Searching for Parrots in…Europe?

Searching for Parrots in…Europe?

By: Mike Jerrard

When one thinks of parrots, places such as the Amazon, Africa, and Australia come to mind and with good reason. These places are the true home of so many of the exotic and beautiful birds. It is exotic creatures such as these that have lured naturalists such as David Attenbourough away from the mundane wildlife deficient England to showcase the incredible wildlife of the world to us all.

These days however Europeans don’t need to head to the tropics or down under to appreciate wild parrots because thanks to careless and ignorant owners of captives, numerous species have escaped and found a way to make a new home for themselves throughout Europe. 

In England, Ring Necked Parakeets have become so numerous that one can now legally shoot the birds. It is become a so called pest as it endangers native wildlife as well as crops.

Of course what better parrot could you ask to become wild in France than Fischer’s Lovebird. It only makes sense that a country that is home to the city of love become the home for these beautifully feathered aves which originate from Tanzania Africa.

And when it comes to parrots such as the yellow-headed amazon, it turns out they may have a taste for beer as wild colonies can be found in Stuttgart, Germany.

It is Spain however that has become the real Amazon of Europe when it comes to its introduced populations of parrot species. In Barcelona alone there are some seven species which may not make it the capital of Spain but definitely makes it the birding capital of Europe when it comes to parrot spotting.

Although one could imagine it was the fault of early Spanish explorers that brought back individuals from their voyages around the world, it is in fact the modern day travelers and the pet trade which has brought them here. For the ones that manage to escape their horrible ordeal of being kidnapped, brought to a new strange land, and put in a cage, Spain luckily gives them at the very least a hospitable environment where they can thrive. They may cause negative environmental and economical impacts but there is no denying they add some color to the sky.

To combat the introduced species, Barcelona has followed England’s lead in allowing hunting not only by humans but also by Peregrine falcons which have been reintroduced to the city. A pair that calls a tower of the iconic La Sagrada Familia home have reached that of celebrity status. It seems only fair that a falcon plagued by the disastrous effects of DDT poisoning be offered prime real estate that allows plenty of prey and “pray”.


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Author: Michael Jerrard

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  1. Awww I understand but shooting the pretty birds just sounds sad. It is crazy how birds escape and then reproduce in different places.

    Post a Reply
    • Yes not sure if I think that is the best solution. You replace the situation using humans instead of parrots and this solution would be unthinkable but birds are beneath us humans right?

  2. I had no idea this was becoming a problem in Europe, I heard so much about the Parakeet problems in San Francisco. Amazing how hardy they are.

    Post a Reply
    • Hardy indeed. Yes most definitely not just a European problem. Invasive parrots as well as other birds seem to be a problem almost worldwide. The drawbacks of our technology and ignorance allowing an easy way for them to make the journey to places they were not meant to be naturally.

  3. I live in Paris and the only parrot I’ve seen was on some crazy guy’s shoulder in Saint-Germain-des-Prés! Nonetheless, now I’m going to keep my eyes peeled for more.

    Post a Reply
    • Definitely caught me off guard the first time I saw wild parakeets in Paris. Populations seem to keep on increasing so yes keep an eye out. Thanks for the comment.

  4. Interesting to learn that this has become a little bit of a problem but I’m not for shooting parrots at all. Love how some have made such an iconic building their home too.

    Post a Reply
    • Thanks for the comment. I cannot say I am for shooting the parrots either regardless of what is the right thing to do. I know I myself wouldn’t be able to pull the trigger.

  5. Parrots sure add colour to the sky.There is a Parrot Island in India in Baratang Islands, Andaman Islands where one can see swarms of parrots hovering over a particular island and making the lovely noises.

    Post a Reply
    • Will definitely have to look up India’s Parrot Island. Thank you for the info.

  6. It’s almost as if parrots have become pigeons. In the sense that there are so numerous. I didn’t see any while I was in Paris, but I was really looking. I’ll have to pay more attention next time. 🙂

    Post a Reply
    • It does seem as though in places they have become like invasive pigeons. Would be interested to know if people would have the same feeling towards shooting pigeons as parrots.

  7. The problems of introduced species aside, I smiled when I read that there are falcons in Barcelona. I will be visiting later on in the year, and so will keep my eyes open for them!

    Post a Reply
    • I personally did not see the falcons but locals I talked to while there had seen them recently. Best of luck and thanks for commenting.

  8. It’s sad that they are forcefully removed from their environment then have to be killed when they start to thrive. It makes me appreciate the many species we have here in the Caribbean that roam free.

    Post a Reply
    • Incredibly tragic they must suffer at the hands that ignorantly created the problem in the first place.

  9. Wow – I had no idea so many exotic birds have been introduced into Europe. It makes me sad to learn that the birds are being hunted. That being said, I understand that they be a threat to native species.

    Post a Reply
    • There isn’t really an easy solution is there? Thanks for the comment.

  10. I saw so many in Seville!! They are such beautiful and colorful creatures. Lovely photos, thanks for sharing 🙂

    Post a Reply
    • Thanks for the kind words. Hopefully they will continue to be seen in Seville without causing too many ecological problems.

  11. awesome! we have a flock(?) of wild parrots in my neighborhood in guadalajara. they make such tremendous noise it’s like a concert when they all fly in together. i wonder what is the proper term for a flock of parrots?

    Post a Reply
    • Comically enough a flock of parrots is called a pandemonium…pretty fitting I think and lives up to your loud parrots in Guadalajara. Thanks for commenting.

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