Bird owners share a special bond with their avian friends that can’t be mimicked by alternatives. These animals are more than bird pets. Pet birds are quirky, intelligent, and can make every day an exciting challenge. Each type of bird has different requirements for care; this article discusses the top 5 main types of pet birds, listed by size, to help you make an educated decision about your next pet.

Top 5 Main Types of Pet Birds

1: Cockatoos

a small white cockatoo with a yellow head crest

The cockatoos can easily become the best pet birds you could ever buy. Cockatoos are intelligent, extremely affectionate, and very energetic. Purchasing this bird is likely to be a life-long decision; cockatoos can live up to 60 years.

The most common subspecies sold as pet birds is the Malukan cockatoo. This cockatoo is native to Eastern Indonesia and comes from a line of intelligent floor foragers. The Malukan cockatoo is easily recognized by its characteristic salmon-colored, rock’n roll, head crest, light pink feathers, and a black beak. This is a very large bird, ranging from 12-24 inches.

It takes a special kind of family to give the cockatoo the love he deserves. Most cockatoos require hours of attention. Your cockatoo needs to interact with you, hands-on. If he doesn’t, he may develop self-destructive behaviors, such as feather plucking.

Also, you may want to consider a different bird if you live in an apartment. While the cockatoo can only learn a few words, he is more than willing to loudly make use of his limited vocabulary if he feels under-appreciated.

2: African Gray Parrot

a large African gray parrot

Often celebrated as one of the greatest talkers of the Psittacine family, the African gray parrot is highly intelligent and can be a very fun companion. This large bird is about 14 inches long. He possesses gray feathers, keen eyes, and a large, black beak.

Studies have shown that African grays are not only able to learn several words and phrases, but may actually understand some meaning. Your bird may also mimic common household items and vocals from other pets to seek attention.

However, the smarter the bird, the harder it is to manage. African grays are recommended for experienced bird owners that can handle the dramatic aspects of its personality. To keep your African gray parrot from destructive behaviors, be sure to decorate his cage with plenty of puzzle toys and provide stimulating daily activities.

3: Cockatiels

two small cockatiels, one white and one gray

A proud native of Australia, the cockatiels represent a relatively low-maintenance bird that can be a great addition to your household. The cockatiel is typically between 12-14 inches long. It possesses bright, blushing cheeks, a white or gray chest, and an Elvis Presley head crest.

The cockatiel is a very vocal bird that prefers expressive chirps and whistles to words. Moreover, if a cockatiel is feeling lonely, he will let you know. An angry cockatiel will be just as expressive, using hisses to prove his point. However, their cry is not so loud that they would make terrible apartment birds.

If you’re considering a cockatiel, you should be willing to devote ample time to socialization. Alternatively, you can buy a partner for your cockatiel. Make sure you provide toys inside your cockatiel’s cage, including puzzle and foraging. Male cockatiels will also appreciate metal or reflective toys.

4: Parakeet

a cute green parakeet

The brilliantly feathered parakeet was the favored exotic pet of the English elite in the 1800s. After gaining steam in the U.S. during the 1950s, the parakeet still remains a popular pet bird choice. The budgerigar parakeet, also known as the budgie, seems to be the most popular parakeet in the U.S. However, there are several types available, such as the Bourke, rosella, ring-necked, and Quaker.

The budgie has a vibrant green plumage, distinctively lined wings, and a bright-yellow head. A budgie parakeet is a fairly small bird, only spanning 7 inches. However, the Rosella and Quaker parakeet are significantly larger.

Despite its size, the parakeet is a smart bird and is known to clearly whisper words under its breath. Males tend to be more talented at speaking, though females can easily communicate with a well-planned whistle. Keep in mind that a parakeet needs a lot of attention. He can make an excellent pet if socialized early, however, purchasing a companion parakeet can be a good choice if you work long hours.

5: Lovebirds

two lovebirds in a tree

A bond between two lovebirds inspires bird owners and casual onlookers alike. Lovebirds are beautiful birds from Africa that one can easily recognize by their peach and green colored plumage. There are a few types that have become popular for most bird owners, such as the Fischer’s, the Peach-face, and the Masked. Lovebirds are about the size of a parakeet, though they possess a slightly larger build.

These birds create a beautiful song at sunrise and sundown. They are not overwhelmingly loud and could make a good pet for an apartment dweller.

Lovebirds received their name from their inspiring devotion for each other. If you decide to pair two lovebirds together, be prepared to take second place in their life. You can own a single lovebird. However, they do require lots of affection and social interaction. In addition, make sure your lovebird has plenty of stimulation, such as puzzle and foraging toys.

Wrapping It Up

Pet birds can transform any dull household into a fun place. If you’re an experienced owner and can handle large pet birds with ample intelligence, consider the African gray parrot or the cockatoo. For medium-sized pet birds with slightly fewer demands, a cockatiel could be a great option. Finally, for a smaller option, consider the parakeet or lovebird.

Choosing to adopt pet birds is more than a spur-of-the-moment trip to the pet store; pet birds require a lot of attention and have long lifespans. Consider each type of bird before you purchase to ensure the correct match for you and your family.

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