U.S. Department of Agriculture: Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service


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Avery, M.L. and A.B. Shiels. 2018. Monk and rose-ringed parakeets. pgs. 333-357. In: W.C. Pitt, J.C. Beasley, and G.W Witmer, editors. Ecology and Management of terrestrial vertebrate invasive species in the United States. CRC Press, Boca Raton, FL. 403 pp.


U.S. government work.


Worldwide, there are about 350 species of parrots and parakeets (order: Psittaciformes). According to the analyses of Cassey et al. (2004), 54 of these species have been introduced to areas outside their native ranges, and 38 species have become established in the nonnative range. Humans exhibit ambivalent feelings toward parrots and parakeets. Many of these birds are strikingly beautiful and highly prized as companion animals, while others are banned because of potential agricultural damage or competition with native species. Many parrot species are afforded special protection because they are endangered in their native habitats, but often these same species are considered crop pests and persecuted by farmers (e.g., Tella et al. 2013).

The United States was once home to two species of native parrots, the Carolina parakeet (Conuropsis carolinensis) and the thick-billed parrot (Rhynchopsitta pachyrhyncha). Carolina parakeets were found throughout southeastern United States, as far north as New York and North Dakota, and as far west as Colorado and Texas (Snyder and Russell 2002). Thick-billed parrots occupied northern Mexico and portions of the bordering states of Arizona and New Mexico (Snyder et al. 1999). These two native parrots were lost during the twentieth century. The demise of the Carolina parakeet was probably due to combined effects of disease, shooting (for sport, crop protection, and millinery), and habitat loss (Snyder and Russell 2002). Extirpation of the thick-billed parrot from the southwestern United States was most likely due to hunting (Snyder et al. 1994). A reintroduction program that began in 1986 for the thick-billed parrots in Arizona did not result in a self-sustaining population, although the species persists in Mexico (Snyder et al. 1994).

While there is an absence of native parrots in the United States today, at least nine species of introduced parrots are currently recognized as being established in the United States by the American Ornithologists’ Union (Chesser et al. 2015). Nineteen additional free-flying, introduced parrot species are recognized, but not considered established (Chesser et al. 2015). At least five species are established in the state of Hawaii (Runde et al. 2007; Pyle and Pyle 2009).

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