Parrot Lifespan: How Long Do Parrots Live?

Written by August Buck
Published: January 5, 2022
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Talkative and intelligent, parrots are one of the most fascinating birds on the planet. They are known to speak many different words, and are usually very good entertainment to have in your home. But how long do they live? 

Whether you are a prospective parrots owner or simply interested in the life cycle of these beautiful birds, learning about parrots can be fun and interesting. Let’s discuss the average parrot lifestyle as well as how long you can expect this bird to live. 

How long do parrots live?
Talkative and intelligent, parrots are one of the most fascinating birds on the planet.

iStock.com/n1kcy

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How Long Do Parrots Live?

Parrots live an average of 15 to 50 years, and sometimes longer. The amount of time that a parrot lives greatly depends on its species, level of care, and overall health. It is not a rare occurrence for a pet parrot to outlive its owner. 

African grey parrots, macaws, and cockatoos are all some of the longest living parrot species. All of these bird varieties are also available as pets, though they often will only be available through exotic breeders or pet stores.

If you are looking for a pet parrot to welcome into your home, it is important to only purchase your new companion from a reputable breeder or pet supply store. The overall health of your parents begins with a breeder or expert care. 

The Oldest Parrots On Record

In general, smaller parrot species live shorter lives. For example, parrotlets live around 15 to 20 years. Lovebirds have lifespans that vary from 10 to upward of 25 years.

The oldest parrot was a cockatoo named Cookie that lived in Chicago’s Brookfield Zoo and reached 83 years old. There are reports of cockatoos that reached more than 100 years of age, but they often lack the documentation to “officially” recognize their age.

The Average Parrot Life Cycle

How long do parrots live?
Parrots live an average of 15 to 50 years, and sometimes longer.

TumCruise/Shutterstock.com

No matter the species or breed, the average parrot life cycle is similar across all birds. Curious to know what baby parrots go through as they age? Let’s learn more about them now. 

Hatchling

Parrots are born similarly to all other birds, wherein they hatch from their egg and are born blind and featherless. Their mother feeds them just like any other bird: they fly to the nest and regurgitate food into the baby’s mouth.

After roughly two weeks, most parrots gain their ability to see. They still are completely reliant on their mothers during this time, but something unique occurs with parrots that is not the same for all other bird species. 

Hatchling parrots have the ability of imprinting on their mother. This imprinting ability can also occur with human beings. While this can be extremely valuable for parrot pet owners and other people raising parrots, it is still important to socialize your baby parrots with other birds. 

Young Adult

Depending on the specific species of parrot, most young birds learn all of their feathers between 5 and 15 weeks old. Once they have all of their feathers, they can fly and fend for themselves, though many still rely on their mother for food and protection in the wild. 

It is important to socialize a young parrot like you would a puppy or kitten. Parrots are very emotional creatures, capable of throwing tantrums like teenagers or toddlers would. Having a socialized bird leads to less issues during their adult lives, and you will have a much more pleasant time raising it. 

Young adults reach sexual maturity between 1-5 years of age. Once they have reached this age, they are considered fully grown. However, just like puberty affects humans, parrots can be troublesome during this sexual maturity stage. Their true personalities will not manifest until this stage is over.

How long do parrots live?
Depending on the specific species of parrot, most young birds learn all of their feathers between 5 and 15 weeks old.

Adult Parrots

After an awkward young adult stage, adult parrots tend to settle down after a few years of life. They are usually calm, serious, and intelligent, capable of entertaining you and being a lifelong companion. 

If you are considering adopting a parrot as a pet, it is important to note that many species and breeds live longer than expected. Your pet bird may outlive you, so you should consider this before adopting. 

Curious what you can do to extend the life of your pet parrot? Read on to learn more! 

How to Extend the Life of Your Pet Parrot

How long do parrots live?
Cockatoos are considered to be one of the most affectionate parrot species and sometimes called “velcro” birds.

CG3/Shutterstock.com

If you are looking for tips to improve the quality of life for your pet parrots, here are some things you can try:

  • Avoid harmful foods. Your pet parrot can eat a variety of things, but it is important to avoid foods that are toxic or otherwise harmful to them. Some of these foods include high-fat and high-sugar items, coffee and alcohol, and meats and cheeses. Always use bird approved food and treats when feeding your parrots. 
  • Let them fly. Flying is key for the health of your bird, no matter the breed or species. Many parrot pet owners choose to clip their bird’s wings, but this can be detrimental to their health. Not only do they need to fly in order to exercise and maintain a healthy body weight, but flying greatly improves their mental health as well. Many birds that are unable to fly suffer greatly and can even fear flying. 
  • Talk to them and train them. Parrots are extremely intelligent birds, and the amount of training you can do with them may surprise you. They can learn a great deal of words, tricks, and instructions, even when they are feeling too stubborn to follow these instructions. Talking to your bird multiple times a day greatly improves your relationship with them and their overall life span. You can also train them just like you would a dog, with positive reinforcement and treats. 
  • Consider specialized vet care. There are some vets that deal specifically with exotic creatures such as parrots. This is a great idea if you are considering adopting a pet parrot, as they will require specialized medical care from time to time. Having a reliable and informed veterinarian can improve the overall lifespan of your bird.

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