How far can a parrot fly?

Blue and gold macaw (Ara ararauna). Parrot birds flying. Beautiful wildlife image with copy space.
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A question from Quora

Just to set the record straight parrots do not stop and sleep during the day they are diurnal animals and rarely sleep out in the open for fear of predators.

The other issue we need to clear up before we embark on an answer is what kind of parrot?


How Bird Wings Work (Compared to Airplane Wings) – Smarter Every Day 62

With hundreds of species ranging from Lovebirds to Hyacinth macaws there’s a great difference on a birds ability to fly when they’re 50 g versus 2000 g.

If we look at the larger species, like the large macaws as in Green Wings, Blue and Gold’s and Hyacinths – in the wild they will normally stick to a range in vicinity of about 1500 to 3000 acres (the perfect size for a bird cage).

At the crack of dawn upon awaking they will begin to make their daily “rounds”. Parrots do not cache (hide) foods, they look for fresh food daily.

It’s not uncommon for a large macaw, to stop at 20 or 30 places during the day covering anywhere from 50 to 100 miles. They will forage for food on the ground, under rocks, in rotted trees and even the branches of trees that they land upon.

Biggest Swarm of Budgies

They don’t need to stop for rest often as flying is nowhere near what walking and/or running is to humans. The more a bird flies the more efficient its respiratory system is. Birds respiratory systems are very different from human respiratory systems forcing air in a single path versus in and out like mammals.

Smaller birds like budgies will form enormous flocks in the deserts of Australia. They will send out “search parties” seeking the best places for food and water while providing some safety.

It’s not uncommon for the search parties to, as an example, follow a kangaroo who knows where there’s good grazing grass.


Budgies are ground feeders, they live mainly on grass seed. Once the search party of budgies has discovered where the kangaroo is grazing they will return to the main flock and communicate the position of the best food for the day.

Arctic Tern Migration Google Earth Tour Video

Caveat: The Arctic Tern migrates from one polar region to another and back for total of about 60,000 miles and it goes from cold to cold.

Because they can live between 15 and 30 years they could fly upwards of almost 2 million miles over their lifetime which is about four round trips to the moon and back.

written by mitch rezman
approved by catherine tobsing

your zygodactyl footnote

Bonus content


When I first got Bell he was 14 and his wings weren’t clipped. It took me 6 months or so for him to get used to me, so he was always flying away from me – into mirrors, into the big glass porch doors, and in the first week, up into a tree, which left me possibly more petrified than he was – so I clipped him.


He's handled a 1000 birds of numerous species when they would visit their monthly birdie brunch in the old Portage Park (Chicago, IL) facility. The one with the parrot playground. Mitch has written and published more than 1100 articles on captive bird care. He's met with the majority of  CEO's and business owners for most brands in the pet bird space and does so on a regular basis. He also constantly interacts with avian veterinarians and influencers globally.