Why do parrots live so long? The secret of longevity according to a study

Parrots have a very long life, sometimes becoming seventy or even eighty years old. In animals, longevity is often associated with a large body mass, but parrots often live like large birds or even longer than other birds of similar size.

So what is the reason for parrots to live so long? They are known for their imitative skills, but also for their beautiful colouring. Could these traits have anything to do with the longevity of parrots?

Long life seems to correlate with another trait of their own, which is the intelligence they possess, according to a study published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences.

Parrot intelligence could be the secret to their longevity

In general, birds live longer compared to mammals of the same size. “This is probably due to the fact that they can fly and get rid of predators,” says Simeon Smil, an evolutionary ecologist at the Max Planck Institute for Animal Behavior in Radolfzell, Germany, unlike terrestrial mammals.

“For example, cockatoos can live up to 70 or even 80 years in some cases, but weigh only 700-1000 grams. People weigh a hundred times more, but only live a few decades longer,” explains Smeele, citing Live Science.

However, parrots are not ordinary birds. For example, the American blackbird (Turdus migratorius) is one of the most common birds in North America, lives on average every two years, and the parrot is one of the species Agapornis roseicollis “It lives an average of eight years, but it’s much smaller than a blackbird,” Smil adds.

The longest-lived parrots live on average 20 or 30 years

“There are other birds that can do this, but they are much bigger,” Smil says. “For example, a flamingo weighs nearly four times as much as the longest-lived parrot, but has the same life expectancy.”

These ages do not represent the maximum durations. “If they go through the first year, blackbirds, flamingos, and parrots can live much longer,” Smil says.

Previous studies show that longevity correlates with the size of animals’ brains, possibly because larger brains help find food and escape the clutches of predators. Although parrots are known for their long life and complex behaviour, with a brain-body ratio similar to that seen in primates, it is unclear whether the two traits influence each other.

Great diversity in life expectancy of parrots

In the study, researchers partnered with the wildlife conservation NGO Species360 to compile data from more than 130,000 parrots in nearly 1,000 zoos around the world. The database helped them produce the first reliable estimates of the life expectancy of 217 parrot species, which is more than half of all known species.

The results revealed a great diversity in life expectancy, ranging from an average of two years for the fig parrot, which is a group of two sexes, cyclopsita And the Psittaculirostrisand up to 30 years for a scarlet parrot, Now Macau.

Other long-lived species include the Australian Crested Sulfur, which lives an average of 25 years. With a relatively large brain, this has been associated with a longer life span for parrots. “It seems that a bigger brain can help you live longer,” Smil says.

Another possibility that researchers have discovered is that a relatively large brain needs more time to develop, so age is proportional. However, no concrete links were found between longevity and growth time.

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