As hard as it is to accept, our pets will not live to see us grow old. Whether you have a dog, cat, or a bird as a pet, you might already want to know how long they’re going to live.
If you happen to own a parakeet or a budgie, you’re probably curious about their lifespan, too.
Parakeets are small to medium-sized birds that originated in Australia. These Parrot species live for around 6 to 14 years in captivity. With proper care and nutrition, parakeets can even live for 20 years. In the wild, they are expected to live anywhere between 25 and 30 years.
This guide will answer everything about parakeet lifespan and tips for keeping these pet birds healthy until their final years. Let’s get straight into the answers you need!
How Long Do Parakeets Live in Captivity? (Life Expectancy for Each Parakeet Species)
Parakeets live shorter in captivity than in the wild. It may sound ironic, but this is often the case for these birds.
They live for around 6 to 14 years on average when held captive or taken in by private owners. Healthier birds live for 20 years or even more.
A parakeet’s lifespan will always depend on several factors, including their food intake, quality of diet, and amount of exercise. It also varies depending on their species which are listed below:
Budgerigar (5 – 8 years)
Budgerigar or budgies are small, long-tailed parakeets that mostly eat seeds. They are more commonly found in bright yellow and green colors, but they can also come in a beautiful light blue-green color like the birds in the photo. They typically live around 5 to 8 years in captivity.
Monk Parakeet (15 – 20 years)
Monk Parakeets, also known as Quaker Parrots, are bright green birds with a distinct gray chest and a yellowish-green abdomen.
They are the only known parrot species that build their nest using sticks. When held captive, these lovely birds live for about 15 to 20 years.
Plain Parakeet (18 – 20 years)
Plain Parakeets are small birds with uniformly green feathers and long pointed tails. They are primarily yellowish-green and are found in the tropical forests of South Brazil.
Despite their name, these birds bear a unique charm. When given proper care and attention, they can live anywhere between 18 and 20 years old.
Grass Parakeet (10 years)
Grass Parakeets or Grasskeets are another species of Parrots with a range of different colors. These subspecies are also called Bourke’s Parakeet. They have a lifespan of around 10 years.
Barred Parakeet (10 years)
The adorable birds shown above are called Barred Parakeets or the Lineolated Parakeets. Linnies, their short name, are known as one of the most gentle and quiet members of the Parrot family.
They love to walk and play in the water as much as they love flying. Like Grasskeets, their life expectancy is around ten years.
Mustache Parakeet (20 – 25 years)
At first glance, you might already know why these birds are named Mustache Parakeet. Their so-called mustache is actually a band of black feathers above its beak.
They are also known for the patch of red feathers on their chest, which is why they are also called red-breasted parakeets. Their lifespan ranges from 20 to 25 years.
Rose-Ringed Parakeet (25 – 30 years)
Rose-ringed parakeets or ring-necked parakeets are medium-sized Parrots known for their vibrant green feathers and black ring of feathers around its neck. They usually live for a long time which is around 25 to 30 years.
Green-Cheeked Parakeet (10 years)
The green-cheeked parakeet is a mischievous and playful bird that is one of the most colorful variants of the species. They are mainly green with blue and green wings and a long maroon tail.
Their crown can be brown, black, or gray in color. These mesmerizing birds live for around ten years.
Golden Parakeet (20 – 25 years)
Golden Parakeets are mostly found in the Amazon rainforest. Their bright yellow appearance and green-feathered wings are enough to attract anyone.
They are considered vulnerable species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). In captivity, they can live for 20 to 25 years.
Wild Parakeet Lifespan: How Long Do Parakeets Live in the Wild?
Wild parakeets are known to live longer than those in captivity. Their average lifespan is around 25 to 30 years. In the wild, they have healthier lifestyles since they are out flying all day searching for food and water.
Some may argue that wild budgerigars are more likely to die early due to predators.
This claim can be disproved by the fact that these birds travel in flocks which consist of around 20,000 to 30,000 birds. With this number, they are less likely to be attacked by larger birds.
Life Expectancy of Parakeets vs. Other Birds: Do Parakeets Live Longer Than Other Birds?
In general, birds live longer than most cat and dog breeds. I’ve discussed how long parakeets live, both in captivity and in the wild. Now, I’m going to compare the lifespans of various bird species to parakeets.
The table below shows common pet bird species and their respective life expectancy in captivity and in the wild:
|Type of Birds||Life Expectancy (In Captivity)||Life Expectancy (In the Wild)|
|Parakeets||6 – 14 years||25 – 30 years|
|English Budgie||7 – 8 years||15 – 21 years|
|Lovebirds||10 – 20 years||10 – 15 years|
|Cockatiels||16 – 25 years||10 – 15 years|
|Cockatoos||40 – 60 years||20 – 40 years|
|Parrots||60 – 70 years||30 – 35 years|
|Finches||5 – 10 years||4 – 7 years|
From this information, we can see that Parrots have the longest lifespans both in captivity and in the wild while Finches have the shortest.
It’s also worth noting that most birds live longer when held captive compared to living in their natural habitat.
Generally, this is not the case for parakeets and English budgies but their years in the wild can still be reduced significantly due to uncontrollable factors.
What Is the Oldest Living Parakeet?
Since parakeets live for quite some time, you’re probably curious about the age of the oldest living parakeet.
According to the Guinness Book of World Records, the oldest budgie is Charlie, a budgie with the age of 29 years and two months.
Charlie, also known as Charlie the Curser, was previously owned by former prime minister Winston Churchill.
Now, Charlie is living in Heathfield Nurseries under the care of Sylvia Martin, the current manager. The establishment is located in Flanchford Road, Reigate, United Kingdom.
Factors That Determine the Lifespan of a Parakeet
Everyone wants their pets to live for a long time. If you have a budgie bird, you may want to know about the factors that affect their lifespan.
In this way, you can evaluate and prioritize what needs to be done to give your pet the best quality of life.
The following factors determine how long a parakeet can live in the wild and captivity:
Parakeets are likely to be eaten by larger birds in the wild when they are vulnerable and not traveling with the flock. If they survive, they are most likely to be injured.
There can also be competition among other birds searching for food, so parakeets may not get the nutrition they need to survive.
In captivity, parakeets are exposed to pollution, toxic chemicals and fumes, cigarette smoke, and harmful plants that can affect their complex respiratory system.
Loud and sudden noises also cause them to get startled and hurt themselves, especially when they are in their cages.
Some parakeets inherit the health issues of their parents, causing them to suffer and have a shorter lifespan. They can be predisposed to get cancerous tumors both in their kidneys and reproductive organs.
Parakeets can be more susceptible to infectious diseases if they are born with a weak immune system. They also become an easy target of predators if they are smaller and fragile than others.
Diet and Exercise
Parakeets living in wild forests eat a mix of seeds, fruits, nectar, and insects. When kept as pets, owners should provide a similar diet to grow healthy and reduce the risk of illnesses. Overfeeding or missing their meals can result in serious health issues.
Like any other animal, parakeets need regular exercise to maintain an ideal physique.
In their natural habitat, they can fly freely whenever they want. Even as pets, they still need to be out of their cages to fly at least once a day.
Instead of big trees, a parakeet’s home in captivity is a cage. A small and unsanitary cage can cause a lot of damage to your bird’s health, both physically and mentally.
Being trapped in a small cage where there is limited movement can cause injuries and destructive behavior.
The buildup of fecal matter and other harmful toxins in their cage can place your budgie at higher risk of infections and diseases.
Undetected health problems and untreated injuries can result in unfortunate circumstances and the unnecessary suffering of your pet parakeet bird.
Regular visits to the vet should be done to monitor their overall health and treat broken bones in their body.
Without proper veterinary care, the lifespan of your budgie will shorten significantly. They require more medical attention than wild birds due to the vast difference in their environment.
Inbreeding is a less talked about factor that affects the lifespan of captive parakeets.
When the genes of two closely related birds are combined, their offspring might be born with congenital disabilities that can shorten their lifespan.
Breeding within relatives happens mainly in the wild, resulting in reduced genetic variation in the parakeet population. Through captive breeding programs, close family pairing can be avoided altogether.
What Do Parakeets Usually Die From?
Much like any other pet, your budgie can’t escape the circle of life. The ways of nature are uncontrollable, but we can become aware of the situations that can cause the death of our beloved pets.
The most common cause of death in parakeets in the wild is predators. Since parakeets are small birds, they are often targeted by larger species like Falcons and Eagles.
They are also not safe from snakes and monkeys that climb up trees and prey on their eggs and younglings.
In captivity, parakeets can die prematurely due to poisoning caused primarily by food and household fumes. Caffeine, chocolate, fruit pits, avocado, onion, garlic, and apple seeds are toxic to these birds.
Parakeets can also get sick or die from household products you use every day for cleaning and other activities.
These items include but are not limited to incense, scented candles, air fresheners, aerosol cleaners, and lead paint.
Accidents can also cause the sudden death of parakeets. During the night, they can be jolted awake by a loud noise that can cause them a lot of distress.
When these night frights occur, they often fly around hysterically around their cage, especially when there are no lights to help them see.
Night frights can badly hurt parakeets, cause serious injuries, and can even be fatal, so it’s best to provide lighting during the night while they sleep.
Common Health Issues in Parakeets
Aside from getting complications from toxic food and gases, parakeets can also suffer from several illnesses and conditions.
Some of the most common ones are listed below:
This is an infection caused by a bacteria called Chlamydia psittaci. Psittacosis is prevalent in tropical forests and cramped cages. This can be passed on to other birds through airborne urine and fecal particles.
It is also possible to transmit this infection to humans through oral contact. Some symptoms of parrot fever include diarrhea, sudden weight loss, weakness, and discharge from the eyes and nose.
Proventricular Dilatation Disease (PDD)
This disease mainly affects the parakeet’s proventriculus, also known as the true stomach. PDD causes the nerves to become inflamed by letting white blood cells flow into them.
This can be a result of food getting stuck in the bird’s stomach. You should watch out for signs and symptoms, including vomiting, lack of appetite, weight loss, and observed presence of undigested seeds in their stool.
This is a common respiratory tract infection caused by Fungus aspergillus. Aspergillosis can either be acute or chronic. If your parakeet bird has the chronic type, no symptoms can be observed.
However, they can display difficulty in breathing, restlessness, abnormal thirst, and frequent urination if they have the acute type. They can acquire this infection through dirty feeding bowls and unsanitary cages.
When your parakeet eats or drinks contaminated food and water, they can develop a protozoal infection called sarcocystosis.
This creates cysts in the bird’s lungs, muscles, and even the nervous system. This infection can be really fatal for budgies and cause immediate death.
Aside from the mentioned health conditions, there are other diseases associated with parakeets that are less detrimental.
However, with these health issues in mind, it becomes easier for parakeet owners to incorporate a healthier lifestyle for their pets.
5 Proven Ways to Help Your Parakeet Live Longer
It can be pretty terrifying, especially for first-time parakeet owners, to know about the different diseases or other causes of death in their previous pets.
Luckily, you don’t have to experience any form of suffering by following some best practices when taking care of your parakeet.
Here are five proven ways to ensure that your pet parakeet lives a long and healthy life:
1. Provide your parakeet a healthy diet
Parakeets need a particular diet to survive in captivity just like other pet birds. They will surely get the nutrients they need from eating a selection of fruits and vegetables.
Some of the parakeet-safe produce include mango, grapes, bananas, pineapple, broccoli, lettuce, and spinach. You can also feed them boiled eggs once a week for a source of protein.
Seeds, nuts, and grains should also be incorporated into their diet depending on their energy levels. A perfect balance of these healthy foods must be fed to them daily, along with clean water for hydration.
Their feeding bowl and water dispenser should be cleaned regularly to prevent infections.
2. Allow them to move and play freely
Keeping your budgie in its cage the whole day is not good practice. They must move and fly freely in open space. They should be let out of their cage at least once a day so that they can exercise and play with toys.
To keep their heart in good condition, you can introduce toys like ropes and swings or install ladders and jungle gyms in their cages.
Brightly colored toys that make sounds are also a perfect choice for catching their attention and encouraging their foraging instincts.
3. Keep them in a spacious and clean cage
The first thing to consider when buying a cage for your parakeet bird is its size. A big cage is the most ideal choice for these birds to stretch, move, and fly around a little. It should be wider at the top than it is at the bottom.
For easy removal of poop and urine particles, the bottom part of the cage should be retractable. Ensure that you can easily slip your hand in to refill or empty their feeding bowl and water dispenser.
If you have two parakeets, it’s okay to put them in the same cage, considering that they both have enough space for movement.
4. Ensure that there is enough lighting
To keep your pet budgies gleefully singing and active, place their cage in a well-lit part of the house. However, keep in mind that putting them in direct sunlight is dangerous due to excessive exposure to UV rays.
Getting natural light for around 15 to 40 minutes three times a week is enough for them to benefit from both UVA and UVB light.
This can result in stronger bones, a more robust immune system, and better quality of sleep.
On the flip side, little to no exposure to the sun can result in behavioral problems that manifest through feather plucking. They can also have issues with their reproductive organs and experience bone-related issues.
5. Learn how to handle your parakeet properly
If you haven’t handled small pet birds before, it can be quite a challenge to be an expert on parakeet care.
However, a general rule is never to grab them against their will. Their terrified reaction can sometimes cause stress in your budgie that often leads to unwanted incidents.
Slowly build trust by staying close to them until they become used to your presence. Try to hand out food pellets while speaking to them softly.
Keep doing this until they can be comfortable and confident enough to perch on your finger.
Your parakeet’s healthy lifestyle is shown through a good physique and a sound mind. The relationship you have with your pet can also contribute to how long they will live.
Frequently Asked Questions
How Long Do Parakeets Live Without Food?
Pet parakeets can only go 24 hours without food. Due to their high metabolism, they need to be continuously burning calories to produce energy. Feeding them after more than a day can have grave consequences.
It’s best to give them a full bowl of fruits and vegetables to peck on throughout the day.
Since they don’t have fixed schedules for eating, you can benefit from having an automatic food dispenser so you won’t need to check and refill their bowl all the time.
How Long Do Parakeets Live Without Water?
In terms of water consumption, parakeets can go 48 hours without drinking. Since they are small and light birds, they don’t need to consume a lot of water to sustain their bodies.
They also don’t have sweat glands, so we can say that they are built to withstand long hours without water, unlike humans.
However, it is still advised to keep the water in your dispenser fresh and clean so that they won’t hesitate to drink when they become thirsty.
How to Calculate a Parakeet’s Age in Human Years?
You can easily calculate your parakeet’s age in human years by first dividing the average lifespan of humans by the average lifespan of a parakeet bird.
According to the United Nations, the average life expectancy of a human being as of 2019 is 72.6 years. By simple calculation, we obtain the average lifespan of a parakeet which is 10.
After performing simple division, we now know that one parakeet year is equivalent to 7.26 human years.
How to Tell the Age of Your Parakeet?
Your parakeet’s age can easily be known by contacting your breeder or the pet store you bought your bird from.
If these options aren’t available, you can examine their cap or forehead. If they have stripes or bands of feathers that stretch all the way across their backs, they are about 3 to 4 months old.
If your parakeet is older than four months, they should have developed a white or yellow cap. Aside from this method, you can also try identifying their eye color.
Those with black pupils are most likely less than four months old, while those with lighter irises than their pupils are around eight months old.
Like with any other pet, it’s significant to know how long parakeets live. While many factors can influence their lifespan, there are many ways to ensure that they remain in good physical condition and sound mental health until their older years.
Parakeets are affectionate and friendly pets that deserve to live for a long time.
With proper care, attention, and constant learning about the species, you can ensure that their lives will be filled with great moments with you and the family.
You might even be surprised that your parakeet can surpass the expected average years of living in captivity through your wholesome ways.
My name is John Carter and I absolutely love pets, especially cats and dogs. I’ve got a Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Behaviour and Welfare and have several years’ experience working in animal shelters and rescues. My passion for animals started at a very young age as I grow up on a farm with several horses, cows, cats, chickens, and dogs on our property.