A blue Hyacinth macaw is shown in profile looking to the right. The feathers are royal blue with yellow accents around the eye and beak.
Celebrating Colorful, Intelligent and Threatened Birds

World Parrot Day

World Parrot Day celebrates a wonderful group of birds in the order Psittaciformes comprised of more than 400 species. Parrots are some of the most colorful birds in the world and include many species of Budgerigars, Cockatiels, Lories/Lorikeets and Macaws that can be seen in the Indianapolis Zoo’s Flight of Fancy!

This speciose Order shares many characteristics including bright colors, strong hooked bills and complex social systems. Those hooked bills are sometimes used as an extra appendage to aid in climbing. Other parrots use their strong jaws to crack open hard nuts like macadamia and coconuts! Meanwhile, zygodactyl feet allow them to lift food to their mouth using their feet. Some parrots are intelligent enough to use tools and mimic human speech. This has led to great fascination in these birds which many people seek to keep as pets. Many parrot species are also reported to be monogamous – bonding with one partner for life.

Sadly, this fascinating group of birds is also one of the most threatened, with nearly 1 in 3 parrot species currently threatened in the wild due to habitat loss, hunting and trapping for the illegal pet trade and other anthropogenic activities.

Conservationists are taking ACTION to save many of these birds from extinction by protecting and managing the natural habitats that these birds need for their survival. For many threatened species, these actions include protecting nests and maximizing the reproductive output of wild breeding pairs, captive breeding programs, and reintroducing offspring into the wild.  The Indianapolis Zoo supports conservation planning efforts by several partners including the World Parrot Trust and the Macaw Recovery Network to ensure the most effective conservation actions for populations of the Critically Endangered great green and blue-throated macaws and other threatened species in parts of South America!

At the Global Center for Species Survival at the Indianapolis Zoo, there is an ongoing effort to communicate this critical work and to network and facilitate connections among the many conservationists and scientists who are working to save parrots including ongoing discussion about the creation of a new Psittacine Specialist Group under the Species Survival Commission of the International Union for Conservation of Nature.


Published May 31, 2022

Samuel Ivande, Ph.D.

This blog post was written by Dr. Sam Ivande, Bird Conservation Coordinator for the Global Center for Species Survival.

Learn more about bird conservation and Sam.