Parrots are found in a veritable rainbow of colors. While yellow is more commonly associated with other birds (like canaries), 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 the parrot’s species to learn 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 feathers is derived from psittacofulvins. These are chromophores generated within the parrot’s body.
What are chromophores? These molecules are similar to the pigments that give humans and other animals color. Chromophores absorb light, giving feathers their yellow appearance.
Why Are Yellow Parrots Comparatively Rare?
It’s a matter of survival. In wild terrain, parrots are prey animals. Larger birds hunt parrots for food, especially raptors, eagles, hawks, and owls. Other enemies include snakes, monkeys, and big cats.
While parrots have powerful beaks and can defend themselves if cornered, avoiding detection is preferred, so they’ve evolved to embody this characteristic.
Bright yellow feathers are visually striking to humans. 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 them easier for predators to spot, yellow has some advantages. According to Biology Letters, brightly colored feathers are less likely to experience bacterial degradation.
Yellow Parrot Species
Like parrots of all colors, few are entirely yellow. The types of yellow parrots include:
1/ Budgerigars (Parakeets)
Budgies (Melopsittacus undulatus) are small, friendly, affectionate, and communicative birds.
Usually reaching 6-7 inches, budgies flourish when kept with others of their species in the same cage or aviary.
Budgies are vocal birds, especially in the morning. However, they’re quiet at night during their 8-10 hours of sleep. Their diminutive size means that they’re not excessively loud.
Budgies are surprisingly good talkers, sometimes amassing extensive vocabularies.
Yellow-feathered budgie mutations, which are sometimes mistaken for canaries, are widely available. However, blue and green budgies are most common.
Pet budgies can live for 7-15 years. However, wild budgies live shorter lives, surviving an average of 4-6 years due to adverse weather conditions, food shortages, and predation.
The cockatiel (Nymphicus hollandicus) reference 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 with a crest (mohawk).
The position of the mohawk can let you know how it’s feeling.
Most cockatiels won’t grow any larger than 12-13 inches.
Cockatiels enjoy human company, making good companion birds once a bond is established.
Cockatiels rarely say English words, but they’re skilled whistlers. Whistling from a cockatoo signifies happiness and love. If a 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 with 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 this parrot starts to dance when you turn on the radio.
The golden parakeet grows to 14 inches but has a substantial wingspan.
There are many species of lovebirds (Agapornis), which have an average length of 5-6.5 inches. They’re small yet stocky parrots.
Most undergo color mutations to get yellow feathers. Examples include Fischer’s lovebirds and yellow-collared lovebirds.
Fischer’s lovebirds rarely speak (although females occasionally repeat a phrase), but they can be noisy birds.
Despite their name, lovebirds don’t necessarily need to live in pairs or groups. A single lovebird will be okay if you spend time together and keep it entertained.
5/ Pacific Parrotlet
At 5 inches, the Pacific parrotlet (Forpus coelestis) is small.
Pacific parrotlets must be socialized. Their diminutive frames hide a Napoleon complex, so they 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 large parrot, so be prepared to let them fly free in a safe room regularly.
These are talking birds, capable of learning up to 15 words, but they don’t scream and squeal with the same intensity as a blue-and-yellow macaw or double-yellow-headed Amazon parrot.
6/ Sulfur-Crested Cockatoos
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.
The sulfur-crested cockatoo can live for 65+ years.
They need lots of attention, a large enclosure, and a minimum of 2-3 hours of freedom outside the cage daily.
The sulfur-crested cockatoo is among the most affectionate and intelligent parrots. They’re skilled mimics and speak in complete sentences. However, their ear-piercing shriek isn’t for everyone.
7/ Sun Conure (Sun Parakeet)
The sun conure (Aratinga solstitialis) has green plumage as a hatchling but quickly fades into a bright yellow. A red tint around the eyes is commonplace.
Sun conures make good pets if you can dedicate time to their needs. They’re friendly birds that relish attention.
If lavished with affection, a sun parakeet will return this love. These parrots become lonely, depressed, and aggressive if left alone too much.
The sun parakeet can imitate human words, but it’s likelier to squawk and trill. Unfortunately, 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 energetic parrots like to move around, so they’ll need ample out-of-cage exercise.
How Much Do Yellow Parrots Cost?
As yellow parrots are comparatively rare, you may need to pay more to have one as a pet. Supply and demand and who you trade with will significantly affect the price.
This table provides a guide to how much you should expect to pay:
|Budgerigar||Rarely more than $10-35.|
|Cockatiel||Anywhere from $75 – $250, depending on the mutation.|
|Golden Conure||Up to $2,000, but 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 start from $500 but can rise to $1,500.|
How Long Do Yellow Parrots Live?
As per the table of average lifespans (below), a pet parrot can provide companionship for decades:
|Cockatiel||16 and 25 years.|
|Golden Conure||Up to 30 years.|
|Lovebirds||10 – 20 years.|
|Pacific Parrotlet||20 – 30 years.|
|Sulfur-Crested Cockatoo||Usually 20 – 40 years, but up to 70 years.|
|Sun Conure||15 – 30 years.|
Yellow Parrot Names
Once you have a yellow pet parrot, you must name it well. Here are some suggestions:
- Sunshine – This parrot will bring sunshine into your life.
- Pikachu – The blushing red cheeks of a cockatiel against a yellow face resembles a Pokémon.
- Daisy – Name the parrot after the yellow flower.
- Goldilocks – If a parrot insists on having things just right, name it after this fairy tale icon.
- Custard – Everybody’s favorite sweet treat of the same color.
- Midas – Legend tells of a king of this name, turning everything he touched to gold.
- Pac-Man – Does a parrot have a voracious appetite?
- Tweetie – Tweetie Pie has been evading Sylvester the Cat since 1947.
Choose a parrot wisely because Advances in Cultural Linguistics compares some parrots’ reasoning skills to a 3-year-old child. Once a parrot hears its name, changing it will be hard.
Yellow parrot species are uncommon, which adds to their allure. If you’re lucky enough to introduce a yellow parrot to the home, you’ll have a companion bird of true exoticism.