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Great Billed Parrots

The Great-billed Parrot, Tanygnathus megalorhynchos, is a glorious green with yellow and black scalloping on the wing, a bright blue rump, and a spectacular orange/red beak. They have fairly long tails, though not as long in proportion to their bodies as a macaws or conures. The males are a bit larger than the females with a much larger, almost disproportionate beak and a flat head.  Currently there are very few Great-bills in the United States. In the wild Great-bills are from many islands of Indonesia - northern, central and southern Moluccas, Tanimbar Islands, Timor, Flores and Sumba in Lesser Sunda Islands, Talaud and Sangir Islands, islands around Sulawasi, western Papaun islands and those off the coast of Vogelkop, Irian and Jaya.


Great-billed parrots are the largest member of the Tanygnathus family at approximately 16 inches and weighing about 375-450 grams.
Great bills are crepuscular, meaning they are active in the twilight. In a home, this means that they can be sentries who will announce if someone is moving around in the dark in your house.


Great-billed parrots are an unusual species of parrot that experts believe are distantly related to the Eclectus.  They are calm, gentle birds that love to hang out. They are birds that, like Eclectus, prefer to be touched only a little, stroking their feathers in the direction of their growth while holding the bird close to your body. They will accept a kiss on the beak or top of the head. Even with each other, they do not sit close or preen each other.  They are dignified birds that don’t roll around during play, but do love to chew toys to bits.  They need lots of hard wood toys to chew or their beaks have a tendency to overgrow.  Great-bills are very gentle birds that rarely bite, preferring to run away, or push away the offending object. Like Eclectus, Great-bills are female- dominant, so the females tend to be a bit more opinionated than the males and love to rule the roost. They are very clumsy babies, and tend to break their tails and flight feathers while learning to fly and during play.  As they get older and more sure of themselves they grow those feathers back and become gorgeous like their parents. 


Great-bills LOVE to eat and have very efficient digestive systems that are very good at absorbing all of the nutrition from their food.  Because of this, most pelleted diets are too rich for them and they have problems with over nutrition.  Great-bills do much better on a diet of lots of fresh vegetables, a little bit of fruit, cooked or sprouted grains and beans, and seem to like a bit of animal protein as well (cooked chicken, steak or pork). They also need a good amount of a high quality seed mix and nuts, which are a great source of vitamin E, and a small amount of pellets.    


Great-bills are excellent talkers and often begin to talk early.  They also like to show off their vocabulary and tend to talk in front of people instead of waiting for a quiet room.  They are usually pretty quiet birds, though when they get excited they can be very loud.  The more great-bills that are in the flock, the louder they tend to be.  They do not tend to be as happy around loud, boisterous birds like macaws and amazons, but get along really well with calmer species like Eclectus and African greys. Great-bills are wonderful companions with calm, gentle, sweet spirits.  They love to hang out and see what is going on and bring much enjoyment into a peaceful household.


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