How Many Bones Does A Parrot Have? (Find Out!)

“The thigh bone’s connected to the knee bone, the knee bone’s connected to the leg bone, the leg bone’s connected to the ankle bone, the ankle bone’s connected to the foot bone”. 

I can still hear this song in my head now and chances are you sang it as a child too.

This song was designed to help teach us as children about our different body parts.

But as we all know, parrots have different parts than we do.

Parrots have beaks where we have mouths.

Parrots have claws where we have feet.

And parrots have a different internal structure than we do.

Humans have 206 bones in their body.

Which leads us to the question – how many bones does a parrot have ?

Parrots don’t have nearly as many bones as humans do. This is because bones are heavy. And because birds need to fly, bones would simply weigh them down. Furthermore, their bones are much different from the bones that we have (we will discuss this more later.). The exact number of bones that a parrot has will vary from species to species. With that being said, most parrots have between 13 and 25 bones within their body.

But how are parrot bones different from human bones?

Do parrots have bones in their tongues?

And do parrots have a spine?

Today we will answer all of these questions and more so let’s not waste another minute.


How are parrot bones different from human bones?

As we all know,  parrots fly.

For this reason a parrot’s skeletal system has been highly adapted to flight.

As we already mentioned, parrots have far fewer bones in their body than humans do.

While the average human has 106 bones in their body, the average parrot only has between 13 and 25 bones.

Part of the reason for this is that most parrot bones are fused together. 

The other part is because it helps to make their body lighter for flight.

But the design of a parrot’s bones are actually quite different from humans as well.

Again, they are adopted so that the parrot can fly easier.

Out of all the bones that a parrot does have, most of them are hollow.

These hollow bones are honeycombed with air spaces and supporting materials.

Furthermore, most bones within a parrots body are fused together.

This is another reason why they have far fewer bones than we do.

All of these factors make it easier for a parrot to fly and help to keep their body weight cool.

This is exactly why parrots don’t have jaws, teeth, or other bones that can weigh them down.

If a parrot doesn’t have bones, how does it move?

Unlike humans where bones make up much of our bodies, parrots’ bodies are largely made up of muscle.

The average parrot has over 175 muscles in their body that controls things like their legs and their wings.

Their largest muscle is in their breast and it is these muscles that help to control the wings.

In fact, this muscle is so large that it makes up to 25% of a parrots body weight!


Do parrots have a spine?

You might be surprised to know that parrots actually have quite a few vertebrae, especially within their neck.

Humans only have seven vertebrae in their neck.

Parrots, however, have 10 vertebrae within their neck.

This is why a parrot can turn its head almost one hundred and eighty degrees – something a human cannot do.

In addition, parrots are considered vertebrates.

This means that they have backbones.

Within the animal kingdom, different species can be classed based on whether or not they have backbones or spinal columns.

If the skeletal system includes a backbone, the animals are referred to as vertebrates.

If they do not have a backbone, they are called invertebrates.

Invertebrates include things like worms, snakes, and jellyfish.

Vertebrates include all mammals, amphibians, reptiles, and yes, birds and parrots.

So to answer the question, yes parrots have backbones and spinal columns.


What should I do if my parrot has a broken bone?

As we already mentioned, parrots have hollow bones.

Their bones are also very light.

This makes them prone to sprains and breakage.

The most vulnerable area of a parrot’s body is their legs.

These are the most likely to endure a broken bone.

But how do you know if your parrot has a broken leg?

And what should you do if they do?

Parrots depend upon their legs the same way that humans depend on their hands.

They use their legs to find food, to lift and grasp materials, and so on and so forth.

So if your parrot has a broken leg, it’s imperative that you deal with the problem immediately. 

Not only that, but a broken leg will also be very painful for your parrot.

There are a lot of different things that can cause your parrot’s legs to break.

Broken legs can occur if your parrot has fallen from it’s perch or some other object, or if they were attacked by another pet like a cat.

Broken bones can also be a result of nutritional deficits that can weaken the bones and cause skeletal decay.

The good news is, if your parrot has fractured or sprained their leg, it won’t be difficult to spot.

If your parrot has broken their leg, they won’t be able to stand on both feet.

Rather, your bird will likely be standing on one foot and will be unable to balance on their perch.

If you notice your bird trying to shift its stance, take them to the veterinarian immediately.

The sooner you have them looked at, the more likely it will be that your parrot can heal properly.

Once at the veterinarian, they will take an X-ray of your parrots leg to isolate the fracture.

From here, the fracture will be stabilized and your parrot will be treated for any pain.

In some cases, veterinarians may request your parrot spend the night for observation.

Depending on the severity of the fracture, different treatments may be suggested.

If the fracture is not severe, a pin may be used to set it.

If the break is in the femur, surgery may be required.

In severe cases, some breaks cannot be healed and euthanasia may be suggested.

With that being said, most cases of avian fractures can improve within 1-7 days.

Bandaging and weekly checkups may be required for several weeks, but most cases of fractured legs can heal quickly.


Do Parrots Have Bones in their Tongues?

Parrots use their tongues for a variety of different things.

Their tongues help them to eat, swallow, and communicate with other parrots.

For a parrot, the tongue is located on the floor of the lower beak. 

Their tongue is made up of cartilage, and yes, bones.

Known as the hyoid apparatus, this is what controls the movement of your parrot’s tongue.

The paraglossum is either two bones fused together or a single bone.

This is what determines whether the tongue will be thick and fleshy or very small.


Can Parrots eat bones?

Okay, so this is a little off topic – but we are on the topic of bones, right?

The answer to this question is yes – you can give your parrot bones.

Parrots are intelligent enough that they won’t actually eat the bone.

Rather, they will eat the meat off of the bone and then pick out the bone marrow by first crushing the bone.

So while you have to worry about things like splinters with cats and dogs, you don’t need to worry about this with your parrot.


In conclusion, parrots have between 13 and 25 bones in their body – far fewer than we do.

Part of this is because their bones are fused together, and part of it is because they are designed for flight.

A parrot that had 106 bones would be very heavy and wouldn’t be able to lift themselves off of the ground.

Perhaps this is part of the reason why we can’t fly and our feathered friends can!

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