The Parakeets of London

The Greater London area is home to thousands of parakeets. The population of feral ring-necked parakeets has grown from hundreds back in the 1980s to more than 30,000 according to the last count in 2012. The birds, native to Africa and India, are generalist feeders and seem to be well adapted to the urban settings and colder climate of southern England. The origins of the London parakeet population remain a bit mysterious, and a few popular theories exist—that Jimi Hendrix released a mating pair in the 1960s, for example, or that a flock escaped from a set during the filming of the Humphrey Bogart movie The African Queen, or possibly that a storm damaged several aviaries in the 1980s. The parakeet’s impact on local species is still not fully understood, and studies are ongoing.

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