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The Good, the Bad and the Ugly about Red Bellied Parrots

Saemma

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The attributes listed in this thread are the experiences of each individual and your experiences may differ with your individual bird.

I've had Thomas Red Bellied for the past 6 months. He's a rehome and will be 8 years old in July.

The Good: He's a FANTASTIC eater and seems to have a bottomless pit. He doesn't scare at all when it comes to OBJECTS. He talks and chatters alot at specific moments. He seems to appreciate company and he's quite independant in that he doesn't require or want any one on one personal attention. I often get the impression that he is more comfortable around other parrots. He seems to enjoy when all of my other parrots are close by to visit. By the same token, he doesn't like being alone too long and will holler for company. I see this as a good thing and because of this he shares a room with my pionus parrot Sachi. He seems have a real clownie side and will do somersaults in his cage and use his toys as props. He also likes to do some light chewing, cracks open his own almond shells and when it comes to bath time he will bathe himself in his water bowl at least once a month. He strikes me as a very intelligent fellow who figures things out quickly and adapts to change rather well. Doesn't take much to keep Thomas happy. Good food and lots of it, company from a distance, some chew toys and music is nice too.

The Bad: At his old home he was known to despise the Man of the house. His relationship was mostly with the Woman and I have no clear idea of how much time she actually spent with him. Thomas and I have very limited hands on contact. Since day 1, he is extremely frightened of open hands but at the same time he has learned to be courageous when there's a piece of nut ready for barter. When it comes to his bites, they are EXTREMELY painful, one of the worst that I had ever received. His beak is extremely POINTY and I never knew before that a small beak with sharpness could do so much damage. I am frightened of being hurt by his beak so I never push contact. I know that a parrot's personality can be different when they are in another environment. Thomas can't fly and when out of cage will thrash around to the point of banging himself against wall and furniture and causing a bloody mess. He is quiet 95% of the time, however when he sounds off.. her really goes at it for some time and his calls are SHRILL and HIGH PITCHED. I dislike his calls and wear my hearing protection to stay calm and patient. The good thing is that it is usually very clear why he is yelling. It's about food or company. These are all facts about Thomas's life with me.
On a personal level, I don't know what to think. I sometimes spend time wondering whether Thomas would be very different if he had been with me his whole life. Sometimes I even wonder whether he was happier where he used to live. Is the behaviour I see from him because he is in a new home? Or is the behaviour I see from him because of what he experienced in his old home. This is my personal experience.
 
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crystalusagi

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Kelsey's not a voracious eater, but he does eat adequately and will try everything I give him, especially if it's fresh food. I can usually lure him away from anything with a piece of dried mango. I love watching him play, and he likes to play when there's someone watching (will hang upside down from ladders and swing on toys, and flip onto his back on the bottom of his cage), so I guess that's perfect.

I agree that red bellied parrots can make really high-pitched calls. Kelsey usually makes contact calls on weekend mornings when he's gotten up and he wants me to come see him. Not a big problem, but kind of sucky when I'm trying to sleep in. If I come in, change his food & water, and spend a few minutes with him he'll usually stay quiet for most of the morning, aside from the inquiring "peek-a-boo"s I get.

RBPs are known for being prone to frights, aren't they? Kelsey freaks out over sudden noises and movements. I noticed this especially in the first couple of years. Since he's been practicing flying more, I think he's a lot more confident in himself so the freak-outs have been occurring less, and I've noticed that when he does freak out he just flies away and can land more safely on a perch or on my shoulder/head. But yes, when they freak out they tend to fly around and can bump into things. The first time Kelsey had one of his frights he rammed straight into a glass door and a couple of feathers on his head fell completely out. It's good to make sure that they have places to perch on at all corners of whatever room they're so no crashes happen.

I think the ugly thing is probably that Kelsey hates my husband and will sometimes go out of his way to attack, and since he's a more confident flier now this poses even more of a problem. He's also a one-person bird, which is sad because I'd love for him to be able to enjoy the company of our visitors who are all entranced by his charm and beauty. But we're to work on this when we have more time this summer between me and my husband.

Kelsey also regurgitates for me constantly. I have to be really careful about not touching him too affectionately for very long or letting him perch on me too long, because after a while it'll lead to some regurgitating. I basically just move away and let him get over it before I come back. I've monitored him to make sure it's not a health issue, but he only ever seems to do it when I'm touching/near him. Guess I can't complain too much about my bird being in love with me.

Overall, I'm really happy I decided on Kelsey. Even with his quirks he's a joy to be around and makes my day brighter just by being there. :heart:

Saemma, I hope you can continue to build a stronger bond with Thomas! Hopefully once he feels more confident with his surroundings and with you his behavior will change =)
 

Saemma

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Thanks for sharing Crystal! Very nice.:)

I have faith that things will continue to improve. :)
 

Shade

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Based on my experience with my two (both 8 years old):

The Good -

They are clowns - absolutely hilarious and they seem to love it when they have managed to make you laugh. With Joey, I have a bird who couldn't care less if you are a stranger, he will ham it up for you. Pixel might observe for a few minutes, but generally will return to her funny antics, even with company; they aren't shy. I've also been lucky that when both decide to make noise, it's not the high pitch Poi call but rather low registry mumbling, which I love!

The Bad / The Ugly -

I didn't know where to put this, it kinds fits in both?
When they are set on something they don't "like", they can be a little relentless about it.
Pixel doesn't like Shade and therefore, I need to keep an extra special watch on her, as she will, from times to times, try to target Shade in an attack, which I have gotten pretty good at preventing. Sometimes, Joey has this weird crazy look in his eye and I know it's VERY important to keep a close eye on him then, as his target is generally Piper. Again, I've gotten really good at identifying when he gets in this crazy stage and just remove either him or Piper from the situation.

As well, with the younger RBs, they can be prone to panic attacks. It is something that can dissipate as they get older, I know Joey used to have them when we first got him (he was just turning three at the time).
 
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Parhelion7

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I only have experience with one RB, but I might as well post about my experiences with Ziya here!

The Good
  • She is a little acrobat. She loves to hang upside down from her toys and climb and flip around. She even preens upside down sometimes.
  • She is an excellent, clear talker. At a little over a year old, her vocabulary consists of: "hello?", "step up", "baby", "hey baby", "whatcha doin?", "peek-a-boo!", "Toooby!" (the dog's name, which she seems to think is a swear word she yells when she's mad, and she also yells it at people who cough - I think she thinks coughing is barking), combining words (she's currently a fan of "peek-a-pee" and "peek-a-baby"), whistles, microwave and phone beeps, rings, meows, coughs, and babbling that isn't clear yet. She's very vocal and very focused on communicating with us. However, be aware that not all birds with a "good talker" reputation will talk. It's an individual thing.
  • She's affectionate in her own way - she likes to sleep on me, give me kisses, nibble my fingers, and she just melts when I scratch her head sometimes.
  • She's incredibly smart and learns very quickly.
  • She enjoys doing tricks.
  • She's not shy at all. She will talk in front of just about anyone, and likes to go outside in her carrier.
  • Like Natacha's RBs, it seems like Ziya likes to amuse people. If someone laughs, sometimes she'll make a cute little beepy laugh sound.

The Bad

  • She gets scared by the strangest things - flashlights, certain toys, etc. For example, she had no fear of her huge toys I've bought her, but was absolutely terrified of this little two inch foot toy.
  • She is EXTREMELY stubborn. And I mean EXTREMELY. When she wants something, she has a one track mind and will not stop until she either gets it or I remove it or put her in her cage.
  • This one could be good or bad depending on your opinion - she's not very cuddly. She likes to be on or near me, but she rarely cuddles up or lies on her back. She'll let me give her hugs, but I think she just tolerates it rather than enjoys it LOL. But she is very affectionate in her own way.
  • This one is both good and bad depending on the situation - but she always wants to be right in the middle of EVERYTHING. If you're doing something, she has to watch you. Especially laundry. I don't know why she's so intrigued by the process of doing laundry, but...
  • She throws tantrums, and sometimes she freaks out for no apparent reason - lately she's been staying in her cage in the evenings (she's out during the day) because she gets out and flies around screaming. I think because she knows it's nearing bedtime and she doesn't want to go to bed. But I don't know for sure.
  • This one is I'm sure mostly because she's at THAT age, but she's not afraid to bite to get her point across, and she can bite pretty dang hard if she's so inclined. That's not to say she doesn't ever use her beak gently - she knows how to be gentle, and she IS gentle a lot of the time. But lately, with her hitting birdie puberty and testing boundaries, she's gotten rougher. This will pass, I'm sure, but if you're considering an RB - or any bird, really - be aware that they can have a nasty teen stage just like humans ;)

All in all, I absolutely adore her and I am so happy that she's in my life. She's my baby, even though she's a difficult, stubborn little butt sometimes :heart:
 
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camelotshadow

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That was amazing! You just described Shadow to a tee.:coffeescreen:
Shadow! what a great name! I'm glad you are loving your red belly as my Meyers makes a fuss as I laughed at her new fart noise as I won't let her out as its 100 degrees.:hug8:
 
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KatherinesBirds

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Shadow will be with me for over a year soon. The good:
1. Very affectionate.
2. Picks up words almost immediately so you gotta watch what you say when you get angry!
3. Seems to use the right word or phrase to get exactly what she wants...weird.
4. Very good company. She watches me all the time.
5. Very friendly with everyone.
6. Loves to play and seems to be a very happy bird.
7. Very, very quiet!!!! This I greatly appreciate!
8. When I sing, she sings!
9. She loves classical music and will hum along.
10. Loves to sit and look at pictures in magazines with me, paying attention.
11. Seems to love being with the other birds in the bird room and talks back and forth to them.

The Bad and/or Ugly
1. She is prone to panic attacks and has had two so far. When this happens she loses almost all of her flights and tail feathers! We have fireworks twice a year in our state for a month at a time. Must move her cage then.
2. She needs gentle reassurance when she is startled by something. She gets Phobic.
3. When she says NO she MEANS IT! When she bites she must have a serrated blade on the edge of her beak. You will bleed.
4. Territorial about her cage! You bet! Get out!!!!!
5. Still prefers a towel wrapped hand to bare skin. This is a result of her previous owners heavy handling of her.

That's about it. I love this bird!
 

Saemma

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Thanks Katherine. Thomas seems to be somewhat similar in the negative dept.
 

KatherinesBirds

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I just loved this little girl the minute I saw her in K****list. Did I tell you that the owners gave her to me? Yes, I was interviewed you might say when they brought her over to my house during a snowstorm all wrapped up in a blanket in her carrier. She loved me right off. Wasn't nearly so comfy with her owners. I was amazed when they called me and gave her to me. They wanted about $450 for cages (2 large ones) and toys and all including her!

Shadow loves to listen to me sing old hymns from an old almanac. They are really old fashioned and pretty! She moves very near the bars and settled down on her rope perch and listens really close. She will occasionally try to humm along making little sounds. She gets very relaxed while we do this. Good way for both of us to get ready for sleep. :heart:
 

zorro

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Rambo my Redbelly is a good friend but here are a few of his good and bad traits.

The Good
He loves to hang out on my shoulder and sit next to me in my chair
He eats well he actually likes vegetables so he is doing better than me
He picks up words quickly currently more than 30 words and counting
He is relatively quiet he calls loudly only if I watch a movie during the day (weird right)
He loves to chew (good and bad) his beak is quite strong
He rarely bites
He is really intelligent (I think he is as smart as any large parrot I have met)
He has beautiful feathers

The Bad,
He doesn't like my wife to hold him
Or my brother -in-law
However he loves my father in law
and my wifes female cousin (so I'm not sure its a gender bias)
He will bite me sometimes if my wife gets too close when we are near his cage or play area (On my chair he is fine and will even let my wife touch him

The Truth
I can't live without him he is more of friend than a pet.
 

KatherinesBirds

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I agree. These birds can be more of a friend than a pet. They watch, they respond and in a weird way it seems mine knows what I am thinking. There is a lot going on behind those wild orange eyes. I love those eyes! :heart:
 

KatherinesBirds

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I agree! Despite the mood changes, unexpected knife like nips and occasional weirdness, Shadow expresses such appreciation and sensitivity. I used to think that the ideal bird would be one that I could cuddle like a teddy bear. No, I have owned them all, all type, and Shadow is a real friend to me.
 

KatherinesBirds

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Another year has gone by and my Red Bellied Parrot, Shadow, is even more delightful.
The Bad: She is STILL faster than I am when trying to nail my little finger on one of her "frisky" days. I'm getting a little faster though......
Darn....I can't think of anything else that I would regard as "BAD"!

The Good: She now shreds anything I put into her cage and thank goodness! She might be going into her first hormonal season and it's going fine.
She has more words!! Mostly weird gutteral sounds but very entertaining!
Being Rolled in a towel and rolled around on the bed is one of her favorite things.
Shadow is Q U I E T......no screaming......no panic attacks in the past year. I still watch out for those "Crazy Eyes" and leave her alone until it
passes.
She now eats most fruits, pasta and cheeses.
The Great: These birds have so much SOUL. You will know what I mean after awhile with one of them.
 

iamwhoiam

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"Soul" that is a great word to use to describe red-bellies. Never thought of that.
 

Debby S

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The good: My 17 year old Red Belly Gaugan. She is an absolute character! She has a good vocabulary and makes up her own sentences. She speaks in different voices depending who she is copying. She is very trusting, I can touch her anywhere or tuck her in my jacket when I run next door with her or take her to the car for a ride. She absolutely loves car rides and does a dance when I tell her we are going for a car ride. I can take her anywhere, as long as she is with me she is not afraid of anything. She is very affectionate, in fact she can be downright insaitable. I have spent many nights watching a movie with a bird sitting on my chest being pet. When I need to move position, she says "love you" and presses her beak on my lip or chin. She is independant and can play for long periods of time by herself. She is very good at communicating and I can usually figure out what she wants. She talks in front of strangers instead of clamming up like most birds. She copies people laughing and has several laughs, she knows just how to tickle my ear to make me laugh and then she laughs back. She is very acrobatic like most Pois. She has many moods and emotions and so many postures and little dances and is a delight to watch. She shows appreciation with a little kiss when people do something she really likes.

The bad: She is inclined to be a one person bird although she will form relationships with others over time she limits what she allows them to do. Although she forgives me anything and cant stay mad at me, she remembers what others do and holds a grudge for a while. She has never bit me, but she has bit others at times and it can bleed. She is very stubborn and will listen to me when I am there but when my back is turned she will get into something she is not supposed to and I have to block her being able to have access to it.

The ugly: She cannot be the only parrot in the house. She overbonds with me and trys to drive everyone else away. She has alway had other parrots around but was now the only bird in the house and started to be nasty to my family. The worst one was with my husband who she liked untill she was feeling the breeding urges. She started lunging at him when he walked near and then when he had her on his shoulder and was walking around the house with her (something she previously loved doing) she bit him on the neck. she had everyone who loved her afraid of her, except for me who she treated, very nicely. I bought a baby Meyers and now she has something else to focus on besides me. She is now treating my husband and my daughter very well again, so no more ugly and back to a balanced household.
 

KatherinesBirds

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Its been awhile since I've been on here!
Currently.....the Good: Shadow is so very quiet!! She loves classical music, especially flute and piano music and listens with great interest!
Watches me and everything I do like sewing, knitting and beadwork. Takes real interest!
Eats everything!
Very affectionate and I can read that soft, gentle expression in her eyes!
the Bad: Still FASTER ON THE DRAW than I am and often nips me when she is excited.

the Ugly.......nope. nothing. You really must pay attention to these birds. They are sensitive and you can learn to communicate with
them but it takes time.
 
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