The parrot is offended with the peahen’s letter. He writes to Aristotle claiming that he is a pretty bird too.

Dear Aristotle,

Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!

If a kid can say this nonsense word, so can I! Yes, I can! Believe me! I have a special vocal chord and a thick muscular tongue that helps me mimic any sound I hear. Of the 350 species of parrots found in the world, 13 are native to India. I belong to the brilliantly coloured species of Indian talking parrots, the Alexandrine parakeets.

I know what you’re thinking. Parakeets, lorikeets, cockatoos and macaws belong to the Order of parrots. Are you confused with words like Order, Family, Species and their sequence? Remember this mnemonic sentence — Kings Play Cards on Fat Girl’s Stomach. The first letter of each word matches the order in which animals or plants are classified. Good, human kids who read this have learnt something that will help them in their science lessons.

Jealous bird

Now, let’s focus on me for sometime. I was just thinking about the peahen’s letter. I am upset. I am not jealous, mind you. Though I am considered a very pretty bird, I, unfortunately, don’t enjoy the pomp and splendour of a peacock’s life.

I feel it is unfair to clip our wings and keep us in cages just because we look pretty and are great entertainers! Of course, we make great pets. We are intelligent, friendly, chatty and fun to have around the house. We can pick up things with our feet, as there are two toes facing forwards and two facing backwards.

We can climb walls using just our strong, bright red and hooked beaks. Could that be an excuse to take away our right to fly freely in flocks or find our mate for life?

In a way, I understand why people, especially kids, fall in love with me. I am stunningly beautiful and intelligent too! Parrots can be as small as 10 cm long or as large as one metre. I am medium-sized, about 60 cm long, of which my tail is about 30 cm. Only the males of our species have a black and orange-red band around the neck. That is why we are also called the ring-necked. Why the name Alexandrine? You guessed it right! It is after Alexander the Great who first introduced us to Europe.

Our species is easy to train. We learn quickly and are obedient too. That is why we team up with astrologers to tell the future of anyone who wants to know it! You believe me, don’t you?

Alexander the Great (so to say)

Reply from Aristotle

I haven’t read a more confused (and confusing) letter than this one! Can someone tell me what the meaning of being “bird-brained” is? Hee hee!

Do you know the origin of this phrase “sick as a parrot”? In ancient times, parrots that were shipped from tropical countries were kept in cages in homes of cold European countries. They became melancholic and temperamental. They fell physically ill too. The phrase was then coined to be used to express extreme disappointment and depression.

The mnemonic is clever — an easy way to remember Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus and Species.

Pretty Parrot! Try this most difficult tongue-twister: She saw Sheikh Saif Sahib’s six, sick sheep quake in shock.

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Pride of India November 26, 2012