Highly intelligent and social, monk parakeets form flocks of up to 50 birds. Unlike most parrots, they build large, twiggy, communal nests in treetops or on man-made structures. They use their bills to cut sticks to appropriate sizes, creating a multi-chambered nest that can be several feet wide and several feet tall.
Monk parakeets are primarily herbivorous, eating seeds, nuts, fruits, berries, leaves, and flowers. They also consume agricultural crops, including corn, sorghum, sunflowers, peaches, pears, and citrus fruits. The parakeets’ penchant for agricultural crops causes some South American and U.S. farmers to perceive them as pests.
Monk parakeets breed from October to February in South America. The birds incubate up to 11 eggs for 24 days. Chicks remain in the nest for 6 weeks after hatching and disperse when they are a year old. In the U.S., flocks can survive the cold by building nests on power and light poles for warmth. They’ll roost in these cozy spots throughout the winter.
Some of My Neighbors
Pigeons, hawks, American kestrels, great horned owls, opossums, raccoons
Population Status & Threats
Common throughout its native range, the monk parakeet is considered a species of least concern. The bird is steadily expanding its non-native ranges in North America, the Caribbean, and Europe. Still, exports for the pet trade may be unsustainable.