Birds are amazing animals that make ideal pets for people of all ages.
Most have their charm. Some talk, while others are snugglers that love to spend a lot of quality time with their owner.
However, house birds, including parrots, are quite challenging to maintain, more so for new owners without much experience.
So, as a beginner, you'll want to start with small to medium-size birds (parrot) because they are low maintenance and easy to groom.
While a large (stereotypical talker) takes 3 to 6 hours of interaction and maintenance (cleaning, trimming), smaller birds can handle around 2 hours.
I recommend you start with species like parrotlets, lovebirds, cockatiels, and quaker parrots...
...but please note these small and medium-sized parrots are not the best talkers, which is a neat trick that many keepers look for when making their choice.
They only master a couple of phrases, which they repeat over and over in a somewhat robotic tone as opposed to the audibility of larger parrots like African greys and Amazons.
But since you are new in the hobby, their limited speech should be sufficient before you master enough skills to keep larger parrots.
Moreover, talking is a good trait, but it's not the only thing you should be looking for.
You'll also want to consider your living situation, experience, whether you are in a stable environment, how many free hours you have in a day, how much space you have, and so much more.
See below a comprehensive list of small to medium-sized talking birds you should consider as a beginner.
#1— Budgies (Parakeets)
Budgies, commonly called parakeets in the United States, are probably the best starter bird for beginning keepers. They are cuddly, colorful, small, intelligent, adorable, and all-around easy to care for.
These little and charismatic birdies are easy to tame when acquired at a young age and are engagingly able to mimic speech like larger parrots.
Plus, budgies are intelligent enough to learn more than just speech.
They can grasp a wide range of tricks, which makes them rewarding pets to have at home and provide hours of entertainment.
Parakeets warrant little concern when you have kids and other pets in the house as well. Perhaps they'll be more at risk and likely to get injured by companions, children, cats, and dogs.
If you live in an apartment, you can still keep a budgie, only have a cage (or perch) for your bird to retreat when he feels scared (agitated) and when in need of space to nap.
A parakeet's small size makes it easy and pretty straightforward to clean up after, groom, and entertain even when purchased as a child's pet.
Having said that, remember all parrots (budgies included) are quite demanding, meaning they are only ideal for beginners who have a lot of time to spend with their birds.
Budgies are a good watching pet, especially when kept in a pair or colony. They can be tamed, hand-fed, and even become a loyal companion and loving friend to a patient owner: Lafeber.
Cockatiels as pets are some of the most popular house birds in the world. In fact, they take second place in the aviculture hobby coming in after parakeets (budgerigar).
Tiels are a parrot species that are not too challenging to keep. By comparison, they are no more demanding than budgies, despite all parrots needing a certain amount of attention.
These birds are gentle, affectionate, and will fit in small homes, including apartments. You'll also enjoy having them as they are cuddly and fun when interacting with each other.
Your cockatiels will hang out alone if you are not around as long as you provide colorful toys for them to play with and food to keep them nourished.
The birds are a little tasking in terms of cleaning and maintenance, although they don't compare to larger species like African greys and macaws.
They are also not great talkers, but they can learn several words and phrases when well trained.
In terms of destruction, cockatiels are modestly rogue.
They won't cause as much damage as cockatoos, macaws, African greys, or Amazons, but they still bite, scratch, and tear a couple of your priced possession, including furniture and fabrics.
Cockatiels have their own unique temperament, personality, and care needs. They tend to be exceptionally loving birds that bond closely with one person and often their active human family: Squeak and Nibbles.
If you love the bold personality of an Amazon parrot, but in a tiny, colorful, and cute body, you should definitely get a pet lovebird.
They make an ideal house pet for beginners, although they tend to be more aggressive than parakeets and cockatiels. As such, I do not recommend them as pet birds for kids.
Lovebirds are also quite different from most parrots, so you should understand their typical personality before you decide if they are right for you.
They exhibit tons of personalities and they can be extremely affectionate with the people they bond with, but can also be rather bad-tempered.
Lovebirds also need a lot of attention to remain tame, and it's best if you start with a hand-fed baby that's fully weaned and spend time taking care of it.
If you fail to make time for your love bird, they may become nippy and eventually refuse to let you handle them at all.
A huge pro with lovebirds is their small bodies, meaning even with all their feistiness, they won't cause too much damage or havoc inside your house.
But please note they are crazily active and always seem to be on the move. Lovebirds are active chewers as well, so you'll need to provide them with toys that can withstand a powerful set of jaws.
Lovebirds also require a sizable cage in comparison to their size for exercise.
Pets that are caged up in a small coup and never given freedom tend to become neurotic and can develop self-mutilating habits.
Lastly, if you are looking for talking birds, lovebirds are probably not the best at vocalizing words. They talk to each other and can be a pretty chatty and whistling bunch, but not so much to people.
Lovebirds might be small, but they are bold, inquisitive, curious, and always on the go. They often form a deep bond with other lovebirds or even their owners, though they require plenty of social interaction.
#4— Pionus Parrot
The Pionus parrot is one of the most underrated birds today, probably because they don't have bright, colorful plumage like some parrots, nor are they know for being good talkers.
But if you can overlook this wild prejudice, Pionus make an ideal choice for beginners and kids alike.
Owning a Pionus also means you'll have a unique bird that you probably won't find with your annoying neighbor down the street.
As a general rule, Pionus parrots are quiet and relatively non-aggressive, which make them suitable for starting owners and apartments.
Even so, please note that these parrots can get very wheezy when stressed or excited, and they also have a bit of a musky scent to them...
... same as Amazon parrots when excited.
The Pionus parrot is the best-kept secret of the bird world. It's got all the awesome qualities of the popular companion species, with a few of the negative aspects that often occur with parrots: Lafeber.
#5— Quaker Parrots
Quaker parrots are arguably the best bird species for beginners who want a cute, small, and quiet pet that's also a good talker. They are an ideal alternative to budgies and cockatiels and are relatively inexpensive.
Quakers chatter a lot, which is healthy for most birds, but they are not half as loud as cockatoos or macaws, more so when they are hanging out with their toys, eating food, or enjoying some rest on your shoulder.
However, quaker parrots can be clingy when they form a bond with another bird or their owner and get pretty loud if left on their own.
When looking for their bonding partner, their calling sound can be irritating, especially for starting owners without much experience keeping parrots.
And please note quaker calls can be quite regular because they are a little introverted and bond with a limited number of individual, be it human or other birds.
Moreover, because quaker parrots are one-person type birds, you might have a challenge if you have kids or entertain many guests in your home.
If you want another bird in the future, keep in mind this might cause a few problems as well because a quaker's introverted nature makes it hard for them to share space, food, and toys...
...though with a little patience and care, it can definitely be done.
Lastly, note that quaker parrots are chewers. They also need plenty of toys to shred. Otherwise, your birds will find something else to destroy, and I'm pretty sure you won't enjoy the results.
Having said that, if you've done enough research, you will definitely hack a quaker parrot, even though it can be really frustrating for most owners who are just getting their feet wet in the parrots' world.
Quakers are known for their exceptional ability to mimic human speech. And while not every pet quaker is guaranteed to talk, individual birds have a greater odd of excelling at mimicry than most birds of other species:The spruce pets.
#6— Senegal Parrot (Poicephalus)
One last parrot species I would recommend for a starter is the Senegal parrot, also called Poicephalus.
They are priced for their outstanding pet quality and remarkably calm temperament, though compared to cockatiels, they can be potentially louder and a tab hyper.
Sennies can be a lot like a rat with wings. Your parrot will scurry along the floor, sneak about, glide (or fly) loudly, and might even bite, but will remain pretty adorable all through.
As such, toys are a must for sennies.
If you are looking for a talking bird, please note that they are not the most gifted talkers, though they can be trained to speak. They can develop vocabularies with dozens of words.
With its yellow irises and blocky head, the Senegal parrot can have an intense look, but don't let the gaze fool you. They can be outgoing and playful and are the most popular of the Poicephalus species:Lafeber.
Best Small, Medium Size Non-Talking Birds for Beginners
If you are a new bird keeper who is not too concerned about a talking species, it's is always a good idea to consider other pet bird types that are easier to maintain than parrots.
Most alternative species are also quieter and less destructive, and some like Gouldian finches are priced for their dazzling colors, pleasant sounds, and social interactions.
Below are a few species you should consider.
Finches are a good bird for new owners and children. They require relatively little care, and nearly all species have an attractive feather pattern and are fun to watch.
Their chirps and twittering are relatively quiet but can also be chatty pets. This makes many bird owners find them appealing.
Even so, finches are not too fond of human interactions. They are generally happy to socialize with others of their own kind, so if you don't have much time to spend with your pet, these bridies would be an ideal choice.
Canaries are one of the most popular of all pet birds. They are generally happy, beautiful, and have amazing singing abilities. Interestingly, they are loners and are happy being in their cage alone.
They can be the perfect pet for someone in a quiet setting who would like a small feathered friend as a companion. Plus, they are not as hands-on as budgies and cockatiels.
Your canaries might not be able to interact with you as parrots do, but they are intelligent, friendly, and can be trained to sit on the hand, on a perch, or fly around the room.
Happy Birding 🐦🐦.