What you need to know

What are the Best Birds to Keep as Pets?

Josie F. Turner
By Josie F. Turner, Journalist specialized in Animal Welfare. Updated: September 2, 2018
What are the Best Birds to Keep as Pets?

If you are thinking of having a pet at home, birds can be a wonderful option. Their colorful appearance is a beautiful addition to many homes and sweet singing can be a salve to hose with stressed nerves. The variety of birds on this planet is immense (even if it not as immense as it should be due to lack of conservation). However, not all birds will fare well in an indoor environment. This could be due to their size, their habits or even their state of preservation.

When it comes to having a bird at home, one aspect many don't consider is whether it is part of illegal bird trafficking. AnimalWised makes this consideration as well as providing our list of what are the best birds to keep as pets.

You may also be interested in: What are the Benefits of Keeping Birds?
  1. Parrot
  2. Budgerigar (common parakeet)
  3. Domestic canary
  4. Cockatiel
  5. Lovebird
  6. Cockatoo
  7. General recommendations

1. Parrot

There are many birds which might fly by and we think of as being parrots. However, ‘true parrots’ are those of the 350 bird species which make up the superfamily Psittacoidea. They are possibly the most popular exotic bird to be kept as a pet. They are known for their beautiful plumage, but also for their intelligence and rare ability to mimic sounds. Their diet is omnivorous and, although their main source of nourishment comes from fruit and seeds, they also particularly enjoy eating insects and even some meat. Their personality is sociable and affectionate, making them very attractive pets to many.

They require a spacious cage, but it should be noted that they need to be able to fly freely at home for most of the day. This will help them avoid behavioral problems which derive from the stress of confinement. The larger the space, the better for the bird. If you live in a hot climate, you will need to ensure windows and doors have protection such as netting to ensure the bird doesn't escape, but can have fresh air. Parrots in particular are recommended for those with prior bird keeping experience. They are very talkative and require the management of an experienced tutor in most circumstances.

If you are wanting to forge ahead and have a parrot as a pet, we recommend you read this article on the macaw as a pet. This will give you an introductory idea of what to expect and help you move toward adoption. Speak to a bird specialist also for advice.

What are the Best Birds to Keep as Pets? - 1. Parrot

2. Budgerigar (common parakeet)

The budgerigar, also known as the common parakeet or simply budgie, is one of the most popular small birds in the world to be kept as pets. They are a better option than the parrot for a beginner bird keeper. They have a relatively simple diet of fruit and seeds.

They are very sociable animals, so we recommend you have at least two. Preferably, they should be a male and female as two birds of the same sex can be aggressive with each other. Although they are one of the best domestic birds for children, it is important that you monitor their handling and ensure it is appropriate. As they are such small and sensitive animals they can be damaged with ease.

Their space must be wide and contain a nest, water and food containers. Handles or ledges where they can hang are also important as well as other elements of environmental enrichment. Ideally these items should be cleaned daily, but you should know this is not a taxing task. Using a sprinkle of water, some baking soda and a damp cloth is enough. Here's more info on caring for a budgerigar if it is useful.

What are the Best Birds to Keep as Pets? - 2. Budgerigar (common parakeet)

3. Domestic canary

The Serinus canaria domestica, otherwise known as the domestic canary or simply canary, is the singing bird par excellence for many homes. It has been domesticated for centuries and is a very intelligent bird which lends itself to training. They can learn different tonal rhythms, especially if listened to repeatedly. The canary's diet is varied, but the domestic variety is based mainly on bird feed and canary seed. It also includes some vegetables such as green sprouts, broccoli or carrots.

Although they are relatively happy animals that love to sing, they can have a somewhat insecure personality. It is recommended to give them wide and comfortable space in which they can take refuge if they need it.

The canary is one of the most popular birds to have at home. However, it is important to note that cold climates can be harmful as they originate from tropical areas. This introduction to caring for a canary will help give you an idea of some of their needs.

What are the Best Birds to Keep as Pets? - 3. Domestic canary

4. Cockatiel

The cockatiel, sicentific name Nymphicus hollandicus, is an exotic bird belonging to the cockatoo family. They are intelligent birds which are known to be affectionate with their human companions. Their plumage is striking with vibrant tones. Most have a gray or white body accompanied by a voluptuous yellow crest, same color of head and small rouge spots under the eyes.

These birds love to keep themselves entertained, so it is important to have toys and games to occupy them. They also greatly enjoy singing and humming. During the day they love to walk free, but when it comes time for them to sleep it is necessary to keep them in a covered cage. Their diet is mainly composed of birdseed, feed, fruit and vegetables.

The cockatiel is one of the best domestic birds due to its sociability. It lives well with humans and can be a steadfast companion animal to many bird keepers.

What are the Best Birds to Keep as Pets? - 4. Cockatiel

5. Lovebird

The lovebird (Agapornis) is known to be a faithful bird, both to their mate and their human companions. They are known for their monogamous relationships and spending a long time standing next to their mate. They have a loving personality and will seek out your company whether to play, snuggle or give a little love peck. It is a great bird for children, as long as the right precautions are taken.

However, if you love your quiet, they may not be the bird for you. They are noisy birds known for being especially talkative and they require constant attention. The lovebird can sometimes go through a difficult ‘adolescent’ stage. They often constantly seek out your attention, but may be quite difficult in doing so.

Their diet is based mainly on fruit, seeds and vegetables. They derive their necessary vitamins and minerals from their diet, but also form the sun. Environmental enrichment is particularly important to these birds and they need to be entertained and socialized regularly to lead a happy life. They can also be trained with enough know how and patience.

What are the Best Birds to Keep as Pets? - 5. Lovebird

6. Cockatoo

Originally hailing from Australia and Asia, the cockatoo (Cacatuidea) is easy to recognize. This is thanks to their huge yellow crest, rounded beak and striking colors. You should keep in mind when considering adopting a cockatoo of how much attention they require. They are very sociable birds which love contact with humans and even other species. This is not a minor detail. If a cockatoo spends too much time alone, they will get depressed.

If they feel at ease, they will seek you out to interact with you. They may bite you affectionately, sit on your shoulder or even try to imitate your voice. They are very fun birds as they love to whistle, hum songs and even dance. With only a simple rhythm, they can pick up the beat and dance along to it. As for diet, they require fruit, especially apples, peaches, pears and others.

The cockatoo is recommended for people with experience of keeping large birds. For this reason they are generally not a great pet for children. They also need their space and shouldn't be cooped up in a cage all day. They require socialization and should be allowed to fly free as much as possible.

What are the Best Birds to Keep as Pets? - 6. Cockatoo

General recommendations

Before adopting a bird into your home, it's important to know that small cages are never recommended. Currently, many associations and organizations related to birds speak of how stressful and anxiety inducing these cages can be. Although cages are necessary to protect them during the night or keep them inside when windows are open, it is best to let them fly freely whenever you are at home. In doing this, you will have a much better chance of sharing your home with a happy and healthy bird.

A home, it is best to allocate a space to make a nest, place water, feeders and elements such as ledges or bars to allow the birds to climb, fly and swim. Exercise is very important so let them explore the space inside as much as possible and provide sufficient levels of environmental enrichment. All these elements will worm towards having a happy bird.

Additionally, when you adopt a bird, it is very important you verify that it is not an endangered species. This is because many unscrupulous bird dealers will traffic rare birds. They may look beautiful, but in trapping them illegally, the individual species and their entire ecosystem are threatened. Going to registered bird adoption centers is your best way of finding the right bird without causing damage to the general population.

If you want to read similar articles to What are the Best Birds to Keep as Pets?, we recommend you visit our What you need to know category.

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What are the Best Birds to Keep as Pets?