A type of inteligent tropical bird. breeds include the
African Grey
Norweigen Blue
Parrots have large curved beaks, "beautiful plumage", and live up to 60 years. Many parrots are as inteligent as three year old humans.
Parrot is also a verb, meaning "to imitate vocally", after the fashion of the tropical bird.

Example: "Political spokespersons just parrot back the party line- they don't really have anything to say."

The Perl/Python merger, Parrot, was announced on April 1, 2001. The book Programming Parrot in a Nutshell, by Guido von Rossum and Larry Wall, was also announced on the same day by O'Reilly (ISBN 0-596-00010-X). The name was horribly unfair to us Perl users: Monty Python have a dead parrot sketch (and a Parrot, like a Python, is an animal!). And we're bigger than they are!

There isn't any Parrot code (yet?), but here's the example from the announcement. Note the elegant way in which Parrot syntax manages to merge Perl's marked blocks and Python's indentation controls! Also, Perl's cryptic symbolisms are kept, but in a typically verbose Pythonish manner.

# copy stdin to stdout, except for lines starting with #
    while left_angle_right_angle:
        if dollar_underscore[0] =eq= "#":
        print dollar_underscore;

Addendum: The furor has abated since, but there is at least one important result: In Perl 6, the bytecode engine is codenamed "Parrot".

Jenn and I went to look at Parrots today. Again. This is becoming obsessive now as my wife is beginning to get the parrot bug in a big way.

I've been a convert for a while. I wanted one so badly as a kid because they're cool and can talk, but it was only in recent years that I came to realise the extent of the parrot's intellect and personality.

I had a cockatiel for a short time before I came to America and that just completed the conversion. She constantly amazed me with her (relative to her small stature) intelligence and with the complexity of her behavior and reactions to mine towards her. (She was handed over to a friend of mine when I left the UK, with whom she had already bonded pretty well, but she unfortunately escaped through a carelessly opened door not long afterwards).

So I've wanted a parrot of some kind pretty badly since I came here, and Jenn has gone along with me since she's generally pretty well disposed to all animals. But later, at some point in the future.

Just recently that started to change though...

(I really should explain that when I say parrot I mean any member of the psittacine family, which includes all species of cockatoo, macaw, budgerigar, conure, caique, parakeet and of course, both African and Amazon parrots as well as some others and their various sub-species. Any one of them would do.)

Jenn's conversion started when we met an umbrella cockatoo called Caspar at a bird sanctuary near Austin, Texas back in August. I'd heard they were friendly but this puppy-with-feathers really took us aback. He was all over anyone who'd show him any interest; and it's often hard for the uninitiated to imagine that a beak of that size could do anything but serious harm, but once you've had your eyebrows preened thoroughly with one you have to appreciate the delicacy and skill of its user. He'd also coo "I love you!" but only to his owner, while reclining prostrate on its back in his arms. My wife's polite interest in these birds promptly became "We're going to have one. Or two."

So we've been hanging around pet stores since, looking for a breeder, good naturedly arguing about the pros and cons of macaws over cockatoos, the cost of upkeeping an African gray and what size of cage to get, all the while getting our fix of inane chatter and incandescent feathers. Right now we're decided on a macaw, Jenn likes the colours and seems to make friends with them easily, but next week it could just as well be a red loried Amazon or a leadbeater's cockatoo.

And today we finally found a breeder in OKC we're happy to get a weaned infant from; they seem to know close to everything on the subject as well so we'll very soon start paying for one of the most expensive eggs you can buy. And Jenn also met yet another macaw and was chatting away with it in seconds, as usual. I think they can see the widening of the eyes in childlike wonder or something; it was dancing about from side to side, chanting "hello, hello" and rousing its feathers in anticipation of a scratching.

I think, remembering the look in Jenn's eyes, the macaw's the final choice; and it'll definitely be coming into a really, really good home.

Originally getting its name from 2001 April Fools joke, Parrot is a virtual machine. It executes binary bytecode. First public alpha versions were released in September 2001. The code can be got from CPAN, and the home page can be found at http://www.parrotcode.org/.

Parrot was specifically designed for Perl's next version in development (Perl 6). At the moment (2002-04-12), it's progressing nicely; scalars work, lists and hashes will be there soon. Parrot is more intended for dynamic languages like Perl; the competition (JVM and .NET) are better for statically typed languages.

Since it is a virtual machine executing virtual assembler code, there are several different languages that compile to Parrot bytecode - it isn't limited to Perl! Here are some of the languages that have been so far done to varying degrees:

  • Jako, a C-like language developed for testing Parrot
  • Cola, likewise, but more Java-like
  • Forth
  • ...and an extremely rudimentary Perl 6 compiler...

Par"rot (?), n. [Prob. fr. F. Pierrot, dim. of Pierre Peter. F. pierrot is also the name of the sparrow. Cf. Paroquet, Petrel, Petrify.]

1. Zool.

In a general sense, any bird of the order Psittaci.

2. Zool.

Any species of Psittacus, Chrysotis, Pionus, and other genera of the family Psittacidae, as distinguished from the parrakeets, macaws, and lories. They have a short rounded or even tail, and often a naked space on the cheeks. The gray parrot, or jako (P. erithacus) of Africa (see Jako), and the species of Amazon, or green, parrots (Chrysotis) of America, are examples. Many species, as cage birds, readily learn to imitate sounds, and to repeat words and phrases.

Carolina parrot Zool., the Carolina parrakeet. See Parrakeet. -- Night parrot, ∨ Owl parrot. Zool. See Kakapo. -- Parrot coal, cannel coal; -- so called from the crackling and chattering sound it makes in burning. [Eng. & Scot.] -- Parrot green. Chem. See Scheele's green, under Green, n. -- Parrot weed Bot., a suffrutescent plant (Bocconia frutescens) of the Poppy family, native of the warmer parts of America. It has very large, sinuate, pinnatifid leaves, and small, panicled, apetalous flowers. -- Parrot wrasse, Parrot fish Zool., any fish of the genus Scarus. One species (S. Cretensis), found in the Mediterranean, is esteemed by epicures, and was highly prized by the ancient Greeks and Romans.


© Webster 1913.

Par"rot, v. t.

To repeat by rote, as a parrot.


© Webster 1913.

Par"rot, v. i.

To chatter like a parrot.


© Webster 1913.

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