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  Celestial Parrotlet  

 

English Name

Celestial Parrotlet

Spanish Name

Cotorrita Celestial

Latin Name

Forpus coelestis.

 

Origins

 

Sexing

Forpus coelestis coelestis: The male is green with cobalt blue flight feathers and a narrow blue streak that runs from the eyes to the back of the neck. The female lacks the blue under the wings, and has a lighter blue (mostly blue/green) streak running from the eyes towards the back of the neck, but is not the length or width of the male streak. Both have blue rumps, but the blue rump on the female is not as dark or defined as the male. Their eyes are dark brown, beak is flesh-pink, legs are pale pink, and the tail is very short.

Forpus coelestis lucida: The lucida Pacific parrotlet has most of the same characteristics and colours as the nominate (F.c. coelestis), except as noted: although mainly green, lucida males and females both have blue colour on the underside of their wings and on their rump. The males' blue colouring on the rump is dark cobalt blue and the blue markings around the eye are darker than the female, which is similar to a male Pacific (nominate). Also, both male and female have a grey wash over the green colouring on the wings, and the male's underside also carries a grey wash.

 

Males

Being sexually dimorphic the male is easily distinguished from the female. He carries a vivid blue on the wings and rump and a lighter blue over his eyes. Some males have a dusting of blue on the back of the neck and over the back and top of the wings.

The males have a cobalt-blue streak of feathers extending from the eye as well as cobalt-blue on the rump and wings.

Females

Some females of a subspecies have a dark blue rump a slight blue on the wings and some blue on the head and neck. Some females have a deep turquoise rump with some shades of blue. But it is always very easy to tell the difference between males

Many females also have an eye streak as well although it is emerald green rather than cobalt. They have dark green backs and wings with yellow-green feathers around the face and females.

 

Female on the right

Size

5 inches. 12-13 cm.

Weight

30 grams.

Rings

Size L 4.3 mm.

Character

If kept as a single bird they make great pets and because they are small they make a good beginner bird for children and because their song is quiet they can live very nicely in the apartment complexes.

Pacific parrotlets are the most dominant and fearless species of parrotlet. They are also extremely territorial. You cannot keep more than one pair in a cage together. It is not unusual for Pacific pairs to bicker with each other when they are not raising babies. Most pairs make excellent parents and can be used to foster other species of parrotlets. Most Pacifics will not get a long with other animals, including other parrots, and may attack these "intruders".  Hand-fed babies make wonderful pets if placed in a home right after weaning and handled regularly. Being highly intelligent they often can be taught to do tricks and can learn to talk. While all birds are individuals, females tend to gravitate to one person while males are more gregarious. Of course, the younger a bird is adopted and the more people handle it, the more likely it will be social with everyone.

Feeding

They are hardy eaters with appetites bigger than their size. They eat millet, hemp and oats and love veggies, beans and rice. They will consume sunflower seeds and cuttlebone and lots of fresh water.

All of our parrotlets are fed a basic large hook bill seed diet with the peanuts in the shell removed and hemp, grey striped sunflower and millet seed added. In addition to seeds, seven different kinds of fresh fruits, vegetables and greens were given daily along with cooked beans and rice. A commercial brand of pellets and Petamine, cuttlebone and mineral block are always available. Fresh, clean water filtered through a biological filter is available at all times. Vitamins and powdered calcium supplement are sprinkled onto the soft foods. Egg food is also provided as parrotlets seem to benefit from a higher protein and fat diet when breeding, as compared to the other small parrots.

Seed mix of wheat, oats, canary grass, various millets, weeds, and a little sunflower; millet spray (also sprouted); various fruit and vegetables (carrot, pear, apple, half-ripened maize etc.); rose hips, mountain ash berries, green food (chickweed, dandelion etc.); insect soft food for rearing; tends to feed off seed to exclusion of other food.

The dietary needs of these birds is simple, requiring only fresh, high quality cockatiel seed, pellet, or seed/pellet mix supplemented by fresh or frozen fruits and vegetables. Given their size, these birds can devour an amazing amount of food and especially seem to enjoy a variety of fruits. Our own birds eat a daily diet of thawed fruits and vegetables along with a pinch of Spirulina, Wheat grass and Wheat germ sprinkled on top. Some of the fruits and vegetables we commonly use are whole kernel corn, small pieces of carrot, peas, assorted cooked beans & legumes, cooked pasta, plain cornbread, bits of whole wheat or multigrain bread, small pieces of apple, orange, kiwi, banana, papaya, mango, assorted berries, poppy seeds, pinion nuts, cooked oatmeal, small amounts of shredded wheat or cheerios.

Breeding Cages

Wooden cages which were twenty-four inches wide, eighteen inches high and twenty-four inches deep.

Breeding Cages measure 60 cm length x 40 cm height 30 cm depth.

The minimum cage requirements for these birds is a square 18"x18" cage with 1/2" bar spacing and 5/8" perches. This size is appropriate for either a single parrotlet or a breeding pair.

Nest

Width

7 inches

Depth

7 inches

Height

10 inches

Hole Diameter

5 cm.

Nesting Material

Boxes are filled with untreated pine shavings to within 2" of the nest hole.

Breeding Period

All year as many pairs breed in winter; breeding mostly begins in spring, but possible all year.

Pacific Parrotlets are prolific year round breeders once they reach sexual maturity

Eggs

4-7 5,6 most common

Incubating

Hens generally begin incubating the eggs in earnest once the second or third egg has been laid. Usually only the hen incubates the eggs although with some of our pairs the males with either join his mate in the nest box or even incubate the eggs himself on occasion. The male, who has been feeding his mate throughout incubation, continues to feed his mate after the eggs hatch and she, in turn, feeds the babies.

Incubation

18 - 21 days 20-22

Fledging

4-5 weeks

Batches

2 or 3

Lifespan

15 - 20 years

Breeding Life

12 years

Sexual Maturity

Young already mature at 10 months, but do not usually breed before second year.

12 14 months

Aviaries

2m x 1m x 2m (6ft. x 3ft. x 6ft.)

Temperatures

Outside flight only during summer months in temperate climate; minimum temperature 10C (50F), during acclimatisation not less than 20C (68F).

Health Problems

The most common problems is that parrotlets are very aggressive towards their own kind (Forpus in general). This goes for their own offspring as well and from time to time the father kills the male offspring. reason being that he sees them as potential competitors. Parrotlets are fully coloured when fledging and the blue markings on the rump, wings and eye-streak are used to impress the females. This might be the reason for the males seeing their own offspring as potential competitors.

Observations

They have some talking ability but for the most part they do not speak.

They seldom bathe but love to roll in wet grass. They will chew wood so they need some toys to satisfy that urge

 

Colour Mutations

Blue

Their blue colouring differs between birds but is a soft sky blue colour. In the lucida sub-species the grey colouring on the back and wings on the males adds a beautiful contrast to the soft blue. Males and female lucidas also retain their blue/teal markings.

Cobalt

 

 

Olive

These birds are a deep, dark olive green with dark eyes that retain their blue colouring.

American Yellow

Are bright lemon yellow mutations developed in the United States. This parrotlet has dark eyes and males and lucida hens show their blue markings.

Pastel (European Yellow)

Also known as the European yellow. This light yellow bird has green infused with the yellow unlike the American which has no green.

Fallow

Light yellow-green with beige. You can definitely see the green colour peeking through the yellow mutation colouring. They also have red eyes and retain their blue colouring.

American White

Starting out as very light blue, they lose this colouring as they age. These dark-eyed birds retain their blue markings and should not be confused with all-white albinos. American whites come from breeding American yellow/blue splits together.

 

European White

 

 

Albino

Have no colour whatsoever and are completely white birds with red eyes. Males and females look exactly alike and must be sexed. Albino is produced by breeding lutino/blue splits.

Lutino

 

Pied

 

 

Isabel

Also known as "cinnamon". The decrease in melanin production could turn out to be an important factor in making new combinations.

Fallow Blues

These light blue birds have bright red eyes but retain their blue markings on the males and lucida females. They are produced from fallow/blue splits.

Pastel Blue

These very light blue birds, unlike fallow-blue, have dark eyes. They, of course, are a combination of pastel and blue