Sorry, you need to enable JavaScript to visit this website.

Parrots can live exceptionally long lives.
Photo from Metro Creative


Exploring Nature: Bird Life Spans

Sunday, March 3, 2024

How long do birds live?

For most small songbirds, a maximum life span is about eight to 15 years. The average life span is even shorter, about two to five years.

A songbird in the wild has about a 25% chance of making it to its first birthday. Predators, accidents and harsh weather all take a toll.

Generally, large birds live longer than small ones. An albatross will usually outlive a house sparrow.

Zoos and aviaries keep records of individual birds, so we can get some idea of individual longevity. An Australian parrot arrived at the Brookfield Zoo near Chicago in 1934 and died in 2016, making it at least 83 years old. Other parrots, especially large ones like macaws and cockatoos, have lived more than 100 years.

Winston Churchill had a parrot named Charlie who lived 104 years.

Other captive birds have lived more than 60 years, including Andean condors and flamingos.

Wild birds that have been banded help us determine how long they live.

For example, the oldest banded wild bird alive today is a Laysan albatross named Wisdom. She returns every year to her nest on Midway Atoll in the North Pacific. She is more than 70 years old and still going strong, having young chicks to raise in recent years.

Other wild birds with long lifespans include sandhill cranes and bald eagles, which live more than 35 years. Atlantic puffins, Canada geese and some large gulls can live more than 30 years. Wild turkeys and hummingbirds both live for about 10 years.

While small songbirds may not be around long, most folks will agree they certainly brighten our world while they are with us.

San Marcos Record

(512) 392-2458
P.O. Box 1109, San Marcos, TX 78666