Naturalized Parrots


People aren’t the only species enjoying San Diego’s perfect climate. Non-native birds such as Red-crowned and Lilac-crowned Amazons and Cherry-headed Conures (Red-masked Parakeets) thrive here, thanks to the mild climate. Our weather (and supplemental watering) also supports non-native plants that provide seeds, fruits, and shoots for wild, naturalized parrots. These parrots were originally accidental or deliberate cage releases, but now thrive in large, social flocks that breed and fledge young in the wild. Wild populations of Amazons in their home range of Pacific and Northeastern Mexico are declining as a result of nest raids for the pet trade, smuggling, and habitat loss. As a birding photographer, I love finding a flock of local parrots. Some homeowners, on the other hand, don’t enjoy sharing their landscaping with a hungry, noisy, messy flock. I have also encountered naturalized parrots, parakeets, and lovebirds in Arizona, Texas, Florida, Chicago and New Zealand. It is not clear if the Green Parakeets found in Harlingen, Texas, were originally escapee/releasees or immigrated north from Mexico on their own.

Urban Parrots, Parakeets, and Lovebirds