have the Right-Hand Cat
Captains have the Pirate Parrot
. Expect these colorful feathered companions to be chatty and demand crackers
. Pirate Parrots usually ride on the shoulder of their pirate owner
The parrot may or may not:
- Be named "Polly".
- Ask for crackers, "Polly wants a cracker, Polly wants a cracker".
- Say something about "pieces of eight" (a Spanish dollar or piastre — a large silver coin worth eight reals).
In Real Life
, it is not known if many pirates actually kept parrots for pets. Parrots are high-maintenance animals that serve no benefit on a ship (unlike, for example, cats, which keep the vermin population down). However, there are records of the occasional (non-pirate) Caribbean sailor keeping parrots and even monkeys as pets, so it's not too unlikely. The whole concept of a pirate and his parrot companion likely started with Treasure Island
. And parrots in Real Life
do naturally prefer to stand on a person's shoulder. It's also worth noting that at a certain point of time pet parrots commanded huge prices in Europe, so it is not inconceivable for a sailor wanting to settle down to trade in several parrots as a retirement benefit of sorts, probably leaving one to himself — which is probably where it all started.
Expect some amount of Misplaced Wildlife
. Cockatoos, for example, come from Australia and Indonesia, and would be far less likely on the shoulder of a Caribbean pirate than a macaw or Amazon of Central and South America. Then again, most animated parrots are some strange conglomeration of psittacine characteristics rather than realistic; macaw-shaped and colored, Amazon-sized, with a cockatoo crest.
Related tropes include Dressed to Plunder
, Parrot Pet Position
, and Feather Boa Constrictor
. For capuchin monkeys, see Everything's Better with Monkeys
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Anime & Manga
- On Cowboy Bebop, Vicious has an exotic bird perched on his right shoulder most of the time. This only heightens his mystique (and overall evil aura). It's a cormorant (a kind of sea bird that has acidic droppings and a nasty temper). This, combined with the fact that he blows it up in one of the final episodes, probably does say something about Vicious. It's inspired by Harlock's bird, noted below.note
- In the Pokemon Ranger And The Temple Of The Sea movie, the pirate villain "The Phantom" had a Chatot (parrot Pokémon) on his shoulder.
- Amazingly, One Piece has, up to yet, averted this, despite being all about pirates. And considering the series' track record, if one ever does show up, it will most likely be the single most awesome parrot ever seen. The closest to this trope thus far is Doma's, one of Whitebeard's New World allies, trained gun-using Monkey.
- There's also Rob Lucci's pet bird, who speaks entirely for him while he's undercover while Lucci passes himself off as being mute, Lucci isn't a pirate Though he is a criminal after Spandam throws him under the bus, but as a marine assassin he's probably done his share of sailing.
- The manga Mobile Suit Crossbone Gundam gives The Captain a robot parrot as part of their fully embracing the "pirate" part of Space Pirate. Said parrot spouts random lines that reference older Gundam works, leading to the theory that it was made from Amuro Ray's Team Pet and Gundam Series Mascot Haro.
- Captain Harlock, as a proud Space Pirate, owns not a parrot but a strange alien bird — with black feathers, a long beak and a thread-thin neck — that pretty much cover the same role, up to mimicking human speech and sometimes riding on his shoulder.
- In Lullaby, Jim Hawkins gained a parrot (with an absurdly large beak) sometime before his captain booted him from the ship. Its name is "Crew"; he's got a pegleg and an eyepatch, and carries Jim's flag on his back.
- In Y: The Last Man, buxom captain Kilina prefers a female capuchin monkey to a parrot, because birds are too cliché.
- Batman foe Cap'n Fear had a robotic parrot that randomly recorded and repeated phrases spoken near it.
- Though not a pirate himself, The DCU's marauding desperado El Papagayo ("The Parrot") was so named for his choice of pet.
- In The Skull of Agarash, a graphic novel set in the Lone Wolf world, Captain Khadro, pirate ruler of the Lakuri Isles, has a small winged reptile looking like a tiny dragon as Pirate Parrot. It is in fact a Liganim, the shapeshifting familiar of a Nadziran, the Black Wizard currently possessing Khadro.
- Parodied in a José Carioca cover, where José has gone to a costume party dressed as a pirate, but since he is a parrot, he has a small human pirate on his shoulder instead.
- Deadpool forced Bob to wear a parrot costume and squawk like a parrot during their short stint as pirates.
- Ruthless modern pirate Mojo in the story "How Daphne lost her Mojo (and got it back!)" in the graphic novel Sex Ed 101 by Enrique Villagran, has a parrot who comments on the action.
- Matilda in Randomveus has a large pet parrot — that somehow has a mustache.
- The Black Terror was inspired by a book on pirates, and wears a costume modeled after a Jolly Roger flag. The Project Superheroes version of the character has a sidekick called Parrot, who wears a colorful bird costume.
Films — Animation
- Iago from Disney's Aladdin is worth mentioning, even though he's not affiliated with a Pirate... Then in Aladdin and the King of Thieves he goes off with Cassim, Aladdin's long-lost father and former leader of a band of thieves who would occasionally use ships.
- In Treasure Planet, Long John Silver's pet is a small shapeshifting creature called Morph, who could mimic people in more ways than one.
- Taken to a ridiculous degree in the direct-to-video movie Tom and Jerry: Shiver Me Whiskers, where each of the three pirate captains have a parrot that matches their color scheme. The red and blue pirate captains talk only in growls, which their parrots then translate. It's the opposite with the purple pirate, who can speak perfect English, but can't translate his parrot's growling.
- In Tom and Jerry: The Movie there's Captain Kiddie's parrot Squawk, though Kiddie isn't a pirate and Squawk is just a handpuppet (albeit a seemingly sentient one).
- The villains of Rio, though technically not pirates, actually both own a sulphur-crested cockatoo named Nigel.
- The Captain in Raggedy Ann & Andy: A Musical Adventure has a pet parrot.
- The Pirates! In an Adventure with Scientists features Polly, who is really the last dodo.
Films — Live-Action
- The Pirates of the Caribbean trilogy:
- In Revenge of The Pink Panther, Inspector Clouseau appears disguised as a sailor, with an inflatable parrot on his shoulder.
- The following exchange occurs in Down Periscope, during the "walk the plank" sequence, which has a large percentage of the Stingray's crew playing pirate:
Nitro, isn't that one of my chickens? (indicating very dead plucked chicken tied to Nitro's shoulder
) Nitro Mike:
No, it's a, uh, parrot, uhh, from the Caribbean. Buckman:
Well don't let it fly away, that's supper. Nitro Mike: Arr.
- Captain Hook and his crew of pirates finally get one in the 2003 film Peter Pan. (This trope had been averted in previous adaptations.)
- In book 4 of the GrailQuest series, Voyage of Terror, while lost in Mythological Ancient Greece, you can meet with Long John Silver — or at least a pirate pretending to be him. He naturally has a parrot on his shoulder. However, if you decide to fight him, you'll find out that the parrot is a rare breed that's indeed one of the toughest monsters of the book.
- Older Than Radio: This probably started (as most pirate-related tropes are) with Long John Silver, from Treasure Island, who has a parrot named Captain Flint. Also, Captain Flint's most common phrase is "Pieces of eight! Pieces of eight!".
- The Spellsinger novels have talking animals. In Day of the Dissonance there's a pirate who is a parrot.
- Parodied in the Discworld novel Going Postal with the Reacher Gilt's pirate costume ("That was a Look, wasn't it?") including a parrot (well, a cockatoo) that says "twelve and a half percent" (i.e. 1/8).
- The pirate Littlejohn in James Thurber's The Wonderful O has a parrot that annoys the book's Big Bad (by using words containing the letter "O"); notable for repeatedly being on the receiving end of the memorable threat, "I'll squck its thrug till all it can whubble is geep!"
- Although the Free Traders of Andre Norton's Solar Queen series are not pirates — more of unorthodox merchants, still their captain owns a small alien animal which looks like half-parrot-half-toad. That in addition to more conventional ship-cat.
- Comic inversion: In the sequence that gave stand-up comedian Mike Hardin's book The Fourteen and a Half Pound Budgie its title, Hardin describes a parakeet that he's supposed to pet-sit as being "so nasty it had a pirate on its shoulder."
- Invoked in one of Timothy Zahn's stories, but not with an animal: Marines in Powered Armor wore shoulder-mounted weapons, apparently slaved to aim wherever the wearer's eyes focused, known as "parrot guns".
- Though pirates are not featured anywhere in the stories, Harold of Bunnicula reads about pirates and wonders whether a "parrot" is an umbrella or a female pirate. Chester puts him straight.
- In Swallows and Amazons, Nancy and Peggy's uncle, "Captain Flint", owns a parrot. Nancy and Peggy have often tried to teach it to say "Pieces of eight", and are disappointed that all it will say is "Pretty Polly".
- In the Doctor Who serial "The Pirate Planet" (written by Douglas Adams), the space pirate captain has robot parrot with a blaster in its beak (the Polyphase Aviatron). It is destroyed off-screen by K-9 (who then returns with the bird in its "mouth". Good dog!) According to Douglas Adams, he submitted that script to the Doctor Who production office, and it was rejected. He later wrote in the robot parrot and re-submitted it, and it was accepted.
- Monty Python's Flying Circus has sketches with pirates and parrots on their shoulders:
- A soccer game where one team was made up of Long John Silver impersonators. See it on YouTube here, starting around 1:50.
- An interviewer slowly turns into a Long John Silver impersonator, complete with quotes. On YouTube here.
- The "Confuse a Cat" sketch.
- The Young Ones episode "Flood" had a cutaway scene with a literal pirate DJ (Robbie Coltrane) whose parrot kept making sarcastic remarks. The problem was, he couldn't see where the remarks were coming from because he wore an eyepatch — and he was a cyclops. When his bosun attempts to rightly blame the parrot for an insult, he denies owning one: "I hate the creatures! Horrible, small, furry things, hopping around, breeding and eating carrots!"
- The Blackadder episode "Potato" guest-stars Tom Baker as Captain Rum. He's not a pirate, but he has a dead parrot lying on his shoulder.
- Navi the robotic parrot in Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger. Also the one responsible for leading the team towards the Greatest Treasure in the Universe through vague clues that only come about after she hits her head on the ceiling.
- RTL Samstag Nacht (German equivalent of Saturday Night Live) has the pretty wacky character Märchenman playing with this. He has a parrot as a hand prothese, a hook at the Parrot Pet Position (which he calls "Frank, whom I may call little speaking hook sitting on the shoulder"). And his eyepatch on the mouth, and travels in a man-sized paper ship.
- Lost in Space episode "The Space Pirate". The title character, named Alonzo P. Tucker, has a robot parrot that sits on his shoulder. Tucker calls it an "esper" (E.S.P., "extra-sensory perception"?). Its eyes glow when it talks and it has psionic powers, such as apportation (teleporting an object from place to place).
- The Pittsburgh Pirates American baseball team have the Pirate Parrot for a mascot.
- In the Paranoia adventure "Vapors Don't Shoot Back", the Big Bad pirate-wannabee Black-U-Brd has a parrot robot on his shoulder that repeats old pirate movie dialogue.
- Shadowrun supplement California Free State. Captain Monday of Moro Bay not only dresses like a pirate but has a parrot on one shoulder. A decker posts a message that it isn't a parrot but a miniaturized eyekiller, an Awakened (magical) creature that can fire lightning bolts.
- The Asteroid 1618 supplement for the Encounter Critical game. Space pirates can buy space parrots at a pet store on the asteroid. The parrot costs 75 gold credits if it already knows pirate lingo, or only 25 gold credits if it needs to be taught.
- In Jak & Daxter: The Lost Frontier, we have sky pirates. Some of the ones in Far Drop City come with actual parrots.
- Parrots are seen throughout the Monkey Island series.
- Monkey Island mocks this one (then it again, it mocks every Pirate trope possible), in the first game: Meathook keeps a classic parrot locked up because it's "scary". In Escape from Monkey Island, when asked what he wanted in a pirate Caricature, Guybrush can choose to say he wants a parrot when he adds the following:
Guybrush: Nothing says "I'm a mighty pirate" like animal abuse.
- And then there is the half-magic parrot made of pyrite in Tales of Monkey Island. But what kind of idiot would actually carry that thing around?
Parrot: *Squawk* It's me, Guybrush Threepwood, Mighty Pirate!
- In Sly 3: Honor Among Thieves, the major pirates are both parrots, in reference to this trope.
- Sid Meier’s Pirates!: If the barkeep doesn't have anything useful to say, he'll usually ask the main character "Where's your parrot?" This can get stupidly hilarious when you've actually modded parrots into the game.
- World of Warcraft
- Pirate enemies in will occasionally have parrot pets with them. It's also possible for players to purchase a parrot pet in the pirates-filled town of Booty Bay.
- If you gain reputation with the Bloodsail Buccaneers faction, you can eventually get a captain's hat that summons a pet parrot.
- Kingdom of Loathing
- You're actually required to have a parrot (or at least the item "stuffed shoulder parrot") as part of a pirate disguise.
- There's also an Exotic Parrot familiar. If you try to name it "Polly", the game automatically renames your Parrot "Unoriginality".
- In World Heroes, Captain Kidd has a bird that perches on his shoulder in his animations, that is apparently supposed to be a hawk or condor or something, but is basically a more badass version of a parrot.
- In Skies of Arcadia, Gilder has a parrot that helps him get out of jail. His name is Willy.
- The smuggler in both Ratchet & Clank Future games is accompanied by a parrot-like alien. Ironically, there are actual pirates in the games, none of whom have parrots.
- In RuneScape, a quest involving pirates allows you to get an "Ex-Ex-Parrot" as a pet.
- Raz, a minor character from Final Fantasy XII, can always be seen with a small parrot over his head.
- Parrots naturally show up in Puzzle Pirates, although they are fairly rare.
- You can find a parrot in Dubloon in Atlan Island dungeon. Her function is to activate switches and collect keys found behind a wall or locked doors.
- Chosokabe Motochika from Sengoku Basara owns a large yellow parrot that wears a bandana on its head. It's more intelligent than most of his crew and can apparently speak, though the only words it's been heard saying are "Motochika" and "treasure".
- In Legend of the Crystal Skull, Iggy's pirate costume consists of a strap-on cutlass, a tricorn hat with a skull-and-crossbones emblem, and a lace ruff with a blue-and-yellow plastic parrot mounted over one shoulder. Iggy, by the way, is an iguana.
- Your explorer can find a rather foul-mouthed one in The Wager.
- In The Sims Medieval expansion "Pirates and Nobles," most NPC pirates have parrots, and Hero Sims can get them whether they're members of a pirate crew or not.
- In Chrono Cross, the pirate Fargo has a Polly...except it's a giant MONSTER bird that acts as a boss fight for your party!
- In Legaia II: Duel Saga, Sharon has one, inherited from her late father and former captain of the pirates, Alphis. Completing a sidequest will lead to said parrot revealing the location of Alphis's treasure, including an extremely rare Heaven's Secret.
- The Onion has this article on the proper care and feeding of Pirate Parrots, by a "Captain Crimson Bannister". Extra points for being written completely in pirate-speak.
- More than one semi trucker has been spotted with a shoulder parrot. Some of them go all out with the headscarf and earring.