Why are parrots so long-lived?

Parrots can live into their seventies and even into their eighties. Larger size is often associated with longer life expectancy in animals, but parrots often outlive larger birds and birds of comparable size.

So, what's the deal with parrots living such long lives? Already, they're known for their ability to mimic other animals and their beautiful colours. Is any of this a factor in their long-term success??

Parrots live long for birds. Unlike the American robin (Turdus migratorius), one of the most common birds in North America, the rosy-faced lovebird (Agapornis roseicollis) "lives on average eight years, but is considerably smaller than the robin," Smeele said.

Parrots average 20 to 30 years. "Other, larger birds can do this," Smeele said. "A flamingo weighs four times more than the longest-lived parrots but has the same lifespan."

(Average lifespans aren't maximum lifespans. Robins, flamingos, and parrots can live longer if they survive the first year, Smeele said.

Previous research has linked animal longevity to brain size, possibly because larger brains help them find food or escape threats.

Although parrots are known for their longevity and complex behaviours, with brain-to-body size ratios similar to primates, it was unclear if the two traits influenced each other.

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