Live long and prosper. For small songbirds, that might be seven years!
A songbird in the wild has about a 25% chance of making it to its first birthday. It has less than a 50% chance of surviving more than two years. However, if a young bird can survive accidents, disease, predation, migration, and winter starvation, it may live a surprisingly long time.
As a general rule, larger birds tend to live longer. It also helps to be at the top of the food chain.
A Laysan Albatross has survived 42 years and 5 months in the wild. Parrots in captivity have been known to live over 80 years! Seabirds in the wild seem to live 30-50 years, eagles 20-25 years, hawks 8-20 years. Most songbirds might live 7-10 years, hummingbirds even less than that, and warblers may live only 3-6 years.
Here are some of the records for longevity. These are certainly not average life expectancy — these are the all time records! These figures are based on the recapture of banded birds. Bear in mind that results are a bit skewed – it is far more common for larger birds and game birds to be found and have their tags returned than it is for songbirds. The life of the bird at the time of death is shown in years and months:
|Great Blue Heron||23-03|
|Great Horned Owl||27-07|