WATCH: Parrots set up home on edge of Norwich
PUBLISHED: 14:04 06 January 2020 | UPDATED: 16:23 06 January 2020
A “controversial” species of parrots setting up home on the edge of Norwich has been documented on film by a local wildlife expert.
Liam Smith tracked down the ring-necked parakeets on the outskirts of the city at the end of 2019 and says he has counted at least 10 of the birds.
The 27-year-old runs the A Shot of Wildlife YouTube channel and in December successfully filmed an otter in the River Wensum after a three-month search.
The birds originally come from 4,500 miles away in India but were kept as pets and in private collections.
Due to deliberate release and accidental capture, their numbers have grown to 8,600 breeding pairs in the UK since the 1930s.
Shortly before Christmas, scientists debunked the birds were introduced to the UK by the legendary guitarist Jimi Hendrix.
Mr Smith said: "Ring-necked parakeets are gradually colonising the UK.
"Originally, they were kept as pets and in private collections but as a result of deliberate releases and accidental escapes, they have been living and breeding in the wild around London since at least the 1930s.
"Unfortunately they can be quite destructive and will easily chew through and break plastic bird feeders."
Referencing one of the birds captured in his video snapping and peeling a twig, he said it could have been trying to eat the softer wood beneath the bark, or simply using it as a toy.
He said he has seen numbers grow since 2017 when one parakeet was spotted and then three in 2018.
Parakeet diets are very diverse and include fruit, berries, grains and buds.
Mr Smith said like many birds they take advantage of food that people provide.
Ring necked parakeets will soon begin nesting and starting to construct their homes in a tree cavity or nest box from mid-January onwards.
The parrots lay between two and four eggs, which hatch after 21 days.
The young are fed by both of their parents and fly the nest as early as six weeks old.
The wildlife fan grew up in Great Yarmouth and went on to study zoology in Cambridge.
Mr Smith said: "Parakeets are a controversial invasive species and there are fears that they may have a negative impact on native wildlife.
"However, as there are no large-scale eradication programmes, it looks like these parakeets might be here to stay."
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