There are 4 subspecies of the Quaker Parrot - also known as
Monk or Grey-breasted Parakeet:
Myiopsitta monachus monachus
- nominate subspecies
Myiopsitta monachus calita
- Mendoza Grey-breasted Parakeet
Myiopsitta monachus cotorra
- Paraguayan Grey-breasted Parakeet
Myiopsitta monachus luchsi
- Luchs's or Bolivian Grey-breasted Parakeet
The Quaker Parrot is also referred to as a parakeet in the literature - a reference to its long tail. The Quaker or Monk Parrot, however, has all the personality traits and needs of the larger parrots.
The nest of the Quaker Parrot is unique among parrots. Although single, smaller nests are not uncommon, the more common nest is a communal version, built and expanded upon over several years by several paired flock members. Using twigs and thorny branches, these nests often have several compartments (up to 20 have been observed), each with its own, singular entrance tunnel so no connection exists between compartments. Nests weighing 90 pounds have been recorded. Used year-round, the nests are repaired and added on to as breeding season approaches.
These birds are very gregarious in the wild, forming flocks of a handful to several hundred. Quaker or Monk Parrots are most often found in lowland areas and especially near areas where there are people. Although the Quaker originates from South America, it is also now found in Puerto Rico and the United States as a result of human introduction.
The name "Monk," it is believed, comes from the shape of the grey-colored swath found on the breast, throat, and forehead. There is some debate about where the origin of the name "Quaker" comes from. Many believe this name stems from behavior observed in babies and sometimes in adults; baby Quakers display a characteristic tremor or "quaking" (what one would think of when hearing the expression "quaking in his boots") when feeding or begging for food. Adults have been seen "quaking" when courting or ill.
Quakers exhibit a myriad of entertaining and interesting behaviors that are carry-overs from their lives in the wild. A stimulating and fun-loving bird, the Quaker can and will find itself in dangerous situations if precautions are not taken throughout the home, such as covering aquariums and toilet seats, ensuring wings are trimmed, and not decorating with lace or other fabric within which the Quaker's feet may become entangled. When cleaning the cage, it is best to allow the Quaker to leave first as they often become quite territorial regarding this area.
With appropriate socialization and observance of the somewhat unique needs of this lively little parrot, Quakers will make an endearing and entertaining pet. Expect to spend in the neighborhood of $50-300 for one of these little clowns.