Friday, September 24, 2010

Pacific Parrotlet/Yellow Face Hybrids

Hi Sandee,

What a pleasure to "meet" you today! I am forwarding the pictures of my two hens, Lauper and Abby, Abby being the one I believe to be hybrid. I hope these are good enough but I can take new ones if need better pics.

I await your feedback and guidance. Again, many thanks for taking the time to help, it is greatly appreciated!

Kind Regards,


Thank you for the pictures. In my opinion, they are both hybrids between Pacifics and Yellow Face. Abby is probably about 90% Pacific; I’d say that Lauper has more YF – but is also a hybrid. I’d say probably 50%-60% Pacific. Hope this helps!

Sincerely yours,

Sandee L. Molenda, C.A.S.
The Parrotlet Ranch, Owner,


Thank you for getting back to me so quickly. I am disappointed but grateful for the information. I guess I should stop thinking about breeding them, even Lauper, if she's not yellow faced, the whole point of me breeding them was to try to help the conservation efforts of these little guys!

May I pick your brain as to what made you see the pacific in her? I know I am but a novice, and to my untrained eye, she looked like a full yellow faced, but haha, I've only ever seen them in pictures in your book and on the web! If you could guide me in what you saw that led you to conclude she was hybrid, I can be more discriminating if I try again.

Since you mentioned the virtual impossibility of getting full 100% yellow faced here in the US, would you suggest I try to get them from Peru or Europe instead? How hard would it be to do this? I read the plight of Henry (how saaad!!!) but I am wondering if there have bee nany changes since you wrote it in 2006... any laws changed yet or who do I have to harass?? (haha!)

On another note, I am also very interested in the Lucida Pacific, but seem to have a hard time finding 100% full that have not been crossed. In your article you mentioned that you had started the Lucida breeding with birds caught in the wild, I was wondering if you still had availability of these? I would love to be able to conserve these.

Thanks for taking me under your wing, so to speak!! : )

Kind regards,


Dear Didi:

Unfortunately, there are many species of parrotlets in the US which are pretty much genetically dead – Yellow Face are certainly one since they were never imported in large numbers. Mexicans are almost gone since they were difficult to breed in the first place. Blue Wings are also on that list – most people finding them difficult to breed and they were considered too nervous and flighty to be good pets so after almost 20 years of non-importation, these species are pretty much gone from US aviculture. Fortunately, there are tons of them in Europe and Asia so even if Americans can’t breed them, the species’ will survive. Also none of these parrotlets are highly endangered in the wild.

I don’t know how I can explain to you the differences in a YF/Pacific hybrid since you have never seen a pure YF. Its kind of like describing a Catalina macaw (blue & gold hybridized with a scarlet) if you have never seen a blue and gold macaw. Mainly its size – YF are much larger than Pacifics about the size of a PF lovebird, the structure – YF weigh about 30 grams or more than Pacifics, placement of color – the yellow is supposed to go from the crown of the forehead around the entire face including cheeks and chin, down the throat, the entire chest, belly and all the way to the tail and it is a pure deep yellow and not that washed out greenish yellow. It is a deep, deep bright yellow. Finally, the beak doesn’t have enough black on the upper mandible nor is it dark enough. The entire upper mandible should be dark black. So while there is YF in both birds, one is at least 3 generations of hybridizing with Pacifics, the other could have had one Pacific and one YF parent although I doubt it. It probably is 2 generations of hybridizing with Pacifics.

As for the lucida subspecies of the Pacific, these birds have been bred interchangeably since people first started breeding Pacifics and certainly since the WBCA ban in 1992. With the introduction of color mutations, they are all but gone although unlike the YF, they are not hybrids. They are called ‘generics’ because they are still Pacifics but have a commingled subspecies.

Sorry. I appreciate your offer but you cannot change the law. There are exceptions to it if you are a zoo, a US&FW approved foreign breeding facility or a breeding cooperative sponsored by a non-profit (which is what IPS tried to do but was unable due to people refusing to cooperate and the fact that the most of the birds were either hybrids or had TB or both). But the WBCA was written in accordance with the parameters set up by CITES (Convention in International Trade in Endangered Species) which the US is a signatory. They were written to protect species from becoming extinct in the wild. More and more countries are passing laws to prevent the sale of wild caught birds – the EU passed their own version several years ago. The only species of parrotlets that can be legally imported are visual color mutations of the Pacific parrotlet. Ironically, it is because of this exception that we have lost most of the other species from American aviculture as people dumped the rarer species in order to make more money when the new colors were imported.

Hope this helps.

Sincerely yours,

Sandee L. Molenda, C.A.S.

Fertile Eggs, Taming Without Hand-Feeding

I was wondering if you would give me your opinion. I currently own two parrotlets and the have five eggs not sure if they are viable or not but the female will not leave the nest so I am hopeful. My question is I know nothing of handrearing babies and was wondering if it is possible to tame the babies around 5-6 wks for pets? Thank you for your time and opinion.

Dear Jodi:

Thank you for your email. The fact your hen is brooding really is no indication of whether or not the eggs are fertile or will hatch. She is driven by instinct to brood the eggs whether or not they will hatch. Even pet hens with no mates can produce eggs and they too will sit and brood them often for the entire 21 days of incubation.

I’m assuming this is a pair of Pacifics? If so, then it is extremely unlikely you will be able to tame the chicks without hand-feeding them from 10 to 14 days. If it were, most people wouldn’t hand-feed since it is extremely time consuming – they need to be fed every 4 hours at least 4 or 5 times a day as well as handled and socialized. This is called ‘imprinting’ and it is done to overcome the natural wild instincts that parrotlets have since they are not domesticated birds like cockatiels or budgies (parakeets). Moreover, parrotlet pairs are extremely aggressive especially hens and will not tolerate interference so removing the chicks, handling them and placing them back in the nest almost never works; the hens often kill the chicks. This type of co-parenting can work with larger birds such as macaws but parrotlets are too biologically hard-wired to accept this kind of intrusion and more than likely will abandon or kill the offspring.

You can let them be parent-raised. They will not be friendly nor will you be able to handle them as pets but they can be sold as breeders.

Sincerely yours,

Sandee L. Molenda, C.A.S.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Male or Female Parrotlet As a Pet

Hello my name is Meg and I have been trying to get some info or advice on whether to get a male or a female parrotlet. I can't find the answer online so I wondered if you might help. My worry is that the male will get aggressive when he gets to the stage where he wants to mate, I had a female parrotlet for a few days before I gave her to a friend and her personality was wonderful, but now I am feeling conflicted because my breeders newest clutch has 2 blue males and 1 blue female so far and we don't know what the 4th baby is yet. I read online that males can tend to be a little more outgoing and nippy and females are a little more down to earth. Since you are a breeder what do you think? I think I should listen to my gut about getting a female I am just worried that I will only have the one female to pick and wonder if I should consider one of the males if I like its personality. I am just worried about later down the road. Any response would be appreciated.

Dear Meg:

Thank you for your email. It is important to remember that just like with people, dogs or any other living creature all animals are individuals and no one can really predict what kind of personality any particular animal is going to have just based on things like species or sex. Parrotlets are not domesticated birds like parakeets or cockatiels and therefore still rely predominantly on their natural, wild instincts rather than having been bred to accommodate human tolerances. Parrotlet personalities are based primarily on the bird’s own individual personality – some birds naturally prefer other birds and others will accept human companionship – and imprinting. Imprinting is the process where wild characteristics are overshadowed by imprinting desired behaviors. Many people call this ‘socializing’ or ‘bonding’ but really it is simply acclimating the bird to overcome its natural instincts such as escaping from humans to enjoying being around and accepting human contact. As someone who has bred parrotlets exclusively for almost 30 years I can tell you that the way was raised, handled and socialized by the breeder is a much greater indication of how a bird is going to be as a pet as opposed to sex or species.

That being said, both males and females can and do have issues with hormones as well as natural metabolic processes – again, it is about their basic instincts for survival in the wild and not because they have been programmed for captivity by selective breeding. Males and females can be territorial, particularly with regard to their cages – this is very natural behavior for all species and genders of parrotlets. Same with certain times of the year where things like molting happens. Again, both sexes have the ability to become aggressive and nippy. Indeed, all birds can become nippy based on a variety of reasons - I always tell people if you really want to get a bird that won’t nip or bite, get a canary and never take it out of the cage. Otherwise, just like with dogs or any other animal, its personality largely depends on the bird itself, how it was raised and socialized and how it was trained by the owner.

Hope this helps.

Sincerely yours,
Sandee L. Molenda, C.A.S.
The Parrotlet Ranch, Owner,