Parrots can have very long lifespans, with most species of pet parrots living up to 20 to 30 years. In fact, some species of parrot can live over 60 years! So you can see why the lifespan of a parrot really needs to be considered when choosing to add a species to your family. It is a long-term commitment that should not be taken lightly.
Average Lifespan of a Parrot
Let’s look at some of the popular parrot species that you are likely to encounter. In general, life expectancy is related to size, with larger birds living longer than their smaller cousins. Information on individual species was gathered from the World Parrot Trust website.
- African Grey Parrot Lifespan – Renowned as perhaps the most intelligent of the parrot species, these birds can live to be 50-60 years old.
- Blue and Yellow Macaw Lifespan – A large parrot with a truly striking appearance, this macaw can live for 60 years or more.
- Budgerigar Lifespan – These small parrots, also known as parakeets are often seen as a first or beginner birds for pet owners. They can live up to 15 years in captivity and I have had one live almost 18 years.
- Eclectus Parrot Lifespan – This medium-sized, beautifully feathered parrot has 3 subspecies that are commonly kept and all can live for over 50 years.
- Fischer’s Lovebird Lifespan – One of the most commonly kept lovebirds, they can live for 15 to 20 years.
- Green-Cheeked Conure Lifespan – These small conures are becoming more popular with pet owners and have a lifespan of between 10 to 20 years.
- Hyacinth Macaw Lifespan – the popular new world parrot that lives from 30 to 35 years in captivity.
- Meyer’s Parrot Lifespan – commonly found in Africa and a relatively quiet parrot species – these parrots live around 20 to 25 years.
- Quaker Parrot Lifespan – This bird, also known as the Monk Parakeet, is larger than common budgies or parakeets and can live up to 25 years when taken care of properly.
- Senegal Parrot Lifespan – friendly and high pitched, these parrots are quite social and live 20 to 25 years.
- Sun Conure Lifespan – Very popular because of its brilliant coloration, these birds will live for up to 30 years when well maintained.
- White-crested Cockatoo Lifespan – These distinctive white birds can be very vocal and will be a part of your family for 40 to 60 years.
Image credit Papooga
Image credit betcsbirds
Why Do Parrots Live So Long?
Luis Villazon, writing for the online journal Sciencefocus, points out that parrots have evolved to be long-lived animals because in the wild there is a relative lack of predators. Living safely in groups, parrots also reproduce later in life than animals that are in immediate jeopardy.
Breeding later in life enables parrots to avoid passing on genetic imperfections that will shorten their lifespans. By the time they are ready to reproduce the majority of parrots are healthy and pass on quality genetic material to their offspring leading to increased life expectancy.
What is the Oldest Parrot that Ever Lived?
As you can see, parrots are long-lived birds. There are cases where they have greatly exceeded their average lifespan. One of the most celebrated parrots is Duster, a white Cockatoo which was recorded at 89 year’s old when featured in a local news segment (see the video below):
Another celebrated parrot is Tarbu, a privately owned African Grey that lived to an age of 55. You can read his life story here.
Super rare and with only around 150 individuals still in existence, the flightless Kakapo Parrot Lifespan is from New Zealand on average lives 60 years but some individuals have been recorded living up to 90 years.
How Can I Improve My Pet Parrot’s Lifespan?
The manner in which you care for your companion parrot can have a great impact on both its quality of life and lifespan.
Foremost among these items is diet and nutrition. Deficiencies in vitamin A, D and calcium are prevalent with birds on seed-based diets. Care should be taken to provide your parrot with a high-quality and balanced menu. This should include enriched pellets combined with appropriate fresh fruits and vegetables plus additional vitamins and supplements are recommended.
Another important aspect of parrot keeping is proper housing. Your parrot needs access to full spectrum UV light to mimic the benefits of the sunlight it would obtain in its natural environment. The cage should be appropriately sized for your species of parrot and I always opt for as large a cage as possible. Pet store starter cages often offer too little space for your bird to thrive.
Exercise and mental stimulation are also vital to your parrot’s health. PetMD suggests that obesity and boredom can lead to health issues. Providing exercise by letting your birds out of their cage daily is recommended. In addition, bird safe toys can provide needed mental activity and minimize problems associated with boredom such as feather plucking.
How does Age Influence Parrot Care?
Choosing to share your life with a parrot means you must be prepared to adapt as it matures. They undergo physical and behavioral changes that impact how you care for them.
According to the site BeautyOfBirds, there are a number of ailments that you should look out for in your older parrot. Common problems are arthritis, diabetes, cataracts, renal (kidney) failure and chronic egg laying. In some cases, medication or supplements can help but often it is simply the effects of aging.
As your bird ages, you will possibly see a decrease in activity and a change in their disposition. They may be less inclined to deal with new people or those not used to handling parrots. However some birds become more sedate and easier to handle as they age.
You can help your bird as it ages by adjusting its perches if you see it struggling and by keeping it mentally stimulated with a variety of bird-safe toys. A bird that previously loved to fly in your home may now need to be allowed to just walk around to get what exercise it can.
We need to do what is best for our parrots as they age and when choosing a new pet parrot species we need to be in it for the long haul. We are privileged to share the arc of our lives with them and they deserve all the care we can give them in their later years.