Parrots, also known as psittacines are birds of the roughly 372 species in 86 genera that make up the order Psittaciformes, found in most tropical and subtropical regions. The order is subdivided into three families: the Psittacidae ('true' parrots), the Cacatuidae (cockatoos) and the Strigopidae (New Zealand parrots). Parrots have a generally pantropical distribution with several species inhabiting temperate regions in the Southern Hemisphere as well. The greatest diversity of parrots is found 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. The plumage of cockatoos ranges from mostly white to mostly black, with a mobile crest of feathers on the tops of their heads. Most parrots exhibit little or no sexual dimorphism. They form the most variably sized bird order in terms of length.
Researchers are unsure about the origins of parrots. Psittaciforme diversity in South America and Australasia suggests that the order may have evolved in Gondwanaland, centred in Australasia
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