How Far Can Parrots Fly?

Different parrots have distinct weights, wingspans, habitats as well as habits, and metabolism rates. And so, all parrots have unique flight patterns and consequently, discrete travel ranges. Unlike wild parrots, a caged bird will likely lack expert flying stamina.

Which is why

A parrot may fly from 2 miles to as far as 300 miles a day.

In this article you’re going to discover the following –

  • How far can parrots fly in a day?
  • How fast can parrots fly?
  • How high can a parrot fly?
  • Will parrots fly away if they ever escape?
  • Tips on how to stop your parrot from flying away
  • What to do if a parrot escapes?

So if you’re interested in learning all about parrots flying and what to do if your parrot has escaped then you’re going to love this article!

Sound good?

Let’s get started!

How Far Can Parrots Fly In a Day?

On average, parrots can fly about 30 miles a day.

The distance covered by a parrot is determined by various factors, most prominently:

1. Size and Metabolism Rates

Parrots range in size from love birds of 50 grams to Hyacinth macaws of 2kg.

The vast diversity is also represented in their wingspans. Despite having higher metabolic rates and flaps per minute

Smaller parrots usually travel less distance than larger ones.


Because larger parrots have relatively broader feathers and thereby, longer strides.

It’s just like, no matter how fast a toddler runs, an adult of 6 feet will still outrun him. 

For instance, thick-billed parrots of 360 grams may travel 80 miles in a single flight.

Compared to these, cockatoos are twice as large but can travel up to 120 miles in a single stride. 

2. Foraging Habits And Habitat

Birds that stop more often to forage will likely cover less distance.


Parrots living in harsh conditions may have to travel more to search for food.

For instance, Indian Ringneck Parakeets feed only 4-8 times while traveling about 10-20 miles in a single day.

In contrast, Macaws forage 20-30 times a day while covering up to 100 miles.

3. Nurture

Birds start flapping their wings as early as 2 weeks, thereby, preparing their muscles for the struggle.

However, birds in captivity do not get to practice flying as much. 

Caged parrots cannot fly as much as wild parrots of the same kind.

For example, a wild cocktail can travel up to 43 miles a day.

Meanwhile, a captive cocktail may cover about 7-10 miles at most. 

4. Age

An inexperienced young bird will fly less than an experienced adult. 

For instance, a baby African grey parrot will likely travel about 15 miles a day.

However, an adult may cover up to 45 miles.

5. Wingspan And Migratory Tendencies

Most parrots stay in territories of 1500-3000 acres.

Only a few parrots are migratory birds that can fly through flapping as well as steering through thermal updrafts.

Such birds have large wingspans compared to their body weights. 

For instance, orange-bellied parrots are only about 45 grams but can travel up to 30 miles a day through flapping.

The same birds can cover 100 miles/day using tailwinds.

But how much a bird can travel in a single day may not be a true depiction of its speed.

How Fast Can Parrots Fly?

Most parrots fly about 20-30 miles per hour.

Since smaller birds flap more and have higher metabolism rates than larger ones. 

Smaller parrots fly faster than larger ones, with speeds typically exceeding 40miles per hour.

That said, small parrots usually have less stamina compared to large parrots.

And so, they travel less distance in a single day. 

While flight speeds vary with factors including size, wingspan, metabolism rates, nurture, age, and even foraging habits.

However, additional factors affecting a parrot’s speed include:

1. Flock Size

Normally, birds in a larger flock fly faster than those in smaller ones. 

For instance, macaws fly in groups of 15-30 birds with an average 20 miles per hour speed.

However, budgies living in Australia live in flocks of thousands of parrots while exceeding 30 miles per hour.

Still, macaws cover 100 miles while budgies travel about 56 miles in a single day.

2. Morphology And Flying Posture

A more ‘streamlined’ body is likely to steer air more easily, minimizing the air friction

For instance, Swift parrots can travel up to 54 miles/hour while macaws can achieve a maximum of 30 miles/hour.

The speed also varies with:

  1. The hollowness of bones.
  2. Leg strength.
  3. Beak weight.
  4. Respiratory efficiency.
  5. The compactness of the digestive system. 

3. Aerodynamics

Parrot’s flight mechanism differs significantly from other birds.  

How so?

Well, flight requires low pressure above the wing and high pressure beneath it.

However, unlike other birds, parrots change their feather concentrations with each stroke.

Wings concentrate on each downward stroke, and they spread with each upward stroke.

It’s almost as if parrots sweep the air with wings thrusting them forward like a propeller.

That said, parrots don’t normally glide rather flap.

And so, parrots don’t migrate between poles.

Besides, migration through poles is not just a long distance.

Rather birds travel through different altitudes as well as weathers.

So, you may question:

How High Can a Parrot Fly?

Typically, about 1000-3000 feet.

You see, birds fly in a wide range of heights above ground.

For instance, a hummingbird can fly above 100 feet. However, raptors like Ruppel’s Griffon Vulture can fly as high as 37,000 feet. 

Parrots fly in a relatively moderate range.

But migratory parrots may hover at 8000-10,000 feet above the ground.

Now, you may be wondering:

Can Parrots Not Fly Higher?

They wouldn’t even if they could.


Here are a few plausible reasons:

  1. Flying higher requires the birds to maneuver through thermal updrafts and to breathe efficiently. However, most parrots have moderate respiratory systems and feathers specialized for flapping only.
  2. Parrots are quite colorful birds. And so, flying at higher altitudes may expose them to all sorts of raptors.
  3. Most parrots eat seeds and fruits. Therefore, they don’t really need to fly high to look for prey.

Flying height, speed, and average distance covered vary with each parrot species.

While there is no detailed study comparing all these factors, here are a few parrots:

Type of Parrot Weight






Distance Covered a day (Miles) Flight Height


Cockatoos 830 g 40 inches 120 mph 60 miles 1000 ft
Budgerigar 30-40g 12 inches 30 mph 56 miles 500 ft
Indian Ringneck Parakeets 115-140g 6-7inches 38 mph 10-20 miles 1000 ft
Hyacinth Macaws 1200-1700g 60 inches 20 mph 100 miles 3000 ft
Grey Parrots 410g 22inches 45 mph 120 miles N/A
Orange Bellied 46 g 5-7 inches 62 mph 200 miles 3000 ft
Swift Parrots 65g 12 inches 54 mph 123 miles 1500 ft
Thick-billed Parrots 360 g 30 inches 80 mph 200 miles 3000 ft
Lovebirds 40g 10 inches 35 mph N/A 500 ft

If you are wondering about how far a parrot can go.

Then, I am guessing that you have a parrot at home.

And perhaps, you are feeling guilty about keeping him caged. (Check out my article – Is it right to keep birds in cages?)

Will Parrots Fly Away?

They certainly will.

Well, a caged parrot is still a bird with all its avian instincts intact.

It will leave its cage out of either curiosity or love of flying.


An escaped pet bird would likely stay within a 5-mile radius from your place.

Let’s consider it from a bird’s perspective:

If you are a bird bred in captivity, then you won’t know much about outside.

And so, the world would big but nice to you, because a large ‘Hooman’ feeds you and talks to you softly. 

Still whenever you get a chance to see what’s beyond the light. 

(Because someone left a window open). 

You will take a small flight and land on big trees.

You will definitely find it refreshing and will fly a little more.

But then you will feel hungry.

And so, 

You will look around and fly a little more, but this time out of anxiety. 

You will chirp to call your ‘Hooman’, but you won’t be able to find your way back home. 

But your chirp will attract all sorts of birds. 

You hope that the large bird flying towards you will be your friend. 

But Mr. Hawk does not kid around. 

While that sounds extremely graphic, but I hope you got the picture.

It’s because no matter how guilty you feel, letting your bird roam outside will not be safe.

Besides, if you have feline pets at home, your escaped birdie may not even try to run from a stray cat. 

Your captive bird is the safest in its cage.

Therefore, I present to you:

Tips On How To Stop Your Parrot From Flying Away

Here are a few of the precautions that will stop your parrot from escaping:

  1. Regularly clipping the flight feathers.
  2. Keeping windows and cage doors close.
  3. Not taking your bird outside while holding it within your bare hands. I suggest using a traveling cage or a bird harness. 
  4. Allowing your parrot to fly within the house for one hour daily.
  5. Training your bird to come on your command, especially from high places.
  6. Spending time with your parrot to make him feel at home, and not wishing to leave you.
  7. Familiarizing your bird with your place, to help him come back if he ever escapes.

But what if your parrot somehow manages to escape?

Let’s find out what you should do..

What To Do If Your Parrot Has Escaped?

Most escaped parrots are found within 24 hours. 

I suggest:

  1. Keep an eye on the escaping bird, to determine the general direction.
  2. Command him to come to you, with a loud but still polite voice.
  3. Don’t use unfamiliar objects to bring your bird down from a tree.
  4. Play a recorded parrot video to lure him back.
  5. Bring the birdcage outside as your bird may come back to it.
  6. Call in the local wildlife rescue team.
  7. Use online resources like Parrot Alert.
  8. Don’t give away parrot band numbers.

Wrapping Up 

Most parrots can cover up to 30 miles a day depending on their species.

Since flying on higher altitudes attracts predators, therefore, most parrots don’t fly much high.

While the majority of parrots love their keepers, they still won’t hesitate to leave their cage.

You can prevent your parrots from leaving by following a few precautions.


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