Great-Billed Parrot

Angela Vuckovic
by Angela Vuckovic
fast facts

About Great-Billed Parrot

16 inches
10-20 years
Bird Species
Quiet, Natural Calls, Mimics
Social, Fun, Friendly, Intelligent, Playful, Energetic
Comparable Breeds
Hyacinth Macaw, Alexandrine Parakeet
Great-Billed Parrot General Info

These intriguing birds are one of the rarer sights in the world of pet parrots, but that doesn’t speak to their qualities as a companion. Despite being harder to find than widespread breeds, such as Budgie or Cockatiel, for instance, these stunning birds make wonderful pets. And how couldn’t they be, with their unique looks, robust health and friendly personality? Although quite large, Great-billed Parrot is calm and laid-back, with a docile and sociable temperament. This breed is also known as Moluccan Parrot or Island Parrot.

Just as their name suggests, these parrots have disproportionately large beaks. Provide plenty of toys so they can exercise it.

Native Region/Natural Habitat

These parrots are found in a small region in southeast Asia, chiefly in the waters closest to Indonesia. They are common on many of the regional islands, like the Sundas, the Maluku, Sangir and Talaud islands. This breed prefers to live on small islands, and large groups will often travel from one island to another. They thrive in mangroves, humid forests, coastal woodlands, and local plantations. They are a common sight in these tropical islands and are not endangered critically. Still, they are not often seen as pets, but they do appear in markets from time to time.

Overall Description

They belong to a small genus of parrots, called Tanygnathus, and are very unique in their physical appearance and personality traits. The first thing you will notice is their large, robust beak and a muscular head. The rest of the body is perhaps disproportionately thinner and slender. The adults reach an average length of 16 inches (40 centimeters) and will weigh up to half a pound (250 grams). These are large parrots that require plenty of space and exercise. An aviary or a spacious cage is a must, as well as plenty of free movement around the house during the day. A Great-billed Parrot that is neglected and lives in cramped conditions will become stressed and start plucking their feathers.

Speech and Sounds

Contrary to popular belief, not all large parrots are noisy and big talkers. The Great-billed Parrot is a great example of this. They are inquisitive parrots that don’t express themselves vocally. They do have some natural calls, most of which are moderate and rarely heard throughout the day. With a bit of training from a young age, it shouldn’t be a surprise that your pet learns a few words to repeat. They can also begin mimicking human speech in a mumbled and funny voice. In general, they boast a perfect balance between speaking abilities and noise levels. Still, due to their size, they are best kept in a house.


The Great-billed Parrot is truly a stunner. From their beak down to their tail, everything about these birds looks exotic. The main parts of the body are green, with varying hues and gradients. The body is generally darker green, while the neck, back, and belly are in shades of light to pale green. The wings are generally blue, with blue and green feathers on top, bordered with yellow. Combined that with their prominent red beaks and cute big eyes, and it’s easy to see why these birds charm everyone they meet!

Males and females are almost completely identical, but pay attention to the size – females can be slightly smaller.

Care and Feeding

In their natural habitat, the Great-billed Parrot is mainly a fruit-eating breed. But their diet also contains a bit of seed, insects, and crops. To create a balanced diet for your pet, you should start with a commercial seed mix for exotic large parrots. They contain a good amount of oats, millet, sunflower seeds, and nuts – all of which are rich in nutrients. The next and larger part of their diet should be fresh fruits and plenty of it. Apples, pears, oranges, bananas, and coconuts – these treats are their favorites. Some green vegetables are also welcome. Fresh water should be replaced two or more times per day.

Health and Common Conditions

One of the many great things about the Great-billed Parrot is its remarkable ability to adapt to most living conditions. All moderate settings will work fine for them. With their big size and a robust build, they are hardy and durable birds. They can live from 10 to 20 years without any issues. A few things are very important to keep in mind. The Great-billed Parrot will need a lot of free space, plenty of social interaction, good hygiene, and a balanced diet. Affection, playtime, and attention can contribute so much to a pet parrot’s health.

These smart parrots are quick to learn the basic tricks and simple commands.

Personality & Behavior

Intelligent and inquisitive, these parrots are always surprising with their personality traits. One thing is for sure – they are friendly and calm. Great-billed Parrot reacts well to music, and they will often dance when they hear a song or a melody they like. Plenty of toys and free space will be a must, as well as attention. (Their enormous beaks require exercise, and that’s mostly what toys are for.)

Great-billed Parrot is a well-tempered bird with a lot of love for its family. You will quickly fall in love with their peaceful, yet funny and energetic personality. Even though it’s slightly harder to find, the Great-billed Parrot is certainly worth the effort! Whether you’re a senior looking for a bright feathered companion, a single that wants a friendly and smart pet, or you just need a laid-back parrot for your family, this breed is a great choice.

Photo credit: TJ Lin/Wikimedia Commons

Angela Vuckovic
Angela Vuckovic

A proud mama to seven dogs and ten cats, Angela spends her days writing for her fellow pet parents and pampering her furballs, all of whom are rescues. When she's not gushing over her adorable cats or playing with her dogs, she can be found curled up with a good fantasy book.

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