10 Popular Pet Bird Species

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It is no surprise that most people nowadays are opting for pet birds. Birds are, after all, far cheaper to care for compared to the larger animals that were previously thought of as the best pets.

Most people are looking for pet birds that are friendly and gentle. This is understandable because it will be easier to bond with a pet bird that is naturally friendly than one that is aggressive or timid.

Below are ten of the most popular bird species that make good pets because of their friendly nature.

Canaries

A canary is among the smallest pet birds you can get. The bird is so-named because it is a native of the Canary Islands. Its scientific name is Serinus Canaria, and it is classified under the same family as finches.

Though traditionally yellow, canaries are now also available in brown, black, yellow, orange and red. The birds are renowned for their singing though it is only the male birds that can sing.

A canary’s cage should be at least 2-3 feet tall. You can supplement its commercial pelleted diet with sweet potatoes, kale and spinach to keep the bird healthy. On average, pet canaries live for 10-15 years.

Their small sizes and quiet natures make them ideal birds for those in apartments. Even so, they are solitary birds that will not interact very well with humans and other birds.

Conures

Conures come in diverse colors and sizes, from the small green conure to the large blue-crowned and sun conures. They belong to the parrot family and are among the smartest pet birds you can get.

Though their speech is not as broad as other parrots, they can be taught a range of tricks. A formulated pellet diet supplemented with fruits and vegetables will suffice for a conure.

Depending on its species, a conure lives for at least 20 years in captivity. The bird needs a lot of human interaction to remain tame and will often screech loudly when you do not spend enough time with it.

This makes it unsuitable for those who live in apartments. Moreover, conures can bite and become destructive when not trained well, making them unsuitable for beginners.

Budgies

The common parakeet, also called a budgerigar or budgie, belongs to the parrot species. It is a perfect choice for those new to bird keeping and children because it is docile.

With an average weight of an ounce and body length of seven inches, the bird needs less space and has fewer care needs than other birds. A budgie has a light green body, yellow head, and black wing markings. Breeding in captivity has seen the rise of yellow/blue, violet, white, grey and green parakeets.

Parakeets mainly eat grains, seeds, nuts, vegetables and fruits. They are quite chatty and will pick up human voices. Parakeets can also pick up words and phrases when trained. They live for 10-15 years.

Cockatiels

The cockatiel is also a member of the parrot species. It is renowned for its advanced singing and whistling abilities. Cockatiels weigh three ounces and grow to lengths of 12-13 inches.

The most common cockatiel species have grey bodies, yellow faces, long tails and orange cheeks. With breeding in captivity, there are now color mutations including albino, lutino, cinnamon, and pied for cockatiels.

Cockatiels are very friendly and will provide plenty of entertainment in your home. Their commercial pelleted feeds in captivity can be supplemented with fresh vegetables, fruits, nuts, seeds and grains. Pet cockatiels live for 10-15 years.

Grey Parrots

The African grey parrot is renowned as one of the most intelligent birds. It has a broad vocabulary and can be taught up to 150 words. Owing to its intelligence, the grey parrot needs a lot of human interaction and will easily get bored or depressed without at least five hours of human interaction daily.

Fortunately, with operant conditioning and positive reinforcement techniques, you can easily train the bird.

Grey parrots are about thirteen inches long and weigh 15-18 ounces. Their bodies have varying shades of grey and they have red tail feathers. Grey parrots live for about thirty years.

They often have favorites and might not bond with all members of your family in the same way.

Amazon Parrots

The amazon parrots are medium-sized birds that are quite sociable. They also have exceptional body language that makes it easy to gauge the mood of your bird. To guarantee your bird has a full life, give it lots of mentally-stimulating pets like puzzles to play with and spend a lot of time with it.

Amazons are renowned for their ability to pick words and phrases quickly, a trait that will prove essential for people who do not want to spend too much time teaching their parrots to talk.

Amazon parrots live for 40-50 years. Most of them have green bodies with different colored markings on their heads and beaks. Though they are cute and cuddly, amazon parrots can become aggressive suddenly, more so during their mating seasons.

As such, they might not be the best choices for beginner bird enthusiasts. Moreover, their loud squawking and singing in the mornings and evening make them unsuitable for apartment dwellers.

Finches

With an average size of 5-6 inches and a weight of half an ounce, finches are among the smallest pet birds. Unlike hard-beaked parrots, they are categorized as waxbill or softbill birds because their beaks are somewhat wavy and pliable.

The birds have a range of vibrant colors that make them stand out in a room. Some have bright redheads, others feature blue-green iridescent bodies while a few have striking blue and yellow bodies.

The ideal foods for pet finches are pellet-based ones with mixed greens and seeds. These are ideally served in several small bowls scattered in their cages so that the birds can fly from one bowl to the next and get some exercise.

Finches are kept in pairs because they thrive in flocks. Though they do not talk, these birds are quite vocal. They live for ten years at most.

Cockatoos

Cockatoos are the perfect choices for those who prefer large birds because their average body length is 18 inches, and their weight is 16-26 ounces.

The birds have primarily white plumage with pale yellow rings on their tails and necks. Their colors are, however, not as bright as those of other parrots.

Cockatoos form strong bonds with their caretakers and need a lot of social interaction.  If you do not socialize enough with your bird, it will become depressed and might start feather plucking or other destructive behaviors.

Cockatoos thrive on pellets mixed with seeds. Supplement these with proteins like hard-boiled eggs, legumes and meat. These birds live for 30-70 years.

Lovebirds

Lovebirds are among the smallest in the parrot species with body lengths of 5-6 inches and a weight of about two ounces. Though small, they have personalities and intelligence levels that match those of larger parrots.

They are somewhat quiet and thus make ideal pets for people who live in apartments or condos. Lovebirds are mostly green with orange upper bodies and heads. Their lower backs are blue, the eye rings are white, and their beaks are red.

A lovebird should eat 1.5-2 ounces of pellet feeds daily. Supplement this with vegetable supplements, greens and nuts.

Lovebirds are quite active, and their cage should be roomy to accommodate their activities. Their ideal minimum cage size is 32 x 20 x 20 inches. They live for 10-12 years.

Macaws

Macaws belong to the parrot species. They are high-maintenance pets that require strict boundaries to keep them from becoming dominant and aggressive.

The birds are identified by their long stylish tail feathers, vibrant colors and powerful beaks.

The most popular macaw species have deep blue upperparts and bright yellow underpants. The hyacinth macaw is the largest among these birds with a body length of forty inches and weight of 42-51 ounces.

Macaws are friendly and social pets that will love spending time with you. They are also cuddly. Owing to their sizes, it can be hard to house macaws indoors.

However, those who can meet the care needs of the bird enjoy an incredible friendship with it.

The lifespan of a macaw is linked to its size. The large hyacinth macaws, for instance, live for about 50 years while pet blue and gold macaws live for 50-60 years.

Wrapping Up

With the tidbits above, picking a pet bird will be quite easy now.  Though all bird species should be treated as individuals, some care needs cut across all birds. You, for example, should ensure your pet bird has enough clean water throughout.

Some birds should have two bowls, one for bathing and the other for drinking. Most of the birds above are prone to fatty liver disease and obesity. This is primarily because of unhealthy foods and lack of exercise in captivity.

Therefore, you should have a reliable vet to keep these diseases at bay while handling your bird’s vaccinations and illnesses. He/she can also refer you to an avian behavior consultant to reinforce or prevent some behaviors in your pet.

Birds - Updated: October 13, 2020

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