We’ve all heard about how long parrots live and the importance of planning for your bird’s future. After all, it is quite likely that your parrot will outlive you.
However, a new study indicates that parrots may not live as long as we previously thought.
In “Survival on the Ark: Life-history Trends in Captive Parrots,” the researchers analyzed data from the International Species Information System (ISIS) database. Zoos use ISIS to record and track statistics about all of the animals in their care.
After examining over 83,000 records, the study concluded that “Species varied widely in lifespan, with larger species generally living longer than smaller ones. . . but only  species had a maximum lifespan over 50 years.”
The oldest parrot was a Moluccan cockatoo at 92 years, but many other cockatoos, such as Rose-breasted cockatoos and Major Mitchell’s were exceptionally long lived.
Lories and lorikeets had short maximum lifespans – in fact the budgie, at 18 years, outlives many species of lory.
The study also states: “Of all the species held in ISIS institutions, 50% never had an individual live beyond 22 years of age, and only 30% of these species had a median adult lifespan ≥10 years, even after limiting data to individuals who survived juvenile mortality (≥4 years). In contrast, when only living animals were considered, 58% of species had a median age ≥10 years.”
The study contains a table listing longevity data on 260 parrot species.
Looking at these numbers, it’s hard not to feel sad at the thought of losing a beloved companion after what seems like a few short years. Stay focused on quality over quantity: provide the healthiest environment for your bird and she is likely to live a long and happy life.
The full study is available here . Thanks to Steve Milpacher of the World Parrot Trust, our wonderful guest last weekend, for passing it on.