Some factors that affect a parrot’s lifespan are breed, environment, and socialization. Breed affects a parrot’s lifespan because the larger the bird, the longer it tends to live. Parrots also tend to live shorter lives when in captivity versus the wild, much like most other animals. In addition, a parrot who is not handled, talked to, and otherwise mentally stimulated on a daily basis can begin to develop mental health problems; neglected parrots are usually destructive to both their surroundings and their bodies. Another factor that greatly determines a parrot’s lifespan is its diet.
In general, large parrots have a greater lifespan than small parrots. Most parrots are a lifetime commitment for their owners, but some can last for multiple generations of a human family, passed down from generation to generation. Some parrots, large macaws for example, can live for more than 100 years. In this way, parrots are similar to turtles because their longevity frequently exceeds that of their owners. Bird lovers who want less of a commitment should consider adopting a smaller breeds of parrot, like finches or parakeets.
Like a good many animals, a parrot’s lifespan is shortened when it is in captivity. Animals tend to do best in their natural habitats, flying free and eating plants they were meant to eat. In the wild, a parrot might fly for miles in search of food or stimulation and eat fresh fruit and vegetables. They do not always get as much exercise and healthy food in captivity.
Parrots can be very demanding of their owners, especially when growing older. Older parrots are generally more intelligent and more capable of drawing attention to themselves through both good and bad habits. Without steady interaction from humans or other birds, a parrot is not a healthy bird. Poor socialization can lead to self-mutilation or other mental health issues. Intelligent parrots are on par with a three-year-old child and therefore can waste away without healthy interaction.
A poor diet can shorten a parrot’s lifespan, much like it can shorten a human’s lifespan. Parrots too are at risk of heart attacks and other fatal health problems when their diet is poor. The situation is worsened by the fact that many parrot owners are not aware of the proper foods to feed their parrot or occasionally feed them scraps of human food. A veterinarian can usually help determine the best diet for a parrot.