Johan Devenier from Pretoria is TikTok’s latest obsession. The South African shared a video of him and his “bebes” that has since reached almost 76 million views.

@johandevenier♬ original sound – Johan Devenier

The world has fallen in love with Johan and his feathered family, so we decided to get in touch with the parrot papa himself. 

Speaking to Cape {town} Etc, Johan explains how it all started. His dad was a bird lover and spent a lot of time and love raising chicks in big sanctuaries on their property. Johan’s “bebes” are blue and gold macaws. Their parents are his pets; Jelly-tot and Mumble.

@johandevenier♬ What a Wonderful World – Louis Armstrong

Keeping birds as pets has become a controversial practice. But Johan’s macaws are anything but caged and clipped. The are, quite literally, free as a bird.

I never clip or lid any of my birds. I believe they should fly as they were meant to,” says Johan.

“Macaws will return to you when you let them fly free, but they will only do this if you provide them safety, trust, love and a good bit of training. Don’t give them reasons to leave, give them reasons to stay,” he adds. 

Johan has given his “bebes” every reason to stay. They are arguably the most loved parrots around.

Johan Devenier. Picture: Supplied

The majority of macaws are now endangered in the wild and a few are extinct. Deforestation is destroying wildlife’s habitats, so Johan strongly believes that “if you can offer a home to animals that face uncertain futures, it helps in a small way by protecting them”. 

Mumble lays between three and five eggs but she’s very inexperienced as a mom and can only raise one to two babies at a time. “She has tried to raise four chicks before but she was not successful and none survived,” Johan adds. 

So, when she laid more eggs, Johan assisted her by taking some to care for, leaving her one to raise and gain experience. This is how Johan became a macaw dad.

@johandevenier♬ original sound – Johan Devenier

The six “bebes”, from oldest to youngest, described by Johan:

1. Chris is the happiest one of the lot and is always keen to play with you even if he’s tired. He will play and then just collapse and sleep on you. He loves to flip and lay on his back for a tickle – so cute.

2. Hunter is the handsome one and is a very sensitive little bird. He gets very emotional if you talk too loud or move too quickly. You must always approach slowly and talk softly.

3. Jackie is the darling. She is the biggest “bebe” and is very gentle. She is like the big sister and they all sleep on top of her.

4. Kai is very difficult to please and you have to do so much for him to open up. You have to stroke his head and beak and give kisses before he will let you feed him or touch him but then he wants all the attention and will follow you everywhere.

5. Lane is the fan favourite from the viral video. The one that stepped out of line and jumped for the kiss. She gets very excited about everything – kisses, feeding and hugs.  She makes all the cute sounds when she gets love from you and wants to be with you all the time.

@johandevenier Feeding Lane…should have used the bib from day one. She is a messy eater 🤪 #parrot #macawsoftiktok #macaw #petsoftiktok #fyp #pet #petstory #pets #animals ♬ You’ve Got a Friend in Me – From “Toy Story” – The London Film Score Orchestra

6. Valentine is still a baby and like a real toddler. He falls over everyone and is always in the way. But we love him. 

I smile so hard every time I see them as they change. All they want to do is be with you and love you with everything they’ve got. There is nothing in this world so precious and it’s so incredible to have six beating hearts sleep on top of you,” Johan says about his little feathered family. 

Johan never expected the millions of views and response from viewers all over the world about his efforts to help his beloved Mumble. Now, he wants to continue sharing his journey, educating people about the “magic of macaws and free flight”.

Companies have tried to licence Johan’s videos, but he’s “yet to do anything like that”. His dream is to leave the corporate world and make more content. He’s “been working on it but it’s hard. The bebes are not camera shy but their daddy is. We will be posting cool videos soon.”

Johan might be a shy parrot papa, but we love every move he makes!

Follow @johandevenier on TikTok for more.

@johandevenier My bebes first bath #parrot #macawsoftiktok #macaw #petsoftiktok #fyp #pet #petstory #pets #animals ♬ Splish Splash – Bobby Darin

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Picture: TikTok

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