Quick Facts

  • The quaker parakeet is the only parrot that builds its nest as opposed to nesting in a hole in a tree, and its twig-built nests can be quite massive
  • Quaker parrots are known to start talking while they are relatively young
  • Diet & Nutrition: Parrot food

Quaker Parakeet

Myiopsitta monachus

quaker parakeet, quaker parrot, monk parakeet, monk parrot

Elena Khristova derivative work

The quaker parakeet, also called the quaker parrot and the monk parakeet/parrot, a native of South America, is one of the most popular parrots of its size due to its availability, low cost, and outstanding mimicking ability. This bright, resourceful, 12-inch bird has been able to set up large wild colonies from Southern Florida to the Northeast and Midwest, making themselves a charming addition to the landscape of those areas, though many places consider them pests and have outlawed them.

Native Region / Natural Habitat

The quaker parakeet is native to Argentina and nearby countries in South America, where it inhabits subtropical areas. The quaker parrot adapts very well to urban landscapes and, as a result, there are numerous feral populations in North American as well as in Europe.

Care & Feeding

Quaker parakeets are voracious chewers, and will make fast work of furniture, so provide lots of chewable toys and safe branches to avoid living a bored and unhappy quaker parrot that can easily turn its destructive nature onto valuables.

Wild quakers parrots are quick to nest, and build elaborate oven-shaped, many-chambered “pots” out of thousands of twigs woven into sophisticated nests. Quakers are sometimes reluctant to nest in breeding boxes, though they are often bred that way if offered twigs and other substantial nesting material. They lay six to eight eggs, though they are known to lay up to 13 viable eggs in one clutch.

The quaker parakeet is reported to live up to 30 years with the proper care. Lafeber’s foods for parrots offer nutritionally balanced, daily diets. These include Nutri-Berries, Avi-Cakes, and Premium Daily Diet pellets.

Personality & Behavior

Possibly the most distinctive behavioral feature of the quaker parakeet comes from its namesake-the quaking and shaking. These birds bob and quake in a way that looks quite abnormal and disturbing, but it is actually a natural behavior exclusive to this bird.

Quaker parrots are social animals and appreciate the company of their humans or other quakers. They can become depressed and neurotic if left alone too often. A pair of quakers parrots will bond if introduced early enough, but won’t lose the bond to their owners if they are included in family life and given a lot of close interaction.

Speech & Sounds

Despite their name, quakers are anything but silent! Someone with noise sensitivity might want to think twice about bringing this bird home. They will wake up the most solid sleeper, and may disturb neighbors. On the positive side, these birds are wonderful talkers, able to learn many words and phrases, especially if kept as a single bird. They are also highly trainable and can learn tricks when properly motivated by food or praise. When hand-raised, quaker parakeets can be as affectionate and as tame as a companion bird can be. They can often be acquired untamed, and will tame down with some patience.

Health & Common Conditions

The most common health problems with the quaker parrots are feather destructive behaviors, such as plucking out feathers, and fatty liver disease, which is associated with a high-fat diet; namely a seed-based diet. A good diet for a  quaker parakeet should consist of a pelleted diet, such as Lafeber’s Premium Daily Pellets, Nutri-Berries or Avi-Cakes, as well as fresh fruit and vegetables and healthy table foods.

Get a Quaker Parakeet

iStock_20247352Quaker-parrot-webQuaker parakeets primarily are a lime green in color. The underside of the wings are tinged with blue and the beak is horn-colored. The distinguishing feature of the quaker parakeet is its storm-gray face, neck, and chest. They are considered a medium-sized bird, and are often confused with conures because of their size and coloration. There have been some recent mutations of these birds in blue and cinnamon (a lighter greenish-yellow) though they are difficult to find and are very expensive. The blue mutation is particularly stunning, and is beginning to lower in price as breeders today are concentrating on them, though you may still have to search a little harder for them.

Because quaker parakeets are so prolific and destructive when they colonize in the wild, they are illegal to sell or own in some states, so check state laws before you acquire or sell a quaker. Also, consider the laws of states you might want to travel or move to if you already have a pet quaker. These birds have been confiscated and euthanized in states where they are illegal to own.