Looking into a pet bird? There are plenty of species (and characters) available.
Some people get a bird instead of a dog because birds don’t need to be taken out for walk. Others are allergic to cats — or simply prefer feathered pets. No matter what your reason is, there are at least 6 important factors to consider when choosing the right bird for you.
This article is meant to be a quick checklist for doing your research.
The first thing to realize is that most birds tend to have fairly long lifespans. This means your pet will be a long-term commitment.
Some small birds such as finches will live only 5 to 10 years, but larger birds live longer. A cockatoo can live for 30 to 40 years, so keep that in mind.
2. Intelligence and Temperament
Intelligence also plays a role because many species are highly intelligent. This means that you can train them to do tricks.
In addition, you will notice that different species have different temperaments, with some preferring to be alone and others being much more social.
All birds will require some of your time, but some breeds need less time than others. No matter what type you get, you will have to clean the cage regularly and provide food twice each day. Certain species also like to spend a great deal of time playing or simply cuddling with their humans.
Some birds eat food that’s easy to find in a local store. Others, especially the more exotic ones, will have more unusual diets. You might find it more difficult or expensive to get the right type of food for them.
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You also must consider how much money you can afford to spend. When you first get your new pet, you will need to also buy a cage, perches, food and other accessories. Certain things such as food and veterinary visits will be ongoing expenses throughout your bird’s life. Note: Larger birds tend to be more expensive at first.
Because all the factors above vary by breed, I can’t stress enough how important it is to choose the right type of bird. Here are some of the most common breeds reported to Petful:
- Finches: Finches are small and fast-moving with a lot of energy. They are social, so it is ideal to get 2 and a larger cage. Don’t miss our article on pet finch health problems.
- Canaries: Canaries are a particular type of finch that is vibrant in color. Male canaries are known for singing and are great for beginners because they don’t like to be handled.
- Parakeets: Parakeets (or budgies) are generally easy to find and affordable. You can easily tame them if you get a healthy, socialized pet and are patient and gentle.
- Quaker Parakeets: Quaker parakeets are usually green and silver. These birds are active and like to vocalize (by talking or whistling). Keep in mind that these birds are illegal in certain areas because of a threat to the ecosystem.
- Cockatoos: A cockatoo is a bird that is one of 21 species in the family Cacatuidae. They are known for their curved bills. They are highly active, vocal and crave interaction. Be aware: They are long-lived and will need daily activity.
- Cockatiels: Cockatiels are small parrots that enjoy being handled and cuddled. These birds may learn to talk; many will enjoy whistling.
- Poicephalus Parrots: These are small African parrots of a variety of species. They love being scratched on their necks and heads once they get to know you.
- Pionus Parrots: These parrots are slightly small (but larger than poicephalus parrots) and tend to be quieter.
- Amazon Parrots: These parrots are larger and a bit more expensive. They are intelligent, talkative and like being the center of attention. They are challenging for beginners because of their high intelligence.
- Eclectus Parrots: Males are bright green, and females are red with blue and purple. They aren’t as dusty as other birds, thanks to an oil gland, and they’re fairly good talkers.
- African Greys: These parrots are some of the smartest birds in the world. They are gentle but generally bond with one person and are great at mimicking speech. They are noted for their speech.
- Lovebirds: These birds are beautiful and active, and they love to be carried or handled when hand-raised. They are often recommended in pairs. Don’t miss our article on caring for pet doves.
- Macaws: These birds have longer tails and are colorful. They can have incredibly long lifespans if you take good care of them. They are vocal and at times not ideal for apartments. They need plenty of cage space and lots of toys.
Need more advice? Here’s a quick video from the American Veterinary Medical Association that’s all about picking the right bird for you: