Parrots are a much loved species of exotic bird. You may think they are only found tropical regions but actually there are species of parrots in temperate areas as well. The Kea is endemic to New Zealand and lives in the Alps of the South Island.
Known for their high intelligence, bright plumage, and their ability to mimic sounds and voices, they have become a much sought after domestic pet, as well as a source of adoration for bird lovers all over the world.
But how long exactly can parrots live, and what other things should pet owners be aware of?
What is their lifespan?
The first thing any pet owner should know – or indeed anyone looking to invest in a parrot for their home – is that parrots are capable of living for very long times, which in most cases is about 60 years.
This means that buying a young parrot is potentially a lifetime commitment, and as such, is one that shouldn’t be taken lightly.
How many species of parrot are there?
When it comes to parrots, there are roughly 350 species in the world – all of them different in appearance, color, size, and habitat location. This places them as one of the most vast and diverse species of bird on the planet, and means there is much to learn for both ornithologists and scientists alike.
There are no native species of parrot in the United States but eBird lists a huge 26 exotic species that orignate from as far as Africa and Australia. The only species likely to be seen in the U.S. that is not an escapee is the Thick-billed Parrot (Rhynchopsitta pachyrhyncha), which may cross the border from Mexico on a very rare occasion.
Where can parrots be found?
Parrots can be found on every tropical (and subtropical) landmass in the world, including Australasia, Oceania, South Asia, Southeast Asia, Central America, South America, and Africa.
They can also be found on islands in the Caribbean, the Pacific islands, as well as the Philippines and Polynesia.
Why are parrots so popular?
As far as bird species go, parrots are by far one of the most popular – both to see in the wild, or as domesticated pets. But why exactly is this?
Firstly, almost all of the species of the parrot family are usually brightly colored and attractive to look at, meaning that people are naturally drawn to them.
This is one reason they are popular as pets, and their bright colors gives them a sense of exoticism – especially to those in the UK, USA, and much of mainland Europe, where the birds are more muted in color.
Parrots are also among the most intelligent birds on the planet, alongside ravens and crows, and this means that they are more engaged as pets, and can be taught to perform tricks and take part in activities.
However, some kinds of parrots – specifically the Gray Parrot (Psittacus erithacus) – has been known to associate words with their intended meanings over time, very similar to dogs and similar creatures.
This ability has even seen some parrots able to form simple sentences out of said words, and communicate their needs to their owner.
Because of their intelligence, they are also some of the most affectionate birds in the world.
That is not to say that they will not bite you if you try and pet them, but between an owner and the parrot, there can become a special relationship that forms – especially if the owner has had the bird for several decades.
Of course, one of the notable and best known traits of parrots is that they can mimic sound – even the sound of human voices, a fact that has made them consistently appealing and interesting for humans who own them as pets.
Despite being a simple mimicry and not an actual understanding of human speech, this helps people feel a closeness to their pets – and which one of us wouldn’t want to be able to speak to animals, even if it is just an illusion?
What do parrots eat?
Parrots have a fairly varied diet, and of course differ depending on their species and where in the world they are found.
Generally speaking, parrots eat a diet consisting of seeds, fruit, nectar, pollen, buds, and even insects like arthropods – that is, invertebrate animals with an exoskeleton, such as spiders, centipedes, bees, and ants.
Do parrots make good pets?
This is a tricky one, as it very much depends on the nature of the individual bird, and the expectations and lifestyle of the owner. Generally speaking, however, parrots are very active and need a lot of stimulation to replace the challenges of their natural environment. They should not be a pet without considerable research and preparation.
Their temperament can be unpredictable to some degree, which can make them questionable pets for some people.
When they are immature, they are generally friendly and affectionate, but depending on how they were raised and treated, they can become ill tempered and aggressive when they reach maturity.
They are also very loud pets, so those who live in close quarters with other families and households might want to consider another pet instead.
These noises not only consist of talking and squawking, but also screaming sounds and repetitive bird noises – all of which can result in noise complaints from neighbors.
Parrots are also high maintenance – or at least when compared to other birds and pets. They require a lot of attention and stimulation, as well as specific food, regular cleaning, and proper grooming.
This can be a hard and intensive commitment for some people, and as such you need to consider whether you are ready for such a burden, or whether you want something easier and less demanding.
This is especially poignant when you consider how long parrots are capable of living (60 years) – meaning that in many cases it is a long term commitment.
And there we have it, everything you need to know about parrots, and how long they are generally capable of living.
Parrots are a remarkable species of bird, and one that has a beloved space in the hearts and minds of people all around the world.
Famed for their intelligence, as well as their ability to mimic sounds, they are favorites for bird lovers, and come in numerous different, colorful varieties, depending on the region they are found in.
So if you want to learn more about this magnificent bird species, then why not dive in and research further?
An absolute must is to have an adequate cage for them, better still an aviary. Imagine being taking from your life and being put in a small cage. These birds are intelligent and love to fly and socialise. Keeping them as pets means giving them enough space and stimulation.
It can do. A large cage or aviary can be expensive, the bird(s) will need toys and activities and a varied diet can be costly. It depends a lot on the species and size of bird and should be researched.
Google gives an immediate list of parrot dealers but you should be aware that trafficking in exotic wildlife is very common. Look for reviews and the history of the dealer, see the breeding area if possible and if anything looks a bit off then just walk away.