Having a parrotlet as a pet bird is a good option for beginners and those who don’t want to adopt a bigger parrot due to its longer lifespan. In fact, in addition to being playful and affectionate little birds, parrotlets have an average lifespan of 15 to 20 years. This makes them an ideal pet for those who wish to share their life with a feathered animal for more time than with a dog, but less time than macaws or cockatoos. So, if you are wondering how to determine the age of your parrotlet, how long does it live in the wild, and how to make sure your pet bird will live a long and healthy life, you have come to the right place!
How Old Do Parrotlet Get in the Wild?
Wild parrotlets can be found in the forest and shrublands of South and Central America and Mexico. Providing that parrotlets won’t encounter natural predators like hawks, owls, eagles, and large snakes, they can live up to 8 to 10 years.
How Can You Tell the Age of a Parrotlet?
If you did not personally witness the hatching of your pet bird’s egg and bought it from a breeder, you will have to take his word for it when he tells you the age of your bird. Indeed, as with parrots, there is no way to determine the age of a juvenile or adult parrotlet. Most parrots will have their full plumage and adult colors between three months and one year old, 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 wild-caught birds either.
How to Help Your Parrotlet 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 the pet we have to understand the needs and behaviour of the wild counterpart. This means that unless considerable effort is put in by the owner it can be a recipe for disaster.” So, the key here is to provide your parrotlet with everything he would need or look for in the wild:
Many parrotlet foods sold in pet stores are not suitable for these birds: they contain too many sunflower seeds and peanuts, which are high in fat but low in nutrients. Therefore, you will need to give your bird a more complete and diversified diet so that it does not suffer from overweight or other diseases. Here’s an example of a complete diet:
Tip: To encourage your bird’s mental stimulation, offer him nuts with the shell so that he has to “work” to eat his food. Hide his food in toys or holes drilled in perches to increase your bird’s foraging time.
What is an enriched environment? Newberry (1995) defined environmental enrichment as “any technique used to improve the biological functioning and welfare of a captive animal through modifications of its environment”. This includes the provision of foraging toys, destructible items, auditory stimulation, and other modifications.
Besides, birds in captivity lead much more sedentary and often less stimulating lives than their wild counterparts. It is, therefore, your responsibility to interact with your friendly little bird on a daily basis; otherwise, he will get depressed. Also, provide your parrotlet with a large enough cage so that he can get enough exercise, especially if you cannot let him out of the cage for a few hours each day. The minimum size of your parrotlet cage should measure 8 inches high x 10 inches long x 6 inches wide.
Fill his cage with several toys so that he does not get bored, especially if you are away for a good part of the day.
Tame your bird correctly so that it can be comfortable in your presence; talk to him, whistle songs to him, take him out of his cage so that he can explore the surroundings. These daily actions are essential for his physical and mental well-being!
Adopting or buying a new feathered companion is an important responsibility. For your parrotlet to live for many years by your side, you will need to be able to meet his needs adequately. Of course, he won’t live as long as other land or sea creatures, but you’ll still have the chance to spend between 15 to 20 years with him!
Featured Image Credit by Rafael Cerqueira, Shutterstock
I am broadly interested in how human activities influence the ability of wildlife to persist in the modified environments that we create.
Specifically, my research investigates how the configuration and composition of landscapes influence the movement and population dynamics of forest birds. Both natural and human-derived fragmenting of habitat can influence where birds settle, how they access the resources they need to survive and reproduce, and these factors in turn affect population demographics. Most recently, I have been studying the ability of individuals to move through and utilize forested areas which have been modified through timber harvest as they seek out resources for the breeding and postfledging phases. As well I am working in collaboration with Parks Canada scientists to examine in the influence of high density moose populations on forest bird communities in Gros Morne National Park. Many of my projects are conducted in collaboration or consultation with representatives of industry and government agencies, seeking to improve the management and sustainability of natural resource extraction.