The best pet bird for a beginner should be one that is relatively low-maintenance, friendly, and well-suited to your lifestyle and living situation. We recommend Budgies as the best pet bird for beginners.
If you’re thinking about getting a bird as a pet, read on as there is a lot to learn before you buy one!
There are a lot of birds to choose from, so you’ll want to consider carefully before bringing one home as a pet. Especially if you’ve never owned a bird before.
Pet Bird Questions
There are many things you’ll want to put some thought into. For Example:
- Do you want a talkative bird or a quieter one?
- Are you looking for a bird that likes human interaction, or one that’s more of a ‘display’ bird?
- Are there any space or care limitations that will affect the health of a bird in your home?
- Do you need a bird that does well with young children or other pets?
All of these are issues you’ll want to consider before you head to the pet store to bring home your new pet. The right bird, properly cared for, can be a perfect companion for a long time to come.
Pet Bird Care for Beginners
Before you start searching for your new bird, you’ll need to make a list of the basics.
No matter what bird you choose, there are some items you’ll definitely need. And some things you’ll need to know.
Pet Bird Equipment
Every type of bird is different, but some equipment needs are universal.
- Pet Bird Cage:
You need a cage large enough for your bird to spread its wings and move around. And you definitely want to consider a larger cage, if you choose to have more than one bird.
Any cage you choose should be durable and easy to clean. You should also avoid anything that might have an easy-to-chip coating.
Metal is one of the more popular choices for all these reasons.
- Water Dish:
A water dish and a source of clean, fresh water are critical for your bird’s health.
Most birds like their water and food to be off the ground, so it’ll need to be something you can attach to the side of the cage.
You’ll either need some protection to keep things out of it or a game plan for regular cleaning. It should also be sturdy enough to avoid breaking or tipping easily.
- Food Dish:
Like the water dish, this may need to be attachable to the side of the cage. You’ll also want to keep it protected and clean.
It should be sturdy enough to avoid tipping or breaking – heavy porcelain or earthenware bowls can work.
Some experts advise against heavy plastics, in case your bird likes to nibble on the edge of their bowls. Metal may also be an option, provided it has no coating that can chip.
Some cages come with a perch already installed. However, others may need a separate perch added. This will provide your bird a comfortable place to rest and relax.
Depending on the size of the cage you choose and the size of your bird, additional places to perch or grip during play may also be beneficial.
- Bathing Spot:
Most birds like to bathe on a regular basis. You’ll want somewhere they can play in and wash up.
For most bird species, experts recommend a wide, shallow dish for your bird to play in. Filled partially with lukewarm water, this can provide the perfect spot.
Different birds have different methods of getting clean, so check with an expert as to what type of bathing area your chosen bird will like best.
- Pet Bird Toys:
Pet birds, regardless of how much human interaction they get, often need extra stimulation. Toys are important for the proper care of your bird, to keep them engaged and happy.
There are several varieties of toys to choose from, so you can get a diverse selection for your bird.
One thing most experts recommend is a toy made of hard bark or cuttlebone. Toys like these are important to help your bird maintain their beak.
- Cage Lining:
You’ll want to line the bottom of your bird’s cage with something comfortable. It can provide a place for your bird to play, and also help absorb droppings.
Shredded newspaper is a common lining, due to its easy availability and low cost. However, there are other options, like moss or wood shavings, or cotton.
Another choice is sand or sand coated paper. Whatever you choose, be aware that you’ll need to change it out frequently.
Pet Bird Care Questions
Different types of birds will have different needs. Some species of birds may require a lot of time and attention. Others are less demanding.
What Do Pet Birds Eat?
Different species will also have different dietary requirements to consider. You can buy many types of generic bird food in pet stores, but some types of birds may need supplements.
Fresh fruits, leafy greens, or other additions may be necessary for the proper care of your bird.
Other items like iodine blocks, sources of calcium, and other minerals. Some birds also need insects in their diet.
No matter what type of bird you choose, you’ll need to make sure they have a consistent food source and a constant source of fresh water.
Are Pet Birds Social?
Some bird species are very social creatures. More social birds will want more human interaction.
You’ll also need to make sure they have proper mental stimulation and social interaction.
Whether this comes in the form of human interaction, or other birds is an important question you’ll have to address.
Most Popular Pet Birds for Beginners
There are plenty of species to choose from when looking for a feathered friend. If you’re not sure where to start looking, these are the most popular birds on the list.
- Budgies are also known as parakeets and they are one of the most popular pet birds.
- They’re small, cheerful, and relatively low maintenance.
- Budgies come in a variety of colors.
- Budgies have a lifespan of up to 15-20 years.
- You can easily tame a budgie if you want a pet that you can interact with and hold.
- Budgies are one of the numerous bird species that can learn human language.
- They are also highly talkative, even if you don’t teach them human words.
- Cockatiels are reputed to be one of the most popular pets in the United States.
- They’re brightly colored and fairly social.
- Their feathered crest is one of their most striking features which telegraphs their moods and health.
- Once you learn to read the reasons behind their various crest positions and associated behaviors, they’re easy to understand.
- They’re medium sized birds. Experts also say they will socialize with whole families, rather than having a designated person they bond to.
- Reported to be easy to train, and not exceptionally loud.
- Cockatiels have a lifespan of 10 to 14 years.
- Canaries are not as widely popular as budgies and cockatiels, but they are a favorite among those who are looking for a songbird.
- They are also small and brightly colored, and relatively low maintenance.
- Considered an excellent choice if you want a more ‘hands-off’ bird.
- Medium-length lifespan
- Mostly valued for their singing.
- Canaries have a lifespan of 10 to 12 years.
These are a larger breed of popular birds. Parrots are well-liked for their bright colors, big personalities, and ability to learn human speech.
Parrots are also known for having long lifespans although it can vary greatly depending on the type of parrot.
Most Popular Parrot Breeds
The three most popular parrot breeds are the African Grey, the Amazon, and the Pionus Parrots.
African Grey Parrots
African Grey Parrots are less brightly colored but considered one of the most intelligent parrot breeds.
According to experts, they are more likely to bond to a single person, rather than a family. They’re considered a good choice for a person who wants a close companion.
Amazon Parrots are prized for their bright colors and very social nature. They are known for having outgoing personalities and a long lifespan.
Amazon Parrots can live 50 years or more. The Guinness Book of World Records says a Parrot named Cookie was the oldest living parrot at the age of 82.
Pionus Parrots are considered by some to be very similar to Amazon parrots, but much quieter and more easy-going. They are also smaller and require less care.
The Pionus Parrot is a popular choice for those who are interested in a parrot but looking for a slightly more laid-back breed.
What is the Easiest Bird to Keep as a Pet?
When choosing a feathered companion, you’ll want to consider how much time you have to devote to care and interaction.
You’ll also need to consider the resources you’ll need for your bird. If you have a busy schedule or limited resources, you should take a look at the best low maintenance pet birds listed below.
- Lovebirds are smaller birds, often called ‘pocket parrots’ due to their features.
- They are brightly colored, usually shades of blue, green, orange, and yellow.
- They are chatty, but not noisy and tend more towards whistling noises.
- They do well in medium-sized cages, with enough room to fly.
- Lovebirds do best when they have other lovebirds to interact and bond with.
- Some experts say they’re more of an ‘observational’ bird, though they can be socialized.
- Lovebirds have a lifespan of up to 15 years.
- Water dish should be refilled daily.
- Preferred diet is seeds, berries, fruits, and grains.
- 1-2 ounces of parrot feed a day is recommended, with supplements.
- Natural supplements include:
- Vegetables such as spinach, radish, or parsley.
- Fresh fruits such as berries, kiwi, grapes, and bananas.
- Protein can be provided with walnuts or hazelnuts.
- Cage substrate should be changed daily, cage cleaned weekly.
- Canaries are highly valued as songbirds.
- Brightly colored, often with shades of yellow and orange.
- Cheerful personalities.
- Some experts cite them as a ‘hands-off’ pet.
- They can be tamed to fly to your hand, but don’t appreciate a lot of handling.
- Designated as ‘Domestic’ or ‘Songbird’ Canaries based on their vocalizations.
- They are also a subspecies of finch.
- Canaries have a lifespan of approximately 10 years.
Note: While canaries prefer to live in pairs or flocks, it’s unwise to put two male canaries in the same cage. They’re more likely to fight.
- Experts suggest multiple perches for a canary to exercise on.
- It’s recommended to cover the cage at night to help keep a canary on a natural cycle.
- The best diet for a pet canary is specially formulated canary feed – primarily seeds with supplements dusted over it.
- Hard-boiled eggs make a good protein supplement.
- Things like kale, broccoli, spinach, grapes, or apple and melon slices make excellent daily supplements.
- Known to be small and cheerful birds.
- Some experts recommend a cage that’s more horizontally oriented so they can fly.
- Do well in small groups with other finches.
- Considered a very ‘hands off’ bird. They prefer to avoid human interaction.
- Size means that even with multiple birds, a medium or moderately large cage can work.
- They can also sing, much like canaries.
- Reputed to be low cost.
- Finches lifespan averages about 10 years.
Most Popular Finch Breeds – Goldfinches, Purple Finches, and Zebra Finches
- Similar to canaries.
- Pellets or seeds as main food – can be bought at most pet stores.
- Fresh water is essential, both for drinking and bathing.
- Supplement food with fresh fruits and vegetables.
- Regular habitat cleaning is recommended.
- Ring-Necked Doves are a great choice if you want a quieter and more subtle bird.
- Their most prominent noise is a soft cooing sound.
- Coloration is generally shades of grey.
- They can be a bit timid but will be more friendly if properly socialized.
- Prefer the company of other doves.
- Highly intelligent.
- Reputed to have a very gentle nature and be good for families with young children.
- Ring-Necked Doves have a lifespan of 10 to 15 years.
- A wide cage is important, since they fly, rather than climb.
- Doves like to forage on the ground, so a heavy substrate or a non-wire base is recommended.
- Perches to jump to are highly recommended.
- Preferred diet is whole seeds.
- Grit and calcium supplements help with digestion.
Important Note: While all of these are considered low-maintenance birds, there is one caveat.
They prefer to live in pairs or groups. If you’re considering getting a single bird, you’ll need to give it more time and attention.
This is more likely to result in a ‘tamed’ bird, but it will take more time and care.
Some birds, like finches and doves, are more likely to be unhappy without others of their species to interact with.
What Are the Best Pet Birds For Children?
If you have children, you’ll need to be sure you pick a suitable bird to interact with them. You want a bird that can keep itself out of trouble.
But you’ll also want one that won’t harm your child if problems arise.
The ideal pet bird for a family might be a social, medium-sized bird, with a gentle temperament. The birds listed below are good examples of this type of bird.
Budgies are a popular pet worldwide. They’re on the smaller side, but they have excellent personalities that are likely to prove entertaining for adults and children alike.
- On the smaller side, but they’re very adaptable and easy to tame.
- They have gentle natures. They will nip to defend themselves, but rarely hard enough to injure.
- There are some concerns about having Budgies around very young children. However, with careful supervision, both the child and Budgie will be fine.
- Budgies are known for being brightly colored and very vocal.
- They are capable of learning a wide vocabulary of English words.
Cockatiels are one of the most popular pet birds in the world for many reasons. If you’re in the market for a medium-sized and distinctive looking bird to raise with your child, these are a good choice.
- Very vocal and brightly colored.
- Distinctive feathered crests make their moods easy to read.
- Very social animals. They tame easily.
- More family-oriented. If you’re looking for a bird who is likely to interact with everyone equally, they’re a good choice.
- They have a reasonably long lifespan averaging about 20 years.
- They love to play with toys and people and tend to be very outgoing.
Amazon Parrots are one of the more challenging breeds for beginners. However, when it comes to being around children, they do have several points in their favor.
- Highly vocal and very expressive.
- They can be easily understood.
- They enjoy human interaction and require a certain amount of socialization daily.
- Known to have big personalities.
- With training, they’re likely to develop a fairly broad vocabulary.
- You will need to make sure your children respect their beak strength as a nip can hurt.
- Children will enjoy playing with them.
- Long lifespan means they can become a lifelong companion for your child.
These are a little more beginner friendly than an Amazon Parrot. If you’re looking for something with parrot characteristics that’s a bit more manageable, they can be a good choice.
- Smaller than the more popular Amazon Parrot.
- Highly intelligent and they can learn human speech.
- Quieter and more docile than many other parrot breeds.
- Long lifespan: 20-50 years so they will grow with your child.
- Supervision is recommended for the first few interactions to avoid painful bites.
- They tame down and become friendly fairly quickly.
- Known to be more family oriented and will socialize with the whole family.
- Consider being among the top “family” birds. A good choice if you have children.
What Are the Best Pet Birds For Seniors?
If you’re looking for a bird for an older individual, what would you look for? In some cases, you might want a quieter companion.
In others, a big personality and a highly social nature might be ideal.
On the other hand, a bird that lives a long time and tightly bonds may become depressed if they lose their beloved companion.
The birds listed below make excellent choices, whatever your requirements.
- They are small and highly adaptable.
- They don’t take much space.
- They are very vocal and friendly and love to interact with people.
- They are brightly colored and highly social.
- Their outgoing nature makes them wonderful pets.
- Many people consider their soft cooing noises to be soothing.
- Gentle nature makes them easy to handle.
- Horizontal cage can be arranged to take up less space than a larger vertical cage.
- They don’t require a great deal of maintenance.
- Highly friendly creatures.
Indian Ring-Necked Parrots:
- They are medium sized birds – better if you have space for a larger cage.
- Highly vocal.
- Brightly colored.
- Excellent guard birds as they tend to warn their owners of danger.
- They like regular handling and need someone who can spend plenty of time with them.
- Very quiet natured.
- They have soft voices but they are also fairly vocal.
- Highly affectionate, especially with daily handling.
- Pairs may not be social, but they’ll be less maintenance.
- A single Parrotlet is a great companion and highly loyal.
- Known to have a large personality.
- Easy to differentiate between males and females. Males are green and females red.
- Highly intelligent and easy to train.
- They make distinctive sounds and they can be taught to speak.
- They’re fond of routine.
- They can be trained to live with other types of birds if you want more than one breed.
Most Affectionate Pet Birds for Beginners
Suppose you’re looking for a bird to form a close connection with. Some birds are more inclined to social interaction than others.
If you’re looking for a bird to connect with, the birds listed below may be good choices for you.
- They’re known to be highly intelligent.
- Easily learn words and even simple conversations.
- They bond very tightly to one person.
- They require a high amount of socialization and training.
- They’ll need a larger cage.
- These are lifelong companions, with a lifespan of up to 75 years.
- Single parrotlets bond tightly to their owners.
- Daily socialization and handling make them highly affectionate.
- Lots of attention makes them excellent companions.
- Also known as Monk Parakeets or Quaker Parakeets.
- Quaker Parrots are medium sized parrots.
- They bond very strongly with their owner.
- They love cuddling and pats from their chosen human.
- Highly social – they like living in pairs or plenty of attention.
- They will actually become depressed if left alone for too long.
- One of the best choices for people who want a hands-on bird.
- Their bobbing and shaking, the ‘quake’ gives them their name.
- Quaker Parrots are illegal in many states and parts of the world.
Note: These are not a good choice for those who prefer a more quiet bird.
- Most widely known for their distinctive head crest.
- Highly intelligent and sometimes mischievous birds.
- Considered one of the more demanding bird species mostly because they require plenty of social time.
- They’re highly loyal and bond to a singular person.
- Very affectionate. You will want to have plenty of time to play with them.
- They like to chew. They need plenty of chewable toys.
- Come in a variety of colors and sizes.
- Lifespans range from 40 to 80 years making them lifetime companions.
What Are the Best Choices for Talkative Pet Birds?
Lots of people are drawn to birds because many species can learn some form of human speech or sound mimicry.
If you’re looking for a bird to teach and hold conversations with, these birds might be some of your best choices.
- Most breeds of parrots have the ability to learn human speech.
- African Grey Parrots are reputed to have the widest vocabulary. Experts say they can learn thousands of words.
- Amazon Parrots have a moderate vocabulary. However, they have a vibrant personality that makes them equally gregarious.
- Budgies are well known for their ability to learn human speech.
- One Budgie in the 1990s entered the Guinness World Book of Records with a vocabulary of over 1700 words!
- Conures are known to be highly active and fairly loud.
- Medium sized parrots with very colorful feathers.
- They are well-behaved pets.
- Their ability to learn human speech is limited. However, they are excellent mimics and can learn a range of random sounds.
- Macaws are some of the larger and louder birds beginners can choose.
- They can be trained to speak and perform tricks.
- They require regular handling and socialization to be cared for.
- They need plenty of activity and stimulation.
- They like a lot of attention.
Quiet Pet Birds for Beginners
Not everyone likes a talkative bird. Your lifestyle might be more suited to a quieter bird.
If noise levels are a consideration, these birds might work better for you.
- Finches are known to be softer, quieter birds.
- Many species of finch have some form of musical ability.
- Parrotlets are known to be quiet and affectionate.
- Limited ability to learn speech.
- They tend to make soft chirping noises when communicating.
- Reported to be quiet and easy-going.
- They create friendships with their owner and become highly attached.
- They can learn speech, but they aren’t loud like many speech-capable birds.
Doves or Pigeons:
- Doves and pigeons are known for their quiet vocalizations.
- Their main method of communication is a soft cooing.
- Many people consider their vocalizations to be soothing.
What Are the Best Birds for Small Living Spaces?
Sometimes space is a consideration. If you’re living in an apartment or a small space, you may want to consider these birds.
- Parrotlets are only about five inches in length.
- They don’t require much space.
- Fairly quiet. They don’t make a lot of noise that can travel through walls.
- Soft voices are unlikely to disturb close neighbors.
- These are small birds recognized by their brilliant coloring.
- The Rosella is a fairly rare variety of pet bird.
- They’re noted more for color than vocalization.
- They are an excellent choice for those who live in small areas and apartments.
- Highly colorful and social.
- Low noise. They primarily make a whistling or chattering noise.
- Their small size earns them the label of ‘pocket parrots’.
- Very sociable but don’t require much room.
- These birds are small and quiet.
- Also known as parakeets.
- They don’t take much room and are rarely more than a foot in length.
Best Larger Pets Bird for Beginners
Smaller birds can be a good fit in many situations. However, there’s something to be said for a larger bird as well.
If you have the space and time for a larger bird, one of these might be a good choice of companion:
African Grey Parrot:
- One of the largest parrot breeds.
- African Greys are considered the gentle giants of pet birds!
- Known for their grey coloration and bright red tails.
- Friendly attitude.
- Known to be somewhat loud and messy.
- Can be challenging and destructive if not given regular attention and training.
- Highly intelligent – can be trained to speak and do tricks.
- One of the most popular breeds is the Hyacinth Macaw.
- Need a large and well constructed cage.
- Known for their brightly colored feathers.
- Native to Australia.
- They make a distinctive honking noise.
- Brightly colored and easily distinguished between male and female birds.
- Some capabilities for learning human speech.
- Brightly colored.
- Well known for their lively personalities.
- Skilled at learning speech.
- They are very expressive with distinctive body language.
- Usually green, but can come in other colorations.
- They like a lot of stimulation and exercise.
- A large cage is recommended but they should also be released daily to play and spend time with their chosen person.
Related Pet Bird Questions
Are Psittacula Good Pets?
Psittacula or Rose-ring Parakeets are considered excellent birds. Experts say they’re affectionate birds, as well as non-stop noisemakers.
What Are the Longest Lived Breeds for Beginners?
Larger parrot breeds also tend to be longer lived. Experts indicate that the longest-lived is most likely to be the African Grey Parrot at around 75 years.
Are There Any Other Potential Good Beginner Birds?
There are. Caiques are also popular among beginners. However, they also tend to be more expensive than many other beginner birds.
When it comes to choosing the best bird for you, there are a lot of factors to consider.
Budgies tend to take a number of the top spots. They’re easy to care for. They’re highly adaptable. They’re colorful and friendly.
They have a large repertoire of sounds, up to and including the ability to learn human speech.
Budgies are one of the most popular pet birds out there. And experts say they’re one of the best beginner birds.
You’re not likely to go wrong with a Budgie as your choice of a pet bird. Still, if you want something a little bigger or flashier, there are other good options.
Amazon Parrots are a good choice for those who want one of the more playful birds.
Parrotlets or Lovebirds are wonderful pets for those who want friendly birds that take less space.
All of the birds on this list are great birds. In the right circumstances, any of them would make wonderful pets and an excellent choice for beginners of any age.