Top 9 Longest Living Birds: Which Bird Lives the Longest?

Top Longest Living Birds
Top Longest Living Birds

Birds are some of the most fascinating creatures on Earth, with their ability to fly, their vibrant colors, and their varied songs. But did you know that some birds can live for decades, and even up to a century? 

In this article, we’ll explore the top 9 longest living birds, delving into their lifespans, and sharing some fun facts about each. From the majestic albatross to the colorful parrot, let’s discover which birds have the longest lifespans and what makes them so special.

1. Wisdom the Laysan Albatross

Wisdom the Laysan Albatross
Wisdom the Laysan Albatross

The oldest known living bird is a Laysan albatross named Wisdom. She was first banded by scientists in 1956 at the Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge. Based on her banding data, biologists estimate Wisdom hatched around 1951, making her at least 72 years old in 2023!

Over her lifetime, Wisdom has flown over 3 million miles – the same as flying to the moon and back 6 times. Scientists have had to change her metal band 6 times because it wears out.

Wisdom has raised between 30-36 chicks over her life. She was still breeding and laying eggs into her 60s, with her last chick hatching in 2021. Sadly, her mate of many years did not return in 2021 or 2022, so Wisdom has not bred recently.

2. Cookie the Cockatoo

Cookie the Cockatoo
Cookie the Cockatoo

Cookie was a Major Mitchell’s cockatoo who lived at the Brookfield Zoo in Chicago from 1933 until her death in 2016 at age 83. The Guinness Book of World Records certified Cookie as the oldest living parrot.

Cookie was born on June 30, 1933, so her age could be verified exactly. She was the only remaining animal from when the Brookfield Zoo first opened in 1934. Cookie became a beloved local celebrity, receiving fan mail from around the world.

3. Cocky Bennett the Cockatoo

Cocky Bennett the Cockatoo
Cocky Bennett the Cockatoo

Cocky Bennett was a sulfur-crested cockatoo who may have lived to be 120 years old, though his exact age is uncertain. If verified, he would be the longest-living bird ever recorded.

Cocky Bennett spent most of his life at the Seabreeze Hotel in Sydney, Australia in the late 1800s and early 1900s. He was known for phrases like “One more feather and I’ll fly” and “One at a time, gentlemen, please.”

4. Greater the Flamingo

Greater the Flamingo

Greater was a flamingo at the Adelaide Zoo in Australia who lived to be 83 years old, one of the oldest living flamingos on record. Her gender was unknown.

Greater survived both World War II and an attack from younger flamingos late in life before passing away from complications of old age.

5. Parrots


Many parrot species are among the longest living birds. Some of the longest-lived parrots include:

  • Macaws – Can live up to 60 years in the wild, over 100 in captivity
  • Cockatoos – Often live 40-60 years, with some records over 80 years
  • African Grey Parrots – Average 40-60 years
  • Amazon Parrots – Average 60 years, with some living over 80

The diet, intelligence, and lack of natural predators help contribute to the long lifespans of parrots compared to other birds.

6. Wandering Albatross

Wandering Albatross
Wandering Albatross

The wandering albatross has a lifespan of over 50 years. These large seabirds have a wingspan over 11 feet wide – the largest of any living bird.

Wandering albatrosses spend most of their life soaring over the open ocean, only returning to remote islands to breed and nest. A single foraging trip for an albatross can cover over 15,000 miles!

7. Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle
Bald Eagle

Bald eagles can live 20-30 years in the wild. One banded bald eagle lived to be at least 38 years old before being struck by a car.

In captivity with proper care, bald eagles can live into their 50s. The longest confirmed lifespan for a bald eagle in captivity is 50 years.

8. Andean Condor

 Andean Condor
Andean Condor

The Andean condor is another very long-lived bird species. One condor lived to be at least 80 years old in captivity.

Condors are one of the largest flying birds, with a wingspan up to 10 feet wide. Like the wandering albatross, their huge size and ability to soar contributes to their longevity.

9. Swan


Swans are known to be very long-lived birds, with many living 20-30 years. Some swans have lived over 50 years in captivity when well cared for.

The oldest confirmed swan lived to be 83 years old. It was a Polish mute swan named Ib who lived in Denmark from the late 1800s until 1983.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Which bird lives the longest?

The oldest known living bird is Wisdom the Laysan albatross, who is at least 72 years old as of 2023. The longest confirmed lifespan for a bird belongs to Cookie the cockatoo, who lived to be 83.

How long do most birds live?

The average lifespan for most bird species is between 4-10 years in the wild. Larger birds like parrots, raptors, and seabirds tend to live much longer than smaller songbirds.

What is the shortest living bird?

The shortest living bird is the bee hummingbird, with an average lifespan of just 5 years. Other very short-lived birds include the willow tit (3 years) and zebra finch (5-8 years).

I hope this article provides some fascinating facts and records about the extraordinary lifespans of birds! Let me know if you need any clarification or have additional feedback.

What is the life expectancy of the oldest bird species in the wild?

The oldest bird species known in the wild is the Laysan albatross. One famous albatross, named Wisdom, currently holds the record as the oldest wild bird, with an age exceeding 70 years. This exemplifies the remarkable longevity that some bird species can achieve in their natural habitats.

How does the lifespan of birds in captivity compare to those living in the wild?

Birds tend to live longer in captivity than in the wild due to controlled environments, consistent food supply, and protection from predators. For example, while a wild macaw might have a significant lifespan, macaws living in captivity can live up to 50 years or more, showcasing the impact of care on avian longevity.

Are there any bird species known to live longer than the macaw?

Yes, some bird species are known to have even longer lifespans than macaws. The Sulphur-crested cockatoo is one such bird, with individuals known to live up to 70 years in captivity. This surpasses the average lifespan of many macaw species, indicating a wide range in potential longevity among birds.

Which wild bird species are known for their impressive longevity?

Several wild bird species are known for their impressive longevity. The Greater Flamingo is one notable example, with records of a greater flamingo that lived for 83 years. Terns, frigatebirds, and puffins also have notable lifespans, showcasing the longevity potential of various avian species living in oceanic or coastal environments.

How do researchers determine the lifespan and longevity records of North American birds?

Researchers determine the lifespan and longevity records of North American birds through banding programs and longitudinal studies that track individual birds over time. These methods allow scientists to document the exact lifespan of many birds, creating a comprehensive database that includes records of age and survival rates across different species.

Can birds like the albatross and flamingo live even longer under specific conditions?

Yes, birds like the albatross and flamingo can live even longer under favorable conditions, such as in protected environments or sanctuaries where threats are minimized. Adequate care, abundant food supply, and absence of predators contribute significantly to the potential for birds to surpass their average life span.

What factors contribute to the ability of some bird species to live long lives?

Several factors contribute to the long lives of some bird species. Genetic predisposition, diet, lifestyle, and the ability to avoid predators play crucial roles. Birds with access to abundant food resources and those that lead a life at sea, away from most land-based predators, tend to exhibit increased longevity. Additionally, species that receive care and protection from humans can live even longer due to reduced stresses and health care provisions.

Which bird currently holds the Guinness World Record for being the oldest bird on record?

The bird that currently holds the Guinness World Record for being the oldest bird on record is a Laysan albatross called Wisdom. Wisdom has surpassed the age of 70, demonstrating not only the lengthy potential lifespans of some wild bird species but also the importance of long-term wildlife monitoring to record such remarkable examples of avian longevity.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *