If you’re thinking about adding an Indian ringneck parrot to your family, you might be wondering how long yours will be around for. How long do Indian ringnecks live?
Let’s go into Indian ringneck lifespan and, more importantly, discuss what you can do to make sure your parakeet lives a long and happy life in your care.
Indian ringneck lifespan in the wild
Wild and feral Indian ringneck parakeets (Psittacula krameri) are a hardy bunch. They can thrive in pretty harsh climates and populations have established in cities around the world (notably London).
Originally, the four subspecies of Indian ringnecks can be found in parts of Africa and South Asia. They’re very adaptable, finding different sources of food in each of these habitats and withstanding anything from arid summers to intense monsoons.
It’s a bit difficult to establish how long Indian ringnecks can live in the wild. What is the definition of wild? Do feral populations in cities count? In these environments, Indian ringnecks have been proven to have very good survival rates (Senar et al., 2019), probably because of the lack of predators and the presence of bird feeders.
Whatever the case, the potential lifespan of these birds in non-captive environments has been established to be at least 15 years!
Indian ringneck lifespan in captivity
In captivity, where a ringneck doesn’t have to worry about finding food or encountering natural predators, their lifespan is obviously a lot longer than in the wild.
The number you’ll most often see floating around is 34, which is based on the oldest Indian ringneck found in a very extensive 2012 study (Young, Hobson, Lackey & Wright, 2012).
Some sources mention that Indian ringnecks living for up to 50 years have been recorded! Although that’s not the norm (15-25 years is pretty respectable), it’s definitely a great number to aim for.
Did you know? Many other parakeet species have equally impressive lifespans. You can find out more in the full article on parakeet longevity: How long does a parakeet live?
What influences Indian ringneck lifespan?
As mentioned in all the articles on parrot lifespan here at Psittacology, listing the average longevity of a species is one thing. Even more important, though, is making sure your parrot actually has a chance of achieving this age.
Unfortunately parrots are still a common impulse buy. This especially applies to Indian ringnecks, since their talking skills make them very tempting! There are many myths still out there about parrot care. Many new parrot owners don’t realize how much work and attention these birds require.
Let’s go into what you can do to increase the chances of your Indian ringneck parakeet living to 50.
When it comes to parrot care, it’s so important to mention diet. Many inexperienced new parrot owners don’t realize that their feathered friend needs more than just seeds to survive.
Indian ringnecks are herbivores that feed on a variety of foods in the wild. Cereal grains, nuts, legumes, berries, dates and farmers’ crops are just some examples.
In captivity, you should try to aim for an equally varied diet rather than just daily feedings of fatty seed mix. A high quality pellet food can be used as a staple. While seeds can definitely be a part of your parrot pantry, the bulk should consist of more natural options:
- Vegetables and leafy greens
- Fresh fruits
- Cooked grains (quinoa, whole wheat pasta, rice)
- Cooked legumes like lentils
- Foraged foods like edible garden flowers and grasses
For training purposes or if you just want to spoil your parrot, you can also keep chopped nuts (like almonds) or sunflower seeds on hand. Just don’t overdo it with these!
Tip: You should thoroughly research parrot diet before you take the plunge and add a bird to your family. You can read more in the parakeet diet guide.
One of the biggest silent killers of domestic parrots is obesity. As with humans, preventing this problem requires a two-sided approach. You shouldn’t just be feeding your Indian ringneck a varied and healthy diet, you should also be making sure it gets plenty of exercise.
Wild Indian ringnecks can fly many miles a day in search of suitable foraging grounds. They’re very active birds that rarely sit still!
Now compare this to a domestic parrot. Many of the unlucky ones spend their life in a small cage, some barely able to even properly stretch their wings. It’s no wonder so many of them perish due to fatty liver disease.
Keep your ringneck moving in order to keep it healthy. Make sure to:
- Provide a large cage.
- Allow plenty of out of cage time. That means multiple hours a day.
- Have plenty of toys in and out the cage and rotate them regularly.
- Use foraging toys and boxes to make your ringneck work for its food.
- Spend plenty of time training and working on tricks that involve movement.
Care & safety
Aside from diet and exercise to reduce the chances of obesity, there are of course a bunch of other things involved in caring for parrots like Indian ringnecks.
A big part is mental stimulation and avoiding stress. These social beings need lots of attention. They also require plenty of play, (foraging) toys, training and other activities to keep those super-smart brains occupied. Without this, an Indian ringneck can turn to self-mutilation, not to mention unwanted behaviors like excessive screaming.
Lastly, there’s general safety. Because parrots are so curious, they’re like little children, managing to find trouble around every corner in a human house. (Preventable) accidents are a big cause of death for domestic parrots.
Keep the following in mind and don’t forget to be ever vigilant:
- You should have a parrot first aid kit that includes the number for an avian vet as well as things like tweezers, blood clotting agent, gauze, disinfectant etc.
- Any room that your Indian ringneck has access to should be parrot-proofed. That means no open windows, no hot stoves or burning candles, no ceiling fans running, no toxic substances, no predatory pets (dogs, cats, ferrets) and more. Give this some good thought, because some items that are normal to you can quickly get your parrot in trouble.
- Always have an eye on your bird when it’s out of the cage. It’s so easy to step on a curious parrot that just wants a cuddle!
- Double-check any parrot toys for frayed edges, small loops and other dangers.
- Don’t use anything scented and/or aerosolized in your home: candles, incense, (essential) oils, perfume, deodorant. And, of course, no cigarettes, vapes or cigars near your bird!
- Don’t use items that emit polytetrafluoroethylene (PFTE) fumes: non-stick pans, self-cleaning ovens, space heaters, etc.
How old is my Indian ringneck?
If you got your Indian ringneck from a breeder, you generally know exactly how old the bird is. Even if the breeder didn’t tell you, your ringneck should have a leg band that provides more information about when the clutch hatched.
Things are a bit different if you got your Indian ringneck as a rescue of if this information was simply lost. So is there a way to figure out how old your bird is? Unfortunately, clues are very limited.
The one shot you have at gleaning some information about an Indian ringneck’s age is if it’s a male. Juvenile males (under around 2 years) will look like females, lacking the typical neck ring. There is also a stage of a few months where they’ll have an incomplete neck ring.
So if your ringneck is DNA sexed as male and doesn’t have a ring, that’s a good indication that it’s still young. Some females will develop a faint dark ring, but it’s often so subtle that it won’t tell you much. Bummer!
If you have any more questions about Indian ringneck lifespan or if you want to share your own experiences with these hilarious parrots, don’t hesitate to leave a comment below!
Senar, J. C., Arroyo, L., Ortega‐Segalerva, A., Carrillo, J. G., Tomás, X., Montalvo, T., & Sanz‐Aguilar, A. (2019). Estimating age‐dependent survival when juveniles resemble females: Invasive ring‐necked parakeets as an example. Ecology and evolution, 9(2), 891-898.