I’m always amazed by the creativity of collective names for animals.
The other day, I was in the park where a large group of crows were gathered on the green pecking around for worms, and my friend mentioned how that group is called a ‘murder’. I couldn’t quite put my finger on why, but that just seemed to fit so well!
As an avid lover of exotic birds, I got wondering what a group of parrots is called?
The answer, I soon found out, is a pandemonium of parrots. Other terms I found included ‘company of parrots’ and more generic terms like flock. It has become a popular habit to come up with interesting, compelling and exotic collective names for individual species, though “scientifically” speaking, a group of parrots is just a flock.
But we aren’t really scientists here, so I think there’s no harm in referring to your pandemonium as such.
You probably know as well as anyone the kind of pandemonium they actually cause!
What is pandemonium?
The dictionary definition of pandemonium is “wild and noisy disorder or confusion; uproar”.
Straight away any parrot owner will be able to see why this name was the obvious choice.
But let’s break down the history of the word even further.
If we break the word in two, we can translate it into ‘pan-’, which means ‘all’, and the Greek word for demon.
That’s right, the collective noun for parrots refers to them as all demons!
The term was actually coined by John Milton, the 17th Century poet, in his famous epic Paradise Lost about the fall of Satan from Heaven.
Milton was not talking about parrots, I should stress.
So, if you ever think your parrot is being dramatic, just remember how we refer to them in large groups.
How many parrots are in a flock?
Different species of parrot flock in different numbers.
African grey parrots can group in flocks of twenty to thirty individuals.
Budgies can flock in swarms as large as one hundred individuals.
Additionally, a flock of budgerigars is sometimes known as a ‘chatter’.
Wild cockatiels are highly social birds, and can live in flocks up to a thousand strong.
I could not find any real consensus about if these parrots have a special collective noun, although I did see one person suggest ‘craze’ which seemed fitting to me!
Lovebirds are very similar, living in large social groups to forage together, socialize and preen one another.
Again, there was no particular name I could find for a group of lovebirds.
Eclectus parrots live in smaller flocks or even pairs.
They will flock to feeding sites during the day, and at night they can roost together in groups of up to eighty.
Macaws, being larger birds, live in smaller flocks still, of between ten and thirty individuals.
How many parrots can I have together?
You might be wondering about putting together, or increasing the size of, your own pandemonium.
It’s important to think and plan carefully before inviting a lot of birds into your home.
Whether or not you can have several parrots living together varies a lot by species.
Most parrots are at least somewhat social, and even for those who do enjoy company, arguments are still a part of parrot life.
Some, however, will not enjoy company at all, except for a mate.
Unless in a breeding pair, cockatoos and macaws, for example, are notorious for their desire to keep to themselves.
They can be very aggressive, and a fight between parrots can in the worst case be fatal.
Unless you’re introducing your parrot to a mate under guidance from a vet or bird breeder, you should keep these species to a single bird.
Even if they are a breeding pair, cockatoos who have been hand reared by a human owner often won’t know how to react to a female cockatoo.
Always consult a vet before trying to breed your cockatoo.
On the other hand, budgies and cockatiels are very social birds and enjoy the company of others.
There are still a few things you should be careful of when keeping multiple birds.
Even smaller birds, if you have a few of them, will need a lot of space.
If they are sharing a space that is too small, they are likely to become more irritated with one another, and that could lead to a fight.
Giving them an aviary to roam around in will make them feel more comfortable around one another.
Furthermore, if the birds are introduced to each other at a young age, they are much more likely to get along well.
This is true of all species and indeed of many animals.
When they become bonded at a young age, violence and aggression can be all but eliminated.
If you have a bonded pair, it is very unlikely you will be able to introduce a third bird even of its own species.
Ultimately the riskiest thing is to attempt to mix different species, which is much less likely to work out.
Always consult a breeder or an avian vet before mixing species.
So, we started with a simple question, but there’s a lot to say about the group dynamics of parrot species.
It’s natural to wonder how many birds we can have in our homes since they each bring so much joy into our lives.
You must always remember that parrots of all kinds have many different temperaments, and must be carefully considered before being mixed.
You might want to put together your own unique pandemonium, but this can’t always be done easily.
Carefully plan the living arrangements of every bird and make sure it will work for all of them, otherwise, it may not work for any of them!
Introduce them at a young age and monitor their behavior throughout their lives, as it could change at any time.
If you keep all this in mind, you’ll be able to create a wonderful pandemonium to share your life with.