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Flamingo Gifts

Flamingos often stand on one leg, the other tucked beneath the body. The reason for this behavior is not fully understood. Some suggest that the flamingo, like some other animals, has the ability to have half of its body go into a state of sleep, and when one side is rested, the flamingo will swap leg and then let the other half sleep, but this has not been proven. Recent research has indicated that standing on one leg may allow the birds to conserve more body heat, given they spend a significant amount of time wading in cold water.

Learn about Parrots

The parrot, also known by the more scientific title of psittacines, is a type of tropical and subtropical bird belonging to the taxonomic order psittaciformes. There are more than 300 different species of parrot, including cockatoos, lories, macaws, lovebirds, and parakeets.

Given the diversity of parrot species, parrots can be found in a great variety of shapes, sizes, and colors. Parrots do, however, have some qualities in common. For instance, parrots have short legs with four toes on each foot, with two toes facing forward and the other two facing backwards. Parrots also share a strong beak capable of crushing seeds. Many species of parrot also have brightly-colored feathers.

Parrots can be found in tropical and subtropical areas on all major continents, though several species in South America and New Zealand may also be found in temperate areas. The largest variety of parrot species exists in South America and Australasia, the region including Australia, New Zealand, New Guinea, and surrounding islands.

Most parrots neither remain in one place nor migrate routinely; the majority of species demonstrate both behaviors to some extent, and some species are completely nomadic. For this reason, the travels of various species of parrot are poorly understood.

As a primarily herbivorous animal, parrots subsist mostly on fruit, seeds, buds, nectar, and pollen. Some parrots occasionally consume other animals, most notably arthropods such as insects. The most important part of the parrot's diet is seeds, as can be conferred from their highly specialized beak, which has evolved to break seeds easily for efficient and easy consumption. Unlike other birds, parrots use their feet to transfer food to their mouths.

The majority of parrot species are monogamous and pair for life. The bond between a pair of parrots can be very powerful, and a pair of mates generally remains very close year-round, including outside the breeding season. In most species, both parrots in a pair construct a nest for their young and partake in the care for the young.

Large parrot species such as macaws are K-selected species, meaning that they reproduce in fairly low rates. These parrots do not reach sexual maturity for several years, and, once they do, do not always breed every year. When these parrots do breed, they produce a very small number of young at a time, sometimes hatching only one infant parrot.

The parrot is known for its intelligence, being one of the most intelligent types of bird and famously able to imitate human speech. The parrot's intelligence does not end at mimicry; studies have shown that African gray parrots actually learn human words, associating their sounds with their meaning, and can even form basic sentences.

Many parrot populations have dwindled, and some species have gone extent, primarily due to human intervention. The leading cause of this problem is the destruction of various parrot species' forest habitats. Some parrots have also been hunted and trapped for the pet trade, reducing their numbers in the wild.

About the Author
Jacob Maddox manages content for Wildlife Animals an educational wildlife and animal website.

Bird Gifts




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