Ring necked parakeet Psittacula krameri, London

History in the UK

Parakeets have been popular pets since the Victorian times, and inevitably, many birds have escaped or been deliberately released over the years.

Thriving in the UK

Despite their tropical origin, the parakeets are fully able to cope with the cold British winters, especially in suburban parks, large gardens and orchards, where food supply is more reliable. 

Despite good numbers of parakeets living in the wild for a long time, and apart from an isolated incidence in Norfolk in 1855, they only started to breed in 1969 in Kent, south-east of London. Since then the population has steadily increased, with 8600 pairs recorded in the summer, and is still growing. 

Even though Greater London and surrounding areas is still its stronghold, the species has been recorded in almost every county in England, and has reached Wales and the Scottish borders.

Ring necked parakeet Psittacula krameri, London

Problems

They are sometimes loved and sometimes hated as garden visitors. There are concerns of how they may affect our native fauna, and of their impact on fruit-growers. 

As yet, there has been no problem either way, but as their numbers increase, they may become a problem in the future. 

Despite being an introduced species, the ring-necked parakeet is protected in the wild under the Wildlife and Countryside Act. However, it may be killed or taken under the terms of some General Licences. It is illegal to release or allow them to escape into the wild.

Ring necked parakeet Psittacula krameri, London