The espectacular Hawk Headed Parrot

Birds Human Classroom

The Red-fan Parrot or Hawk Headed Parrot is one of the most spectacular birds for humanity, being so striking for its colors even though they are not as well known as the Macaws. It is little known and seen by those who are new to the avian world, possibly due to its personality which is what stands out most apart from its appearance, which can easily alienate several enthusiasts but not all. That said, I hope you understand that this domestic bird/pet is not ideal for those who want to start in the avian world. You will find these reasons inside this article hoping that you can have a better image of what it will be like to have one of these wonderfull, but very complex birds as a pet inside your home. They have a little bit of everything, between what you can love most about a bird as well as what you can hate about one, so it requires more than just patience and dedication. The Red-fan Parrot has a fairly long life expectancy, so I advise you to learn everything, this wonderful bird needs to have the full and healthy life it deserves in any home.


This bird has been described in many ways on different sites both on the web and in the literature, earning its fame and the heart of many over the years but at the same time, being a great headache for others. The origin of the Hawk Headed Parrot is from a large number of South American countries in the Amazon River Basin, including Brazil, Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, and other nearby rivers and/or with the same type of environment. Being this part of the world, they tend to prefer areas such as the lowland rainforest and the mainland. They are usually seen in small groups of less than 5 members or pairs, mostly nesting in tree holes or canopy.

Its scientific name is Deroptyus accipitrinus, in addition to having two subspecies, D.a. accipitrinus and D.a. fuscifrons, which vary very little, where the latter lacks a maroon coloration on its tail. It is known by 2 names, possibly 3 depending on how you want to see it, but there are several ways to spell it, it all depends on how you get to write it or search on the internet or when you ask at an avian store. Among all the names you have; Red-fan Parrot, Northern Red-fan Parrot or Southern Red-fan Parrot, Hawk headed Parrot or Hawk-headed Parrot, brazilian hawk headed parrot and Hawk-headed Caique. As you can see, most of them are the same, only different by one symbol, but it will depend on the area you are in that you can ask or recognize it.

Some authors compare this Parrot breed with others that have certain popularity, such as the Conures where they comment that they have a similar personality, others that also comment are about the Alexandrine Parakeet and Budgerigar Parakeet. Of course, there is the Cockatoo which is another breed of bird that has control over its neck feathers which it can lift at certain times, just like the Red-fan Parrot.

As with many species of birds, they are under threat due to deforestation of their environment and of course, being a bird with a very striking plumage is often a victim of the wild-bird trade so it carries some risk but is not in a state of alert. Even so, you should not wait until it reaches this point to start taking action about it.


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The Hawk-headed Parrot is considered a medium-sized bird, reaching 13.6 inches (35 cm) in size, and weighing between 6.6 to 9.7 ounces (250 grs on average) once they reach maturity. Its plumage is something that calls the attention of many if not all people having a mixture of colors along its body, something similar to that of a Senegal Parrot for example. A curious fact is that as with other species, there is nothing that differentiates the male from the female at least physically, so you must resort to other methods to determine the sex of your pet, or you can also buy a partner and see if you are lucky if any of them comes to a lay egg. On the head, their feathers are brown up to the chest, but at the neck, they change their color at the tips. These first portions on her head have white spots that stand out more in what corresponds to her forehead and crown, but they cover the whole head with this shade. On the neck lie the feathers that make it stand out the most, being longer and reddish with a touch of blue near the tips, which it raises depending on its mood, if it is scared or if something bothers it or at some moment of happiness. This mixture of colors between light brown, red, and blue continues in what corresponds to her chest and lower abdomen, leaving her green wings, and back of the body with a very striking tone of green that finishes giving her the wonderful touch that so many people are fascinated by. Its beak is black, the ring around its eyes is gray and they have yellow eyes. As I mentioned before, one of its species has a brown shade in its tail. 

The coloring of this excellent feathery companion is not the only complex aspect they have, but also their personality which is the other aspect so named about the Red-fan Parrots in general. In all domestic bird species, you must make good management to avoid having any problem with your new pet bird, of course, this will depend on each species because each one has its demands or requirements. Perhaps what stands out the most or calls your attention in other internet sites are the warnings about the “bad” aspects of their personality, which can become mischievous, moody, nippy or grumpy, and even bossy attitude, which is accompanied by a scandal that will be noticed by the whole block and neighbors when your new bird is not comfortable. Even if all this is true, it does not take away the fact that they are a loyal, loving, affectionate, playful, active bird, with a clownish attitude if you manage it correctly for as long as possible. Socializing with a Hawk head Parrot is of HIGH importance and it is something I cannot emphasize enough, since your relationship with your pet parrot will depend on it, as well as with your neighbors who will suffer with you every time your bird is not in a good mood or does not get what it wants. The squeals or sounds of a bird are very common compared to those of a young child when crying or complaining about something, but they can have a much more annoying tone than a person, so you better be prepared to raise one of these birds that are wonderful and spectacular but as I said from the beginning, they require a lot of time and effort.

For these reasons, Red fan Parrot is not a good option for those who are just starting. Not only must you cover certain needs such as a cage with considerable space, toys, and food, but also the handling you can give it. Even for those with experience, it is often a challenge precisely because of the handling that must be given to this Parrot breed. Also, you should start training them as soon as possible, so that they can have manners and understand the limits of their behavior since they can become aggressive if not controlled at an early age. There are many programs that you will have at your disposal on the Internet, which is certainly very helpful but you should look for the one that best meets your requirements or what you want to achieve with your pet, besides being the best approach for your bird. For this, you can always consult a veterinarian or a reputable breeder, since they are usually the people who will seek to help you the most to ensure the welfare of your new bird. Some owners comment on their ability to speak that is not as extensive, or as marked as it is usually described in certain sites, but that will depend on the personality of each bird, being an aspect that perhaps not all owners have commented on or some who don’t have access to today’s media. The manners of your bird go with the vocabulary that it learns, so everyone should be aware that your bird is capable of reproducing certain sounds that can be heard inside the home, as well as a small child, it is best not to repeat certain obscene words so that they are not repeated to your visitors. 

The issue with each pet’s personality can be seen as a lottery because you don’t know what you’re going to get. In all the guides it is mentioned that it would be a general behavior or the most common, but just as it happens in the case of diseases, that a pet is predisposed to something does not mean that it is the only thing you should expect or be aware of as well as its personality. One can describe many things but in the end, it will all depend on other factors throughout your Hawk-headed Parrot’s life. In many cases, the way they were raised at birth will influence how your time with your new pet will be in its early stages of life, as this will largely influence how sociable they will be. They make bonds with their new family members but they usually take some time and again, it will depend on everything I have described above. It is an average of 40 years that you will have this spectacular bird in your home, so it is better to start from the moment it enters your home for the first time to treat it as it should be treated. One thing I recommend is that before you take your birds home from the adoption site, you take it to a veterinarian first so he can check it out and make sure everything is okay, besides getting used to this type of visit to ensure the health of your pet.  

A fun fact is that this bird loves water, so bath time can be one that he will enjoy and you can put together two of his favorite activities by playing and sharing time with your bird while he takes a shower. Bathing is something that will help you keep your bird’s plumage in optimal condition and clean its feathers to avoid creating problems if you overlook this type of care. 


Something that I have mentioned so much in this article has been the personality of the Red-fan Parrot, so it is of utmost importance that you have everything at your disposal in your home so that they are comfortable. This does not mean that you are going to spoil him by giving him everything that is recommended or that your bird can ask for. Remember that you must teach him how to handle the limits in all these types of situations and it all starts with small steps. The cage is a very important place for your bird because it is a place where he can feel safe and may spend some time, there are also aviaries in case you have an area in your home where you can place one that allows him to interact with you in a safer area. At home, there are usually objects or products, even certain environments that can be hazardous for your bird, so an aviary is one of the best options to provide a controlled space, but it is not the only one. A room that you can provide him with will also work, or when you have him trained enough, you can take him with you while you do some tasks at home or he can follow you while you are on your business if he is left free at home. To do this you must be very aware of everything around him and have everyone work together to take care of your new pet. 

Food is vital to every living thing, so your new Hawk-headed Parrot is no exception. You can mix a lot of things to keep their menu varied and avoid getting bored of their food which would create problems for you. In the pet stores, you will have a wide variety of products at your disposal that you can give to your bird but they are not your only option. In their natural habitat, hawk headed parrots usually eat any fruit and a lot of vegetables, so you can feed them certain things that you would prepare for yourself and the rest of your family, as long as it is a food that is not harmful to your bird-like avocado or chocolate. In these cases, it is always better to consult with the avian veterinarian before coming up with anything, since the least you should play with is the health of your bird. 

The Red-fan Parrot is considered a fairly healthy bird, but this type of pet itself is predisposed to several types of diseases, especially those that affect its respiratory system such as Aspergillosis, as well as other pathologies of bacterial, fungal, or viral origin. For this, you must have good management and hygiene at home to avoid increasing the risk of your bird to suffer any of these diseases in conjunction with regular checkups with the doctor.


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The Hawk-fan Parrot is an excellent pet for those who can dedicate themselves to it and know how to handle it. Socializing with your favourite parrot is of utmost importance and is what will make the difference in many if not all scenarios. He may be a beautiful bird because of his colors but his personality is what should be the most important thing when deciding whether to adopt this bird or not. 

I hope this guide has been useful and enjoyable for you. If you think I missed something or have any doubts please let me know in the comment section down below.

Picture from Devianart.

Professor Whiskers
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