Things You Need to Know About Ring-necked Parakeets!

More than four and a half thousand miles from their native habitat of India, Ring-necked parakeets are gradually colonising the UK. Originally they were kept as pets and in private collections but as a result of deliberate releases and accidental escapes, they have been living and breeding in the wild around London since at least the 1930s. It is estimated that there are more 8600 breeding pairs in the UK and they are now found in many towns and cities across the country. This small flock on the outskirts of Norwich started with 1 bird in 2017, there were 3 in 2018 and on my visit in late 2019 I counted at least 10 individuals. With their powerful beaks and flexible feet, the diet of a parakeet can be quite diverse.

They eat fruit, berries, grains and buds but like many native birds they will also take advantage of the food that people provide. Unfortunately they can be quite destructive and will easily chew through and break plastic bird feeders. Ring necked parakeets start nesting early compared to many native birds and will start to construct a nest in a tree cavity or suitably sized nest box from mid-January onwards. They lay between 2 and 4 eggs and which hatch after 21 days and then with both the parents feeding them, the young are ready to fly the nest when they are just 6 weeks old. Parakeets are a controversial invasive species and there are fears that they may have a negative impact on native wildlife. However, as there are no large-scale eradication programmes, it looks like these parakeets might be here to stay.

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