Monk Parakeet (Myiopsitta monachus)

Monk Parakeet


The monk parakeet (Myiopsitta monachus), also known as the Quaker parrot, is a species of true parrot in the family Psittacidae. It is a small, bright-green parrot with a greyish breast and greenish-yellow abdomen. Its average lifespan is 20–30 years. It originates from the temperate to subtropical areas of Argentina and the surrounding countries in South America. Self-sustaining feral populations occur in many places, mainly in North America and Europe.

Distribution And Habitat

The Monk Parakeet is native to south-central South America, and in the West Indies it has been introduced to Puerto Rico, the Cayman Islands, Guadeloupe, and The Bahamas (Raffaele and others 1998), as well in major cities of North America and Europe (del Hoyo and others 2013). In Puerto Rico, it is a common resident along the coastal plain and urban areas (Falcón and Tremblay 2018) and can be found in coastal habitats and palm groves (Raffaele and others 1998), farms, gardens, and city parks (Oberle 2018). The atlas fieldwork yielded a total of 76 records within 60 hexagons or 13 percent of the 479 total hexagons (see map). Of the 60 hexagons where this species was found, breeding met the atlas definition of confirmed in 28 percent (17) of the hexagons, probable in 32 percent (19), and possible in 37 percent (22), while the species was observed in 3 percent (2) of the hexagons but without evidence of breeding (see map).Monk Parakeet distribution. The map shows the highest breeding code by hexagon and overlaying the ecological life zones in Puerto Rico. Note: percentages may not total 100 due to rounding. 187Monk Parakeet/Perico Monje

Monk Parakeet Distribution

Breeding Habits

The Monk Parakeet builds a large communal nest made of sticks, often placed at the base of palm fronds (Oberle 2018, Raffaele and others 1998). Atlas results show that this species breeds throughout the year with the most breeding activity from March to May (see chart). Overall, the breeding activity peaks during April and May, and it mostly takes place within the subtropical moist forest life zone (see chart). Results (see table and map) show that this species breeds mostly within the subtropical moist forest life zone (78 percent of the hexagons) and also within the subtropical dry forest life zone (22 percent of the hexagons).


The current global population trend of the Monk Parakeet has not been quantified or assessed, but the species is described as common and common to abundant (del Hoyo and others 2013, Stotz and others 1996), and the population is suspected to be increasing due to the creation of new suitable habitat (del Hoyo and others 2013). This species is currently listed as a species of least concern by the IUCN (BirdLife International 2018). The parakeet has been increasing in numbers in Puerto Rico and has expanded it range from the urban locations where originally introduced (Falcón and Tremblay 2018). Locally, this species is not listed in any of the threatened categories of PRDNER and USFWS. In Puerto Rico, the Monk Parakeet has a protected habitat in land of 10 percent or 141 km2 of the total area covered by the hexagons where evidence of breeding was found for this species (1387 km2).