Parrots are very long-lived, sometimes becoming septuagenarian or even octogenarian. In animals, their lifespan is usually associated with a larger body size, but parrots often live as long as larger birds and live much longer than birds of the same size.
So why do parrots live so long? They are already known for their imitation abilities and wonderful colors. Does any of this have anything to do with their longevity?
It seems that their long life may be due to another of their most famous traits: their impressive intelligence, a March 2022 study in the journal. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences found.
In general, birds tend to live much longer than mammals of the same size. “This is probably because they can fly and escape from predators,” unlike Earth-bound mammals, said lead researcher Simeon Smeele, an evolutionary ecologist at the Max Planck Institute for Animal Behavior in Radolfzell, Germany. “For example, cockatoos can live up to 70 to 80 years in extreme cases, but weigh only 700 to 1,000 grams. [1.5 to 2.2 pounds]. Humans weigh 100 times more, but they live longer than a few decades. ”
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Parrots, on the other hand, have an unusual time for birds. For example, the American robin (Turdus migratorius), One of the most common birds in North America, lives on average for only two years, a parrot known as a pink-faced lover (Agapornis roseicollis) “It lives an average of eight years, but is considerably smaller than the robin,” Smeel said.
The longest flowers live 20 to 30 years on average. “There are other birds that can do that, but they’re much bigger,” Smeel said. “For example, a flamingo weighs four times as much as a parrot with the longest life, but it has the same lifespan.”
(Such average life expectancy does not indicate maximum life expectancy. “If they spend the first year, robins, flamingos and parrots can live much longer,” Smeel said).
Previous research he suggested that duration is related to brain size in many animals, perhaps because larger brains helped them find food or escape threats. Although parrots are known for their longevity and complex behavior, their brain and body size ratios are comparable to those seen in primates, it was not clear whether the two traits affected each other. The lack of life expectancy data on large numbers of parrots is due to the fact that it has made it difficult for scientists to account for what could have caused the survival of the group.
In the study, researchers teamed up with the non-profit wildlife conservation group Species360 to collect data from more than 130,000 individual parrots at more than 1,000 zoos around the world. This database helped them make reliable first estimates of the average lifespan of 217 parrot species, representing more than half of all known species.
The findings revealed a great deal of diversity in the parrot’s life expectancy for the average two-year-old fig parrot (a group of two genera: Cyclopsitta and Psittaculirostris) up to 30 years for the average red carp (Ara Macao). Other long-lived species include sulfur cockatoo (Cockatoo gallery) Australian, who lives an average of 25 years.
Having a relatively large brain was constantly linked to parrots ’higher life expectancy, the team found. This suggests that intelligent birds can better solve problems in the wild by helping them enjoy a longer life.
“It really suggests that a bigger brain can help you live longer,” Smeel said.
One alternative option for the researchers was that they need more time to grow relatively large brains, and therefore need a longer life. However, the researchers found no link between duration and developmental time or related parental investment.
“I would expect parental care to be much more important,” Smeel said. In contrast, in primates, the costs required to develop a large brain are related to duration, he noted.
In the future, scientists want to see more social parrots with larger brains and longer lives. “We believe that species that live in complex groups can learn a lot of skills: how to feed, how to dominate, etc., but this learning would take a lot of time and brain,” Smeel said.
Smeel warns: “It would be tempting to say that intelligent people also live longer, but that may not be the case. A larger brain actually burns more energy, which could be potentially harmful. This has been shown in guppies, where larger individuals of the same species live shorter. were”.
Originally published in Live Science.