What Kind of Birds Make Good Pets?
Choosing the right type of bird for a pet can help ensure that your new pet is compatible with your family and lifestyle.
Birds are enjoyed as pets around the world. They are low maintenance, require minimal space, and are highly intelligent creatures, making them a great companion for any home. Approximately 85 million people in the U.S. have a pet, according to a recent National Pet Owners Survey published by the American Pet Products Association. Of these families, about 5.7 million own a bird.
While nearly all domestic birds can make great pets, not every bird is right for every owner. Some birds may be too large, too expensive, or too loud for some people to handle. As birds are social flock animals, they require near constant companionship. If you don’t provide a bird with a friend, your pet will likely rely on you for attention. For these reasons, it’s important to consider the different types of birds available.
Cockatiels are one of the most popular pet birds and for good reason. They can be both lovable and feisty and possess infectious personalities that make you want to be around them all the time. Most cockatiels are white, gray, and yellow and are relatively small in size. These social birds often make chirping sounds and whistles which is their way of serenading their favorite humans.
When they’re not making beautiful sounds or foraging for food, you can usually find a cockatiel perched on its owner’s shoulder. Well-socialized cocktails enjoy being out of their cage and around the home. As cocktails are known to be playful, they should be given a large cage that provides adequate room for climbing and exercise. With proper care, cockatiels can live up to 20 years.
Parakeets, otherwise known as budgies, are colorful little birds that enjoy interaction and will often respond to their owners. As parakeets are fairly intelligent, they require mental stimulation to avoid stress and boredom. They also need adequate space in their cage for roosting and exercising. Parakeets can be noisy at times with their high-pitched chirps and singing. Some species are even able to learn certain words or phrases.
Unlike parakeets which are often loud and cheery, canaries are known to be a quieter companion. They have a small stature and are typically yellow-greenish in color with some yellow underparts. Most live up to 10 years with proper care. However, canaries are not really social birds and are often happy to live alone. Many are timid and do not like being handled but do make the perfect pet for someone who enjoys watching birds but not touching.
The hyacinth macaw are stunning birds with their cobalt-blue coloring and bright yellow accents. These birds often come with a hefty price tag and few people get the pleasure of owning one as a pet. Unlike their more common counterparts, hyacinth macaws require a specific diet that is very high in fat. They can be destructive and require a lot of free time daily to play with their humans.
While they can be safely introduced with other birds, most hyacinth macaws do fine on their own as long as they have their human companion. Without attention, these spunky birds are known to get cranky and may even scream out loud. When grown, an adult hyacinth macaw can extend 40 inches from head to tail and can have a wingspan of four feet, meaning they need plenty of room. They have an average lifespan of over 60 years.
Finches are fairly low-maintenance birds that don’t talk much and are hands-off. However, they do provide their owners with enjoyment in the form of social interactions with other featured friends. There are many types of finches available, such as the zebra finch, owl finch, Gouldian finch, and society finch. These birds require spacious housing as they spend most of their time in their enclosure. Finches usually live up to 10 years.
The African grey parrot is known for its ability to mimic sounds. They are also very attuned to their owner’s emotions. These captivating creatures are medium-sized and can be found in a soft grey color. African grays require large enclosures that allow the bird to fully extend its wings. Physical examinations should be given every 6 to 12 months, as well as routine vacations and nail and wing trimmings.
African greys are one of the most intelligent parrot species and can be highly affectionate towards their owners. However, they can become unhappy or depressed without ample mental stimulation. They thrive best when there are plenty of toys to play with, are learning new words, and can interact with people. The African grey is at risk for certain medical conditions, such as respiratory diseases and circovirus (PBFD virus).
Cockatoos can be both affectionate and mischievous in their behavior. A cockatoo that has been properly raised, trained, and socialized can make for a sweet companion. Most adults grow to 12 to 24 inches and can live between 30 and 70 years on average. While cockatoos don’t talk as much as other species, they do have some speech capabilities and can mimic certain sounds and words. As cockatoos require a lot of exercise and interaction, it is important to have an owner with time to dedicate to bird socialization.
Choosing a Pet Bird
Today, birds are commonly kept as pets and are able to thrive in a caring household. However, different species of birds have different needs and it’s important to be aware of a bird’s temperament, behavior, diet, housing requirements, and similar factors before choosing a pet bird. The right species of bird can make an excellent feathered friend for your household.