rare bird
September 2018 by V. R. Duin

A RARE BIRD
MAY LEARN TO SPEAK

In the wild, these birds risk being caught.
Prized as pets, they are worth a lot.
Suddenly a male parrot swooped from a tree
And perched on the table right beside Dolly.

A “rare bird” captured in the illegal pet trade for its speaking ability, may suffer loss of habitat followed by abandonment if it does not learn to speak by association of words to human activities and identities.

A “rare bird” is something unusual, which rarity often brings added value. This value in a parrot is not just beauty, but its ability to learn to speak by association of words to human activities and identities. Parrots are not the only birds that can talk. However, they are prized for their speaking ability. This value also can be problematic, particularly in the case of wild parrots. This “rare bird” may be captured in the illegal pet trade for its speaking ability, and suffer abandonment and loss of habitat when it does not learn to speak.


Approximately one third of parrots are threatened with extinction, largely due to human activity. Many species of this “rare bird” are very endangered due to hunting, illegal pet trade, pollution and loss of habitat. Organizations and laws now are in place to help reverse these losses. Many of these organizations provide science-based opportunities for volunteers interested in animal welfare. Organizations and laws have been established throughout the world to prevent loss of habitat, to manage and restore existing habitats and to re-introduce captive species into once-native environments.


Communities also are involved in protecting the parrot species native to their locations. Many of these communities are working to create alternative means of income to the illegal pet trade. Individuals working in rare bird capture and egg poaching had no other means of survival. The industries that evolved for the lucrative illegal pet trade in any “rare bird” are not of benefit to birds, whether they can learn to speak by association of words, or not. Protection of native species is of benefit to everyone.


The nocturnal Kakapo Owl Parrot is considered the most “rare bird” in the parrot family. This species does not fly and it is friendly to humans. It is hunted for food, as a source of feathers and for illegal pet trade. These uses have led to its near extinction. Because it makes its noise at night, the Kakapo Owl Parrot does not make a good pet. Parakeets are also members of the colorful and intelligent parrot family. A Budgie is a type of parakeet, so it also is a member of the parrot family. However, a Parakeet is not necessarily a Budgie. Neither is a “rare bird”, but both species can learn to speak by association of words.


A fast-rising star in the parrot world is the Parrotlet, or “pocket parrot”, which is a miniature parrot that can fit in a pocket. Because it is small, it needs less space and food than a large bird. Did you know a macaw also is a parrot? It is one of the largest parrots. It can be found in rain forests across the Americas. A Cockatiel also is a member of the parrot family. Most of these “rare birds” can learn to speak by association of words, although their vocabularies may be limited to a very few words.


Due to illegal pet trade, some members of the parrot family have fewer than 100 members remaining in the wild. Members of this “rare bird” family are captured for their beauty and for their speaking ability. Not all of these birds learn to speak. Many parrots cannot make the association of words with human activities and identities. It takes regular practice to teach a bird to talk. This training must begin with simple names and words. It is a slow process, which may discourage pet owners who want quick results.


“Rare birds” suffer loss of habitat due to human migration and the encroachment of residential and commercial development. Birds that are poached for the illegal pet trade often fail to learn to speak by association of words. Such birds may be abandoned in places, where they cannot survive. Dolly the Parrot was a lucky bird. She ended up in a good place. To learn which parrots are most at risk and what is being done to help the parrot family, we have provided a link to Parrot Fun Zone, an educational site for parrot lovers:

Illegal Pet Trade

  • illegal pet trade Dolly says:

    CITE was established to ensure that illegal pet trade excludes any rare bird.

  • learn to speak by association of words admin says:

    Parrots learn to speak by association of words with human activities or identities, such as greetings and names.

    • rare birdDolly says:

      Cockatiels are not a rare bird, because they are easily bred in captivity and they are not endangered due to loss of habitat.