- ORDER: Psittaciformes
- FAMILY: Psittacidae
It may come as a surprise to see noisy, green-and-gray parrots racing through cities in the U.S. But Monk Parakeets, native to South America but long popular in the pet trade, established wild populations here in the 1960s. They are the only parakeets to nest communally; dozens live together year-round in large, multifamily stick nests built in trees and on power poles. These large group nests may be one aid to surviving the cold winters in adopted cities as far north as Chicago and New York.More ID Info
Find This Bird
Monk Parakeets are native to South American grasslands—but if you're looking for them in North America, look in cities such as New York, Chicago, Portland (Oregon), San Diego, Houston, Dallas, New Orleans, or Miami, where escapees or releases of this popular cage bird have started feral populations. Look for these fast-flying, long-tailed parakeets and their huge stick nests on utility poles and other raised structures. Be aware that other parrot species often occur in cities, though Monk remains the most abundant naturalized parrot in the U.S.
- Cotorra Argentina (Spanish)
- Perriche veuve (French)
- Cool Facts
- Monk parakeets are the only member of the parrot family to build stick nests and to nest colonially. Their bulky nests provide a year-round home for the colony. The insulation these nests provide may be one reason why Monk Parakeets are able to survive cold winters. A single nest structure typically contains up to 20 nest chambers, and in extreme cases can house more than 200 nests.
- In their native Argentina, Monk Parakeets sometimes adopt old nests of other species. Some ornithologists have suggested that this behavior may have been the first step, evolutionarily speaking, to transitioning from nesting in tree cavities to constructing stick nests.
- Monk Parakeets kept in captivity can learn to mimic human speech.
- Monk Parakeets can live 6 years or more in the wild, and in captivity often live as long as 15 years.