The Hawk-headed Parrot

Quick Facts

- Best for experienced owners
- Best solo or in mated pairs
- Medium size
- Medium activity level
- Medium Trainability
- Medium sociability with people

Hawk-headed Parrots get their name from their neck feathers that rise like a fan when they are alarmed or scared. They live in the rainforest of South America. Unlike other types of parrots, they are the only bird in their genus and there are only two sub-species of Hawk-heads; the Buff Head Hawk-head and the Brazilian hawk-head. They are very territorial and usually travel alone or with their mate or family.

Hawk-headed Parrots are a little more difficult to own than most of the other types of pet parrots; they are best suited for experienced owners. They can make wonderful pets when well socialized and tamed, but can be rather temperamental and moody. Some can be aggressive and nippy, and many will try to intimidate their owners. They need a calm confident owner who will be consistent with rules and will take time each day to ensure they are well trained and socialized.

When well socialized and tamed, Hawk-heads are usually affectionate and playful. They can be taught to do tricks and mimic human speech. They can be rather noisy and have a loud call that sounds much like a seagull. They are not a good choice for apartment dwellers as they may disturb the neighbours.

Hawk-headed Parrots require a large cage; they are happiest with a cage that is a minimum of 30 inches wide and 24 inches deep. They enjoy having a swing, ladder and different toys in their cage to help keep them amused. Some can be very aggressive with other birds.

Appearance and Care:
The Hawk-headed Parrot is a medium sized bird that measure about 14 inches from head to tail and weighs around 300 grams when full grown. Both males and females have white foreheads, brown throats and red with blue edges on the base of their necks. Their breasts and belly are red edged in blue and their wings, back and tail are green.

Like all birds, Hawk-headed Parrots require regular bathing. They should be supplied with a shallow dish of warm water every couple of days to splash around in.

Health and Diet:
Hawk-headed Parrots have an average life span of around 40 years when well cared for. They are extremely hardy birds that are not prone to serious health problems. However, owners should always be on alert for signs of illness and take their bird to their veterinarian if they suspect it may be ill. An ill Hawk-headed Parrot may become inactive and have a decrease in appetite, it may have noisy breathing, ruffled feathers, cloudy eyes, weight loss and sneeze often.

A balanced diet is very important in maintaining a Hawk-headed Parrot’s good health. They require a diet of a good quality seed mix and fresh fruits and vegetables daily. Most Hawk-headed Parrots enjoy apples, pears, bananas, melons, berries, raisins, corn, peas, carrots, lettuce, celery, beans, dandelions and Swiss chard. As with all birds, they need fresh water daily. All fruits and vegetables should be washed thoroughly to ensure they are clean of pesticides, and all fruit should be carefully deseeded, as some fruit seeds contain cyanide and are poisonous to birds.


Located in: Birds