Whether you're just venturing into the world of bird ownership or you're looking for another feathered friend to add to your flock, choosing the best pet bird for you takes careful consideration. You might find that a large parrot will take up too much space in your home, or maybe you'd prefer a bird that doesn't sing, or one you can cuddle with. Use this guide to find the best pet bird to fulfill your requirements and fit into your lifestyle!
Best Pet Birds
Finding the best bird for you depends on what type of pet you're looking for. Consider whether you're looking for a talkative parrot, a pet that's a good fit for your child, or a low-maintenance bird.
Best Pet Bird for Beginners: Parakeet
Parakeets, also known as budgies or budgerigars, are a fantastic choice for first-time bird owners. These small parrots are friendly, social, and don't require extensive attention like some birds. Because they're flock birds, they thrive in pairs or small groups, though you can bring home a single parakeet. Just know you'll need to provide a lone parakeet with more attention than one who has a companion.
With regular interaction, your budgie can become very affectionate and bonded to you. Many owners even teach them to perform tricks. Parakeets can live up to 15 years, so even though they're one of the most popular pet birds, they require a significant commitment. If you're not taken with parakeets, lovebirds or the cockatiel are a few other great birds for beginners.
Best Bird for Kids: Cockatiel
If you're looking for a pet bird for your child, you want a bird who is gentle, affectionate, and resilient. Cockatiels check off all these boxes and more. With frequent handling, this bird can make a playful companion for your kid, as cockatiels love being stroked and cuddled. They also pick up tricks quite easily. You can train them to shake, walk a tightrope, whistle, or even speak. Because they need interaction, cockatiels are not an ideal choice if you want a bird who will stay in their cage all day.
Having your little one take part in cage-cleaning duties can be a great way to promote responsibility. And as with any pet, have your child practice proper hygiene to lower their risk of potentially contracting zoonotic diseases.
Best Talking Bird: African Gray Parrot
If you want a bird that not only walks the walk but can also talk the talk, an African Gray parrot is your top choice. The African Gray has long been known as the best talking bird due to their high level of intelligence and ability to imitate numerous types of sounds.
However, these chatterboxes do take a lot of work. They need to stay on a routine schedule, require a lot of one-on-one interaction, environmental enrichment and stimulation. They must spend time out of their enclosure for several hours each day. But if you are looking for a talkative parrot, you can form a strong bond with, the African Gray may be your perfect match.
Best Bird for Busy Owners: Canary
Fitting a pet into a hectic life schedule can be challenging, which is why canaries are the best low-maintenance birds for busy owners. Aside from daily feedings and once to twice weekly cage cleanings, you won't need to give your canary much attention. In fact, these small yellow birds prefer not to be handled or played with. Just make sure you have an appropriately sized cage, and your new friend will reward you with beautiful melodies.
Canaries are typically better when flying solo, but if you'd like a flock of pet birds, consider getting finches. Just like canaries, they don't like being handled, so they're a great choice for those with a busy lifestyle.
Best Emotional Support Bird: Dove
With an increasing awareness around service animals, some owners choose to explore the option of having a bird as an emotional support animal (ESA). By law, any domesticated animal that offers support qualifies, so you can have your pick of bird species. However, many people are choosing to keep doves as ESAs.
Doves aren't typically kept as pets, but they can make great companions. These birds are mellow, gentle, cuddly, and relatively low maintenance. Arguably, the most attractive feature of the dove is the calming cooing sound they make, which can help calm their owner in times of emotional distress. It's unlikely you'll find a dove at a pet store, so you might have to check poultry retailers. Ringneck and diamond doves are the most popular types to keep as pets.
Join the Flock with the Perfect Pet Bird
Choose the best bird for your household based on how much space you have and what type of time commitment you're able to provide. Many birds can live up to 60 years or more, and some require six to eight hours of interaction each day. When you do make your choice, be sure to get the right sized enclosure, correct diet, and learn about avian veterinary care to keep your bird happy and healthy.