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How Long Does a Parrot Live? (Min and Max Lifespan)

Nicole Cosgrove

The intelligence, beauty, and social nature of parrots have captivated humans for centuries. Historical records tell us that pet birds have been kept back to ancient Egyptian, Greek, and Roman times.

In the right environment, parrots have the potential to make excellent, highly interactive, affectionate, and entertaining pets. They are, however, a very high-maintenance pet that can be a challenge to care for.

Parrots come in hundreds of different species distributed across the world. They vary in size from small to large and can live quite a long time.  Parrot owners need to be aware of the longevity of their birds so they can be prepared to provide the proper care throughout the bird’s lifetime.

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What Factors Dictate a Parrot’s Lifespan?

Blue Quaker Parrot
Image Credit: V.S.Anandhakrishna, Shutterstock

Size

Generally, larger parrots have longer lifespans than smaller parrots. Though the average lifespan of a Cockatoo or a Macaw is anywhere from 30 to 60 years, certain birds have been recorded living upwards of 80 years old. One of the smallest parrots, the Budgie, typically only lives 5 to 8 years.

Species

The lifespan of a parrot is variable by species. There are hundreds of different species and subspecies of parrots, some with shorter lifespans and some with a lifespan that nearly reaches that of a human.

Diet

Parrotlet side view_ Ploychan Lompong_Shutterstock
Image Credit: Ploychan Lompong, Shutterstock

Proper diet and nutrition are very important factors in determining a parrots lifespan. In captivity, it is up to the bird’s human caretakers to ensure they are being fed a proper base food along with a variety of fresh foods. Dietary needs will vary from species to species and it’s always best to consult a veterinarian to ensure your bird is getting what it needs.

Mental Health

Parrots are very intelligent and emotionally complex creatures. In the wild, they spend their days in flocks flying and foraging through the forests. Captivity strips them of their natural behaviors and parrot owners need to commit to their bird’s social needs and mental stimulation.

Mentally unhealthy birds can scream, bite, pluck their feathers, self-mutilate, lose their appetite, and potentially die prematurely. Potential parrot owners will want to research their species to learn how to help their birds thrive.

Veterinary Care

avian vet. examining lovebird
Image Credit: New Africa, shutterstock

Proper veterinary care is essential for the health of pet parrots. Pet parrots will need to see an experienced avian veterinarian for annual check-ups to ensure their overall health and well-being and for any unexpected visits if any concerns were to pop up.

Husbandry

Another important factor in a parrot’s lifespan is proper husbandry. Parrot owners will need to ensure they have an appropriately sized cage with plenty of toys, perches, and ladders for exercise and stimulation. Parrots will need proper grooming and their cage cleaned regularly.

It’s a great idea to bird-proof the home so that there are no objects or toxic material accessible to the parrot that could cause harm.

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Do Parrots Live Up to 100 Years?

Larger parrots like Macaws and Cockatoos are among the longest-living species of parrots. Healthy Macaws typically live up to 50 years of age, but it has been reported that some individuals have reached over 100 years of age.

The oldest bird on official record according to the Guinness Book of World Records was a Cockatoo named Cookie. Cookie was 82 years and 89 days old when he passed away on August 27, 2016.

Do Parrots Live Longer in the Wild or as Pets?

African Grey Parrot
Image Credit: TheOtherKev, Pixabay

Parrots tend to have shorter lifespans in the wild. Wild parrots have predators, are exposed to diseases and other harsh, stressful conditions. Captive birds have veterinary care readily available and no predators to worry about.

Captive birds do need proper care in captivity to reach their average to maximum lifespan. They do not have their wild nutrition available and are unable to exercise like their wild counterparts.

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Common Pet Parrots and Their Lifespans

There are a variety of different species of parrots in the pet trade. These species range. The average lifespan of these pet parrots is dependent on species. We’ve gathered a list of some in both size and life expectancy. We’ve gathered a list of the most common pet parrots and their lifespans. Remember there are sub-species within these groups and lifespans can vary accordingly.

a woman hand feeding a parrot
Image Credit: Free-Photos, Pixabay

Small Parrots

Budgerigar (Budgie): 5  – 10 years
Cockatiel: 10 – 25 years
Lovebird: 10 – 15 years
Parrotlet: 15 – 20 years

Medium Parrots

Caique: 25 – 40 years
Conure: 20 – 30 years
Lorikeet: 10 – 30 years
Large Parakeets: 20 – 30 years
Pionus Parrot: 20 – 25 years
Poicephalus: 25 – 40 years

Large Parrots

African Grey Parrot: 40 – 60 years
Amazon Parrot: 40 – 70 years
Cockatoo: 40 – 60 years
Eclectus: 30 – 50+ years
Hawk Headed Parrot: 30 – 50 years
Macaw: 30 – 50+ years

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Conclusion

The lifespan of a parrot is dependent on the species and several other important factors including proper husbandry and veterinary care. There is a wide variety of parrot species available in the pet trade. Captive parrots tend to live longer than their wild counterparts due to a lack of predators and disease. Larger parrots tend to have longer life expectancies than smaller species.

Potential owners will want to ensure that potential life changes would not negatively influence the care and dedication their parrot will require. Regardless of species, having a parrot as a pet is a long-term commitment that should not be entered into lightly.


Featured Image Credit: KenWongYL, Shutterstock

Nicole Cosgrove

Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts' knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.