The parrots, the noisy parrots that colonize European cities, cause considerable problems

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Parrots
In Italy, for years, large communities live in the capital, as well as in Puglia and other Italian regions, causing many problems for farmers.
Daniel Ingemi Daniel Ingemi 5 minutes

Now we can talk about a real invasion that affects a large part of Europe. In our cities, there is no park or green area that is not inhabited by groups of parrots, see the example of Rome.

We are talking about Monk parrots (Myiopsitta monachus) and from a ringed parakeets (Psitaccula krameri). Just a few months ago, last summer, in Puglia, in the area from Molfetta to Bari, there was a real invasion of these parrots, feeding on fruits such as apricots and cherries, but also on almonds, beans and peas, causing considerable economic damage local farmers.

But how did they colonize European cities?

It’s still not clear. However, according to many ornithologists, climate change with an increase in average temperatures and longer heat waves, made them permanent in many areas of southern Europe.

In Italy, large communities have been living in the capital for years, as well as in Puglia and other Italian regions, causing many problems for farmers, with orchards completely devastated by their raids.

It is no coincidence that Europe already banned the planting of parakeets throughout its territory in 2007. A 2016 study estimated 85,000 specimens in Europe with 90 breeding populations, thirty of which in Italy alone, totaling over 9,000 specimens.

The problem is mainly concentrated in southern countries where the climate is warmer, but the 2016 census revealed that Significant communities are also found in France, Italy, the Netherlands and the United Kingdom.

The arrival of parrots has serious effects on the local fauna. This is because these colorful birds tend to nest in every tree hollow in our urban centres, competing with native species. such as the common tit (Sitta europaea), the great woodpecker (Dendrocopos major) and the common plover (Otus scops).

Where do these birds come from?

Originally from the southeastern part of South America, the monk parakeet is, along with the collared parakeet, the only parrot species permanently breeding in Italy, although it is an invasive exotic species.

Parrots
It is estimated that in the Mediterranean, the number of parrots could double within five years, causing increasingly significant damage, especially to crops. Photo credit Wikipedia.

Small, around 20-30 cm, it is a social, sociable and sedentary bird. Its diet ranges from seeds, herbs and fruits to larvae and insects. The monk is the only parrot that builds large collective nests, real condominiums, where many pairs find accommodation. They build them by weaving and folding twigs until they form a compact mass that can exceed a meter in diameter.

How many are there really?

We don’t have certain data, but according to the study it would Piero Genovesi, head of Ispra’s wildlife coordination service and one of the leading experts on alien species. “In Italy, one of the most recent estimates speaks of 15,000 individuals, present in at least twelve regions, and in six of them the population is capable of reproduction.“.

It is estimated that in the Mediterranean, the number of parrots could double within five years, causing increasingly significant damage, especially to crops. “This has already happened in other countries, for example in Israel, where sunflower seeds and cereals suffered serious losses. It will happen here too,” he continued Genoese.



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