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Unexpectedly Remarkable Differences Between Parrots and Parakeets

Difference Between Parrots and Parakeets
As the terms 'parrots' and 'parakeets' are used interchangeably, they often lead to confusion. BirdEden explains the difference between parrots and parakeets. Also find some fascinating facts about these glamorous birds.
Leena Palande
Last Updated: Feb 24, 2018
Are Parakeets Parrots?
Parrots make up the order Psittaciformes. The term 'parakeets' refers to certain species of parrots.
Eclectus Parrot
Parrot is a class of colorful intelligent birds. However, a few species within the order 'parrot' are also known as parrots. The order 'parrot' is subdivided into three superfamilies: the Psittacoidea (true parrots), the Cacatuoidea (cockatoos), and the Strigopoidea (New Zealand parrots).
Parakeet Pet
The term 'parakeet' refers to a diverse group of small to medium-sized birds, in multiple genera. As all parakeets belong to the order 'parrot', scientifically, they are parrots. According to the Oxford dictionary, the meaning of the word 'parakeet' is "a small parrot with predominantly green plumage and a long tail". As the term 'parrots' refers to both the 'order' as well as some 'species', it leads to confusion.
A parakeet, commonly known as a budgerigar or a budgie, is the third-most popular pet in the world, after the domesticated dog and cat. Parakeets are vibrantly colored, smart, and easily trainable. They are found in most tropical and subtropical regions. Their size varies according to the species. With some training, they can talk like human beings (they try to imitate human voices). Talking abilities may also vary according to the species. Long pointed tails, colorful feathers, and hooked bills are the characteristic features of parakeets. To avoid the confusion, let us compare the species that are referred to as 'parrots' with species that are usually referred to as 'parakeets'.

Parrots Parakeets
Origin of the Words
It is believed that the word 'parrot' has been derived from the old French word perrot. Today, the verb 'parrot' means 'repeat mechanically'. Although the origin is uncertain, the word is believed to have been derived from the old French word paroquet, or the Italian word parrocchetto, or the Spanish word periquito. The meaning of the Italian word is 'little wig' and it refers to the head plumage.
The order parrot includes 372 species in 86 genera. There exist about 120 species of parakeets and even more subspecies.
Common Use of Words
Generally, larger birds are known as parrots. Being larger, they are usually kept in pairs. Usually, smaller birds are referred to as parakeets. Being smaller, they are kept in groups.
Can be 100 cm long Can be 18 - 37 cm in length
1-4 kg 0.03 - 0.04 kg
Rose-ringed parrot, blue-and-gold macaws, scarlet macaws, Pesquet's parrot, Monk Parakeet, the Alexandrian parrot, Cockatoos, etc. Bourke's parakeets, Lineolated parakeet, the maroon-bellied parakeet, the buff-faced pygmy parrot, Parrotlets, etc.
Characteristic Features
The features like 'upright stance' and 'curved bills' are more prominent in larger birds, parrots. Bright green, yellow, red, and gray color combinations are commonly seen. Wild budgerigars are mostly green in color. Selective breeding, over the years, has caused changes in color.
Clutch Size
1-2 4-6
A kakapo may live up to 95 years, while a Hyacinth macaw may live up to 50 years. Depending upon the species, the lifespan of budgerigars in captivity can be 5-20 years.
Do They Talk?
Sounds made by parrots can be harsh. African gray parrots are known for their superior talking ability. Sounds made by parakeets can be musical. Male budgerigars are good singers. They are known for their exceptional talking ability.
The order 'parrot' includes some of the most beautiful, elegant, and intelligent creatures in the bird kingdom. As a pet, both parakeets and parrots are entertaining. They can develop strong bonds with their owners. Parakeets being a group of parrots, the differences between the two are very limited.
Kea in Color
Slaty-headed parakeet(Psittacula himalayana)
Australian King Parrot