Peach Faced Lovebirds in Phoenix, AZ – Parrots in Cactus!

If you are walking down the city streets of Scottsdale or Mesa in the greater Phoenix, Arizona, area, you are bound to hear the squeaks of little green peach faced lovebirds as they fly between the trees and cactuses.

Peach faced lovebird parrot saguaro cactus Scottsdale Arizona

A peach faced lovebird perches on a saguaro cactus.

They nest in the holes in the saguaro cactuses that have been made by other birds (mostly woodpeckers and flickers), and they are just as adorable as can be when they peek out of these nesting holes and look down at you.

Peach faced lovebird in a saguaro cactus Scottsdale Arizona

A peach faced lovebird peeks out of a saguaro cactus

I have wanted to get a photo of one of these little cuties sitting in a saguaro for ages, and I had the chance a few days ago when we were visiting with our friend John Sherman, a professional wildlife and bird photographer who shoots for Arizona Highways. He knew of a saguaro cactus nearby where the peach faced lovebirds hang out in the late afternoons. 

Peach faced lovebird in saguaro cactus nest in Scottsdale Arizona

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He is a full-time RVer who lives in a wonderful custom built Class C motorhome, and he has a mouthwatering collection of photography gear.  He very kindly he let me borrow his humongous 150-600 mm Tamron lens (that I have been lusting after) to take a bunch of shots.

Wow, what a lens, and WOW what a fun experience! (And thanks, John, for the inspiration to buy one a few months later!).

Peach faced lovebird parrot saguaro cactus Phoenix Arizona

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I’m not used to lenses that hang out nearly a foot from the camera body, so it took me a while to wrestle the thing into submission and make it stay still in my hands. But the little birds in the arms of the saguaro cactus waited very patiently as I got myself sorted out, and once I started shooting, they seemed happy to pose.

What a surprise it was to see one lovebird in the flock that was a blue mutation!

Peach faced lovebird parrot blue mutation Scottsdale Arizona

A blue mutation of a peach faced lovebird!!

Peach faced lovebirds are not native to Arizona. They are actually native to southwestern Africa! However, over the years escaped pet birds have established themselves in the urban Sonoran Desert, and they have become naturalized citizens of the state.  All the flocks in the desert areas here are descendants of escaped pet birds.

Peach faced lovebird parrot blue mutation saguaro cactus Scottsdale Arizona

Pretty in pink…and pretty in blue!

They love the dry desert heat of the Sonoran Desert because it is just like their ancestral home across the ocean in southwestern Africa! They are savvy to bird feeders, and they make the most of whatever offerings they can find in residents’ back yards.  Wisely, they seem to have developed a palate for yummy Sonoran Desert goodies too.

Peach faced lovebird parrot Mesa Arizona

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Not all “introduced” species are appreciated, and certainly not all of them have endearing little personalities like these guys.  This part of Arizona seems to attract special feral animals, though, and last year I wrote about the wonderful wild horses we found living just beyond the Phoenix city limits.  Arizona’s wild parrots have been enjoyed for many years (here is an article from Bird Talk Magazine about them.

Peach faced lovebird parrot in Mesa Arizona

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Wild parrots can be found all over the country, and a few years back we bumped into a wonderful documentary about a flock of wild parrots that has taken up residence in San Francisco.  This is charming movie, Wild Parrots of Telegraph Hill, is one of our favorites (blush), and we have watched it time and again, as it always makes us smile.

Peach faced lovebird parrot in a palo verde in Mesa Arizona

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Where do these peach faced lovebirds live around Phoenix? Check out the streets between 52nd and 64th Street and Cactus Road to Thunderbird Road in Scottsdale. They can also be seen in the trees between Albertson’s and the Shell station across the parking lot at McDowell Road and Power Road in Mesa, here.

Peach faced lovebird parrot on saguaro cactus Scottsdale Arizona

You’ll hear these guys’ high pitched squeals long before you see them!

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12 thoughts on “Peach Faced Lovebirds in Phoenix, AZ – Parrots in Cactus!

  1. What a great camera and patience. We found where they hang out on the canal in Mesa between Broadway and Southern on the edge of a horse ranch. We could hear them as we rode our bikes.

  2. ummm…. they wake me up every morning eating peanuts and sunflower seeds i toss out. 51st place n sweetwater seems to be their “hood”

  3. I had no idea lovebirds have “gone wild” in Arizona! Glad to know that even though they’re not natives, they’re not pesky invasives. Your photos of the birds peeking out of the saguaro are absolutely adorable!

  4. When visiting family in Tarpon Springs, Fla., I was amazed at the large flocks of wild parakeets (budgies) roosting on telephone wires towards sunset. At times, I could count well over 100 individuals in one flock. Whether they caused agricultural/home garden concerns, I didn’t know.

    • How fun! There are pockets of feral parrot flocks all over the US, and it is so neat to see them. We watched a flock in a tree near a harbor in St. Petersburg, Florida (can’t remember which type), and I remember reading about a large flock of Monk Parakeets that took up residence in Chicago. Such fun little guys. I think their numbers are too few to have much of an impact on local flora and fauna. Cats keep their population from growing too fast!

  5. Great article on the lovebirds, thank you. I live in Scottsdale between Hayden Rd and the 101 on Camelback Rd, and we have had them in this area for well over 5 yrs. I have a feeder directly out my front kitchen window and enjoy watching them feed most every day. Some days, as many as 6 birds will wait patiently (sometimes not) as the 3 that will fit on the feeder take their turn. I have tried many times to take pictures but only have my phone camera, and through the window screen, just doesn’t work. They won’t let us get closer than about 100 feet. I originally put the feeder up to watch the darling little finches that flock to it. They are pretty too, with their red and sometimes yellow, heads and breasts. This is year around entertainment!!

  6. I’m staying temporarily at my brother’s house in Mesa, near Power and Brown. A couple weeks ago, they said they saw a green parrot-like bird. Yesterday I saw one in the tree. Today it was hanging on the “sock” finch feeder. And then a second one came along. I was amazed! They are beautiful birds.

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