Parrot twittarium

An aviary in Mysuru found its way into the Guinness Book of World Records for hosting the largest number of birds of one family.

Parrots befriend human beings easily and can mimic the sounds they hear. They are known to be the most intelligent birds. Macaws, parakeets, lorikeets and cockatoos are different types of parrots.

At Shukavana in Mysuru, Karnataka, spread over 35 acres, the Shri Ganapathy Sachidananda Swami ashram has 469 varieties of parrots, macaws and lorikeets. You could call it a ‘Twittarium’ considering the cacophony of chirps and twitters.

Parrot twittarium
In the ashram, you get to learn about the parrots. Coming in a riot of colours, parrots generally have a lifespan of 25 to 50 years. However, the Major Mitchell cockatoo can survive even longer. One of them is recorded to have lived up to 83 years. Found in Australia, they have a salmon-pink plumage.

Parrot twittarium
When it comes to size, military macaws can grow up to 70 cm (from beak to tip of the tail). Their wingspan can extend up to 110 cm scarlet macaws are, however, the largest of all and could measure up to 90 cm, a major portion of it being the tail. These birds are captured and made to perform in circuses to ride bicycles on stage.

Building the record

How did the ashram become home to these birds? It began a few years ago when someone brought in a pair of injured macaws and the ashram arranged for their treatment. Soon after, some visitors gifted another pair of exotic parrots and it spawned a trend.

The swami’s fondness for parrots became the buzzword among his devotees. He dedicated some space for their upkeep, feeding and free movement. An aviary was built with a cord mesh stretched 60 feet over the ground, enclosing several trees within. Each pair of these exotic birds is assigned a separate enclosure with keepers feeding them nuts, berries and fruits of their choice.

Most intelligent: Congo African Grey

Most intelligent: Congo African Grey  

Of the lot, the Congo African grey parrots are the most intelligent. They are gifted with a walnut-sized brain and can produce a human voice or other sounds as soon as they hear it.

Parrot twittarium
Channel-billed toucans measure upto 48 cm, a fourth of it being the beak itself. Blue-winged macaws, which are known to live up to 50 years, are black-billed but have a red or yellow-feathered underside. They are now on the list of endangered birds of the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN).

The rose-breasted galah cockatoos, gifted by an Australian visitor are friendly birds. They have a life span of 70 years in captivity with a good diet.

The shamrock macaws are a pleasant melange of colours inheriting their genes from their parents i.e., scarlet macaws and military macaws. They are favoured as pets.



A few palm cockatoos too regale visitors with their fan palm plumage. Their strong beaks can break thick sticks from trees and splice them into thin strands to line a nest. They can even split palm fruits and are said to be the largest bird of the Australian continent, and can weigh up to 1,200 gm.

Two years ago, Shukavana entered the Guinness Book of World Records as an aviary hosting the largest number of birds of one family. The aviary now doubles up as an education centre for students and nature enthusiasts.

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Printable version | Apr 3, 2020 2:40:14 AM |

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