Parrot / Bird Information & Care
Quaker / Monk Parrots
Also called Monk parakeets, the Quaker exists in four subspecies: M.m. monachus, M.m. calita, M.m. cotorra, and M.m. luchsi.* An expert breeder/friend of mine has told me that she has been able to distinguish only two of the species available in the pet trade, with the only noticeable difference being the slightest variance in size. The untrained expert eye would probably not ever notice. Originally from South America, ranging from Brazil to Argentina, these birds are similarly sized to a Cockatiel, although they are stouter and weigh a little more.
They are bright green over the head, in the body, and down the tail, with a little visible blue in the tip of the tail and the flight feathers. Their foreheads, cheeks, and chests are grey. Quakers are by no means brilliant in colorization, but they make up for it in personality. The bill is a golden brown colour, and the legs and feet are putty gray. Young Quakers have grey eyes, mature birds eyes are a dark brown.
Feral Quaker, or wild Quaker, populations are well established throughout the United States, with huge communities in Illinois, New York, and Florida. Because they have been considered to be somewhat of a threat to agriculturists in the past, many states have laws that prohibit the sale or ownership of Quakers altogether. This threat generally referred more to the imported birds of yesterday than our domesticated hand-fed babies. However, Quakers are prolific breeders and are a very hardy species, so states that depend on fruit and wheat crops have more governing laws than other states.
The average feral Quaker life span is approximately 3-10 years. Captive birds, due to decrease of stress related conditions, environmental exposure, and natural predators, live an average of 25-30 years. In general, Quakers mate exclusively for life, which is part of the behaviour that forms such strong bonds with one special human "someone". The wild birds form large, communal nests, constructed of twigs and leaves, rather than dwelling in tree trunks like most parrots.
The name parakeet refers to the variety of bird having a long tail, like the Budgie and the Lorikeet. Actually, although the Quaker bears the closest physical resemblance to some Conures and small Amazons, Quakers are the only members of their genus.