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Wild parakeets living in Amsterdam

Posted on Jan 30, 2013 by

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Among the first strange things I noticed when moving to Amsterdam (yes, there were a few) was a green parrot, nesting in the large tree which stood in the backyard. Bear in mind it was the middle of winter, so I was really surprised about how that small exotic bird could live outside during such weather; but the bird itself appeared to be quite happy. Over the next few days, I noticed that it also had some… family and friends — there were actually five parrots living in that tree! Then I recalled an article that I had read in the newspaper about the increasing number of wild parakeets living in the UK, and I thought that it could be the same situation in the Netherlands as they were quite close after all (not surprisingly, the story turned up indeed to be the same). After a while, I got used to seeing green parakeets (this seems to be the right name, and not “parrots”) in trees all over the city. Once I even saw two or maybe three large flocks flying over the canals and fighting about something — maybe nesting spots, who knows?

How come there are green parakeets in Amsterdam, you would ask?

I did a bit of an investigation and found out that the first group of parakeets living in Amsterdam was observed in 1976, and it is thought they were the descendants of pets set free by their owners.

Since then, these birds which have their origins in India and Sub-Saharan Africa have grown in number — over 3,000 in Amsterdam and 10,000 in all of the Netherlands — flourishing throughout the country. They are very adaptable and don’t have any trouble finding food and shelter in the (not so) cold Dutch winter, and actually thrive all over western Europe, especially in Belgium and the UK. Specialists there are even afraid that the parakeets could pose an ecological threat to local bird species, because of their competition for food and nesting locations.

I will let them worry about the ecological issues while I continue to admire the beautiful, noisy green birds whenever I get the chance — as I did with this guy who was eating acacia flowers right in front of my window. And I will wait for the day when they will speak something to me, as both male and female of this species are known to have the ability to mimic human speech 🙂

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  1. i have recently moved to the neatherlands (rotterdam).
    a couple of days ago i saw a green parrot on the back fence eating some berrys. i thought it was strange to see a parrot in the wild in this part of the world but put it down to maybee it belongs to someone and has escaped.
    then today i noticed one fly past the front window so i got up to look and there was four sat in a tree across the street. surley four hadnt escaped?
    so i came online to investigate and to my surprise its not uncommen to see these what i have now read are green parakeets in this part of the world.
    what a nice bird to look at.


    • Yes, they live happily in the Netherlands; and they really are beautiful. Even after few years, I’m still amazed to see these birds around the city, eating berries and flowers 🙂

  2. Wow wow wow! Now I HAVE to visit Amsterdam! Never knew they could live outside southern Europe…

  3. I amdr fromlran my name farhadwe have alotof these birds in tehran

  4. Just to be clear these parakeets weren’t here before aprox. 2010.

    Then they were here with a few hunderd localy in Amsterdam. They all lived together in the few parks. From that year onwards they spread out over the city and started to migrate inside the Randstaf metropolis.

    You won’t really find them outside of the city because they haven’t migrated that far. So they only live near the metropolis Randstad.

    • Sorry to have to break this to you Daan but They wake me up outside my window in EIndhoven. They love my sunflower plant

      • That can be annoying. But I stay true to my opinion: they are beautiful birds! 🙂

    • Daantje, now that we’ve arrived in June 2019, these green parakeets, or parrots, live in Utrecht as well. There’s a small colony behind my home, where large leafy trees are growing and my neighbor has a cherry tree in the garden, close to mine at the far corner. From where I sit I can look out through the large window and watch them fly, play, eat and most of all….
      chirp their hearts out. They’re intelligent, for yesterday one was eating cherries in the tree, while I watched it and it stopped, turned its head sideways and looked at me for a couple of seconds. I love to see them fly and eat while holding a cherry with one of their feet, pecking away at it.

  5. This is an Alexandrine Parakeet, indigenous to India, perhaps to Africa.

  6. On a holiday in Rotterdam where we stay on a boat in the canal we saw about ten parakits living in the trees along the canal. They was very nice but make a lot of noise. I heard that they was very common here.

  7. I have lived in Den Haag since 2011 and Parakeets were already common to see. I believe Den Haag has the most Parakeets of any Dutch city (5000 in 2014) but you will find them also in the suburbs and any large city in Holland. I don’t mind the noise, they are fun to watch!


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