build its nest in a corner of your home from random objects it finds. Be sure to keep an eye on these curious birds while they are outside their cage. 


  • Gregarious, affectionate, and gentle with children.
  • Intelligent, a great talking parrot.
  • A calmer parrot should be able to live in an apartment building.


  • Needs a lot of time, mental stimulation, and personal attention
  • Illegal breeds in some parts of the United States.
  • Tends to become territorial with its cage or its area.

Where can I adopt or buy a Quaker parrot?

Check with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and local authorities to find out if it is legal to own a Quaker parrot. Since many Quaker parrots may lose their homes for various reasons and become available for adoption, contact your nearest bird adoption and education foundation if you wish to purchase one.

On average, breeders sell Quaker parrots for between $300 and $1,000. Rescue organizations, adoption charities, and online breeders where you can find Quaker parrots include.

  • Adopt a pet
  • Birds now
  • Bird breeders

Look for a bright, alert and active bird. Make sure the breeder is knowledgeable about their birds and open about their breeding methods and where their birds come from.

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