Helping Parrots


There are a number of things you can do to help protect parrots!

One of the most important things you can do is to raise awareness. Many people don’t realize the cruelty and environmental impact the parrot trade has. By educating people about these issues, demand for pet parrots can be reduced.

National Bird Day.com has a variety of educational ecards, letters and other educational materials available for download:

If you would rather hang up educational flyers in public places, the Avian Welfare Coalition has a variety of downloadable flyers you can print out and hang up:


If you would like to get out and see a bit of the world while helping parrots, volunteering might be for you! Ave Azul in Costa Rica is always looking for volunteers to help with their captive breeding and release program for endangered parrots. Volunteers help run and maintain the farm, as well as helping out with research projects.  

If you have done your research and decide you want and ready for the responsibility of keeping  parrots as  pets, you can adopt an abandoned bird from a local shelter, as many are abandoned when their care ends up being too much for their owners. A few of these shelters are The Gabriel Foundation (http://thegabrielfoundation.org/adoption/) and Phoenix Landing (http://www.phoenixlanding.org/).


Jurong Bird Park by Luc Viator, licensed under CC BY 2.0

Illegal Pet Trade

Pet Trade & Parrots

Another animal being put in danger by the current pet trade is the parrot. Parrots are becoming endangered through a combination of habitat loss and being captured to meet the demands for the international pet trade (Beisinger & Bucher, 1992).  These parrots are being captured from tropical forests in South America, Southeast Asia and Africa to meet both domestic and international demand for avian pets.


Agapornis roseicollis by Brian Taylor, licensed by  Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic

Like the slow loris in the last post, captured parrots are exposed to inhumane conditions during transport to your local pet store. The birds are captured using mist nets, which can leave them trapped and dangling for days at a time or by a process called “liming” in which a sticky chemical is left on a branch, waiting for a bird to land and become stuck to the branch (Cronin, 2014). One study of the parrot trade in Mexico found that 75% of captive parrots died before reaching their destination (Miao, 2011). Additionally, the study found that of the 22 species of parrot the study identified, 20 were endangered, threatened or receiving special legal protection (Miao, 2011).  Even when the birds reach the United States, their ordeal isn’t over. Many of the birds will be selected for breeding to provide pet stores with parrot chicks. The conditions these birds will be kept in are dirty and cramped, with the parrots being exposed to disease and neglect (Cronin, 2014).


Image licensed under CC0 Public Domain

As is also the case with the slow loris, many people do not understand the needs of parrots before they purchase one. Parrots are social animals that live in groups and are very mobile, flying from place to place (Fitzsimmons, 2015). These conditions are not easy to replicate in the home, and thus many captive parrots experience neglect and abuse by being kept confined and isolated. Many people are also not able to provide a proper diet for a captive parrot, leading to malnutrition and its related diseases (Weston & Memon, 2009).

Wildlife Trade- crowded birds by Krotz, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported

A number of laws have been introduced to try to end the illegal bird trade, but high demand for these birds has rendered these laws ineffectual. In 1992, the Wild Bird Conservation Act (https://www.fws.gov/le/USStatutes/WBCA.pdf) was introduced in the United States, placing an embargo on the import of wild-caught parrots (Miao, 2011). While this act has been found to have reduced poaching of wild birds from 50% to 20% of wild individuals, parrot populations have still been rapidly declining (Society for Conservation Biology, 2001). This decline may be due to the slow reproductive rate of parrots, making it difficult for populations to recover from poaching losses (Society for Conservation Biology, 2001).


Cited Sources

Cronin, A. M. (2014, January 27). 7 Things You Never Knew about the Exotic Bird Trade and How You Can Help. Retrieved from http://www.onegreenplanet.org/animalsandnature/7-things-you-never-knew-about-the-exotic-bird-trade-and-how-you-can-help/

Fitzsimmons, P. (2015, January 5). Why You Should Reconsider Buying a Pet Bird This National Bird Day. Retrieved from http://www.onegreenplanet.org/animalsandnature/why-you-should-reconsider-buying-a-pet-bird-this-national-bird-day/

Miao, L. (2011, July 28). The Illegal Parrot Trade. Retrieved from http://www.audubon.org/news/the-illegal-parrot-trade

Society For Conservation Biology. (2001, May 31). Pet Trade Dangers: Poaching Major Threat To Parrots. Retrieved from https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2001/05/010529234701.htm

Vallery, A. (2015, January 20). The Truth About the Exotic Bird Trade Will Make You Rethink Buying a Parrot in the Pet Shop. Retrieved from http://www.onegreenplanet.org/animalsandnature/the-truth-about-the-exotic-bird-trade-will-make-you-rethink-buying-a-parrot-in-the-pet-shop/

Weston, M. K., & Memon, M. A. (2009). The illegal parrot trade in Latin America and its consequences to parrot nutrition, health and conservation. Bird Populations, 9, 76-83. Retrieved from http://www.birdpop.org/docs/journals/Volume-9/BPJ09-10_Weston_and_Memon.pdf