As with most members of the animal kingdom, our human curiosity peaks with regards to an average lifespan of the living creatures we share our planet with. While most of us know that animals like our household dogs typically live between 8-15 years, depending on the breed or that some tortoises have reached beyond the age of 150 years, it is not as clear with our feathered friends.

The difficulty in assessing the average lifespan of birds lies in the diverse species of birds on Earth as well as the behaviours associated among different species. In addition to this, it is not hard to imagine that it is quite difficult to closely monitor a flock of birds from hatchling until their death, but there are ways scientists and researchers attempt to gather this data using bands and tracking devices when possible.

Bird mortality is at its highest during the first year of life; when many ornithologists estimate that roughly 80-90% of hatchlings do not live to maturity. As we said above, researchers do practice attaching bands to young birds, but the fallacy in the data remains a mystery unless that bird is accidentally captured or injured and aided by humans. Researchers always recommend recording the information on the band of any bird that might happen to come into your care. This data is extremely helpful in assessing the age of the particular bird and others in the area.


Researchers have come to the conclusion that life expectancy in birds is directly correlated with the size of the bird. Research suggests, the bigger the bird, the longer the life expectancy. This is assumed to be related to the level of action taken on by these species, as smaller songbirds take part in migration and are more at risk to predators and illness.

As for larger birds, the maximum recorded life spans reach past the 30-year mark. The oldest recorded Laysan Albatross was over 37 years old, followed by an Arctic Tern who lived to be 34 years of age. Toward the bottom of the list, we see more of the backyard songbirds registering anywhere from 3 years of age for a Blackpoll Warbler to a House Sparrow that lived for over 13 years.


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