There are countless species of parrot that you may be familiar with as an enthusiast of birdkeeping, but one which may well have flown under your radar is the Quaker parrot.
They aren’t as popular as pets for a number of reasons, but more importantly, they’re also illegal in a lot of places.
Why is this?
Quaker parrots are illegal in many states because they are viewed as an invasive species. Authorities want to avoid the possibility of breeding populations becoming established in the wild. They are a threat to local wildlife and can breed and multiply extremely quickly. They are outlawed to avoid unwanted wild populations.
Parrots are a unique species when it comes to owning them as pets because it is far easier for them to escape to a place where they can reasonably survive in the wild.
Dogs and cats just don’t have the capacity to multiply like a lot of parrots, and quaker parrots are among the worst offenders for this.
Let’s find out more.
Are quaker parrots legal?
There is no federal law banning quaker parrots.
However, they are illegal in many states, and this makes them incredibly tricky to find in the first place.
So, realistically, the simple answer is no, quaker parrots are not legal.
You might be living in a state where they are not explicitly banned, but you’re unlikely to find many breeders.
Furthermore, all it would take in many cases would be a single incident of an escaped quaker parrot forming a wild population for your state to ban them.
I’ll get more into detail about why quaker parrots are illegal shortly, but just know that, even if they are currently legal where you are, there is a whole host of reasons why you should avoid them as a pet.
But, again, there is not currently any federal law dictating the ownership of quaker parrots.
But many states have laws in place to prevent the formation of wild populations from escaping domestic Quakers.
The sale and release of quaker parrots, broadly speaking, is illegal, which is your other problem.
If for whatever reason, you are set on a quaker parrot, they just aren’t very commonly bred because of the fears around their legality.
You might find a breeder in one state where the sale is legal and then return to your own state where they are not legal to keep.
Where are they illegal, then?
Where are quaker parrots illegal?
Several states have explicitly banned keeping quaker parrots as pets, making it a criminal offense, subject to fines, to own one.
Your quaker parrot will likely also be confiscated.
There is some wiggle room when it comes to some states, like Colorado, where it is illegal to own a quaker parrot unless you owned it before 1990 when they were originally banned.
But most states have simply outright banned quaker parrots.
This includes California, Connecticut, Georgia, Hawaii, Rhode Island, Wyoming, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, and Kentucky.
In most other states, it’s also usually not as simple as just being able to legally own a quaker parrot.
There may be ordinances and general laws about invasive species which prevent or at least discourage ownership of quaker parrots.
Many places have restrictions on quaker parrots, though they aren’t illegal—let’s look at a few specific places.
Are quaker parrots illegal in the state of Florida?
In Florida, quaker parrots are not illegal and do not have any specific restrictions on ownership.
That said, they are also not protected by federal poaching laws, because they are not a bird native to the states.
Citizens are allowed and even encouraged to cull quaker parrots that they find on their properties.
If you live in Florida, I would nonetheless consider a different pet than a quaker parrot.
Invasive species can be hugely harmful to local ecosystems, especially those which already include a number of native parrots.
If they escape, they can cause ecological disaster as they breed and multiply.
Are quaker parrots legal in Pennsylvania?
No, quaker parrots are not legal in Pennsylvania.
Here they are banned by rules governing the ownership of invasive species, and owning one is a crime punishable by fines and confiscation.
Again, while it might not make immediate sense why they should be legal in some places and illegal in others if they are a legitimate ecological threat, you should consider the fact that they are an invasive species, rather than just the law.
There are plenty of great options for parrots to keep that are not illegal and not a threat to local food chains.
Let’s look at precisely why quaker parrots are illegal.
Why are quaker parrots illegal in some places?
Broadly speaking, the problem with quaker parrots is that they are a highly invasive species.
This means that they are harmful to environments which they are not native to, due to the fact that they are able to spread and be so successful.
The unique thing about parrots, and birds in general, as pets, is their ability to easily escape far from their home.
They can leave their home and simply keep flying until they find a habitat that more closely resembles their home in the wild.
Of course, for a quaker parrot population to become established, there would need to be at least one male and one female, but that is all it would take—just one breeding pair for a colony hundreds strong to become established.
If quaker parrots were legal, then ownership would be a lot more widespread.
Thus, the chances of a pair finding each other and mating in the wild becomes a reasonable possibility.
Again, there need only be a single pair for it to become an ecological disaster.
They would outcompete local birds, decimate insect and plant populations, and leave a path of destruction in their wake.
Quaker parrots might be cute to us, but to the other animals we share our states with, they are a disaster waiting to happen.
There are, as I said, tons of species of parrot which make much safer pets that are legal and don’t stand a chance of causing havoc in your state.
How much do quaker parrots cost?
Despite all this, there naturally still is a market for quaker parrots in places where they are not illegal.
How much would a quaker parrot set you back in that case?
Well, first of all, it’s worth mentioning there are multiple species of quaker parrots.
Some are more expensive than others, like blue Quakers.
That said, as most parrots go, Quakers tend to be quite a lot cheaper.
This is, in part, due to the very same reason they are also illegal.
They are incredibly easy to breed in large numbers, even if there are limited numbers of breeders doing so.
So, on average, a quaker parrot will set you back around $250-$500, depending on the breeder and the species of parrot.
So, while they still aren’t exactly cheap, when compared with some species like the Goliath Cockatoo which can regularly sell for in excess of $15,000, you can see how much cheaper they are as parrots.
But, again, there are plenty of other parrots in this price range that does not come with the threat of becoming an invasive species, and also they are more pleasant to raise in any case.
What about their ability to talk?
Can quaker parrots talk?
Despite their problems, one of the reasons quaker parrots are still favored by some parrot keepers is that they are excellent talkers with a huge capacity and inclination to mimic speech.
They can accrue a large vocabulary of many words and can speak with remarkable clarity.
They can also mimic a lot of other household sounds with remarkable accuracy.
A lot of the time, whether a certain kind of parrot likes to talk depends largely on their inclination to do so.
Most species possess roughly the same apparatus for mimicking speech, some just do it more than others.
Quaker parrots are clearly highly inclined to mimic human speech, and can even learn in regional accents, from television, and rival much larger species in terms of the clarity of their voices.
Quaker parrots are illegal for good reason, then.
They are a highly invasive species and can wreak havoc on local ecosystems.
Parrots are highly successful in many environments, and quaker parrots are a prime example of this.
They have next to no trouble getting firmly established in almost any mild environment, even below the temperatures of their tropical or subtropical homes.
There are plenty of better pet parrots you can find.