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can parrots Swim in water?

Can Parrots Drown in Water?

(Last Updated On: June 10, 2023)

Wild parrots spend little time in bodies of water, which means they never evolved to breathe underwater and will drown if unable to keep their heads above the surface. They prefer rainwater to stay clean.

Parrots have limited swimming capability. Initially, they may float in the water due to their hollow, lightweight skeletons and ability to puff the feathers to improve buoyancy.

If a parrot needs to traverse a body of water, and flying over it isn’t an option, it can swim short distances by flapping its wings as though flying, using whatever force it can generate to propel the body forward.

Parrots that spend too much time in deep water will eventually grow exhausted and could drown.

Are Parrots Scared of Water?

A parrot’s relationship with water largely depends on its past experiences. While some parrot species, most notably the Electus, are fond of water, other bird species are far more apprehensive.

According to Applied Animal Behavior Science, a parrot exposed to water early in life is less likely to be frightened, especially if the experience is enjoyable and broadly positive.

Parrots have long memories. If they had a bad experience with water, they could be deterred for life. Parrots recall information in their long-term memory if it’s crucial to survival.

If you adopt a young parrot, observe how it reacts to a water dish. If the parrot plays in the water, splashing and washing enthusiastically, this suggests the bird has no aversion to water.

can parrots float on water?

Can Parrots Float on Water?

Most species can float in calm or still water if they’re a healthy weight and can puff up their feathers. Heavy, elderly, and less healthy parrots will likely struggle to stay afloat.

According to the Proceedings of the Royal Society, all birds have hollow, lightweight skeletons for flight. A parrot’s bones are light enough to avoid sinking in water, at least initially.

Parrots fluff their feathers, which traps air between the skin and feathers, increasing buoyancy. However, the feathers will eventually become waterlogged and heavy, sapping the bird’s energy.

Can Parrots Swim in Water?

Parrots aren’t aquatic birds, so their anatomy never evolved to be capable swimmers like seagulls and herons. Some parrots like to play in the water by splashing and wading, but others prefer to remain dry.

This means the answer to “Do parrots like to swim” is no. While parrots can move across a body of water for a short time, they’ll usually only do so if it’s essential to survival.

Parrots don’t swim in deep water for recreation or exercise like dogs.

How Do Parrots Swim?

A parrot’s attempts to swim will be active but limited in effectiveness.

Placed in water too deep to wade, a parrot will flap its wings as if flying, which propels the bird through the water. Then, a parrot will use its feet to change direction if necessary.

Larger parrots rely more on their wings. For example, macaws are the strongest swimmers in the parrot family due to their extensive wingspan, meaning they can cover more ground with a single stroke.

Like the doggy paddle, smaller parrots rely more on kicking their legs to generate forward momentum.

Why Are Parrots Poor Swimmers?

Parrots never evolved to spend prolonged time in the water, so they lack the anatomy required to swim well, especially for extended periods.

Parrots spend little time in the water, showering to stay clean and cooling off when hot. Parrots may stand in shallow water when overheating because heat is released through their unfeathered feet.

Parrots have zygodactyl feet, which means they have 4 toes – 2 pointing forward and 2 backward. These small feet aren’t engineered for swimming like the webbed toes of ducks or swans.

how long does it take for a parrot to drown?

Can Parrots Breathe Underwater?

Parrots breathe oxygen and dispel carbon dioxide faster than mammals and humans. This enables them to breathe efficiently at high altitudes with more limited oxygen.

The flip side is that parrots can’t breathe underwater because they can’t access oxygen from the water. After all, parrots don’t have gills like fish.

The answer to “Can parrots swim underwater?” is also no. As parrots rely on their wings to propel themselves through the water’s surface, underwater movement is impossible.

If a parrot ceases floating by accident or design, it doesn’t mean it’ll be immediately fatal.

Parrots can hold their breath while underwater for a short time, but this isn’t a long-term solution because they must keep their head above water as much as possible. It’s a last-ditch survival attempt.

How Long Can Parrots Hold Their Breath Underwater?

If a parrot starts to sink underwater, it’ll take a deep breath and store as much oxygen as possible in its lungs and air sacs. How long a parrot can hold its breath underwater is species-specific.

Larger parrots have more air capacity, meaning they can remain underwater for 1-2 minutes. Smaller birds, or those with respiratory health conditions, can only do so for 30-60 seconds.

Wild parrots rarely consider fish part of their natural diet, so they haven’t evolved to spend prolonged periods underwater. A parrot doesn’t need to dunk itself underwater to find food sources.

How Long Does It Take A Parrot To Drown?

Parrots are always at risk of drowning if they find themselves underwater or in deep water.

The parrot will eventually run out of oxygen in its lungs and air sacs, be unable to breathe, and find its feathers too waterlogged (and heavy) to escape this life-threatening predicament.

Parrots must wash regularly. Wild parrots use rainfall for this purpose, stretching their wings until saturated. This removes dirt, debris, and dander from the parrot’s feathers.

Most adult parrots look forward to a shower and consider it a social activity. Pet birds also enjoy bathing. Just ensure the water isn’t deep so a parrot can get a secure footing while washing and preening.

Water and parrots aren’t natural bedfellows, so treat aquatic experiences cautiously. While parrots need to wash or shower to remain clean, they can drown if exposed to deep water.