Q:

How do parrots reproduce?

A:

Quick Answer

Parrots reproduce by briefly touching their cloaca, also known as a vent, to their partner's. This is a small opening near the base of their tail feathers that functions for both digestion and reproduction.

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Full Answer

The cloaca is the opening through which most bird species urinate, defecate, mate and lay eggs. Male parrots produce sperm inside of their cloaca. When mating time comes, the male and female pair briefly touch their cloacas in what is known as a cloacal kiss. This process allows the male to transfer the sperm to the female cloaca where it can fertilize the eggs.

Nearly all species of parrots are very social and monogamous, remaining that way even outside of breeding season. In the wild, the warm temperatures of spring and summer, along with longer daylight hours, trigger a physiological response in parrots that prepare them for mating. Both individuals in a pair contribute to nesting, and sometimes pairs in a flock help each other nest and care for fledglings.

Nests are usually built in the hollows of trees and cliffs, and occasionally on the ground. Females typically lay between two and eight eggs at a time. The incubation period lasts between 18 and 30 days. The females spend most of that time sitting on the eggs, while the male partner brings back food. Fledglings are blind for the first two weeks of their lives and do not develop adult feathers until they are about 1 month old. It takes anywhere from one to four years for a parrot to mature fully.

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