Parrot Anatomy

Parrot Anatomy For Responsible Bird Owners

Some information about parrot anatomy will make it possible for you to be a responsible bird owner who can be on the look-out for signs of discomfort, illness or disease and provide better parrot care.  If you don’t know how your bird should look when he’s normal, it will be difficult for you to know when things aren’t normal.

Even though you may already know quite a bit about parrots you need to make sure that you have a working understanding of parrot anatomy.

The different species of parrots have a lot of variation in terms of size and coloring, but beyond that they have many similarities.

Parrots have a distinctive type of beak, even among birds. All bird’s beaks are an extension of their jaw bone and are covered with a hard substance called keratin.

Keratin is the same material that makes up both human fingernails and a horse’s hooves! The parrot’s beak is very strong and is hooked. It is designed that way to be able to open the fruits and nuts that it forages for food.

The parrot’s beak is a handy tool and it is also used to explore the world around them, feed their young and sometimes to defend themselves.

At the top of the beak you will find the cere, which is the fleshy area just above the beak and located on the cere  are your parrot’s nostrils, or nare.

If you ever see a discharge from the nostrils you should contact your veterinarian immediately as this can indicate a very serious, perhaps life threatening problem.

We are all aware that birds have a unique anatomical structure that enables them to fly.  This structure is their wings.

Wings are made up of a series of tiny bones that strongly resemble the human arm bone structurally.

The parrot’s wing is made up of several layers of different types of feathers.  The Primary Flight Feathers, the Secondaries, the Main and Lesser Coverts, the Tertials, and the Alula.  These all play a critical role when a parrot is in flight.

Their tail also serves an important function when they are flying. It acts as a rudder to help them steer and change direction.

The parrot is known for its unusual feet.  Most birds have three toes pointing forward and one pointing backwards while parrots have two facing each direction.  This makes them better able to grasp and hold food while they work at cracking nut shells or peeling fruits with their beaks.

Experts sometimes compare this aspect of their anatomy to the advantages that humans have with the opposing thumb.  In addition to being able to hold things while they work at them with their beaks they are able to climb much better than other birds.

Another portion of the anatomy which is unique to birds is the crop.  This is an enlarged section of the esophagus.  It is located below the beak and is a sac where the food the parrot eats is stored until the actual process of digestion starts.  It is not easily noticed since it is quite well hidden beneath the feathers and beak.

As we move along the parrot’s digestive system we find the esophagus, another organ in common with humans. The esophagus transports the food from the mouth to the crop.  The crop is actually several layers of muscle tissue.  The food is stored here and softened before it travels to the gizzard.

The gizzard contains roughage and tough muscle tissue,  enabling it to grind down food and make it into a pulp.  In this form, the food is ready for the parrot’s intestines, where the food is digested as the nutrients needed by the body are drawn out.

Next, the waste travels to the rectum and then exits the body.

Parrots process the liquids they consume through the kidneys, which again absorb what is needed for the body and filter out the waste.

The parrot’s respiratory system functions a lot like ours. They draw air in through their nostrils, it travels through the trachea to the lungs and is sent out through the bloodstream.

These are the basics.  Information is readily available if you would like to research and find out more about parrot anatomy.