Free-flying parrots have been documented in California since the 1960's. Learn more about them and the research project that observes them . . .

The present natural distribution of parrots includes the southern continents -- exclusive of Antarctica, of course -- and most of the tropical and subtropical regions of the northern hemisphere.  Only one species ever bred regularly within the United States (the extinct Carolina Parakeet); several others reach the northern edge of their ranges just south of the U. S. Nevertheless, parrots are an increasingly familiar sight in many urban areas in the southern United States, having become established from escaped or released birds that were imported for the pet trade. 




The California Parrot Project was born from the recognition that parrots are now an important component of our urban avifaunas in many parts of the state, and the populations they have established are deserving of monitoring and in-depth ecological study. The first step in monitoring is accurate identification, so we provide hints on distinguishing the genera and species in the field. We also present basic information on distribution, habitat use, and population sizes, but we are fully aware that (with your help) we will continually refine and augment this information.





We recognize that, as non-native species, parrots in California are scorned by some and ignored by many.  We take no position on the desirability of maintaining parrot populations in the state (nor those of introduced eucalyptus, palms, trout or turkeys). Parrots are symptomatic of the expansion of urban habitats dominated by non-native plants; they also illustrate the capacity of humans to move wildlife around the planet for economic, social or aesthetic reasons.  They are here, for better or worse, and continue to pose interesting biological questions.
  Kimball L. Garrett
Ornithology Collections Manager
Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County

In affiliation with the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County and
in cooperation with the Pasadena Audubon Society

The image at the top of this page is a composite photo and has been specifically designed to show some of the parrot species
found in California. All other photographs within this website are original photographs and have not been modified.

2000 - 2010 California Parrot Project. All rights reserved.