The calopsita or caturra ( Nymphicus hollandicus ) is one of the most popular birds of company in Brazil. This bird belongs to the order Psittaciformes , same order of the parrots, cockatoos, parakeets etc. This popularity is mainly due to her personalitycoupled with her beauty . They are birds very sociable between their species and even others. When raised from small by the human being they are very well made giving an excellent companion animal. They are very active birds, who whistle, yell and can even imitate various sounds they hear often, such as the house bell or even some names.
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Life expectancy: 15-20 years.
The calopsitas usually measure between 30 and 32 centimeters . They are long, long- tailed birds with a crest that characterizes them so much. Its original color is gray, which is the predominant color in the wild. In captivity, in the last years, different mutations have appeared, being these some of the most common:
- Gray or normal (wild): Same color that is half wild, being the original variety. The body is gray with the edges of white wings. In males, the head is yellow with rounded orange-red spots. In females, the head is predominantly gray with some yellow feathers and the round spots on the face have an orange shade softer than males. The tail of the males is totally gray while the females have yellow stripes interspersed with black or gray. Both sexes have dark eyes, beaks, and feet.
- Lutino : This bird is characterized by its absence of melanin, which causes it to have pink beak, feet and eyes. Its color is usually white and may also be yellow. There are many combinations of this mutation, such as Lutino-Arlquim, Lutino-Pearl, etc.
- Cinnamon : The body feathers of this bird have a cinnamon tone, hence the name of this mutation. The beak, the paws, and the eyes are lighter than the wild color. Males are slightly darker than females.
- Pearl : This mutation affects each feather individually, ie there is a melanin failure in each feather, giving the appearance of “feathers” characteristic of this mutation. The head is usually yellow with gray spots and the ridge is also predominantly yellow. The feathers on the wings are gray with some yellow stripes and the tail is yellow. Adult males can totally lose this aspect of pearls, while females always keep the pearly.
Calopsites, like most parrots, live in flocks with a large number of birds. They are very sociable, enjoying interacting with the rest of the band.
The majority of their time is spent in search of food (behavior called foraging ), about 70% of their active day! The remaining time begins to interact socially , playing and taking care of their feathers (the so-called preening ) or their companions ( allopreening ). The day of a calopsita is quite routine, starting at dawn as they go in search of food, returning a few hours later to their perches and nests where they take care of their feathers and interact with their companions and at the end of the day they leave again in to look for food. They return to the sunset for the trees where they can sleep safer away from predators.
The calopsitas live in dry areas and feed almost exclusively on seeds found in the soil , unlike other parrots.
It is very important to know the normal behavior of these birds in their natural habitat, so you can try to approach the conditions in captivity to what would be ideal and thus promote improvements in the welfare of your animal.
Captive conditions should be as close as possible to those in the wild. Although the calopsitas, especially the meek ones, love to be loose to follow humans everywhere, it is important to have a cage , when you are not around to watch. The cage or nursery are the safest options to protect the calopsites from hazards such as other animals, flights against the window, access to electrical wires and all other hazards of our home. The cage should be minimal enough for it to spread its wings and not touch with the tail on the ground, but the bigger the better !
The feeding of the calopsita is very important not only to prevent that diseases arise but also to contribute to their well-being . You can give her a suitable seed mix or, preferably, a proper ration for this species, preventing her from selecting the seeds she likes best, which can lead to some nutritional imbalances. Fresh water should always be available to change daily !
The social interaction , as I told you, is a very important component in the behavior of these birds. Thus, it is important that the calopsite has at least one mate of the same species . If you have a calopsita on your own, you should interact daily with it to meet your social needs.
Calopsites are birds that have the proper hygiene conditions and all aspects to promote their well-being, can be kept in captivity without problems.
Nevertheless, like all animals, they are subject to the appearance of various problems or diseases. All kinds of problems can arise, from parasitic, infectious diseases and even behavioral problems.
It is advisable that your calopsita regularly visit a veterinarian, preferably specializing in exotic animals, to ensure that everything is fine with her, to analyze her feces to verify that she has no parasites and to analyze the general condition of her. Just like the dog and the cat they need the best care possible and if they are in our house it is our responsibility to treat them and ensure that they have the best life possible. Always keep a veterinarian’s number nearby in case something happens to her. These animals, like the other birds, are great at hiding something wrong is happening, so be aware of any behavioral changes, the appearance of the waste and the amount of water and food eaten.
The lutinas or albino calopsites often present a feathered faulty underneath the tuft of genetic origin.
Usually males whistle better than females and some calopsitas are able to say a few words.They are very communicative and funny birds, but sometimes very shy and can be more chatty when they are alone . Try to stay hidden to listen to her while she thinks you’re not around, it’s often this way that we hear the whistles or funniest words coming from her