Psittacula krameri (Scopoli, 1769)
Family: Psittaciformes > Psittaculidae
With its bright green plumage and rose-coloured neck ring, It is difficult to think of a more incongruous British breeding bird than the Ring-necked Parakeet.
The Ring-necked Parakeet was accepted onto the British List in 1983. It has long been a popular cage-bird and the British breeding population, currently estimated at around 12,000 pairs, is the result of birds escaping from captivity over a long period of time. The birds breeding here in Britain constitute the most northerly breeding parrots in the world.
With a population centred on the south-east of England, this is a regular visitor to bird tables, feeding on a variety of seed, nuts, fruit and fat cakes. BTO Garden BirdWatch results show that it uses gardens throughout the year but peaks during November and December.
Select a topic for more facts and statistics about the Ring-necked Parakeet
Ring-necked Parakeet identification is usually straightforward.
Listen to example recordings of the main vocalisations of Ring-necked Parakeet, provided by xeno-canto contributors.
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Status and Trends
Population size and trends and patterns of distribution based on BTO surveys and atlases with data collected by BTO volunteers.
Following escapes and releases over many decades, this parrot, native to Africa and southern Asia, began breeding annually in the UK in 1969. Substantial but highly localised self-sustaining populations have since built up, with the two largest being in Greater London and in the Isle of Thanet, east Kent. Genetic modelling has traced the origin of these birds, brought here initially by the cagebird trade, to the northerly parts of the native range in Pakistan and northern India (Jackson et al. 2015).
Population modelling in the early 2000s revealed that populations in Greater London initially increased by approximately 30% per year, and those in Thanet by 15% per year, but that the range initially expanded by only 0.4 km per year in the Greater London area and hardly at all in Thanet (Butler 2003). National BBS data indicate more than a tenfold increase since 1995, and more substantial range expansion has occurred, particularly in Greater London (Balmer et al. 2013). There have been recent post-breeding estimates of more than 30,000 birds at large in the UK (Holling & RBBP 2011a). There are concerns about possible environmental and economic effects of the Ring-necked Parakeet population.
|UK breeding population||+1935% increase (1995–2020)|
The exotic introduced Ring-necked Parakeet has had a long association with Greater London and parts of eastern Kent, but the species has now colonised several large conurbations, including Liverpool, Manchester, Sheffield and Birmingham, and non-breeding birds were reported from several squares in southern Scotland during the 2007–11 atlas. The next atlas is likely to show further gains.
Occupied 10-km squares in UK
|No. occupied in breeding season||91|
|% occupied in breeding season||3|
|No. occupied in winter||239|
|% occupied in winter||7.9|
European Distribution Map
Change in occupied 10-km squares in the UK
|% change in range in breeding season (1968–72 to 2008–11)||+4400%|
|% change in range in winter (1981–84 to 2007–11)||+214.3%|
Ring-necked Parakeets are recorded consistently throughout the year in colonised areas.
Information about movement and migration based on online bird portals (e.g. BirdTrack), Ringing schemes and tracking studies.
An overview of year-round movements for the whole of Europe can be seen on the EuroBirdPortal viewer.
Lifecycle and body size information about Ring-necked Parakeet, including statistics on nesting, eggs and lifespan based on BTO ringing and nest recording data.
|Number of Broods||1?|
|Egg Size||29×24 mm Weight = 9.1 g (of which 7% is shell)|
View number ringed each year in the Online Ringing Report
|Maximum Age from Ringing||8 years 11 months 8 days (set in 2010)|
|Wing Length||Adults||174.6±5.5 | Range 167–185mm, N=99|
|Juveniles||170.5±4.5 | Range 163-178mm, N=34|
|Males||178.4±3.9 | Range 173–185mm, N=48|
|Females||170.4±4.2 | Range 165–181mm, N=37|
|Body Weight||Adults||142±9.31 | Range 125–160g, N=99|
|Juveniles||140±9.8332 | Range 127–155g, N=33|
|Males||144±9.06 | Range 125–160g, N=48|
|Females||139±8.34 | Range 123–154g, N=37|
Feather measurements and photos on featherbase
|Field Codes||2-letter: RI | 5-letter code: RINPA | Euring: 7120|
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Interpretation and scientific publications about Ring-necked Parakeet from BTO scientists.
Causes of change
Levels of breeding productivity are sufficient to account for the observed population increases, assuming mortality remains low.
Further information on causes of change
From 108 nests located during 2001-03, the mean first-egg date was 26 March, median clutch size was 4, and overall nest success 72%, making productivity sufficient to account for the observed population rise, assuming mortality rates remained low (Butler et al. 2013).
The species has already been reported causing economic damage to crops, as has occurred elsewhere in its native and introduced range (Butler 2003). A recent study in Belgium has identified negative effects on breeding Nuthatch, but not on other native hole-nesting species, such as Starling (Strubbe & Matthysen 2007, 2009, Strubbe et al. 2010). No such effects have yet been detected in Britain, however (Newson et al. 2011). A Spanish study reported that the species had caused the decline of Noctule Bats in a Seville park, with parakeets observed attacking bats to gain access to nest holes (Hernandez-Brito et al. 2018). There is also evidence that the presence of parakeets reduces feeding rates among native birds (Peck et al. 2014), with a study using video recording in Paris suggesting that Starling was most impacted (Le Louarn et al. 2016).
Information about conservation actions
As a non-native introduced breeding species, this species does not have a conservation status in the UK and hence is not a species of conservation concern.
On the contrary, there are concerns about the potential future impact of increasing parakeet numbers on other species, which could mean that conservation action to control parakeets could possibly be required in the future in order to protect native species (see Causes of Change section, above).
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