Darlington's South Park's swearing parrot Max dies

Max the parrot Image copyright Deborah Hall
Image caption Max, estimated to be between 27-30-years-old when he died, would direct the "f-word" at visitors

A foul-mouthed parrot who shocked and amused visitors to a County Durham park has died.

Max, an African Grey, was well-known at South Park, Darlington, for his use of swear words.

Staff at the park said they believed he suffered a heart attack.

Having been at the site since 2006, Max was invited to appear on the Paul O'Grady TV show and with chef Gordon Ramsay on his F-Word programme.

Describing him as the park's "star attraction", countryside ranger Deborah Hall said: "We don't really know how it happened.

Image copyright Deborah Hall
Image caption The Friends of South park donated this sculpture in 2012

"But parrots are intelligent, like a small child, and can pick up one or two-syllable words.

"It's a bit like if your four-year-old hears a naughty word at school - they don't know what it means but they say it because they get a big crowd of people around them.

"We never encouraged visitors to egg him on, but I know some people did."

'Salty language'

Despite his outbursts, Ms Hall said visitors were usually more amused than offended.

She said: "People weren't as shocked as we thought they'd be.

"They just saw him as a real character with some salty language.

"He could also mimic the noise of a bin wagon reversing and even a car's central locking, which was very funny."

A wooden sculpture of Max, donated in 2012 by the Friends of South Park, stands in front of the aviary and will be a "lasting reminder of a cheeky chappy", Ms Hall said.

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