Why Quaker Parrots are Illegal? (4 Reasons)

Last Updated on November 8, 2023 by Ali Shahid

Quaker parrots are highly intelligent, talkative, and comical parrots. They are affordable, easily available, and can provide companionship for 20 years or more. With all these characteristics in mind, you may be considering owning a Quaker parrot. Unfortunately, Quaker parrots are illegal in some states. But the question is: Why Quaker parrots are illegal?

Quaker parrots are illegal because they attack crops, compete with local bird species, and cause power outages as well as health risks. They are highly prolific, adaptable, and build large colonies. Because of these qualities, they are called invasive species in many states.

An increase in the number of Quaker parrots in a particular area will eventually disrupt the food chain. In addition, there are feral populations of Quaker parrots in various states, with the Austin Monk Parakeet being the most famous.

Hence, you should know your state’s position on Quaker parrots before you purchase one. Learn what a Quaker parakeet is, why some states consider them illegal pets, and important considerations before you get one.

4 Reasons Why Quaker Parrots are illegal

Quaker parrots, also known as Quaker parakeets, are small, highly intelligent, and highly social birds. The fact that they are excellent talkers, have a humorous personality and have a long lifespan makes them very popular with bird lovers.

Nevertheless, with such exceptional qualities, why would some states label Quaker parrots as illegal? Here are 4 reasons:

1. Destroying Crops

The Quaker Parrot has been outlawed or restricted in many states due to its perceived threat to agriculture. The number of these birds increases rapidly. Within 24 days, they hatch five to 12 eggs. A breeding couple may produce up to six clutches per year.

That is why Quakers can damage fruit or grain crops with their large flocks. It is estimated that in South America, quaker parrots consume pears, peaches, corn, and apples, posing a threat to local farms.

There are even some reports that indicate the Quaker parrot consumes between 2 percent and 15 percent of the country’s crops. 

There have been instances in which the percentage has reached 45 percent. These birds consume fruits such as cherries, grapes, corn, and pears in the United States.

2. Safety factors and Noise Pollution

A Quaker parrot is the only parrot that builds communal nests. Sometimes, these communal nests reach the size of a car, weighing so much that their supporting structures collapse. Trees, steeples, power poles, and radio towers have been found with nests.

During 2001, 1,027 power outages caused by these nests cost Florida $585,000. According to estimates, Florida spent between 1.3 million and 4.7 million dollars removing nests between 2003 and 2007.

There is a substantial amount of noise created by large flocks of Quakers, disrupting the lives of other residents.

3. Health Concerns

Quaker parrots can carry a disease called psittacosis that can be transmitted to humans. The number of cases reported annually ranges from 100 to 200. It can cause a dry cough, fatigue, joint, and muscle pain, as well as headaches.

In most cases, antibiotics are effective in treating the disease, and it is rarely fatal. Two other diseases can be spread by the Quaker parrot, Newcastle disease and Exotic Newcastle disease. Native birds and poultry can die from these diseases.

4. Competing Native Birds

They are territorial and aggressive, so they keep native birds from getting enough food. Occasionally, small birds are killed so that they can no longer access feeding areas including bird feeders and grain fields.

It is believed that quaker parrots will dramatically reduce the population of native bird species if allowed to multiply.

Feral Quaker Parrot Population in the US

The Quaker Parrot is indigenous to a small region of South America. However, as they are so adaptable, they are also found in Brazil, Mexico, Europe, and Spain.

There are some countries, such as Spain, that have made ownership of them illegal, so it is reasonable to assume that the United States has similar laws. Unlike most wild parrots in America, Quakers are capable of surviving in colder climates.

Several American cities, including New York City, Chicago, Kentucky, Texas, Massachusetts, Connecticut, Washington, and New Jersey, have small colonies.

States Where Quaker Parrots are Illegal
Colorado (unless owned before 1990)
Rhode Island
States Where Quaker parrots are Legal
South Dakota
New Hampshire
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
North Carolina
North Dakota


Several places in the United States and around the world consider Quaker parrots as invasive species, primarily because of their adaptability. As their numbers grow, they consume native bird food and destroy crops.

Additionally, the large nests they build can pose a danger to structures, particularly in urban areas. If there are hundreds or even thousands of them, they can become quite noisy.

Thus, even though these parrots are extremely popular, they may be restricted in some areas. Before purchasing a Quaker parrot, it is recommended that you check with your local authorities.

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