IN THIS ARTICLE
- The 12 Best Pet Birds for Beginners
- Bird Basics for Beginners
- Benefits of Owning a Bird
- Key Considerations Before Adopting a Bird
- Bird Care Tips for New Owners
- Common Mistakes New Bird Owners Make
- Soar Into Your New Bird Journey
Did you know that early Greeks and Romans kept birds as messengers and pets? Although the early documentation of the domestication of birds was largely limited to chickens, other bird species were soon discovered for their companionship traits.
From their aesthetics to their huge personality, owning a pet bird takes fulfillment to another level. However, before getting a feathered companion, especially as a beginner, you need to know the best pet birds to own.
Birds can be a huge investment that would require a considerable amount of resources. Besides that, you must consider the bird with the right temperament and care requirements to suit your specific needs and circumstances. Considering how diverse different bird breeds can be, you need to ensure you get the pet bird suitable for you. To help you, this article identifies 12 of the best beginner pet birds, highlighting their unique qualities and other details you need to know as a beginner.
The 12 Best Pet Birds for Beginners
All pet bird breeds have unique characteristics; some are more demanding than others. So, as a beginner, you are better off testing the waters with more cute pet birds than aggressive ones. Therefore, we will discuss some of the friendliest birds that should suit your lifestyle.
1. Parakeets (Budgerigars)
After owning this bird for a while, you’ll understand why they are one of the most popular pet birds. Budgies, as they are fondly called, are not only beautiful, but they are also fun to play with. They are great with kids, as they love to play. They are of the Parrot family but not as noisy. These birds are chatty and can sing and even whistle and talk if taught patiently.
The best part about them and why they are number one on this list of the best pet birds for beginners is because of how low maintenance they are. And as a beginner, you need a not overly demanding bird. Give them toys or treats to shred, like the Timothy Club Twists, and they are good to go.
Physical Traits: They come in different colors with black bars on their head.
Expected Size: 6 – 8 inches, 1 ounce
Lifespan: 10 – 15 years if properly cared for
Known for traveling in flocks, it’s little wonder cockatiels don’t like being caged for 24 hours. They will likely do better if they are let out of their cages for an hour or two to play. As extremely social breeds, they are the best birds to own if you are a cuddler and enjoy bird kisses. They are not difficult to manage, but they love attention because, again, they are social animals.
Cockatiels are fun and friendly and can pick up sounds and even a few words here and there. Put them in front of a TV, offer toys, and spend time with them, and you’ll have a happy pet.
Physical Traits: They usually come in gray with a yellow head for the males.
Expected Size: 10 – 15 inches, 3 ounces
Lifespan: 10 – 15 years but can last 25 years with proper care
3. Ring Necked Doves
Ring Necked Doves are a species of dove that are good pet birds for owners who don’t have much time to devote to the care of the birds. Doves are very low maintenance and don’t need constant supervision. However, they need to be let out of their cages to fly around. And they still need some level of human interaction.
They are not as affectionate as the two mentioned above, but they can feed from your hands. Also, they don’t talk or whistle but can coo and be taught to learn tricks.
Physical Traits: They vary between gray, brown, orange, or white with black eyes.
Expected Size: 11 – 13 inches, 5 – 8 ounces
Lifespan: 10 – 15 years if properly cared for
As their name implies, these birds love love; they love to mate. So, you should either get them a mate or be ready to spend time with them. They love attention and are not afraid to let their owner know. These birds are quite noisy, especially when upset, but can be quiet. Also, unlike some on this list, they don’t talk but can whistle and pick up sounds.
They are fun and affectionate and love playing with toys, so ensure their cage is large enough.
Physical Traits: They are colorful birds with mostly green bodies and orange heads.
Expected Size: 5 – 7 inches, 1 – 2 ounces
Lifespan: 10 – 15 years with proper care
Conures are beautiful social birds that love attention. They are loud, especially when throwing tantrums. So, they need constant stimulation and proper training to control their loud shrieks and hard bites.
These birds can pick up words and are entertaining and very playful, but need a lot of toys to keep them stimulated.
Physical Traits: They come in different beautiful colors, including blue, green, and red.
Expected Size: 10 – 14 inches, 3 – 10 ounces
Lifespan: 20 – 20 years
6. African Grey Parrots
The African grey parrot is one of the best pet birds to own but needs a lot of commitment and stimulation, given how smart they are. They are incredibly chatty and pick up words quite skillfully. They may not be the best for a beginner as they need experienced hands.
These birds don’t react well to boredom and can fall into self-destruction when bored, so they need constant stimulation by spending time with them, including a lot of playtime and foraging opportunities. Also, ensure their cage is big enough to move around without restriction.
Because they are smart, they are not difficult to train. As they mature, they usually can only form a bond with one person and can be possessive.
Physical Traits: They are usually red with red tail feathers.
Expected Size: 13 – 15 inches, 13 – 18 ounces
Lifespan: 30+ years
Cockatoos are cool pet birds to own because of how entertaining they are. They love to dance and can keep a beat. These birds also love attention, cuddles, and head scratches. They don’t like being left alone and can be aggressive when left to their own devices. However, attention must be regulated, or they’ll keep demanding more. So, they need to be taught to spend time alone.
Cockatoos are best bought young. When adequately trained, they have enough bubbly personality to go around. Although they are not very chatty, they can mimic certain words. They need to be let out of their cage and given toys to play with as well as music to keep them entertained.
Physical Traits: They come in white, pink, and gray with extended feathered heads.
Expected Size: 12 – 27 inches, 10 – 30 ounces
Lifespan: 45+ years
8. Hyacinth Macaws
Hyacinth macaws are large, so they need a lot of space and are not the best for small apartments. They are extremely friendly and can form a tight bond with their owner.
These birds are cuddly and social and can be gentle and fun companions with proper care. They are also huge investments because they live long. These macaws need a lot of toys to entertain them and might need additional play areas beside their cage or, better still, a custom cage.
Physical Traits: They come in vibrant blue with yellow stripes around their black eyes and beak.
Expected Size: 30 – 45 inches, 40 – 50 ounces
Lifespan: 50+ years. Can live up to 80 years
Canary are quite timid and are not the most affectionate birds. They are not looking to be touched or cuddled but don’t mind spending time with their owner. Canaries are amazing songbirds, especially the males, so they can serenade and keep you entertained.
These birds don’t need much attention and can spend time alone. So, they need a cage that would support exploring and foraging, as they are also curious birds. They also need toys, especially those that can create a tone.
Physical Traits: They are usually yellow but can come in green or orange.
Expected Size: 4 – 8 inches, 1 ounce
Lifespan: 10 – 15 years
10. Pionus Parrots
This is the best bird for pet owners with busy schedules. Pionus parrots are both self-sufficient and dependent. They don’t need constant attention or supervision; they can entertain themselves for a considerable time. Give them room to exercise and toys to play with, and they are good.
They are also not as noisy as other Parrot species, even though they can be chatty and playful as well.
Physical Traits: They are usually green with blue heads.
Expected Size: 10 – 12 inches, 8 – 11 ounces
Lifespan: 30+ years
These tiny birds make up for their size with a huge personality. They crave attention and are great with children. These pets are relatively quiet but can pick up words when taught and can be trained to do tricks.
Parrotlets need a lot of attention, so their cage should be kept where there’s a lot of activity.
Physical Traits: They usually come in green or blue.
Expected Size: 4 – 5 inches, 1 ounce
Lifespan: 15 – 20 years
Last on this list of the best pet birds to own, but definitely not least, are finches. These small social birds don’t need that much human attention and can thrive on their own. However, they function better in a group. They are not the quietest birds, as they make peeping sounds.
Finches need a bird cage with enough room to play and nest. They also need toys and materials for foraging and nesting.
Physical Traits: They come in several colors.
Expected Size: 4 – 10 inches, about 1 ounce
Lifespan: 5 – 10 years
Bird Basics for Beginners
The most obvious characteristic of birds is that they are feathery animals. Their feathers act as an insulator to keep heat in their body and form their wings, which help most of their species fly. They have other characteristics like high metabolism to aid their flight and the ability to lay eggs.
Concerning their social behaviors, birds are generally social beings; they don’t do well in isolation. They fly as a flock, cooperate to breed, and find food, and some species are even known to have coordinated movement. Thus, when they are owned as pets, they enjoy forming bonds with their owners, some more than others.
However, it is easy to believe that birds don’t have boundaries due to their social nature; they do. First, not every bird enjoys touch. For instance, canaries are better heard than touched. But even the ones that don’t mind human connection need to be given space to get used to a new person or space. Therefore, you must be patient and understanding until they acclimate to new people and surroundings.
They usually show their discomfort through biting. But in some cases, it could also be because they want attention, so you need to watch their body language to interpret their tantrums. However, if your bird is biting you and being aggressive when you are handling it, it most likely wants to be left alone. Sudden movements or unannounced touches are not very welcome in the avian world, so announce your presence when you want to handle it.
Birds can also be quite territorial about their cage and toys; be gentle before introducing anything new or taking anything from their cage.
Lastly, these feathery friends are highly intelligent beings. Though they have tiny brains, they are not stupid. When you recognize that fact, you’ll develop a deeper relationship with your pet, one built on mutual respect.
Benefits of Owning a Bird
A major benefit of owning a bird is companionship, but beyond that, there are other benefits you may not have considered. Take a look at some of the benefits of owning a bird;
Birds are great companions that can keep you company with their chatter, chirps, or even songs. Depending on the kind of bird you own, you’re likely not to be lonely with a bird around.
Birds require care and attention and can provide care in their own way by bonding with their carer. Caring for others has been found to reduce the cortisol (stress hormone) level and increase the endorphins (natural painkiller) levels in the body. This relieves stress and improves mood, making you happier and more wholesome.
Great for Children
Birds are great for children who are learning to talk. They can communicate with the birds without judgment and hone their speaking skills. However, if you have other pets at home, you need to make sure they can cohabit before bringing them around each other. For instance, birds and dogs don’t go too well, but birds and chinchillas can live together as long as you give them their own space.
Brightens Your Living Space
Most birds are beautiful, and they definitely brighten your living space.
As a new owner, you’re more likely to enjoy these benefits when you get the best bird, based on your living conditions. So, if you are unsure of the right type, getting a low-maintenance bird suitable for different living situations is always advisable. A parakeet or ring-necked dove are good options to consider.
Key Considerations Before Adopting a Bird
As established earlier, owning a bird is a huge investment. Therefore, you need to take certain things into consideration before purchasing one.
Most birds live long. So, you need to factor that into your decision before getting one. Consider how old you are and the lifespan of the species you are looking to buy. In the event that it may outlive you, you need to set up a bird trust or make preparations for its care.
In addition, if you want your birds to live long and stay healthy, you need to be ready to regulate their diet. Apart from the recommended formulated diet and vegetables, they may also require a special diet by the veterinarian.
Potential allergies are another consideration. Bird dander is another name for feather dust, the dust left behind from the keratin that protects their feathers when birds shed old feathers for new ones. Some people, especially those suffering from asthma or other lung diseases, are usually allergic to dander. In this case, having a pet bird might not be suitable. And if you must, ensure you take the strict precautions necessary to keep one.
Most birds make noises to some degree. If any kind of noise is an issue for you or your house member, a bird might not be the best pet for you. Along with noise levels, you also have to consider that different types of bird pets have varying social needs. Some crave attention more than others. Consider your schedule and how often you’d be available to spend time with your pet bird before buying a needy one.
Aside from pet bird’s social needs, you also have to consider space. Pet birds should not be caged for 24 hours a day. Depending on the species, they should be released for an hour or two to move around. Or, you could have a larger cage to accommodate its exercising and foraging needs.
Lastly, some pet birds are going extinct. So, it may be against the law or against ethics to keep them as pets. Therefore, you need to consider that.
Bird Care Tips for New Owners
If you are unskilled in bird care, you may make a lot of preventable mistakes that could affect your bird’s health. Therefore, take note of the following bird care tips.
Like all animals, birds thrive based on what they are fed. Therefore, their food must be rich with all the nutrients required for the general well-being of your pet bird. In most cases, they are better off with formulated bird diets.
Birds are social beings, and they need daily interaction. They should not be caged all day long. Some birds have developed depression due to loneliness.
Pet birds are messy, and their cage will need regular cleaning. You also need to arrange and set their toys regularly, as they will likely pull them out of place when playing with them.
Just like humans, birds need regular check-ups. Watch out for any abnormalities in their behavior or general demeanor, and be quick to visit the vet when you notice any issues.
Training and Taming
Like all pets, birds need training to keep their need for attention, messiness, and even aggression in check. You can also train them to speak some words and do tricks.
Molting is a natural occurrence. During this period, they’ll need specialized care. For instance, they will need supplements to help the growth of the new feathers. And because they are losing the feathers that usually keep them warm, you need to take further care to keep them warm.
Common Mistakes New Bird Owners Make
As a new bird owner, you may be inexperienced in bird care, but you can always learn from others and prevent pitfalls. Consider the mistakes below and ensure you don’t fall into the same errors.
Some bird owners make the mistake of feeding their birds human food. Pet birds need a specialized diet to thrive and grow healthy. In addition, birds come in different sizes, so they have different cage needs. A big mistake will be getting the wrong size for your pet bird. Consider their size and social needs when getting a cage and deciding where to place them.
A big mistake in owning a pet bird will be to buy one because your friend owns one. Make sure to conduct proper research and consider all factors before making that decision. One of the pitfalls of impulse buying is not giving pet birds what they need. For example, most species are not great with isolation; they usually need human interaction.
Lastly, watch out for your bird the way you do your child. Be on the lookout for any changes in behavior and see a vet immediately if there is any sign of illness, no matter how mild.
Soar Into Your New Bird Journey
Becoming a pet bird owner is not a decision to take lightly. It is a huge and, most times, long-term commitment. So, even if you want to get one of the best pet birds listed in this article, you still need to consider certain factors. Make sure not to buy impulsively but to conduct extensive research before purchasing. You can speak to an avian veterinarian or pet care expert. Once you’re ready to take that leap, visit Quality Cage for products to enhance your new buddy’s life.
What is the best bird pet to own?
The best bird pet to own will depend on your unique circumstances, needs, and even temperament. For instance, you cannot keep a macaw if you live in a small apartment; it is big and needs space. Also, a conure is not suitable for you if you are busy and can’t find time to keep it company.
What’s the most cuddly bird?
Cockatoos are considered the most affectionate and cuddly birds.
What is the easiest pet bird to get?
This will largely depend on your definition of easy. But if speaking in the sense of being low maintenance, then you can consider parakeets or canaries.
Which pet birds like to be held?
Birds like parakeets, cockatiels, and macaws especially enjoy being held, touched and cuddled.
How often should I take my bird to the vet?
It is recommended that you take your bird to the vet at least once a year whether or not the bird is sick.
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