One Third of All Parrot Species are Endangered

One third of all parrot species are at risk for global extinction1, and millions of birds become more endangered each year as a result of poaching and deforestation. Yet, few of us make the link between parrots’ threatened status in the wild and their popularity as pets. Parrots are the fourth most popular pet behind fish, dogs, and cats; their demand and high price tag further exacerbate poaching for the pet trade.

While parrot populations continue to dwindle in the wild, many birds in captivity suffer from isolation and neglect, or end up abandoned because their needs are just too demanding for most people. Many outlive their owners since they have extremely long lifespans. With the majority of sanctuaries now over capacity, the fate of unwanted parrots is uncertain and tragic.

So why is protecting parrots important? We like to think of them as an “umbrella species.” Their winged bodies allow them to cover huge swaths of rainforest – more than any other animal. To protect birds, you have to conserve large habitats with a lot of biodiversity. In other words, when you conserve parrots, you inevitably protect everything else that lives in the forest. Learn more about how parrots fit into the big picture.

The demand for pet parrots fuels their extinction in the wild. Learn more.


  1. Collar, N. J., Crosby, M.J., and Stattersfield, A.J. “Birds to Watch 2: The World List of Threatened Birds.” Birdlife International. Cambridge, 1994. July 14, 2013.