Scientific name: Myiopsitta monachus
Life span: 15-20 years (Recorded up to 40 years in captivity)
Country of origin: South America and north-eastern USA
Pet owner knowledge required: Beginner/Intermediate/Advance
Breeder knowledge required: Beginner/Intermediate/Advance
Description: The wild form of Quakers (or Monk Parrot) is the green colourings along the back of the head, wings, legs and tail feathers with grey from under the beak and down the chest. Both sexes are identical in colour and require DNA sexing to distinguish them. They weigh between 100-140g and are about 29-30cm in length. In Australia they can have up to 2-3 clutches a year consisting of 3-8 eggs per clutch. Eggs are incubated for approximately 21-24 days. Chicks will fledge from the nest at 6-7 weeks, but take another 2 to 4 weeks to be fully weaned from their parents. Breeding pairs may start nesting at around 2 years of age. They are monogamous birds and form strong pair bonds, where the best results are usually seen in birds that are paired as young birds. Quakers are prone to fatty liver disease and should not be fed seeds (Sunflower and Safflower) and other foods that are high in fats very often to avoid this.
Quakers as aviary birds: Quakers are usually only kept by the more tolerable and experienced aviculturalists as pairs of these parrots can be noisy and generally not desirable for keeping in residential areas. Single birds, however are often reasonably quiet. Quakers build a nest of branches and twigs with two 'rooms', one as a nursery and the other as sleeping quarters. They are best kept as one pair per aviary, but they can be housed as a colony in a large aviary. They like to chew timber and branches, so perches may need to be replaced often, particularly around the breeding period.
Quaker Mutations: Currently in Australia, the only other colour available is the blue mutation where blue feathers replace the green ones with no change to the grey feathers. The blues are becoming quite common but are still dearer than the normal greens. There is some speculation that yellow Quakers may be in Australia, but if this is true they would be expensive and probably wont appear as pet birds until they become more common and lower in price. In the USA, other mutations do exist and these include the above mentioned yellows as well as pieds, pearls, whites, yellow-faces and cinnamon versions of greens and blues. Many of these mutations are still rare in the USA.
Quakers as pets: Quakers are often hand reared and kept as pets. They are becoming popular pet birds, which is partly due to the fact that Quakers are known as the best talkers of all the small parrots. They can often say hello before they are 6 months old and will mimic sounds that they hear around their cage. Quakers are very social and dominant birds that require a lot of attention when kept as a single bird. Owners must interact with their Quaker on a regular basis and good training methods are advised to avoid any bad habits or the development of destructive/unwanted behaviours.
Contact us to see if a Quaker is the right pet for you!