Parrots are incredible animals, and just one of the things that makes them special is that they can live an awfully long time. But how many of these stories are exaggerated urban myths – and how long do parrots really live?
General Rules Governing Parrot Lifespans
Parrots as a group are quite long-lived birds, but there is a huge amount of diversity within the group.
What is more, a bird’s lifestyle can have a significant impact on its longevity; in most cases captive birds will significantly outlive their wild counterparts thanks to advanced levels of veterinary care and the elimination of predators.
Indeed, the answer to how long parrots live is even affected by how one defines a “parrot” – in theory this group could include smaller birds such as budgerigars and cockatiels, which would help to bring the average lifespan down.
Indeed, one of the clearest rules when it comes to how long parrots live is that the larger the species, the longer a parrot it likely to live on average. Thus, a large macaw may live several times as long as a budgie. It may live to be twice as old as a parakeet, or perhaps even longer.
We gathered some rough lifespan estimates for a range of different parrot species to give you a more accurate impression below…
Individual Parrot Lifespans
As one of the smaller “true parrots” seen in the pet trade it should be of little surprise that these stunning little birds live longer than budgies or cockatiels but considerably less than larger members of the family. In general, conures tend to live for some 25-30 years on average, though some smaller members of the conure family may reach just 15-20 years eventually.
Senegal Parrot Lifespan
While slightly larger than conures, the Senegal Parrot is known to live for roughly the same period of time – around 25-30 years on average.
Eclectus Parrot Lifespans
The stunningly coloured eclectus parrot is one of the most obviously sexually-dimorphic parrots, the sexes easily being told apart by either their deep crimson or bright green plumage. In terms of lifespan, eclectus parrots can be expected to live for around 30 years in captivity.
African Grey Parrot Lifespan
Contrary to popular opinion, while undoubtedly long-lived birds, African grey parrots very rarely live for a century or more as some would have you believe. Generally speaking, African grey parrots can be expected to live for some 40-60 years in captivity. That said, specimens have been known to live for over 70 years, and it is not unheard of for African greys to pass through two or even three generations of owners over the years.
Amazon Parrots Lifespans
Of a similar size to African grey parrots, the various closely-related green parrots grouped together under the umbrella “Amazon parrots” tend to be rather longer-lived than their African counterpart. Birds of this group can routinely reach ages of some 60 years when well cared-for in captivity.
Blue & Gold Macaw Lifespan
While macaws may have developed a reputation for being some of the longest-lived birds in the world, the reality for the blue and gold macaw can be rather different. While this macaw has a potential lifespan of around 50 years, in reality they more regularly live for some 30-35 years as pets.
Cockatoos are a highly-varied group of parrots, with some specimens much larger than others. Most specimens reach a ripe old age of 40-50 years old, though there are stories of some cockatoos growing to be over 100 years of age.
Green Wing Macaw Lifespan
The green wing macaw is considered one of the longest-lived parrots of all. Due to their long lifespan, their maximum age can vary considerably, but it is believed that a healthy captive green wing macaw can reach some 50-60 years of age. It is not unusual for specimens to go on much longer, however, with birds living up to 80 years in some instances.
Average Lifespans of Parrots
As you can see, the average lifespan of parrots can vary wildly, from as little as 20-30 years for smaller species, up to 50 years or more for larger species. On average, it is probably safe to say that parrots will live for round 50 years, though there have been cases of specimens reaching 70, 80 or even 100 years of age. These are, however, more likely to be the outliers rather than the standard.