You might be asking yourself, can a pet parrot survive in the wild? Well, find out in this article!
Has your pet parrot flown away without notice? Or are you just considering the idea of releasing it into the wild?
Whatever the case, the release of a domesticated parrot into the wild should not be considered.
This is because the conditions that parrots with no wildlife experience are exposed to can be quite cruel and unfriendly.
So, can a pet parrot survive in the wild?
A pet parrot has little chance of surviving in the wild as they face the real pressures of starvation, getting eaten by predators, being poached or hunted, encountering extreme weather, and being placed in an environment that is completely unlike anything they have ever experienced.
Pet parrots have little chance of surviving in the wild as they lack the training, experience, and knowledge of the practices needed to survive in the wild.
However, they are more likely to survive if their release is monitored under well-managed programs, most of which cannot be undertaken by individual parrot caregivers.
Also, birds with the highest probability of survival are those that have been hatched in the wild and have only recently been captured or those birds that have been properly prepared for a life in the wild and bred in captivity in carefully managed environments.
Indeed, parrots that might stand a chance of survival would need the right climate, the right conditions, and a lot of luck to survive.
So, for a bird that is new to wildlife, life becomes almost impossible to live.
Most people who are considering getting a parrot as a pet are not aware of the commitment involved.
The parrot is a bird species that is different from other birds in terms of intelligence and emotional capabilities.
Since the chances of pet parrots surviving in the wild are slim, let’s take a look at why they usually have difficulty surviving.
Why pet parrots can’t survive in the wild
Reasons why pet parrots struggle to survive in the wild:
They are likely to experience stress
If you’re a lover of parrots, you’re probably aware that pet parrots require constant attention and company for survival in captivity.
On the other hand, they rely on their flock for survival in the wild.
Your pet bird won’t be able to stay afloat in the wild unless it finds a herd of the same species, and is accepted by the flock.
The lifespan of a parrot is estimated to be between 40 and 75 years. Some parrots have been reported to live to be over 100 years old.
However, social isolation can greatly reduce a parrot’s lifespan.
A parrot’s mental condition becomes distorted as a result of the stress caused by loneliness.
The bird is unable to care for itself in this state, so it begins to develop strange behaviors such as;
- Excessive squawking
- Unnecessary biting
Although your parrot may find a flock in the wild, this display of aggression will eliminate any chance of its acceptance.
Domesticated parrots have weak bodies
A caged parrot raised under the supervision of a human has a weaker body.
They are different from parrots raised in their natural habitat (wild).
For example, wild parrots are strong enough to travel long distances as they are adept at flying.
Wild parrots also have stronger beaks than parrots in captivity as they use their beaks for several tasks, including:
- For attacking and defending themselves from predators
- For crushing the bones of small animals
- For climbing up high places such as trees
Pet parrots, on the other hand, have the privilege of living in a safe environment without the threat of predators.
As a result, their beaks and wings are underdeveloped since they don’t need to use their beaks to hunt for food, protection, or survival.
Their owners provide them with toys to hold and play with, but most of them are made from soft materials.
Also, most pet parrots are kept in cages. They are not used to long-distance travel.
As a result, they cannot fly like their wild counterparts.
They have no experience living in flocks
Even a wild parrot can’t live on its own for very long as parrots need to belong to a group to survive in the wild.
Those who are shunned from their flock need companionship as quickly as possible or their health will begin to decline. Worst still, they may be killed by a predator.
A parrot may be considered unfit for the flock for several reasons.
The most common reason is the violation of the social or dominant hierarchy of the flock.
Dominant hierarchy also called the pecking order is when one bird tends to stand above the rest. This call to power often comes with many benefits.
So, whether captive or wild, parrots adhere to a strict pecking order.
They keep anyone or anything they dislike at the bottom of their pecking order.
For pet parrots, humans are the primary source of comfort and their favorite humans remain at the top of their pecking order.
However, some pet parrots place themselves at the top of their pecking order (above their favorite human), making them demanding.
They believe it is their right to have your constant attention.
The little bird can expect servitude from people they regard as lower than them.
Hand-reared parrots are unable to join a flock of wild parrots because of this behavior.
This can be disastrous for the pet parrot as membership in a flock plays an important part in ensuring their safety and improving their chances of survival, especially from attacks by predators.
Pet parrots have not been trained to respect their fellow parrots. As a result, they are rarely accepted by wild flocks.
Danger of predators
Parrots are prey animals, which means that other predators in the wild, such as hawks, snakes, cats, monkeys, etc are looking to make them into a meal.
This one factor influences the behavior of parrots in captivity more than any other.
Domestic parrots don’t have to worry about life-threatening attacks.
While some households might have cats or dogs, most owners know how to keep the birds safe.
Plus, the parrot knows it can return to its cage at any time in case of any potential danger.
Parrots in the wild lack this luxury, and they sometimes don’t know how to defend themselves.
They also don’t know what other predators are out there watching them.
So, without any help from their human or flock mates, parrots have a slim chance of surviving.
If a hungry predator doesn’t kill it, starvation and disease might.
They lack the skills needed to find food
Pet parrots face the very real pressure of starvation when released into the wild.
Humans are responsible for the care of domestic parrots. They don’t have to go hunting for food like their wild brothers.
If pet parrots are hungry, they only need to repeat some words or squawk, and they will be fed.
And because their food is often processed, they are probably unaware of what food for wild parrots looks like.
This is why most pet birds struggle to find food in the wild as they have no way of knowing what is edible and what is not.
These skills are taught to wild parrots by their parents.
Hand-reared parrots are unable to hunt and gather, and so they may end up consuming something that will make them sick.
Many escaped parrots live in parks, where they are fed seeds and bread by friendly humans.
However, this is insufficient to meet their nutritional requirements. They require a lot more to avoid any health problems.
The climate may not be right
Parrots are not commonly found all over the world. The majority of their species are found in tropical and subtropical regions with warm climates.
So, when pet parrots are released in the wild, they face the very real pressures of extreme weather conditions.
As a result, they can only survive in certain regions of the world.
These species prefer hotter weather and will run from cold environments.
Releasing a parrot outside of its natural habitat would surely provide the bird with additional challenges.
Remember that pet parrots are used to human temperatures.
So, they are more likely to prefer an indoor environment with less wind, constant temperature, and little chance of getting wet.
How long can a pet parrot survive in the wild?
Generally, pet parrots are expected to survive for a less period in the wild than in captivity because they are more likely to encounter predators and disease. Depending on their breed, size, climate, diet, and socialization, pet parrots may only live for as long as 1 day, 1 week, 1 month, 1 year, 10 years, or far more years in the wild.
The most common factors that affect a parrot’s lifespan are breed, size, diet, environment, socialization, social isolation, veterinary care, and mental health.
Because parrots living in the wild are affected by many of these factors, they tend to have a shorter lifespan than parrots in captivity.
Often, wild parrots don’t even reach the reproductive stage and some live only for 15 years.
The reason for this is obvious – life in the wild is harder than in captivity.
When kept as pets, parrots are fed in cages, but in the wild, they have to find food on their own, which is quite difficult.
They must also avoid drawing the attention of predators when searching for food.
The biggest threat to parrots is also humans, as the bird you currently keep was probably taken from the wild.
Do parrots come back if they fly away?
Parrots do come back if they fly away. This is because of their natural need for companionship. However, parrots are extremely aerodynamic strong fliers, and they are likely to fly a great distance making it difficult for them to return home.
Because they’re social animals, their lives revolve around their flock, of which you’re an honorary member.
Your parrot will most likely wish to return home after it flies away.
With a little persuasion, you can try to get your bird to return home. However, this may only work if your parrot is outside, perched on a tree.