The Best Pet Birds
Below are some of the best pet birds for beginners, kids, and seniors. Since each species is unique and can be more suited to certain types of homes than others, we’ll discuss each here and give our suggestions on where they fit best, and with whom. We’ll cover things like temperament, trainability, and levels of care and attention the different types of birds require. This should give you a good idea of what type of bird you want to adopt into your family.
African Grey Parrot
One of the most intelligent and affectionate species of birds, the African Gray Parrot is a wonderful pet and companion.
Being a large parrot the African Gray is a high maintenance species with large cage and space needs.
They also need lots of daily attention as well as a set schedule and routine to thrive. For someone who works long hours or with a schedule that changes frequently the African Gray may not be a good choice.
Go more in-depth with our African Grey Parrot Care Guide
The Budgerigar, or Budgie as they’re often called, are charismatic and playful parakeets that make for fun companions in most homes.
Averaging around 7 inches tall they’re small in size, very gentle, more economical than many other species of bird pets, and yes, they do “talk” too. All of this leads to them being one of the most popular pet birds in the world.
Budgies do far better when with other birds than alone, so if you’re considering one for your home we definitely suggest getting a second. These little darlings just don’t do well alone, even if their owners shower them with plenty of daily attention but provide a playmate for them and they thrive.
Happy and healthy Budgies will whistle, purr, sing, and talk up a storm, making them very entertaining as pets.
Learn more about Budgies with our Budgerigar Care Guide
The Canary is small but hardy, making them one of the more easier birds to keep and care for.
While each bird has its own personality, in general Canaries aren’t a very “hands-on” sort of pet, making them best suited to adult and senior owners than kids.
But for the person who wants a charming little companion that will coo and sing to them, Canaries are a wonderful choice.
Get the facts on keeping Canaries with our Canary Care Guide
Unlike most pet birds on this list, the Cockatiel is one that can thrive without a second bird playmate, but beware it will need plenty of attention from its owner to avoid loneliness.
They tend to be gentle and affectionate, enjoying being touched and petted and will hang out with you to watch a movie or television show. In case you’re wondering, they don’t care what you watch, they just enjoy the time with their “mate”.
Being easy to tame and train, and relatively inexpensive to keep for a larger bird — they grow to be about 14 inches tall — the Cockatiel makes for a great pet in most homes.
Learn more about them in our Cockatiel Care Guide
The Cockatoo are larger birds, ranging from 12 to 26 inches depending on species when fully grown. They also require lots of attention and plenty of time outside of their cage with space to move around.
They also have a normal penchant to scream or squawk, whether scared or happy, so if you live in an apartment or even with neighbors nearby a Cockatoo won’t make you popular.
The lifespan for a cockatoo can range from 40 to 70 years, again depending on species and the care they get, making them a long-term commitment to a high maintenance pet.
Still, Cockatoos have unique personalities and make great companions to those who have space and time to give them.
Get in-depth with our Cockatoo Care Guide
While not everyone thinks of a dove when thinking of pet birds, these good-natured and gentle birds love to be around people as much as their own kind. Doves are highly intelligent and social companions.
They’re also very easy to care for, won’t bite, peck, or chew on people or furniture. They do well in smaller homes and apartments being a quiet species.
All of these factors make doves one of the more all-around best pet birds for beginners, homes with kids, and seniors.
Learn more about Doves as pet birds in our Dove Care Guide
Finches tend to be easy pet birds to keep, however they’re not very cuddly with humans, typically preferring to socialize with others of their own kind instead.
Still, they remain popular as companions because of their pleasing chirps and singing while playing with their “flock mates”. A pair, or tri, of Finches, can be more entertaining than cable television.
Finches have a shorter lifespan than most of the other pet birds on this list, averaging between 4 and 7 years, so they aren’t as long-term of a commitment. They’re also smaller birds at only 5 to 6 inches at full maturity, so there’s less space needed for keeping them, though you will still want to provide a large enough cage for them to move and hop around in as that’s where they’ll spend almost all of their time.
Despite their lack of cuddly and affectionate dispositions, Finches are still one of the best pet birds for many homes.
Learn all about keeping Finches in our Finch Care Guide
Looking for a medium size pet bird that enjoys human touch, talks, and has a playful personality? Then the Green-Cheeked Conure might be just what you want.
Having a reputation of being “little clowns”, these birds love to play and are always up to some funny antics to attract attention to themselves.
While they can be taught to speak a limited vocabulary, these birds are fairly quiet in general, making them suitable for all sorts of living situations. Being so personable lends them to doing well even with the beginner bird owner.
Learn more about these lovable birds in our Green-Cheeked Conure Care Guide
Another medium-sized bird, the Hahn’s Macaw is a playful parrot that makes an excellent pet and companion.
They’re the smallest of the miniature macaws, though still grow to be about 12 inches at maturity.
These birds form strong bonds with their owners, enjoy playing and learning tricks, and with regular practice tend to become excellent talkers.
Learn more about them in our Hahn’s Macaw Care Guide
Often referred to as “gentle giants”, the Hyacinth Macaw is an excellent pet bird for experienced owners.
Highly intelligent, even displaying the ability for limited tool use, they need lots of attention to challenge and stimulate them.
Stunning in their beauty, these birds are notoriously difficult to breed, and being on the endangered species list makes it illegal to capture them for selling, so they are one of the most expensive birds to purchase.
Learn more about these gentle giants in our Hyacinth Macaw Care Guide
The Lineolated Parakeet, sometimes called Barred Parakeet, is both calm and quiet, making them wonderful pets for almost any environment or owner.
They’re often mistaken for Budgies, though they’re quite a bit stockier in appearance.
Lineolated Parakeets are as happy walking as they are flying, and love to play in the water too.
Overall they’re lively, playful, and cuddly. An excellent choice for almost any home.
Learn all about Linnies in our Lineolated Parakeet Care Guide
Intelligent and affectionate, the Lovebird can make a wonderful pet companion, even for beginner bird owners, provided they are socialized with people from an early age.
They need daily attention and interactions, but these lovable birds can be very cuddly and bring hours of joy to your daily life.
Like many breeds, especially sociable breeds, Lovebirds will do much better when kept in pairs than if kept alone.
They can become territorial and even aggressive if not properly tamed and socialized regularly.
Learn more about Lovebirds in our Lovebird Care Guide.
A Meyer’s Parrot is a very gentle, quiet, funny, playful, highly intelligent, and social bird.
They aren’t big talkers as Parrots go, but can learn a small vocabulary with patient training.
If hand-raised and/or human socialized from a very early age, the Meyer’s Parrot can make a wonderful family pet bird.
Despite their small size, a Meyer’s Parrot has a long lifespan of up to about 25 years, and as long as they’ve been hand-raised or socialized from an early age they make good first birds for the beginner bird owner.
Learn all about keeping these gentle parrots in our Meyer’s Parrot Care Guide.
While it may not seem like an obvious choice, the iconic Owl can be a wonderful pet companion bird. Despite the numerous horror stories and complaints primarily about their diet (they are carnivores after all), feeding an owl is no different than feeding a pet snake. In other words, the problem isn’t with the bird as a pet.
Not the best option for homes with young children, otherwise Owls that have been hand-raised and human socialized from early on can make great companions for those lacking the time to give a Parrot or other more social bird since Owls tend to be more solitary by nature.
In fact, while technically nocturnal, Owls are most active at dusk and dawn, making them a perfect pet for owners with 9 to 5 jobs.
Owls are also sedentary and require very little “activity time” outside the cage. Though you will want to provide an adequate size cage with plenty of perch space inside, the bird will be most happy sitting in it and expending as little energy as possible.
Learn more about Owls in our Owl Care Guide.
These happy little parrots make excellent companion birds for owners of all levels.
Able to be kept alone, in fact often owners will keep them as sole birds so that the parakeet looks upon the owner (and family) as its flock.
They don’t have the lifespan of larger parrots and can be pretty fragile, still, when well kept and socialized they are affectionate darlings.
Learn all about Parakeets in our Parakeet Care Guide.
The smallest members of the parrot family, Parrotlets, often called pocket-parrots, are colorful, playful, charming, and highly intelligent birds.
If handled and socialized regularly they’re very affectionate and cuddly birds that make great pets for owners of any level and even do well in homes with younger children.
Being highly intelligent parrotlets can be taught to talk, with males being generally more talkative than females, as well as to do various tricks.
Swoop down into the details of this “little big bird” with our Parrotlet Care Guide.
The Pionus is a more quiet parrot, though many owners say their splendid beauty more than makes up for this, and it also makes them favorites among apartment homes.
There are several species of Pionus, with some being very rare in captivity, but the Blue-Headed is likely the most popular for its vibrant coloring.
As a medium to larger size bird with high demands of attention and care the Pionus isn’t the best choice for beginners or homes with small children, but for the seasoned adult bird owner they are an excellent companion.
The Best Pet Birds For Beginners – Our Picks
Making our picks here we wanted to offer both a small and medium-size bird option, but the criteria were the same for both.
They had to be hardy and easy maintenance birds that thrive with human interaction.
As a smaller bird, the Budgie fits our criteria perfectly, and if you want to start out with a slightly larger bird then the Green-Cheeked Conure is the way to go.
The Best Pet Birds for Kids – Our Picks
This was our toughest set of picks to make and we would like to stress that all birds are fragile and should only be handled by children who are old enough to understand and appreciate this.
That said, we looked at which birds were more gentle and sociable when making our picks, and we wanted both a smaller and larger size option to recommend.
For the smaller bird, the Parakeet is the obvious choice. They’re able to be kept alone (without a second companion bird), which we feel is best in a home with children, and as long as they’re socialized regularly they are affectionate and entertaining pet birds.
As a larger option, the Cockatiel is a bit needier in terms of attention time it requires, however like the Parakeet a Cockatiel will thrive being kept alone (without a second companion bird), is quite gentle, loves human interaction and affection, and yet is generally low maintenance overall.
The Best Pet Birds for Seniors – Our Picks
When making our picks here, we wanted to consider the activity needs and levels of both the birds and their owners.
For the owner who wants a very “hands-off” companion that they can watch and enjoy within their cage, the Finch is an excellent choice.
For the owner who wants an easy to keep companion that is quieter and that they can be a bit more handsy with and cuddle, then we suggest the Lineolated Parakeet.
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