Parrots, also known as psittacines, are birds of the roughly 398 species in 92 genera comprising the order Psittaciformes, found mostly in tropical and subtropical regions. The order is subdivided into three superfamilies: the Psittacoidea ("true" parrots), the Cacatuoidea (cockatoos), and the Strigopoidea (New Zealand parrots). One-third of all parrot species are threatened by extinction, with higher aggregate extinction risk (IUCN Red List Index) than any other comparable bird group. Parrots have a generally pantropical distribution with several species inhabiting temperate regions in the Southern Hemisphere, as well. The greatest diversity of parrots is in South America and Australasia.
Characteristic features of parrots include a strong, curved bill, an upright stance, strong legs, and clawed zygodactyl feet. Many parrots are vividly coloured, and some are multi-coloured. Most parrots exhibit little or no sexual dimorphism in the visual spectrum. They form the most variably sized bird order in terms of length.
The most important components of most parrots' diets are seeds, nuts, fruit, buds, and other plant material. A few species sometimes eat animals and carrion, while the lories and lorikeets are specialised for feeding on floral nectar and soft fruits. Almost all parrots nest in tree hollows (or nest boxes in captivity), and lay white eggs from which hatch altricial (helpless) young.
Parrots, along with ravens, crows, jays, and magpies, are among the most intelligent birds, and the ability of some species to imitate human speech enhances their popularity as pets. Trapping wild parrots for the pet trade, as well as hunting, habitat loss, and competition from invasive species, has diminished wild populations, with parrots being subjected to more exploitation than any other group of birds. As of 2021, about 50 million parrots (half of all parrots) live in captivity, with the vast majority of these living as pets in people's homes. Measures taken to conserve the habitats of some high-profile charismatic species have also protected many of the less charismatic species living in the same ecosystems.
Parrots are found on all tropical and subtropical continents and regions including Australia and Oceania, South Asia, Southeast Asia, Central America, South America, and Africa. Some Caribbean and Pacific islands are home to endemic species. By far the greatest number of parrot species come from Australasia and South America. The lories and lorikeets range from Sulawesi and the Philippines in the north to Australia and across the Pacific as far as French Polynesia, with the greatest diversity being found in and around New Guinea. The subfamily Arinae encompasses all the neotropical parrots, including the amazons, macaws, and conures, and ranges from northern Mexico and the Bahamas to Tierra del Fuego in the southern tip of South America. The pygmy parrots, tribe Micropsittini, form a small genus restricted to New Guinea and the Solomon Islands. The superfamily Strigopoidea contains three living species of aberrant parrots from New Zealand. The broad-tailed parrots, subfamily Platycercinae, are restricted to Australia, New Zealand, and the Pacific islands as far eastwards as Fiji. The true parrot superfamily, Psittacoidea, includes a range of species from Australia and New Guinea to South Asia and Africa. The centre of cockatoo biodiversity is Australia and New Guinea, although some species reach the Solomon Islands (and one formerly occurred in New Caledonia), Wallacea and the Philippines.
Several parrots inhabit the cool, temperate regions of South America and New Zealand. Three species—the Thick-billed parrot, the Green parakeet, and the now-extinct Carolina parakeet—have lived as far north as the southern United States. Many parrots have been introduced to areas with temperate climates, and have established stable populations in parts of the United States (including New York City), the United Kingdom, Belgium, Spain and Greece. These birds can be quite successful in introduced areas, such as the non-native population of red-crowned amazons in the U.S. which may rival that of their native Mexico. The only parrot to inhabit alpine climates is the Kea, which is endemic to the Southern Alps mountain range on New Zealand's South Island.
Few parrots are wholly sedentary or fully migratory. Most fall somewhere between the two extremes, making poorly understood regional movements, with some adopting an entirely nomadic lifestyle. Only three species are migratory – the orange-bellied, blue-winged and swift parrots.