Amazing Facts About Wild Parrots and Parakeets

Yes, wild parrots live in North America! Discover interesting facts about parrots, including the monk parakeet and nanday parakeet.

Which Wild Parrots Live in North America?

Red Crowned AmazonParrotstarr/Getty Images
Red-crowned Amazon parrot

Monk parakeets, red-crowned Amazons and Nanday parakeets are the three most common wild parrots in the U.S. None of these is a native North American bird species. Over the years, however, their populations adapted to survive in many cities. Pigeons did a similar thing by learning how to survive in urban environments.

In most cases, these wild parrot populations likely started as a result of escaped birds meant for the pet trade.

If you enjoy facts about wild parrots, you’ll love learning fascinating facts about wild turkeys.

Where Do Wild Parrots Live?

Monk Parakeetcynoclub/Getty Images
Look for monk parakeets in urban areas.

Most of the 25 parrots that have bred in the United States live in California, Florida and Texas. Red-crowned Amazons only have a population in southern Texas. Nanday parakeets live generally in the Southwest and Florida. You can find parrots farther north, too. Keep an eye out for monk parakeets in many major U.S. cities such as Chicago, New York, and Portland, Oregon.

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Wild Parrot Sightings

monk parakeetCourtesy Maria Retzlaff
Monk parakeets are the most common wild parrot seen by northern birders.

The monk parakeet is the most common parrot that makes its home in the northern U.S. Through Audubon’s Christmas Bird Count and Cornell Lab of Ornithology’s eBird, 42,981 sightings were logged between 2002 and 2016.

Birders with eBird and Christmas Bird Count have spotted parrots in 43 states in recent years, usually in parklands or suburban habitats. These birds mostly live in populated areas.

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Are There Any Native Wild Parrot Species in North America?

wild parrots, nanday parakeetShutterstock/Tracy Starr
Nanday parakeet 

Sadly, you won’t find North America’s only two native parrots in the U.S. The Carolina parakeet went extinct in the 1920s. The thick-billed parrot no longer visits the Southwest, but still resides in Mexico. In recent years, 56 nonnative parrot species were reported in the wild in the States.

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Jill Staake
Jill Staake's lifelong love of nature turned into a career during the years she spent working with native Florida butterflies, caterpillars, and other wildlife at the Museum of Science & Industry in Tampa, Florida. During this time, she helped to maintain 30+ acres of gardens and backwoods, all carefully cultivated to support the more than 20 species of butterflies displayed indoors and out. She now writes for a variety of publications and sites on topics like gardening and birding, among others.