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17 Birds With Longest Lifespan (Longest & Shortest)

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Humans have clear signs of aging throughout their lives. Birds, on the other hand, have a more complicated relationship with age. It is often difficult to discern their ages based on appearance. Some birds are known for their long lifespans, while others live for shorter periods. Read on to see the lifespan of birds listed in terms of the longest and shortest lifespans.


Longest Bird Lifespans

Some of the longest bird life spans rival those of humans. There are stories of birds living for several hundreds of years. However, since that information is difficult to verify, scientists usually consider the oldest birds to be around 100 years old, at most. Birds often live longer in captivity, and it is easier to track age in that setting.

1. Sulfur Crested Cockatoo

A beautiful Sulfur Crested Cockatoo perched on a branch.

While the Sulfur-Crested Cockatoo, also known as Cacatua galerita, usually only lives for 20 to 40 years in the wild, some live upwards of 100 years in captivity. While reaching 100 years is still somewhat rare for these birds, 70 years is typical. These birds are native to Australia, New Guinea, and Indonesia.

2. Laysan Albatross

A flying Laysan Albatross.

In the wild, the Laysan Albatross, also known as Phoebastria immutabilis, lives for around 12 to 40 years. This Albatross can live for almost 70 years, even in the wild. Wisdom the Laysan Albatross holds the distinction as the oldest known wild bird at 70 years of age.

3. Black-Footed Albatross

A beautiful Black-Footed Albatross swimming in water.

The oldest Black-Footed Albatross lived for 60 years and 11 months. Also known as Phoebastria nigripes, these birds usually live around 12 to 40 years. However, many wild birds may live for more than 50 years regularly. Since these birds do not do well in captivity, there is little data about how they do in a controlled environment.

4. Chilean Flamingo

A bunch of beautiful Chilean Flamingos in shallow water.

On average, this bird lives for between 40 and 50 years, though some may live for 70 years. The Chilean Flamingo, also known as Phoenicopterus chilensis, does sometimes have a shorter lifespan in captivity compared to in the wild.

5. Blue and Yellow Macaw

Three beautiful Blue and Yellow Macaws perched on a branch.

The Blue and Yellow Macaw, also known as Ara ararauna, can live for more than 70 years. Some may live longer than 100 years in captivity. In the wild, these birds live for around 35 years.

6. Andean Condor

A flying Andean Condor.

Andean Condors, also known as Vultur gryphus, have a fairly mysterious lifespan. Based on the data we have, this beautiful bird can live to around 80 years of age in captivity. Their estimated lifespan in the wild is 50 years.

7. Greater Flamingo

A tall Greater Flamingo walking in shallow water.

The Greater Flamingo, also known as Phoenicopterus roseus, is the largest flamingo species. These birds often live between 20 and 30 years in the wild, with some living up to 50 years. One member of this species is confirmed to have reached 83 years of age.

8. Major Mitchell’s Cockatoo

An adorable Major Mitchell’s Cockatoo perched on a branch.

Major Mitchell’s Cockatoo, also known as Lophochroa leadbeateri, is a bird known for its long lifespan. In the wild, these birds can live for between 40 and 60 years. In a controlled captivity environment, many members of this species survive into their 80s. Cookie, a Cockatoo near Chicago, Illinois lived for around 83 years old.

9. Greenwing Macaw

A beautiful, colorful Greenwing Macaw perched on a branch.

A Greenwing Macaw, also known as Ara chloropterus, can live anywhere between 60 and 80 years. However, they can live longer under the right conditions. Most birds in this species live for between 60 and 65 years. They often live longer in captivity than they do in the wild.

Shortest bird lifespans

On average, birds can live for an average of 52 years. While that may sound like a lot, when we take the aforementioned long-lived birds into account, it follows that there must be shorter-lived birds to bring down that average. Keep in mind that average lifespans usually include early bird deaths, which are quite common in the Aves Class.

10. Ruby-Throated Hummingbird

A beautiful flying Ruby-Throated Hummingbird.

The Ruby-Throated Hummingbird, also known as Archilochus colubris, has the shortest known lifespan of any bird. These North America-based avians live for between three and five years on average. The oldest known bird of this species lived for six years and 11 months.

11. Buttonquail

An adorable Buttonquail standing on a rock.

The oldest known Buttonquail lived for 13 years in captivity. However, most birds in this group live between five and seven birds. Buttonquail does not all belong to a single species. Some are part of the Turnix Genus, while others are Ortyxelos.

12. Yellow Warbler

A beautiful Yellow Warbler perched on a thin branch.

Warblers are known as some of the shortest-lived creatures in the bird world. The Yellow Warbler, also known as Setophaga petechia, can live for a maximum of 10 years. The average lifespan is closer to six years.

13. Budgerigar

A bunch of beautiful Budgerigars perched on branches.

There are several different types of parakeets and some can live for a few decades. The Budgerigar, also known as Melopsittacus undulatus, is the shortest-lived parakeet with a lifespan between five and eight years. As with many birds, these colorful avians can live for up to 12 years in captivity.

14. Domestic Canary

An adorable Domestic Canary perched on a branch.

The Domestic Canary, also known as Serinus canaria domestica, can live anywhere between five and 12 years in captivity. They can live a few years longer in the wild, differing from many birds.

15. Rock Dove

A beautiful Rock Dove standing on the ground on a sunny day.

Rock Doves, known colloquially as pigeons and scientifically as Columbia livia also has a domestic branch known as Columbia livia domestica. These two types of Rock Doves can have some significant variance in lifespan. In captivity, the domestic variety can live for up to 30 years. However, in the wild, 15 years is usually the highest age reached by Rock Doves. The average lifespan is six years.

16. Lovebird

An adorable Lovebird perched on a branch.

In the wild, Lovebirds, also known as Agapornis roseicollis, do not typically live longer than five years. These birds usually live longer in captivity, often reaching ages between 10 and 15 years. To reach their highest possible age range, lovebirds do best with a companion.

17. Guinea Fowl

An adorable Guinea Fowl standing on a wooden fence.

The Guinea Fowl, also known as Numididae, can live between 10 and 15 years. There can be some variance depending on specific species. Some of these birds only live for three years, while others live for almost 20 years.

Frequently Asked Questions

How Are Bird Lifespans Estimated?

While determining a bird’s exact age can be difficult, several variables can aid estimations of a bird’s age. Ornithologists consider factors, such as body size, amount of offspring, length of adolescence, and habitat. Often birds with large body sizes, a small amount of offspring, long adolescence, and tree-based habitat live longer than other birds.
It is essential to note that lifespan estimations usually take the whole range of lifespans into account. Birds of the same species will play into the data, whether they live for one year or 80. The resulting average lifespan is often lower than the longest-lived members of a species.

Which Bird Has the Longest Lifespan?

The bird with the longest known lifespan is the Major Mitchell’s Cockatoo. While these birds can live between 40 and 60 years old in the wild, they can live for 80 years in captivity.

What Is the Lifespan of Birds?

While there are reports of birds living longer than 100 years, most birds have a lifespan somewhere between four and 100 years. There is an average lifespan for birds of 52 years.

What Bird Can Live Up to 200 Years?

While there are reports of birds living for up to 200 years, it is difficult to confirm those claims. To properly gauge a bird’s lifespan, you must be able to track an individual bird from hatching to death. Since this data is hard to gather, confirmation of a 200-year-old bird is unlikely.

Which Bird Has the Shortest Lifespan?

The birds with the shortest lifespan are Ruby-Throated Hummingbirds. These tiny birds live for around four years. However, many deaths occur in this species in the first year of life.

Final Thoughts

Birds come in all shapes and sizes. Therefore, it makes sense they live for a wide range of time, depending on their species. Understanding bird ages can be tough compared to other animals. However, scientists are learning more about these fascinating creatures every day.

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