Generally, one of the first stereotypes that comes to mind when you think of a parrot is that of a pirate. Pirates and parrots tend to go hand in hand, both in literature and in history. So Why do pirates have parrots ?
Why is the pirate parrot such a popular association for the general public ?
This surprising association of a pirate with a parrot on his shoulder is very popular today. This is partly due to the commercial appeal of the movies and novels.
In Pirates of the Caribbean, for example, the buccaneer Cotton, mute after having his tongue cut out, speaks through his parrot perched on his shoulder.
Another pop culture figure comes from Robert Louis Stevenson’s novel Treasure Island. The buccaneer Long John Silver is always accompanied by his faithful bird.
Did pirates really have parrots ?
Yes, the pirates did have parrots, to answer your question. They did, even if it wasn’t as usual as some fantasy movies or books portray. There are several reasons for this depending on the era.
Isn’t it amazing? One of your favorite bird’s ancestors may have been closely associated with a pirate ship and a buccaneer crew. As surreal as this may sound, it was the truth at one time or another.
It should be noted, however, that not all pirates had a parrot on their shoulders, just as not all pirates had a wooden leg and a hook.
You’ll know everything there is to know about pirates and parrots by the end of this article. This is an interesting topic that will provide you with a wealth of valuable knowledge as well as entertaining facts to share with your fellow pirate fans.
What was the point of having parrots among the pirates ?
While it’s impossible to say how popular it was for pirates to have parrots based on the facts, pirates did love exotic animals.
In fact, many historians point out that the exotic animal trade industry was closely tied to pirates and other humans. People loved the wild animals of South America.
Whether or not one agrees with the concept of trading animals as commodities, it was a reality. Parrots, being brightly feathered birds, were valuable and sold to wealthy Europeans or Americans.
Also, because parrots are so different from other species, it is easy to understand why pirates were so fascinated by these tropical birds. Having a parrot was also a status symbol because of their value and rarity.
People, like everything else, like to have pets. And the most dangerous pirate liked to be in the company of a parrot on those long sea voyages. It’s an intelligent, sociable animal that eats little and talks, the perfect companion.
Is there any evidence that pirates held parrots ?
As previously mentioned, there is substantial evidence that trading in exotic animals was common in the past.
Piracy was most prevalent between the 1650s and 1730s, a time when society was somewhat different than it is today. Although it may be impossible for us to understand, the world of piracy in that era was crazy.
Long John Silver is one of the reasons why pirates are associated with parrots in popular culture. He was the fictional pirate from Treasure Island, for those who don’t remember. While this tale is completely made up, it is true that pirates have had parrots at some point in their lives.
As we said earlier, pirates went on long, often boring voyages, going in search of the next treasure or people to plunder. So we can assume that pirates had a variety of exotic animals on board to amuse themselves or pass the time.
In addition, there is evidence that explorers and pirates recorded the locations of parrots, the rarer and more expensive ones like macaws. Although they are not as common as some would like to believe, some pirates had them on their decks.
Are parrots suitable for pirate ships ?
Why did these so-called pirates have parrots on board? Since their boat was their home, you may be wondering why you have a parrot in your home. People love them, they are amazing birds. They are polite, affectionate, well-behaved and can perform a few tricks.
As mentioned earlier, pirates were likely to bring birds on board for the sole purpose of having a companion on a long voyage. Given the size of pirate ships and the number of people on board, why wouldn’t they have a beautiful creature like a parrot to keep everyone company?
Think about how you would feel if you were in their shoes. Would you like to go on multi-week voyages with just you and your crew, or would you like to have all that and a parrot for company ?
Back in the day, pirates and many adventurers often carried pets to make the trip easier, such as cats to chase mice and rats. Therefore, it is likely that many pirates had parrots on their ships.
Is it true that pirates traded in parrots ?
Pirates most likely had birds from the exotic animal trade or stolen from others. These damned pirates were most certainly impressed by the special appearance of parrots, which are brilliantly colored and breathtaking.
Moreover, their uniqueness made them very valuable in the 17th and 18th centuries. Pirates had in common the desire to have something rare and precious. To that end, they may have gone out of their way to own unusual animals like parrots.
There is no evidence that pirates traded animals among themselves. However, it is likely that some pirates traded parrots to each other as a sign of gratitude, but this was not the norm.
Otherwise, yes, parrots were splendid creatures that pirates could sell at a premium, especially in European capitals. Unfortunately, they were first a commodity before being a pet.
What species of parrots did the pirates own ?
The species of parrots were very diverse, just like today, pionus, parakeets, cockatoos, youyous, etc. Since there are many types of parrots, not all pirates went in search of a particular species. Therefore, it is difficult to assign the pirates to a specific genus.
In one fictional account, Long John Silver of Treasure Island is said to have had a blue and a yellow macaw. While this is fiction, it is undeniable that one or two pirates had such a parrot.
While the 17th and 18th centuries seem to be worlds apart, they do have some similarities. Certainly, when it comes to parrots, people cherished them for the same reasons we do today.
When did pirates have parrots ?
The golden age of piracy, as mentioned earlier, was in the 17th and 18th centuries. Given the popularity of the exotic animal trade during these years, it’s easy to see why people associate these centuries with pirates and parrots.
However, in terms of pirate tradition, it is likely that some sea pirates had parrots even earlier. Because so much of pirate history took place on clandestine ships, it is difficult to illustrate.
It is impossible to say with certainty what was true at any given time in history, as is the case with so many other things. Fortunately, it is easy to make predictions based on a certain expectation of a certain time period.
Did parrots perch on the hook and shoulders of pirates ?
Parrots are known to land immediately on the hook or shoulder of the captain, as seen in many pirate movies. Given how easy it is for a parrot to do this today, it’s reasonable to believe that they did it back then.
However, since imaginary perspectives seem to exaggerate the facts, the jacquots on pirate ships were most likely held captive in a cage or perch. While they may have climbed onto a pirate’s hook for entertainment, they were most likely locked in a cage under the ship.
Since parrots can fly away at any time, the pirates were aware of this. They did not want their bird to fly away and leave them. They understood the importance of keeping your parrot safe in a box, just as you do.
Is it true that pirates fought over parrots ?
While it’s possible that a parrot landed on a pirate’s hook, it’s even harder to estimate whether pirates fought over them.
Since these exotic birds had a certain market value, it is quite possible that some conflicts between pirate ships took place to steal exotic animals. The pirates’ love for fortune knew no bounds.
As we said earlier, the bright color and beautiful complexion of a parrot may have been enough for pirates to take them for themselves. However, it is difficult to conclude that they did not start a war over parrots due to lack of sufficient evidence.
To summarize about pirates and parrots
Thanks to the Long John Silver of Treasure Island, the public perception of pirates and parrots will not change. Despite the fact that the novel is a work of fiction, it demonstrated how 17th and 18th century pirates were fascinated by parrots and other wildlife.
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