Resource Center Menu
Large Hookbill

Large Hookbill
includes african grey, amazon and eclectus parrots

Large hookbills are intelligent, affectionate and gentle birds that require lots of daily interaction with their pet parent.

Large Hookbill Facts

average adult size: 10 to 15 inches, head to end of tail, depending on species
average life span: 20 to 60+ years depending on species
diet: omnivores

Bird pet parents should avoid non-stick cookware and appliances as they can release fumes hazardous to your bird's health.

Diet

A well-balanced large hookbill diet consists of:

  • Specialized pellets should make up 60 to 70% of diet, plus fresh vegetables, fruits and small amounts of fortified seeds.
  • Clean, fresh, filtered, chlorine-free water, changed daily.
  • Do not feed birds avocado, fruit seeds, chocolate, caffeine or alcohol as these can cause serious medical conditions. Avoid sugar and high fat treats.

Feeding

Things to remember when feeding your large hookbill:

  • Fresh food and water should always be available.
  • Vegetables and fruits not eaten within a few hours should be discarded.
  • Treats should not exceed 10% of total food intake.

Housing

  • Large hookbills acclimate well to average household temperatures, not to drop below 65°F or to exceed 80°F; be cautious of extreme temperature changes. The habitat should be placed off the floor in an area that is well-lit and away from drafts.
  • A habitat approximately 36"W x 24"D x 48"H with strong metal bars spaced no greater than 3/4" apart, makes a good home for one large hookbill. It is best to provide the largest habitat possible. Parrots are well known escape artists, so ensure habitat is secure.
  • Perches should be at least 9" long and 3/4 to 1" in diameter; a variety of perch sizes to exercise feet and help prevent arthritis is recommended.
  • A metal grate over the droppings tray will keep the bird away from droppings; line the droppings tray with habitat paper or appropriate substrate for easier cleaning. To avoid contamination, do not place food or water containers under perches.
  • Large hookbills can be kept alone to bond with pet parent or in pairs to bond with each other. Different types of birds should not be housed together.
  • Birds should be socialized daily by the pet parent.

Normal Behavior

  • Eclectus parrots are often calm and quiet in their habitats.
  • African grey parrots are able to learn a large vocabulary with humanlike inflections; love to learn tricks and games.
  • Amazon parrots often mimic, sing and enjoy showing off their skills; they can be loud.
  • Provide foraging toys, which promote important mental stimulation.
  • Ensure toys are strongly attached as these birds can unscrew c-clamps, which can cause injury.

Habitat Maintenance

  • Clean and disinfect the habitat and perches regularly with a 3% bleach solution; replace substrate or habitat liner weekly or more often as needed.
  • Replace perches, dishes, and toys when worn or damaged; rotate new toys into the habitat regularly.
  • Ensure that there are no habitat parts or toys with lead, zinc or lead-based paints or galvanized parts as these can cause serious medical issues if ingested by your bird.
  • Do not use a lot of cleaning agents around your bird as the fumes can be harmful. It is recommended to use a natural cleaning product.

Grooming & Hygiene

  • Mist the bird with fresh, chlorine-free, lukewarm water.
  • Clipping flight feathers, when done correctly, can help prevent injury or escape; consult an avian veterinarian on what is best for your bird.
  • Nails should be trimmed by a qualified person to prevent injury to the bird.

Health

Signs of a Healthy Animal

  • Active, alert, and sociable
  • Eats and drinks throughout the day
  • Dry nares and bright, dry eyes
  • Beak, legs and feet normal in appearance
  • Clean, dry vent
  • Smooth, well-groomed feathers

Red Flags

  • beak swelling or accumulations
  • fluffed, plucked, or soiled feathers
  • sitting on floor of habitat
  • wheezing or coughing
  • runny or discolored stools
  • favoring one foot when not sleeping
  • eye or nasal discharge
  • red or swollen eyes
  • loss of appetite

Common Health Issues

Health Issue Symptoms or Causes Suggested Action
Chlamydiosis Appetite loss, fluffed feathers, nasal discharge, lime green feces and conjunctivitus. Seek immediate avian veterinary attention.
Diarrhea Fecal portion of stool not formed. Multiple causes, from change in diet to internal parasites. Consult your veterinarian and ensure proper diet.
Feather plucking Bird plucks own feathers. May be due to boredom, poor diet or other illness. Consult your veterinarian and relieve boredom with attention, new toys, or more room.
Polyoma virus Anorexia, lethargy, weight loss, sudden death. Seek immediate avian veterinary attention
Psittacine beak and feather disease Abnormal feather color, feather loss, beak deformities Seek immediate avian veterinary attention.
Pacheco's Virus Rapid death, diarrhea, appetite loss, depression. Seek immediate avian veterinary attention.

Sources

Ask a store partner about Petco's selection of books on small hookbills and the variety of private brand products available for the care and happiness of your new pet. All private brand products carry a 100% money-back guarantee.

Because all birds are potential carriers of infectious diseases, such as Chlamydiosis, always wash your hands before and after handling your bird or habitat contents to help prevent the potential spread of disease.

Pregnant women, children under the age of 5, senior citizens and people with weakened immune systems should contact their physician before purchasing or caring for birds and should consider not having a bird as a pet.

Go to cdc.gov/healthypets for more information about birds and disease.

This care sheet can cover the care needs of other species.

Note:The information in this Care Sheet is not a substitute for veterinary care. If you need additional information, please refer to the sources on the following page or contact your veterinarian as appropriate.

Developed with and approved by a qualified veterinarian.