Why do pirates have parrots as pets?

Have you ever wondered why pirates are always depicted with a pet parrot on their shoulder? Well the answer is quite simple: it is credited to the imagination of Robert Louis Stevenson who took the idea of a pirate with a pet parrot from Daniel Defoe’s novel “Robinson Crusoe” and ran with it.  In “Treasure Island,” published in 1883, Stevenson incorporated this very liberal history of piracy into his writing.

Nevertheless, history does indicate that parrots were on ships, as they were considered exotic souvenirs that could obtain a good price back in London. They were popular because they were colorful, could be taught to speak, and were easy to care for, but they were never considered pets or found perched on pirates’ shoulders.