PARROTS. Their strong curved beaks are well adapted for cracking seeds. Most nest in holes in trees or termite nests. One South American species, a gray-breasted parakeet, builds apartment houses of sticks.
Parakeets are more numerous in Australia than anywhere else. They are sometimes pests because they feed in flocks in grain fields or fruit trees. There are very beautiful species in Africa, India and Sri Lanka, such as the blossom-headed parakeet with its pink and violet head and blue and yellow tail. In Australia and New Zealand are large broad-tailed species which live on the ground.
The only North American species, the Carolina parakeet, has been extinct since 1920. These foot-long green and yellow birds were numerous along river bottoms until civilization changed their environment.
Parakeets are easily bred in captivity. The budgerigar ("budgie") or shell parakeet of Australia is a popular pet. In its wild state it feeds in flocks like sparrows near the water-holes of the dry Australian grasslands. When domesticated it can be taught to imitate speech, whistle and eat from a hand.