What Pet Bird (Parrot) is Right for You; What to Get

What Pet Bird (Parrot) is Right for You; What to Get

A 13 minute read by Eddie Waithaka

#petparrot #petbird

If you are fascinated by animals that can fly🐦, enchanted by sounds of chirping and sweet singing🎶, and are ready for animals companionship, a bird (such as a parrot🦜) could be the perfect👌 choice for you.

Birds come in all shapes and sizes and make excellent, cuddly, and affectionate pets.

Not my words, Johanna Haney (author Great pets, Small Birds) said this, but of course, I agree!

However, you'll note that keeping a bird is not all fun and frolic. It's a big responsibility.

Birds, even the tiniest, require special care every day.

So, there is a need to be pretty sure you want one and research different species to learn which bird best fits your lifestyle.

Granted, in this post, we'll look at a couple of pretty necessary things to consider before you head to your local pet store to purchase a pet bird.

There is even a few in-paragraph trivia to help you choose your birdie.

Consider this your go-to checklist📃 anytime you want to purchase a new feathered pal.🦜

How to Choose The Right Parrot for You

I did mention above that choosing a pet bird can be a daunting task, more so when you have not owned one before. But with these 8 (or so) tips, you should have a rough idea of what bird suits you.

**#1.**Have You Owned A Pet Bird (Parrot) Before

Having owned a bird before, you are half the way to success since most birds sort of share requirements (some) in terms of maintenance and diet.

You most likely already know the nuances of food pricing, cage sizing, toys, and enhancements for your birdie and health requirement, and perhaps even you've identified an avian vet or local pet store for all your birdly needs.

The only gainsay would be when the bird you want is quite different from the one you've had, say like a chicken 🐔 and a parrot🦜.

An easy transition would (of course) be from one bird to another of the same species, like moving from a budgie to a conure or maybe a quaker.

That said, if you have not owned a feathered pet before, I suggest you start with an easy one and gradually move up to the larger and more demanding types.

In my opinion, small to mid-sized birds that are not too needy, aggressive, or complicated work best. Think Rosellas, Canaries and Finches, or maybe a pigeon or a dove.

I know the suggestion (above) might be a little fazing if you are looking to own a talking bird, which obviously would be a parrot.

Pitifully, facts are stubborn...!

,...and the reality is, parrots are perfecly taxing.

They are needy, aggressive, loud, and all-around complicated.

These little, feisty creatures only bond with one person and never seem to quite get along with other birds. They crave your attention all the time and are too intelligent with needs and behaviors you would not anticipate from a bird.

Though, this is not to say they are impossible for a new owner only be sure to start with a parrot more on the subtle, friendly side, like a Budgie or Cockatiel.

Steer clear of large parrots, like Greys, Amazons, Cockatoos, Macaws, and Eclectus in the meantime.

Pionus, Quakers, Lovebirds, Lories, Ringnecks, Conures, and Poicephalus (more so Sennies) are hackable, but they are a long shot with limited experience. They have a steeper learning curve compared to budgies and cockatiels, but with enough resolve and dedication, you could make it work.

..., but keep in mind there are thousands of pet parrots rehomed (placed in shelters) every year because their owners can't meet their care needs. Please don't add to the count.

So, your pet bird options as a new bird owner are,...

  • Rosellas
  • Finches
  • Budgies
  • Canaries
  • Cockatiels
  • Pigeons
  • Doves

**#2.**Do You Want A Talking Bird

Now, let's say you want a pet bird, but for the most part, you need one that can hold a decent conversation with you...

,...I mean, most people do. It's exciting and pretty entertaining😸!

In this case, your choice is pretty much limited to parrots (and maybe a myna bird), and as we've noted earlier, they can be a pain on the neck for beginners.

This is particularly true since the best talking parrots also happen to be the large types like African grey parrots, which come with a truckload of special care needs.

However, this should not be a problem if you've had parrots before and already know how to care for them.

African grey parrots, Eclectus, Amazon parrots, Cockatoo, and Macaws, are all ideal choices for you (experience owner) and will certainly meet your need for a talking pet bird.

Now, if you have never owned parrots before, but you still want a talking feathered pal, I suggest you purchase a budgie. These tiny but colorful birdies are excellent talkers and are not too demanding compared to their larger relatives.

Quaker parrots and Ring-necked parakeets are excellent talkers as well and perhaps, more manageable (for beginners) than Greys, Eclectus, cockatoos, and what have you.

Please note that ringneck parakeets have a reputation for being nippy and somewhat challenging to tame, but they make loving (talking) pets when hand fed as babies.

So, if you go that direction, I suggest you get a chick and raise it yourself.

Now, a list of the right talking bird for you if you've experienced parrots before.

  • African grey
  • Eclectus
  • Amazon parrot
  • Cocktoo
  • Macaw

In case you are just getting started with parrots and can't forgo a talking bird, these are your options.

  • Budgie

  • Quaker Parrot (Monk Parakeet)

  • Indian Ringneck parrot

  • Parrotlet

  • Hill Mynah

Lovebirds, Senegal parrots, cockatiels, and a host of other parrots can mimic the sound of things around the house and learn a limited number of words, but they are the most audible talkers.

**#3.**Do You Want An Affectionate, Cuddly Bird

If what you want is a cuddly bird, cockatoos are arguably your best bet, but they also have too much attitude for most owners to handle.

Tiels also make affectionate companions, but not necessarily cuddly.

African greys can also be pretty cuddly when trained well, though they mostly become more independent as they grow older. Plus, Greys and Tiels are pretty dusty, so if you are allergic to bird dust, you might want to get a bird away from these two.

For young and newer owners (to who I do not recommend cockatoos or greys), budgies are also pretty affectionate and occasionally like cuddles and may work for you in case you do not want a budgie.

I love (and own) conures, and I would say they also fall more on the side of cuddly. Green cheeks are exceptionally affectionate, same as Sun Conures, though most people cannot handle Suns' calls.

Away from parrots, dove and pigeons can be modestly affectionate and cuddly, but they are flighted birds that rarely have time to sit and be goofy.

They can only spare limited time for you, then fly away to God knows where.

Having said all that, keep in mind cuddling parrots too much will lead to behavioral problems that may come back to haunt you. So, if you want a pet solely for cuddles, perhaps get a puppy or kitten, not a bird.

Overcuddling (assuming that's a word😁) causes over-dependency, over bonding, anxiety (when you stop or leave), and also stimulates hormones and nesting behavior.

One last thing to note is birds' personalities change as they grow older because humans cannot offer them all the social interaction they require.

As such, a young parrot may start wanting scritches and petting but gradually become independent and perhaps hate being held once they are old enough.

Grow parrots require a lot of stimulation and attention and are destructive when bored. Cuddles and petting won't offer them half the social interaction they need.

See the list of the most affectionate and (or) cuddly birds in case this is part of your criteria for your pet bird.

  • Cockatoo (can be feisty and challenging for new owners)
  • African grey (pretty dusty, so not fit for people with dust allergies, plus they best suit experienced owners)
  • Green Cheek Conure
  • Caique
  • Cockatiel (are pretty dusty, thus not fit around people with allergies)
  • Budgie
  • Dove (ideal if you only need limited affection and cuddle time)

**#4.**What is Your Living Arrangment

Birds need a lot of space to play, socialize and even live in (cage space), so your living situation often dictates the type of bird you can have as a pet.

Realistically, you can only keep a tiny budgie or cockatiel if you live in a small apartment with a limited cage area to space.

Maybe finches, rosellas, and canaries can fit in that space, but they are mostly flighted birds that need a big area to fly and exercise.

As luck would have if you have your own house, maybe even a room or two to spare for your birds, only your experience with birds could limit you.

You can keep anywhere from a tiny parakeet all the way to a large African Grey, Cockatoo, or even a Hyacinth Macaw.

Of course, it's more rewarding if you have an outdoor space that can accommodate an aviary since most birds enjoy some time outside to bask and take in some fresh air.

For folks living in the tropics, even housing your bird outside is not out of reach. In fact, you can even house more than one bird if you have the time, experience, and commitment.

The standard minimum cage size recommended by bird professionals is 12 by 18 by 18 inches. So, make sure you have at least two times this space in your home before getting a bird.

This area should be able to accommodate your bird the pen, plus your bird's accessories.

See this post in case you live in an apartment and don't mind having a feathered pal living with you.

**#5.**How Much Time Do You Have to Spare in A Day

One thing you will learn (or perhaps have) is birds need a lot of time to care for. They have special requirements not typical of other pets.

Birdies are messy, dirt machines as well, more so parrots. When not cleaning their poop from your floors, you are worried about your walls (painted with flung food) or maybe your couch which may already be half-chewed or full of dusty feathers.

Away from that, parrots crave, need, and demand attention almost all the time, a lack of which will not only result in awful behavior and bizarre self-harm but a whole lot of noise, mischief, and destruction.

Given these facts, I only recommend birds for owners who have plenty of time at home, such as stay-at-home parents or folk who do not need to go to the office or do errands daily.

Birds are also not the ideal pet for you if you often travel for work (or leisure).

Distinct to other pets that can be left under someone's supervision or a shelter, birds tend to bond with one person, and your absence will adversely affect them regardless of the quality of care they'll get.

So, long story short, if you want a pet bird, you need to make as much time for it as it demands, more so if it's a parrot (from budgies to cockatoos and everything in between).

Perhaps, none-parrot birds are not as demanding, and you could hack them even with a tight schedule, but you still need substantial time to feed, train, socialize, and clean after them.

I only recommend you try these birds if you do not have much time on your hands to care for a parrot. But keep in mind most of them will live more than 10 years, so even if their day-to-day care is minimal, it's still a substantial commitment.

  • Pigeon
  • Dove
  • Rosella
  • Canaries (bird, not the Islands😁😎🙈🙊)
  • Finches
  • Budgie
  • Cockatiel

As long as your finches (and canaries) have a roomy flight cage and a few flock-mates, they generally require no handling or out-of-the-cage playtime; The Spruce Pets

**#6.**Do You Have Kids

Let me just say there isn't a snowball's chance in hell you'll stop your parrot from biting or scraping you at least once in a while, and you certainly do not want that wrath directed at your child.

So, if you have kids, there is only so many birds you can safely keep around them, and you guessed it, most skew to the side of tiny or medium-sized.

Our favorites, budgies, and cockatiels, of course, make the cut, so do canaries, rosellas, starlings, finches, doves, and pigeons. But our less than adorable odd-balls, Greys, Macaws, Cockatoos, Eclectus, Amazons, Ringnecks, and what have you, as expected, fall off the good graces when it comes to children.

Mid-sized parrots, including Quakers, Conures, Sennies (Poicephalus), and Pionus, are somewhat of a grey area. It will depend a lot on the bird you have and the care you give it.

If your bird feels loved and is introduced to your kids effectively, they are not too much of a concern.

What you do not want is an aggressive, territorial feathered maniac with all kinds of issues around your kids.

I know caiques are pretty much mid-sized parrots...

,...but in my experience, they are highly energetic, intelligent, and prone to behavioral issues, such as biting and screaming, so I would not recommend them around kids below age 14 (though some kids above 10 years are ok, depending on the attitude).

Lovebirds are workable as well, but they are too needy and require a little more work than other similar-sized birds. They require so much attention and affection and are best kept in pairs.

So, if you want them (lovebirds) around children, you'll need to make sure they are well socialized and haven't picked up nippy manners., though I've noticed these colorful birdies prefer to self-harm when bored (under-stimulated), which is equally bad.

**#7.**How Much Do You Want to Spend

Parrots are not cheap!

They are stuck right in the middle of the exotic pets realm, costing anywhere from 300 dollars to upwards of 4000 bucks for the rare, most talkative types, the care and maintenance cost notwithstanding.

They also need a cage, loads of toys, and a special diet, most of which are far from cheap.

So, if you are looking for an affordable parrot, chances are you'll get a small bird, such as a budgie or cockatiels, or a common breed like a ringneck.

Pigeons, doves, starlings, finches, and canaries are perhaps more affordable, but it will still cost you to raise them.

Thats said, if you have a couple more bucks to spare, you can get a mid-sized parrot such as a rosella, quaker, conure, lovebird, Pionus, and Poicephelus (like a Sennie).

Only get a big parrot (African grey, Eclectus, Amazon, Cockatoo) if you are ready to pay the somewhat hefty prices, including care and maintenance.

Well, thats all for this post. See you in the next one.

Happy birding🦜🦜.