Parrots are birds of the roughly 350 species in 85 genera that make up the order Psittaciformes, found in most warm and tropical regions. Also known as psittacines, they are usually grouped into two families: the psittacidae (true parrots) and the cacatuidae (cockatoos). Parrots have a pan-tropical distribution with several species inhabiting the temperate southern hemisphere as well. The greatest diversity of parrots is found in south america and australia.
Characteristic features of parrots include a strong curved bill, an upright stance, strong legs, and clawed zygodactyl feet. Most parrots are predominantly green, with other bright colors, and some species are multi-colored. The diversity of psittaciformes in south america and australasia suggests that the order has a gondwanan origin. The parrot family's fossil record, however, is sparse and their origin remains a matter of informed speculation rather than fact.
The phylogeny of the parrots is still under investigation. The classifications as presented reflects the current status, which is disputed and therefore subject to change when new studies resolve some of the open questions. For that reason, this classification should be treated as preliminary. The diet of parrots consists of seeds, fruit, nectar, pollen, buds, and sometimes insects and to a lesser degree animal prey. Without question the most important of these to most true parrots and cockatoos are seeds.