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Parrots in non-parrot land


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If you happen to find yourself in London (UK) particularly in Kingston Upon Thames, Richmond, Twickenham, or some areas of South London such as Catford and parts of Battersea, you may find yourself face to face with a parrots. It comes as a surprise to most people who are not local to London to learn that London plays host to several large and thriving colonies of feral parrots, which can easily be seen and heard in several areas of the city, particularly during the summer months.

While there are a couple of different species of parrots living wild in pockets of land across the city, the largest colonies of most commonly seen wild London parrots are feral rose-ringed parakeets. Monk parakeets are another species that is growing exponentially in amongst the native wildlife of London, being similar in appearance to the rose-ringed parakeet but with a white chest and slightly sturdier build.

Parakeets build large nests and live mainly in trees and high bushes.

There is some debate as to how non-native parrots came to settle and reproduce in significant enough numbers to form entire colonies within the city, and the total number of wild rose-ringed parakeets living in London is now estimated to be well over 10,000 individual birds.

Parrot colonies have only resided in London in significant numbers since the 1990’s, and various theories have been put forward to explain their presence. It is generally accepted that just one single breeding pair of rose-ringed parakeets being released into the wild could have formed the basis of the existing London parakeet colonies. It has also been suggested that a flock of the birds escaped from London’s Ealing studios during filming, that a container of the birds fell open at Heathrow airport, and that a large aviary collapsed during the storms of 1987, releasing a significant number of the birds into the surrounding area.

The exact origins of monk parakeet colonies in London and the Home Counties are less widely conjectured, although again, just one single breeding pair could have been enough to form the basis of the wild monk parakeet population that is now some 200 birds strong!

Particularly long, cold winters tend to have a natural culling effect on the wild parrot populations of London, although for birds of tropical origins, they are surprisingly hardy and generally quite capable of weathering the British cold. Wild parrots eat berries, seeds, nuts, buds, vegetables and fruit, and are often credited with decimating entire orchards and gardens within just a few weeks. Many gardeners and fans of native wildlife are unhappy with the presence of these undoubtedly beautiful and striking birds, due to the effect they have on the natural ecosystem and native bird population of the area.

Deliberately or accidentally introducing a non-native species such as parakeets into the existing ecosystem of an area generally has a negative effect on the existing native species, and the presence of the London parakeets is no exception. The London parakeets are widely accepted to eat plants, fruit and food from bird tables that is provided for native birds, often starving smaller native species out of the area. Rose-ringed parakeets are currently subject to agricultural controls in order to cap their numbers and the effect they have upon the environment, and DEFRA (Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs) has already announced plans to instigate similar control and culling measures on the monk parakeet population before they too, breed out of control.


Find out more on London parrots here


I know of many examples of feral parrots across the world (no Grays on the list), but can you point out any that is actually in your city/country?

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I used to work at Shepperton Studios west of London in the mid to late 1970's. There was a large thriving feral flock of Ring Neck Parakeets living in the area. They were to be seen and heard most summers. The local fruit farmers were not exactly enthusiastic about their exotic winged neighbours. One of the explanations I was given was that during the filming of The African Queen with H Bogart and K Hepburn the Ring Necks were used to give a degree of authenticity for some of the jungle scenes filmed there. It wasn't all filmed in Africa! It is said many if not all subsequently escaped or were released and thrived and spread from there. They can be seen over many parts of Southern England. They have been seen near to where I live in Brighton.and As the overall climate seems to be warming up they won't be leaving any time soon. Sadly they are not officially welcome and farmers may cull them if they are seen as a problem. I am not aware of them having any detrimental effect on the local bird species others may know otherwise. I have also heard that Germany has feral Conures or possibly Amazons that have survived some very hard winters.


Steve n Misty

Edited by Mistyparrot
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Rainbow Lorikeet

Feral colonies of Rainbow Lorikeet have been established in Perth, Western Australia and in Auckland, New Zealand.

Eastern Rosella

The Eastern Rosella has become naturalized in the North Island of New Zealand

Rose-ringed Parakeet

A sizeable population of naturalized Rose-ringed Parakeets (Psittacula krameri) exists in and around cities in England, the Netherlands, Belgium and western and southern Germany. The largest UK roost of these is thought to be in Esher, Surrey, numbering several thousand. Feral Rose-ringed Parakeets also occur in the United States, South Africa, Egypt( Resident, breeding all over Giza territory in june), Israel (with many seasonally present in Yarkon Park in North Tel Aviv), Lebanon, UAE and Oman.


Also found in the United States are various naturalized Brotogeris a.k.a. White-winged Parrot and/or B. chiriri Yellow-chevroned Parakeet/Parrot.

Brooklyn (in New York City), Chicago, Illinois, Austin, Texas and Miami, Florida are home to populations of Myiopsitta monachus (Monk aka Quaker Parakeet/Parrot).

A population of naturalized Rose-collared (a.k.a. Peach-faced Lovebirds) (Agapornis roseicollis) is found in Tucson, Arizona.

Several species, including Red-lored Parrots (Amazona autumnalis), Lilac-crowned Parrots (Amazona finschi) and Yellow-chevroned Parakeets (Brotogeris chiriri), have become well established in Southern California and a population of mainly Red-masked or Cherry-headed Parakeet/Conure, a female Mitred Parakeet/Conure and thus several inter-specific hybrids live in the area of Telegraph Hill in San Francisco, as depicted in the documentary The Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill. In the greater San Francisco Bay Area, there are several populations of Red-masked Parakeet, including in Palo Alto and Sunnyvale.

The Belmont Heights District in Long Beach, California is also known to have many different species of feral parrots which have become local icons to the citizens of the area. They are known for their loud and unique noises as well as their large communities. These parrots can be found roosting mostly on Ocean Boulevard between Livingston Drive and Redondo Avenue in palm trees.

The San Gabriel Valley in California has a large, non-indigenous population of naturalized parrots. According to the "Parrot Project of Los Angeles", the parrots are of at least five species. Residents have come to enjoy the birds as part of their unique city's culture, and like other SoCal residents they have become "local icons" to the citizens there. Many theories surround the mystery of how the parrots landed in Pasadena and claimed the area as their own. A widely accepted story is that they were part of the stock that were set free for their survival from the large pet emporium at Simpson's Garden Town on East Colorado Boulevard, which burned down in 1959.

Malibu, California has populations of Black hooded or Nanday Parakeets (Nandayus Nenday), Lilac Crowned Amazon parrots (Amazona Finschi), Red Crowned Amazon parrots (Amazona Viridigenalis), and Mitred Parakeets (Aratinga Mitrata).


Lists of feral parrot species by continent

North America

• Mitred Parakeet

• Blue-crowned Parakeet

• Budgerigar

• Blue-and-gold Macaw

• Rose-ringed Parakeet

• Monk Parakeet

• Canary-winged Parakeet

• Yellow-chevroned Parakeet

• Peach-faced Lovebird

• Spectacled Amazon

• Red-lored Amazon

• Blue-fronted Amazon

• Lilac-crowned Amazon

• Yellow-headed Amazon

• Yellow-chevroned Parakeet

• Red-masked Parakeet

• Hybrid Mitred Parakeet

• Hybrid Yellow-headed Amazon

• Hybrid Red-crowned Amazon

• Red-crowned Amazon

• Nanday Parakeet


South America

• Jenday Conure

• Monk Parakeet

• Blue-fronted Amazon



• Alexandrine Parakeet

• Rose-ringed Parakeet

• Monk Parakeet

• Fischer's Lovebird



• Rose-ringed Parakeet


Middle East

• Rose-ringed Parakeet


New Zealand

• Rainbow Lorikeet

• Eastern Rosella

• Crimson Rosella

• Sulphur-crested Cockatoo

• Galah



• Sulphur-crested Cockatoo

• Yellow-crested Cockatoo

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Here in Florida, there are many feral flocks of various parrots. Some were set free by smugglers about to get caught, some were escaped during hurricanes that blew away their aviaries & buildings, and some are here so long, it is believed they may have always been, like Quakers. Not far from my town, there is a tree called the "Parakeet Tree". I've not seen it, yet, but, the story goes that it is a very old, big tree, where someone let a bunch of Budgies free, and filled the tree with bird feeders to establish a flock of free Budgies. Supposedly, they've thrived and bred, and fill the tree with Budgies. Where they live 'til this day. I also know of a neighborhood where B & G Macaws have escaped from a tourist attraction, and have set up a feral flock. I used to see a flock of Conures in Brooklyn, N.Y. that were accidently set free from an airplane shipment, and have established a feral flock. Parrots can be resilient, and adapt to many climates.

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Thanks MKparrot. Great info. Thanks for posting.


Sadly there seem to be no exotic Grey colonies anywhere.


Yes, no Greys around us. In my country (Macedonia) we have mild sub-Mediterranean climate, but so far there is no feral parrots colonies. I believe it is the case all across the southern Europe.

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Great info, MKparrot :)

I'm particularly fond of one of the best known colonies in the world, Telegraph Hill Parrots, since my former bird was a red-masked conure ...

The bird escaped by accident and who knows, maybe has found another escapee and established a small colony some place in Serbia ;)

Edited by Grumpy
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