Parrots are found in a veritable rainbow of different colors.
While yellow is more commonly associated with other birds, and purely yellow parrots are rare, a handful of breeds boast bold yellow feathers.
Of course, color alone won’t determine a parrot’s personality. So, you’ll need to research a parrot’s breed to find out more about its specific traits and characteristics.
What Makes Parrots Yellow?
Many birds take their color from their diet, but this doesn’t apply to parrots.
Instead, the color of a parrot’s feathers results from psittacofulvins (psittacines.) These are chromophores generated within a parrot’s body.
Such an explanation just raises more questions, most likely starting with, “what are chromophores?”
These molecules are similar to the pigments that give humans and other animals color. Chromophores absorb light, and the parrot’s feathers tract accordingly.
Equally, internal psittacines imitate their hue when a parrot spends time with other yellow birds.
Why Are Yellow Parrots Comparatively Rare?
This is a matter of survival.
In native wild terrain, parrots are prey animals. Larger birds, especially raptors, eagles, hawks, and owls, hunt parrots for food. Other wild enemies include snakes, monkeys, and big cats.
While parrots have powerful beaks and can defend themselves if cornered, avoiding detection is easier. Evolution has taken this into account.
Bright yellow feathers are visually striking to humans and predators. While we may see these colors as beautiful, a wild animal equates such luminance to a “come and get me” plea.
As a result, green is the color of camouflage in a parrot’s native terrain.
Although such plumage makes an easier sight for predators, a yellow parrot has its advantages. As per Biology Letters, brightly colored feathers in parrots are less likely to experience bacterial degradation.
Yellow Parrot Species
Like parrots of all colors, not many are pure, 100% yellow. The majority of parrots have a variety of different colored feathers.
Types of yellow parrots include the following:
1/ Budgerigar (Parakeet)
Budgies (Melopsittacus undulatus) are the most popular pet bird because they’re small, friendly, talkative, and easy to tame.
Usually maxing out at 6-7 inches in length, budgies are social and flourish when kept with other budgies in the same enclosure.
Like all parrots, budgies are vocal birds that are particularly noisy in the morning. They’re quiet at night during their 8-10 hours of sleep.
Yellow-feathered budgie mutations, which are often mistaken for canaries, are widely available. However, blue and green budgies are more common.
A parakeet’s seed-based diet means that they’re prone to obesity. Their digestive system means that they’re eating (and pooping) constantly.
If cared for appropriately, budgerigars usually live for an average of 5-8 years.
The cockatiel (Nymphicus hollandicus) that we’re referencing here is the lutino mutation, which many consider the traditional look.
A lutino cockatiel has a white or pale yellow body, topped by a bright yellow head and red cheeks.
Most cockatiels won’t grow any larger than 13 inches. They still need a large cage (with stimulation) and out-of-cage exercise.
Cockatiels enjoy human company, making good companion birds once a bond is established. You’ll need to spend plenty of time together.
Cockatiels rarely speak, but they’re skilled whistlers. Whistling from a cockatoo is often a sign of happiness and love. If your cockatiel whistles at you, it’s expressing joy that you’re around.
3/ Golden Conure (Golden Parakeet)
The golden conure (Guaruba guarouba) is a strikingly beautiful parrot covered in almost exclusively yellow feathers. These medium-sized parrots are playful and intelligent.
They love to chat and are skilled mimics. This breed will also imitate everyday noises and loves music. Don’t be surprised if your parrot starts to dance when you turn on the radio.
The golden parakeet grows to around 14 inches but has a substantial wingspan. This means that you’ll need a large enclosure.
There are numerous species of lovebirds (Agapornis), which are an average size of just 5-6 inches. They’re small yet stocky parrots.
Most of these species undergo color mutations to allow yellow feathers. Examples include Fischer’s lovebirds and yellow-collared lovebirds.
Fischer’s lovebirds rarely speak (though females will occasionally repeat a phrase), but they can be noisy birds.
Despite their name, lovebirds don’t necessarily need to live in pairs or groups. If you can spend time with a single lovebird and keep it entertained, it’ll be just fine.
5/ Pacific Parrotlet
At just 5 inches, the pacific parrotlet (Forpus coelestis) is small in stature.
Pacific parrotlets must be socialized. Their diminutive frames hide a Napoleon complex, and these birds can be destructive and aggressive around humans or other animals if not tamed.
They’re affectionate and loving once a bond is established. They need as much exercise as a full-sized parrot, so be prepared to let your bird fly free regularly. In doing so, it’ll likely settle down.
These are talking birds, capable of learning up to 15 words, but they don’t scream and squeal with the same intensity as the much larger blue-and-yellow macaw or double yellow-headed amazon.
6/ Sulfur-Crested Cockatoo
The sulfur-crested cockatoo (Cacatua galerita) is immediately recognizable due to its bright yellow crest.
While undeniably loving and affectionate, they have many complex care needs. They often live for 70 years.
The sulfur-crested cockatoo is high maintenance during its long lifetime. They need near-constant attention, a large enclosure, and a minimum of four hours of freedom outside the cage each day, ideally longer.
The sulfur-crested cockatoo is among the most affectionate parrot breeds and is quite intelligent. They’re wonderful mimics and speak in complete sentences. Their ear-piercing shriek is not the faint-hearted.
7/ Sun Conure (Sun Parakeet)
The sun conure (Aratinga solstitialis) starts with green plumage as a hatchling but quickly fades into a bright yellow. A red tint around the eyes is commonplace.
Sun conures are great pets if you can dedicate time to their needs. They’re sociable and relish attention.
If lavished with affection, a sun parakeet will return this love. Alas, these parrots become lonely, depressed, and aggressive if left alone too much.
The sun parakeet can imitate human words, but it’s likelier to just squawk and trill. The shrillness of this can grate on the nerves.
Despite a modest average size of around 12 inches, the sun parakeet needs a roomy enclosure. These are energetic parrots that love to move around, so they’ll need lots of out-of-cage exercise time.
How Much Do Yellow Parrots Cost?
As yellow parrots are comparatively rare, you may need to pay more to have one as a pet. These parrot breeds could be deemed more exotic than other, more popular parrot species.
This table offers a guide to how much you should expect to pay. Naturally, supply and demand, in addition to who you choose to trade with, will also have an impact on price.
|Budgerigar||Rarely more than $35 – can be as little as $10|
|Cockatiel||Anywhere from $75 – $250, depending on the mutation|
|Golden Conure||Up to $2,000 – certainly no less than $1,300|
|Lovebirds||Depending on the species, anywhere from $20 to $2,000|
|Pacific Parrotlet||Around $300|
|Sulfur-Crested Cockatoo||Between $2,000 and $4,000|
|Sun Conure||Prices typically start from $500 but can rise to $1,500|
How Long Do Yellow Parrots Live?
A well-cared-for parrot can provide companionship for decades, as per this table of average lifespans. Ensure that you’re willing to take on what is sure to be a long-term commitment.
|Budgerigar||5-8 years, but longer for English budgies|
|Cockatiel||Between 16 and 25 years, occasionally longer|
|Golden Conure||Up to 30 years|
|Lovebirds||10 – 20 years|
|Pacific Parrotlet||20 – 30 years, depending on breeding|
|Sulfur-Crested Cockatoo||Usually 20 – 40 years, but can be up to 70 years|
|Sun Conure||Anywhere from 15 – 30 years|
Possible Yellow Parrot Names
Once you have a yellow pet parrot, you’ll need to give it a suitable name.
Here are some suggestions:
- Sunshine – A classic for a reason, there is every chance that your parrot will bring sunshine into your life.
- Pikachu – The blushing red cheeks of a cockatiel against a yellow face, in particular, resembles the famous Pokémon.
- Daisy – Name your parrot after the yellow flower that is just as beautiful as your beloved pet.
- Goldilocks – Some parrots are fussy. If your parrot insists on having things just right, name it after this fairy tale icon.
- Custard – Name your yellow parrot after everybody’s favorite sweet treat of the same color.
- Midas – Legend tells of a king of this name turning everything he touched to gold – the hue of your bird.
- Pac-Man – Does your parrot have a voracious appetite? If so, name it after this famously hungry video game character.
- Tweetie – Possibly the most famous yellow bird, Tweetie Pie has been evading Sylvester the Cat since 1947.
Choose wisely as Advances in Cultural Linguistics compares some parrots’ reasoning skills to a 3-year-old child. Once your parrot hears its name, it’ll be hard to change its moniker.
Yellow parrots are uncommon, which adds to their allure. If you’re lucky enough to bring a yellow parrot into your home, you’ll have a companion bird of true exoticism.