Britainís naturalised parrot is now officially a pest. Forty years after it first bred on the outskirts of London, the ring-necked parakeet ...
Latin Name: Psittacula krameri
Months of Activity: January - December
The world's most widespread wild parrot species, the ring-necked parakeet was first recorded successfully breeding in the wild in England in 1969. A population is believed to have been established with birds that escaped from aviaries and others released by sailors returning from the tropics.
The British breeding population is now estimated to be 4,700 pairs and it is expanding steadily; the bird has reached as far north as the Scottish border.
Concerns about it have long been voiced. Aggressive, and a hole-nester, it is thought it might drive out British hole-nesting species such as woodpeckers. It is also a very noisy bird and causes major crop damage, especially to fruit trees.
Whilst there are at least 3 different species of parakeet now loose in the UK, the main bird is the ring-necked parakeet.
These parrots are about 16 inches in length and they have a stealthy appearance. They are largely green in colour with undertones of blue that can be seen during overcast days. Both males and females look very similar; however, the male has a black ring around his neck. In flight it has pointed wings, a long tail and a very steady, direct flight.
Ring-necked Parakeets lay 3-6 eggs per brood. The smooth, non-glossy white eggs are about 30mm by 23mm. The female incubates the eggs by herself for a duration of 25-28 days. After the young hatch, they are fed by both parents before leaving the nest after around 8 weeks. The breeding season can start as early as January allowing a second clutch to be produced within one season.
The average lifespan of these parakeets is as yet unknown, but the maximum recorded age of a parakeet living in the wild in Britain is 7 years.
Parakeets nest in roofs and can damage supporting beams, piping and insulation. Since January 2010 they have been classified as agricultural and horticultural pest by Natural England. This does not affect the legal protection afforded these species and it remains illegal to kill or interfere with them, other than in exceptional circumstances.
These circumstances are defined in special licences that enable people to deal with problems where parakeets' behaviour impacts on public health & safety, therefore pest control should only be applied by registered and licenced operatives.
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