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What Is the Best Bird to Have as a Pet? 12 Amazing Species (With Pictures)

Nicole Cosgrove Profile Picture

By Nicole Cosgrove

In any discussion about pet birds, some will naturally declare that the Parrot is the best because it can talk. Others will opt for the Canary because, while they can’t mimic human voices, they are easy to care for, have a pretty song, and they do enjoy spending time near their owners. And then there are Finch lovers, Pigeon keepers, and backyard Poultry farmers who all have their own opinion of the best bird to keep as a pet.

There is no single best pet bird species, but below we have listed 12 species that make excellent pets. One of these could be the ideal bird for you, depending on what you’re looking for as well as your circumstances.

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The 12 Fantastic Bird Species to Have as a Pet

1. Parakeet

bourke’s parakeet bird perching on tree branch
Image By: Irina N, Shutterstock
Size: 7 inches
Weight: 1.5 ounces

Parakeets, which are also known as Budgies outside the US, come in an array of colors including blue green, and gray. It is a friendly little bird, typically measuring up to around 7 inches, and it can be trained to mimic sounds, with some Parakeets learning a few human words, too. Their intelligence also means that they can be trained to follow some basic commands and learn a few tricks. They are playful, enjoy having toys in their cage, and can live alone or in the company of other Parakeets. Parakeets make great all-around pet birds and are low maintenance.

2. Cockatiel

white faced cockatiel perching
Image By: Zdenka Kincel, Shutterstock
Size: 12 inches
Weight: 3 ounces

The Cockatiel is another very popular pet bird. It can grow about twice the size of the Parakeet and is distinctly recognizable for its yellow head and blushed cheeks. They are very good whistlers and can mimic sounds and songs. Although it is very rare, some Cockatiels may learn a few words. These fun-loving birds are good for families and enjoy spending time perching on their owners. Cockatiels love company and this can be both a blessing and a curse.

If you have a lot of time to dedicate to your Cockatiel, it will make a great pet. If you need a bird that is content to sit on its own in its cage, the Cockatiel is not your best choice.

3. Canary

orange canary
Image By: Ammit Jack, Shutterstock
Size: 6 inches
Weight: 0.5 ounces

If you do want a bird that doesn’t demand a lot of attention, the pretty little Canary is ideal. This bird will whistle and sing away in a cage, and most Canaries do not really tolerate being handled. Typically available in yellow, green, or orange, Canaries are usually kept alone because they can become aggressive with one another.

4. Lovebird

Two Fischers lovebirds hanging out
Image By: Josef Svoboda, Shutterstock
Size: 6 inches
Weight: 2 ounces

Lovebirds are so-called because they mate for life and are often seen perching together. But, despite this, they do not necessarily need to be kept in pairs, as long as you are willing to provide enough companionship to keep a solitary Lovebird entertained and happy. Lovebirds do require more care and attention than species like Canaries and Parakeets.

5. Dove

Image By: chrisjmit, Pixabay
Size: 12 inches
Weight: 8 ounces

Doves may not be the first bird type you consider when looking for a pet, but they absolutely warrant consideration. As well as being beautiful, and having a soft coo, they enjoy the attention of their humans and while they do like to be around people, they are also happy sitting in their cage entertaining themselves, as long as you can provide plenty of toys and distractions.

6. Parrotlet

yellow Pacific Parrotlet in the cage
Image By: Ear lew Boo, Shutterstock
Size: 5 inches
Weight: 1 ounce

Parrotlets are essentially mini-Parrots, and they behave similarly to their larger cousins. This means that they can be quite aggressive with other pets, and they can be aggressive over food. They do need large cages, despite their diminutive stature, but they make good pets because they love people and especially love attention.

7. Cockatoo

galah cockatoo bird on a wooden surface
Image By: Gabriela Beres, Shutterstock
Size: 18 inches
Weight: 25 ounces

Cockatoos are large birds that can be quite demanding of your time and attention. They need regular handling and they need to be entertained or they can, initially, become quite rowdy, and will eventually become depressed if they aren’t getting enough stimulation. However, if you have the time, they certainly have the love as Cockatoos are known to bond very closely with their owners.

8. Eclectus Parrot

pet bird electus parrot playing with toy
Image By: Jill Lang, Shutterstock
Size: 20 inches
Weight: 16 ounces

Although slightly longer than the Cockatoo, the Eclectus Parrot is lighter. They are brightly colored with the males being green with blue and red and the females being red with purple. Eclectus Parrots are considered very good talkers, but they can be timid, so they do better in a home that is free from cats, dogs, children, and noises. They are friendly with their owners and with a careful introduction to new people, they will get along with visitors, too.

9. African Gray Parrot

Gray African Parrot
Image By: Richard Susanto, Shutterstock
Size: 13 inches
Weight: 16 ounces

The African Grey Parrot is one of the best-known pet Parrot species. It is a medium-sized Parrot that is renowned for being a good talker and it is a very intelligent species. They can be quite easily trained, using positive reinforcement techniques, and enjoy the company of their companion humans. African Gray Parrots do need a lot of cage space and plenty of time with their owners, but they offer plenty of love and a lot of intelligent fun in return.

10. Hyacinth Macaw

hyacinth macaws in a cage
Image Credit: Mumemories, Shutterstock
Size: 40 inches
Weight: 50 ounces

The Hyacinth Macaw is the largest of the Parrot breeds and they are massive, growing two or three times the size of the African Gray Parrot. The Hyacinth Macaw is a bright cobalt blue color and it loves to be held and loved by its owner. It does need a lot of space, as you would imagine from a bird of this size, and it can be quite destructive so make sure you offer lots of entertainment including toys and time with you.

11. Finch

Image Credit: WildPixar, Pixabay
Size: 6 inches
Weight: 0.5 ounces

If the Macaw is too large for you, as it is for a lot of potential owners, at the other end of the size scale we have the Finch. There are lots of types of Finches, but the Zebra Finch is one of the most popular. They are gentle and quite quiet, although what noise they do make tends to be quite beautiful. They aren’t too keen on being handled, though, so Finches are best kept as a pet to look at and listen to.

12. Conure

Sun Conure
Image Credit: Rutpratheep Nilpechr, Pixabay
Size: 15 inches
Weight: 9 ounces

While Finches are known for being quiet little birds, Conures are the opposite, at least in terms of the noise level. They make a loud squawking noise, and they really enjoy it. As well as being loud, they also enjoy company and if you get a Conure, you need to be prepared to spend plenty of time acting as a human perch.

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Birds make great pets, and because there is such a wide range of types and species available, you can find one that is ideal for your preferences and needs. Above, we have listed 12 of the best and most popular pet bird breeds, but we have really only touched on the surface of what is available, and you can find many other possible pets if you look.

See also:

Featured Image Credit: Ally Foster, Shutterstock

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