There are no ways to predict the lifespan of any bird. The American Veterinarian Association says that 50% of all pet bird deaths are the result of malnutrition.
I was at a seminar where nationally known avian veterinarian Dr. Karen Becker spoke. She related a story of how an 80-year-old woman brought in a budgie for a wellness check.
While doing intake Dr. Becker asked “how old is the bird”?
The woman replied “25 years old”.
The good doctor being a little dubious asked “how do you know this”?
The woman took a folder out of her purse. In the folder she removed a receipt from Woolworths the store she purchased the bird from, 25 years earlier.
When asked what the woman attributed the birds longevity?
She replied that “the bird ate a 100% seed diet but was given a small dish of decaffeinated green tea every morning for the 25 years drinking it along with a cup I would have”.
Much like people the lifespan of birds is going to vary based upon lifestyle.
A caged bird with clipped wings eating a 100% seed diet it’s entire life will generally have a much shorter lifespan than a bird in a free flight aviary eating seed and a mix of pellets, fruits and vegetables.
Flight allows the bird to burn off the fat easily and keep it’s heart in shape much like humans.
Cookie a major Mitchell cockatoo which was the oldest cockatoo in captivity and the oldest known living parrot until it’s death on August 27, 2016 at the age of 83.
Cookie had been residing at Brookfield zoo for most of his life.
In the 15 years that I’ve helped maintain the physical and physiological health of captive birds around the world, I’ve come to find that generally we don’t do a very good job as bird keepers.
We run a parrot supply business but we sell no livestock. This year was no different than all those in the past starting in November and accelerating through New Year’s was the volume of phone calls from people wanting to buy a “parrot, preferably one that could talk”.
Typically when we receive a request from somebody looking for a bird, we will ask some qualifying questions like what kind of bird?
If they say any parrot, the conversation will usually end quickly.
If they are looking for a cockatiel or an Eclectus parrot we will warmly refer them to a large rescue we know not far from here.
My point is that many bird relationships start with false pretenses like “Wouldn’t it be cool to have a talking parrot in the house”?
People acquiring birds on that basis will usually rehome them in a relatively short period of time to another family or a rescue if the bird is lucky, others get sent to the basement or the garage.
The inconsistent care and care givers a rehomed bird gets is stressful enough by itself and stress is life shortening.