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The Life Span of Some Common Pet Birds

By: Suzanne Zweigart

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Once you've made the decision to enrich your life with a fine feathered friend, it's important to consider your lifestyle and what bird would best fit into your daily routine. Parrots, for instance, are unique among pet birds because some of them have the potential to be with you for your entire life.

One of the saddest situations faced in the avian veterinary world is the bird that must be euthanized due to feather picking, self-mutilation or other neuroses caused by getting a lot of attention early in life, only to receive a lot less attention due to a change in family circumstances.

The Captive Life Span

The average life span for a parrot in captivity is considerably shorter than his potential life span. This is due mostly to nutritional problems and a lack of veterinary care early in a disease process. Birds will do their best to hide their illness, sometimes until they're too ill to recover. The following lists are approximate life spans for various species of birds (keep in mind that how long your bird lives has a lot to do with proper diet and proper veterinary care):

Macaws

Macaws have been known to live well over 50 years in captivity. With proper diet and veterinary care, they should live 30 to 50 years easily. The smaller "mini" macaw's life span is at the lower end of this range.

Cockatoos

Cockatoos have been known to live well over 40 years in captivity. With proper diet and veterinary care, they should live 30 to 40 years easily.

Amazons

Amazons can live 50 years or more with excellent nutrition and veterinary care. Average life span is probably more around 20 years. Amazons are very prone to obesity and fatty liver disease, which can lead to death.

African Greys

African greys have been known to live 50 years or more in captivity. With proper diet and veterinary care, they should live at least 25 years. They are highly intelligent and prone to feather picking and self-mutilation, due to boredom or stress, which can reduce longevity.

Conures

These noisy little mischief-makers can live anywhere from 15 to 20 years, sometimes up to 35 to 40 years.

Pionus

Pionus can live up to 30 years with proper care. Their average life span is probably around 15 years.

Lories and Lorikeets

These birds usually live 15 to 20 years. Females have a lower average life span than males, due to reproductive problems such as chronic egg laying.

Parrotlets

Parrotlets have a life span of approximately 15 years. You may see them having birthdays up to 20 years.

Parakeets

Parakeets can live up to 18 years with proper diet and veterinary care. Depending on the type of parakeet, the life span may range between 15 to 18 years.

Lovebirds

Lovebirds live an average of 10 years. Occasionally, you'll run across a lovebird that's 15 to 20 years old. They can be prone to obesity and associated problems.

Canaries

Canaries may live 20 to 25 years with an average life span of 10 to 15 years.

Finches

Finches can live 15 to 20 years; however, the average is probably closer to 5 to 10 years.

Pigeons

Pigeons usually live 10 to 15 years.

Ducks/Swans

Depending on the species, ducks and swans can live anywhere between 10 to 30 years.

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