Wildlife in London is very unique. You can find many wild animals walking or flying around the city freely and not in a cage of a zoo. One of such wonderful exotic creatures are green parrots, also known as Indian ringneck parakeets or rose-lined parakeets.
Where to see, feed and photograph green parrots in London?
Wild parrots are very common in London. The biggest population of these magnificent birds can be found in west London. They like to nest in big parks. But they fly all around the city in search of food.
Kensington Gardens – the best place to see parrots (location on a map)
Kensington Gardens (close to Hyde Park) is probably the best location to see, feed and photograph green parrots in London. The birds are used to human contact here. They will get very close so you can feed them from your hand. For the exact location where you can feed parrots please see the map below.
In other parks, like Richmond park for example, you will also see (and hear) these gorgeous birds. But they don’t come too close to humans and prefer to sit up high in the trees.
Do green parrots bite? If you ever wondered if these parrots can bite you. The answer is – Yes. Sometimes they might. Especially if they mistake you (your hand or finger) for food. So just keep that in mind.
Tips to photographing Indian Ringneck Parakeets in London
Here are some of the tips to photographing ringneck parrots. You might have heard a few but you might find them very helpful.
Take some nuts, seeds or apples with you. Parrots like to eat apples, nuts, seeds, fruits and berries. From my personal experience they will prefer nuts and seeds to other types of food. Nuts are probably their favourite type of food (unsalted and not roasted of course). And sometimes they like apples as well.
Autumn and winter are probably the best times of the year to photograph green parrots. Maybe early spring as well. Parakeets are most likely to be hungry and will be willing to get even closer to you. In summer, on the other hand, there is plenty of food which they can find in the wild themselves (like fruits and berries).
Another advantage is the contrast and vibrance you’ll get in winter images. Green parrots look incredible on grey moody background opposed to green leaves when the colours just blend in.
Get there in the first half of the day when the sun is still up. By the end of the day they might not be as hungry, as a lot of people come to feed them. Also parrots hide away at dusk (and when it is raining). So you won’t find any parakeets after the sunset or on a rainy day.
As to the camera settings: use a faster shutter speed. Parrots (as most of the birds) move very fast. If your shutter speed is too slow, you’ll most likely miss the shot and get some blurry shots.
Why most British people hate green parrots?
Ok, so hate is a strong word. But there are lots of people in UK who genuinely dislike these beautiful green parrots. The reason is that parrots like to eat fruits and blossoms from the trees. By doing so they destroy crops and fruit trees in private gardens.
And as there are lots and lots of private gardens in London it seems like people love their gardens more than birds (or other animals). They will do anything to keep these gorgeous green birds away.
Where did the Indian Ringneck Parakeets come from?
It is not very clear where these amazing parrots came from. But their population is growing fast. There are thousands of parakeets in London today. And more than 8000 pairs in England.
Several theories exist as to where the ringneck parakeets came from. One of them suggests that rock star Jimi Hendrix set a pair of green parrots free (in 1960s). Another theory states that they have escaped from the filming location of the movie the African Queen (in 1950s).
But it is most likely that these psrrots came from several locations or escaped from various cages. And because they are very social birds and like to gather in large groups they started to form small colonies.