and photographs by David Young
Monk parrot or more commonly known in
Quakers are an unusual mixture of green and gray. The gray extends the whole way down the front of the bird starting from the crown with a lovely light shade of gray and extends right down to the lower abdomen. There is a light tint of green on the lower abdomen and the gray
Above: Left blue mutation and right common
green mixture then blends into a light green color
on the legs and extends right down to the tip of the tail.
The feet are medium to dark gray and the beak is a creamy –
orange colour. The Quaker is approximately 29cm in length.
This parrot originates
If you are going to keep your Quaker in the house as a pet than the best size cage would be 600mm high x 600mm long x 600mm wide.
This size cage would be adequate for one pet Quaker ensuring that it was let out for daily flight exercise within the house.
If your Quaker is extremely friendly and tame than a large play gym would be adequate. The cage or play gym should have plenty of toys to stimulate the birds mind, toys include rope with knots, loops, large metal rings, mirrors etc, pine cones and cuttle bone should be available for the birds to chew as Quakers love to chew objects. The cuttle bone also acts as a source of calcium.
If housing Quakers to breed they should only be housed as pairs or in a colony and no odd bird should be in the same cage. Quakers when breeding can either be housed in suspended or conventional aviaries.
The suspended aviary should measure 0.9m wide x 0.9m high x 2m long and 0.9m elevated above the ground.
Authors suspended aviaries, where his Quakers are housed
I believe that single pairs should be housed in suspended aviaries. As Quakers like to chew, wood is not a desired construction material, steel or aluminum should be used.
If using steel it can be welded at a reasonable price and the steel itself can be purchased at a reasonable price. Aluminum on the other hand is a little more expensive, as welding is just not economically feasible. Instead a high strength plastic block is used called
used by Author on suspended aviaries.
This is just hammered into the end of 25mmx25mm aluminum tubing and remarkably cheaper than welding the aluminum. Although aluminum is a little more expensive I believe that it is money well spent as aluminum will last for extended periods of time when left in the weather compared to steel that will rust in time. The mesh on the aviary should be a medium gauge to withstand the powerful beak of the Quakers. The size of the mesh should be ˝ inch x ˝ inch.
The advantages of suspended aviaries are that droppings fall straight through to the ground and this lowers the risk of worm infestations and lowers the risk of disease spread. Suspended aviaries are snake proof and vermin proof if built to a high quality standard. The main disadvantages of suspended aviaries are that there is lower contact with the birds and the cage can not be landscaped.
Below: Authors Conventional Aviary
A good size conventional aviary for breeding birds or colonies is 4m long x 2-3 m wide x 3m high
The best construction material is steel or aluminum as the Quakers like to chew wood. Conventional aviaries are good in a sense that you have physical interaction with the birds and that it can be landscaped. Some of the main down falls of conventional aviaries, which deterred me from using them, was is that they require more cleaning than the suspended aviaries and the birds have contact with the ground which increases the risk of worm infestations and disease spreading. I believe that conventional aviaries are prone to mice infestations because they are so close to the ground, the best way to stop the problem is to concrete the floor of the aviary, this way the mice will not be able to dig their way into the cage and spread disease.
I personally use suspended aviaries for the simple fact that they are easy to clean and there is less risk of worm infestations.
Seed and water is a diet most people think you can just feed your parrot, quite true if you want an over weight unhealthy bird that probably would not breed. For good breeding results you need to feed your birds a balanced diet with foods that will offer the birds adequate vitamins and minerals for a healthy life. A balanced diet would include a small parrot mix, fresh vegetables (corn, silver beet, apple, pear, carrot, capsicum, and broccoli) sprouted seed, egg & biscuit mix, cuttle bone, shell grit and charcoal. Recommend reading Handbook of Birds Cages and Aviaries
Use a large parrot mix or pigeon mix that has large
seeds like sunflower, wheat, barley, oats, corn and beans.
Soak the seed in luke warm water for 10-12 hours, drain the water
out and sit on the bench for 12 hours after the 12 hours the seeds will
have a sprout but only about ˝ -1 mm long this preferred as it contains
a high protein level. The
availability of sprouts should increase when young ones are in the nest.
Fresh water should be available at all times.
When purchasing Quakers to breed the best way to do so is to buy two young birds and pair them yourself. I would strongly recommend not buying birds that have theoretically breed before. The reason for this that you have to consider why they are selling good breeding birds in the first place, some reasons they might be selling good breeding birds is that they might in actual fact be bad breeding birds. Bad breeding birds might eat eggs, neglect young or the person might have just sold you two birds of the same sex that they say have bred before. Once you have established good birds and have purchased from a reputable breeder is it time to setup the desired aviary whether it be suspended or conventional, for this birds complex but unique nesting behavior. Quakers build a stick nest and are the only known parrot to do so although lovebirds build a nest within a nest box with soft pliable bark, there is nothing quite unique as a Quaker nest. To cater for the nest a wire basket should be available for them to build their nest in, but a complex jumble of sticks makes nest inspections hard, another alternative in to put a wire tunnel about 600mm diameter around a nest box entrance hole, this way they can build a tunnel heading into the box were they nest. The other option is to use just a cockatiel size nest box. I use a ply wood constructed nest box which measures 350mm deep x 250 wide x 250 long and a 75mm hole 2in from the top of the box with a 2in thick bed of pine or hardwood shavings NOT TREATED. I believe that the stick stimulate the birds to breed.
Quakers have a three chamber nest.
1) Porch chamber were the cock sits and protects his young from danger.
2) Sleeping chamber, this is were the birds sleeps and do not raise young here.
3) Nesting chamber this is were the eggs and young are nurtured.
This can be artificially re created by using the wire tunnel in front of the nest box the diagram bellow shows the birds create such a nest
Quakers reach their sexual maturity when they are 1yr old, and breeding season is usually around the warmer months of the year October – January with a clutch size of 4-7 eggs. Incubation period is 23 – 24 days.
Genetics and mutations
Genetics and mutations
There are two main colours of Quakers in
In Quakers there are two genes responsible for
colour one past on form each parrent.
The green is dominant and overrides the recessive blue gene.
These genes are not sexed linked.
There is a normal green with Homozygous genes (both genes the
same) GG (appearance green),
G = green dominant gene
g = recessive blue gene
green GG x
100% normal green birds
gg x Blue gg
100% blue birds
50% Normal green x 50%
blue x Split blue
= 25% Normal green 50% split blue 25% blue
blue x Blue
50% split blue 50% blue
Quakers when hand raised make excellent pets. They are fun, creative and have an excellent personality. They do however make a little noise but when kept as a single pet are relatively quite. Their playfulness and non aggression is what makes them excellent with children and are considered one of the best hand raised pet parrots but are in low numbers as pets compared to cockatiels or to other parrots because of the high price of the Quaker holds, Green $300 and Blue $700 the rarer mutations are $20,000 +.
These unique parrots nesting behavior is what
attracts aviculturalists to breed these birds and I believe would make
an excellent feature to any aviculturalist’s collection.