Big city parakeets

You might be very surprised to learn that Amsterdam is home to a colony of rose-ringed parakeets, known to be living here since the 1980s. There are many rumours about how the first birds got here, but most likely there were pets that were released or escaped. The population was recently counted and there were 3,700 parakeets in Amsterdam alone, with over 10,000 in the whole of the Netherlands. The number of parakeets has doubled in four years. Both the males and females of the species have the ability to mimic human speech.

Grey herons

Just as surprising as Amsterdam’s Parakeets are the grey herons, which can frequently be seen in the Oosterpark. Usually found in the warmer parts of Europe, the grey heron has become a very common sight in Amsterdam in recent decades. The herons hunt as they usually would but also eat food discarded by humans, visit Artis Zoo (especially during the feeding times of the penguins and pelicans), as well as hunt for food in gardens.

Wildlife in & around Amsterdam

A few other creatures you may encounter in the natural areas and parks in and around Amsterdam include:

  • Northern pike (snoek): A scavenger fish with 700 teeth which eats fish, frogs, small rats and young birds.

  • Northern vole (noordse woelmuis): A nocturnal mammal that lives off the shoots of water plants. They burrow a network of tunnels and make nests of moss and grass.

  • Grass snake (ringslang): A small non-venomous snake with yellow band around its neck and two rows of small, dark patches on its back. They eat frogs and small mammals. When they feel threatened, they play dead and can even release the smell of a dead body.

  • Common noctule bats (rosse vleermuis): These rust-brown coloured bats are one of the largest types of bats in Europe. They live in trees and hunt for bugs, moths and mosquitoes.

  • Black-tailed godwit (grutto): These shorebirds can grow up to 42 centimetres long. Their Dutch name comes from their call, which sounds like ‘utto, utto, utto’. They catch insects, worms, slugs and small crabs.

  • Natterjack toads (rugstreeppad): A toad which grows up to about 5 cm long and has a yellow stripe running across their backs. Their eyes are yellowish green and to survive harsh winters they bury themselves deep in the ground. The mating call of the males can be heard up to a kilometre away.

Keep a look out during your stay in Amsterdam for birds, fish and small animals!