Monk parakeets are medium-sized birds, about 11- 13 inches long from head to the tip of the long, tapered tail. Monk parakeets are typically green and gray, with adults tending to have a blue-gray forehead. The lores, cheeks, and throat are a pale gray and the feathers on the throat and abdomen are edged in a lighter gray, giving them a scalloped, barred look. The feathers below the abdomen are olive green, becoming yellowish green on the lower abdomen, legs and under the tail. The beak is a light pinkish-brown color, the legs are gray, and the eyes are brown.
Monk parakeets are a social species that live in flocks. Unlike many other cavity-nesting parrot species, monk parakeets build nests from sticks and twigs. Groups of wild Monk parakeets live together, each pair with its own residence comprising at least two chambers. As the flock grows, each pair builds its apartment onto the main nest. They do not shy away from humans and can be found in and near both small and large towns, as well as farms and orchards.
Monk parakeets eat a variety of seeds, fruits, blossoms, insects, leaf buds, thistles, grasses and parts of trees. Near populated areas, the birds have also been known to eat sweet potatoes, legumes, drying meat, cereal crops, such as maize and sorghum, as well as citrus crops.
This species is native to lowland areas of Paraguay, Bolivia, Argentina, and Brazil, where they are typically found near large water sources.
There are established populations of monk parakeets throughout the state, with the largest populations occurring in Miami, West Palm Beach, and Tampa. See where the species has been reported in Florida.
The effects of monk parakeets in Florida is not well understood. This species may compete for resources with native wildlife or impact agriculture. Monk parakeets also often nest on power poles, which can cause impacts to utilities and power equipment.