Your Grey Will Outlive You

Please go and vote for Shelley Batts’s blog here now. She is one of ten finalists who could win $5,000 if she gets enough votes, and she needs the money for school. (She is in her third year of a Ph.D. in neuroscience.)

Screenhunter_7_2This is from her blog, Retrospectacle:

We’ve been talking a lot about life span here on ScienceBlogs, and on Retrospectacle. So, thought for this week’s Grey Matters I’d talk a bit about the life span of African Grey parrots. In a nutshell, they live a long time–about 60-80 years. Although, there have been a few accounts of captive Greys living past 100 years of age! This fact is often a huge surprise to people looking into buying a Grey parrot, and should be weighed very heavily before making the jump to buy. Seriously, your getting a life partner more than a pet. Will you still want your bird when you are 70? (I know I will!) Greys in the wild usually don’t live quite as long, due to environmental pressures, predation, etc.

Other birds and even other species of parrots don’t live near as long as African Greys. Why might this be? According to a study published in the journal Aging in 1999, the rate of mitochondial oxygen radical generation is lower in long-lived birds than in short-lived birds and mammals.

More here.