The Monk or Quaker Parakeet

An unexpected sight on the University of Bridgeport campus are the green monk parakeets. Natives of Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay, and central Bolivia, they have been imported into the United States as pets. It is often said that in the late 1960's, a container of parakeets was dropped and broke open at Kennedy Airport in New York. Several birds escaped and established wild populations in Long Island.  While there is no evidence to support this story, parakeets were imported into the United States as pets in the 1960's.  Most likely some of these did escape or were released into the wild when their owners found them to be undesirable pets.  These individuals have established colonies with populations reported from Branford to Norwalk.


On the U.B. campus, the parakeets nest in the white pine trees near Barnum Hall. The nests are large and made of sticks. One in the Black Rock section of Bridgeport measured 9 feet by 5 feet. Some nests in South America have been known to be as big as 15 to 20 cubic feet and weigh several hundred pounds. Within a nest, the nesting chamber is 7-9 inches in diameter and connected to the entrance hole by a short tunnel. The entrance hole is at the bottom or lower side of the nest. This is apparently effective protection against predators. A single nest can contain up to 12 nestlings, with the average being five to nine. Most nests are started by a single pair of birds. Over time, the nest is added to by other pairs of birds. It is thought that the additional nests are established by offspring of the original pair.

As students in Barnum Hall can attest, the parakeets are noisy. These social birds are constantly vocalizing with squawks and shrieks as they work. Studies have identified eleven different vocalizations with different meanings.

Many people are surpirsed that these parakeets can survive our harsh winters. However, though the birds are native to equatorial countries in South America, they come from mountainous areas. Also, their nests are well built to insulate them from the cold and enable them to keep warm with body heat.

Parakeet Classification


Eukaryotic, multicellular, heterotrophic living organisms capable of muscular movement.


Animals with a dorsal tubular nerve chord, notochord, pharyngeal gill slits, and post anal tail at some time in their life cycle.


Chordates in which the notochord has been replaced with a segmented backbone.

Class AVES

Warm-blooded vertebrates with the forelimbs modified as wings, a horny beak, and feathers covering the body. 






Monk Parakeets in North America

Institute for Biological Invasions

Monk Parakeets: Why here?  Connecticut Audubon

Perfessor Birdsley's Monk Parakeet and Birding Pages



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Last Updated: June 30, 2009