L'actualité de la Nature

The invasion of the ring-necked parakeet

Perruche à  collier - Paris © Gilles Carcassès
Ring-necked parakeet – Jardin des plantes in Paris © Gilles Carcassès

In Spring 2015, we told you about the ring-necked parakeet in Cergy-Pontoise. This exotic invasive species has not stopped increasing in numbers in France. Here is the map of observations in 2016 published by the website « Oiseaux des Jardins ».

Observations en France de la perruche à  collier - 2016 (oiseauxdesjardins.fr)

The big red spot in Ile-de-France corresponds to the descendants of birds which escaped from containers, due to accidents at Orly and Roissy airports, in the 1970s and 1990s. You might have also come across the ring-necked parakeet at some of your holiday destinations.

A very detailed report established by the specialists of the National Natural History Museum for the managers of Sceaux park shows the distribution of these birds in 150 districts of Ile-de-France.

observations de la perruche à  collier dans 150 communes, dans la période 2010- 2014 (source MNHN)
Observations of the ring-necked parakeet in 150 districts, in the period 2010 – 2014 (MNHN source)

The researchers have shown the exponential growth in this population in Ile-de-France which must now exceed 5000 individuals, at more than 50 sites of reproduction. These birds cause damage in some orchards of private individuals in towns, because they are fond of cherries and apples. They cause a nuisance especially where they gather to sleep in huge number. At Massy, residents, infuriated by the droppings and noise, have asked for the pruning of the trees forming the dormitory. (3500 parrots !)

The parakeets fight for the nests of other cavernicolous birds : the columbian pigeons, the starling, the nuthatch. We note an aggressive behavior towards the red squirrel. But our adorable squirrel doesn’t seem to be that innocent: the parakeets are only defending themselves by chasing away the egg thief !

Where can such parakeets be seen in Cergy-Pontoise ? The big plane trees in the park of Maubuisson Abbey at Saint-Ouen l’Aumône welcome them by the dozen. Let yourself be guided by their strident calls…