Quakers, or monk parrots, make brilliant companion pets due to their affectionate, energetic and comical personalities. When it comes to talking ability in a small parrot, they almost outrival larger birds with their clarity and mimicry ability. They are such social creatures which bond readily to a single person or family unit. They are not particularly loud, but do have an alarm call as all parrots do which is something to be mindful of if you live in close proximity housing.
Quaker parrot, Monk parrot, Grey-breasted parakeet
12 inches (30.5cm) and between 95-120 grams
With adequate diet, care, health, stimulation and love, your quaker can live up to 20-30 years, or even beyond. However, most live only 10 years, due to owner neglect. This is why it is imperative to learn and grow our knowledge about avian care.
ORIGIN AND HISTORY
The Quaker Parrot is native to Argentina, Bolivia and surrounding countries in South America. In the wild, they tend to live in very large flocks, and there are many feral populations in urban areas, such as North America and Europe.
Quakers are generally very playful, vivacious and social, with their distinctive bobbing behaviour and 'quaking' sounds. They love to be in the company of fellow birds and humans, are highly intelligent and very loyal. Their talkative nature makes these parrots a popular favourite among bird keepers. They are also known for their cage territorialism, which if seen as a natural behaviour, rather than a problem behaviour, this can be easily negated with training necessary for any companion parrot.
Colours and markings
Quakers are monomorphic, meaning both sexes have identical colouring. They naturally occur as green in the wild, but there are a multitude of new colours that have been developed in captivity.
They are characterised by their vivid colours: vibrant greens, blues, yellow, white and even grey.
Some colours that are bred in captivity are: blue, lutino, albino, cobalt, mauve, dark green, olive, blue pallid, green pallid, cobalt pallid, mauve pallid, dark green pallid, olive pallid, as well as the same in opaline and parblue. To learn more about the different colour mutations, read here.
Quakers, by nature, are very inquisitive, playful parrots. They need to have adequate room to play, forage, fly/flap and explore their surroundings. For birds, this is usually a cage or enclosure, which becomes your bird's "safe place". Their cage should provide sufficient room to freely spread both wings. Choose the largest cage you can afford and that will fit well in your space.
A cage recommended to house a quaker parrot should be at the very least 60x60x60cm, but recommended 80x90x55cm with between 15-19mm wide bar spacing. A cage with a playtops and doors with locking mechanisms are an advantage. Select natural branches to use as perches, as these provide different thicknesses, textures and enrichment to promote foot health.
Quakers love to chew and should be given ample toys for the sole purpose of destroying and keeping them occupied. We purchase all our toys from Unique Beaks Handmade Bird Toys which are made with bird-safe natural dyes, stainless steel, plastic, wood and accessories. You can find them on Facebook here.
Items such as pony beads, paddlepop sticks, paper, untreated pine, paper straws, wax-free cupcake liners, and finger traps make great toys for inquisitive beaks to shred. Some metals, such as galvanised steel, lead, and zinc can cause metal poisoning, so it is best to use stainless steel wherever possible.
Feeding your quaker a balanced, nutritionally dense, varied diet is imperative to maintaining healthy physical and mental wellbeing. This should consist of a base diet of formulated pellets, low-fat seeds, sprouted seed, vegetables and a small amount of fruit. For more details on diet and nutrition for your parrot, read about it here.
diet and nutrition
common health problems
Quakers are known to be susceptible to feather plucking. This could have medical causes, or it could be contributed by boredom, or lack of mental stimulation (handling, variation in routine, not enough/any toys).
Annual (or more often if required) checkups are highly advised to ensure your parrot is in best health, as diagnosis and treatment of any disease or illness can be given earlier rather than later.
Diseases known to affect quakers include:
Fatty Liver Disease (Malnutrition induced disease from too high fat content in diet. Symptoms: obesity, overgrown beaks, enlarged livers, anaemia, jaundice, lipemia)
Psittacosis (Parrot fever: very common disease caused by Chlamydophila psittaci bacteria. Symptoms: loose droppings, poor appetite, green urates, weight loss, lethargy)
Giardia infection (Natural occurring protozoan in the intestine, which affects absorption of vitamins and minerals. Symptoms: malnutrition, lethargy, poor appetite, dry itchy skin)
Polyomavirus (Virus that affects multiple organs of young, caged birds. Symptoms: vomiting, swollen abdomen, diarrhoea, breathing issues, weight loss, and possibly haemorrhages)
Here are some avian vets in South East Queensland whom we have good dealings with and feel confident enough to recommend. There are others in the southern corner, however we would not recommend them.
THE EXOTICS VET
Dr. Vanessa Harkess BVSC (Hons I) MANZCVS (Avian Health)
22 Ashmole Road, Redcliffe QLD
Phone: (07) 3060 2112
Hours: Tuesday to Saturday 9am to 5pm, Closed Sunday and Monday
BRISBANE BIRD VET
Dr. Adrian Gallagher BVSC (Hons) MANZCVS (Avian Health)
248 Hamilton Rd, Chermside QLD
Phone: (07) 3359 2233
Hours: Monday, Wednesday, Friday 9am to 5pm, Tuesday and Thursday until 7pm, Weekends closed
BRISBANE BIRD & EXOTICS VETERINARY SERVICE
Dr. Deborah Monks BVSc (Hons), Cert Zoo Med (RCVS), ECZM Diplomate (Avian Medicine), FANZCVS (Avian Medicine and Surgery)
191 Cornwall Street, Greenslopes, QLD
Phone: (07) 3217 3533
Hours: Monday to Friday 8:30am to 6:00pm, Saturday 8:30am to 12:00pm, Closed Sundays & Public Holidays