Having a parrot as a pet is a good choice for beginners and those who don’t want to adopt a larger parrot because of its longer lifespan. In fact, apart from being cute and affectionate little birds, parrots have an average lifespan of 15 to 20 years. This makes them ideal pets for those who want to share their lives with a furry animal longer than with a dog, but less time than a macaw or cockatoo. So, if you’re wondering how to determine the age of your parrot, how long it lives in the wild, and how to ensure your pet bird will live a long and healthy life, you’ve come to the right place!
- Scientific Name: 19 species in three genera: Forpus, Nannopsittaca, and Touit
- Adult Size: 4.3–5.5 inches long; Weight: 30 grams
- Life Expectancy: 15-20 years
How Old Are Parrotlets in the Wild?
Wild parrots can be found in the forests and scrublands of South and Central America and Mexico. Provided that parrots will not encounter natural predators such as eagles, owls, hawks, and large snakes, they can live up to 8 to 10 years.
How Can You Tell a Parrot’s Age?
If you have not personally witnessed your pet bird’s eggs hatch and purchased them from a breeder, you should take his word for it when he tells you your bird’s age. Indeed, as with parrots, there is no way to determine the age of a juvenile or adult parrot. Most parrots will have full plumage and mature coloration between three months and a year, with a few exceptions. After that, the age of these birds is just a guess. Unfortunately, it is not possible to estimate the age of birds caught in the wild.
How to Help Your Parrot Live a Long and Healthy Life?
As noted by Dr. Madonna Livingstone, a senior exotics veterinary surgeon at Ark Veterinary Clinics, “To understand the needs and behavior of pets we must understand the needs and behavior of wild mates. This means that if no earnest effort is made by the owner, it can become a recipe for disaster.” So, the key here is to provide your parrot with everything he needs or is looking for in the wild:
Many parrot foods sold in pet stores are unsuitable for this bird: they contain too many sunflower seeds and peanuts, which are high in fat but low in nutrients. Therefore, you need to give your bird a more complete and varied diet so as not to suffer from excess weight or other diseases. Here’s an example of a complete diet:
- Fresh fruit and vegetables
- High quality organic nuts and seeds given in small amounts (a handful per day is sufficient)
- Pellet mix specially adapted for parrots
Tip: To encourage your bird’s mental stimulation, offer him nuts with their shells on so he has to “work” to eat his food. Hide the food in toys or drilled holes in the perch to increase your bird’s foraging time.
What is an enriched environment? Newberry (1995) defines environmental enrichment as “any technique used to improve the biological function and welfare of captive animals through modification of their environment“. This includes providing foraging toys, tamperable items, auditory stimulation, and other modifications.
In addition, birds in captivity lead much more sedentary and often less stimulating lives than their wild counterparts. Therefore, it is your responsibility to interact with your friendly little bird every day; otherwise he will be depressed. Also, provide your parrot with a cage large enough for him to get enough exercise, especially if you can’t let him out of the cage for a few hours each day. The minimum size of your parrot cage should be 8 inches high x 10 inches long x 6 inches wide.
Fill his cage with some toys so he doesn’t get bored, especially if you’re away all day.
Tame your bird properly so it can be comfortable in your presence; talk to him, whistle songs to him, take him out of his cage so he can explore his surroundings. These daily actions are essential to his physical and mental well-being!
Adopting or buying a new furry companion is an important responsibility. In order for your parrot to live for many years by your side, you must be able to adequately meet its needs. Of course, he won’t live as long as other land or sea creatures, but you still have the chance to spend anywhere from 15 to 20 years with him!
Featured Image Credits: Rafael Cerqueira, Shutterstock