Choosing a Bird

It is very important, for both you and your future pet, that you choose the type of bird that will fit best into your home.  Some birds social; some are just beautiful and entertaining to watch.  Some can be noisy and aren't suited for houses with close neighbors.  Others have special health issues that will require more of your time.  And many birds will outlive you, and their care will need to be provided for after you're gone.  Below are some general introductions to the most commonly kept pet birds, in order of size (smallest to largest).  Don't forget that there are subspecies that may differ in size or temperament, and every individual can be unpredictable.


Care: easy, will do best in pairs or groups with room to fly and nest
Lifespan: 5 years
Diet: commercial food for finches or canaries, seeds, protein, fruit and vegetable treats
Time & Maintenance: low
Noise: low and pleasant, non-talkers


Care: easy
Lifespan: 5 to 12 years
Diet: commercial food for canaries, seeds, vegetables, fruit
Time & Maintenance: low
Noise: low, males will sing, non-talkers

Budgerigars (aka budgies or parakeets)

Care: average, do well in pairs or groups
Lifespan: 5 to 15 years
Diet: commercial diet, seeds, vegetable and whole-grain treats
Time & Maintenance: average, attention keeps them affectionate and social
Noise: low, males have been known to learn over 500 words and 300 sentences


Care: average, less social and may fight if kept in pairs provide toys, nest area and nesting materials
Lifespan: 10 to 20 years
Diet: commercial food, seeds, beans, fruit and vegetable treats
Time & Maintenance: high, require a good deal of playtime and attention, can be taught tricks
Noise: average, call may or may not be to your liking, non-talkers


Care: average, breeding and female egg-laying may pose health problems
Lifespan: 15 to 25 years
Diet: commercial food, vegetables, some fruit, whole-grain treats
Time & Maintenance: average, enjoy gentle attention and cuddling
Noise: average, males are more active and may talk, females are quiet and more affectionate


Care: easy, should have access to large aviary for flying and nesting, protect from bad weather if kept outdoors
Lifespan: 10 to 15 years
Diet:  commercial seed mix for finches, poultry feed, fruit and vegetable treats, crushed oyster shell for calcium
Time & Maintenance: low, gentle and may be hand-tamed, allow time for bathing and sunning
Noise: low, pleasant cooing, non-talkers


Care: average
Lifespan: 25 to 50 years
Diet: commercial food, fruit, vegetables
Time & Maintenance: average, somewhat independent but they may need help to overcome shyness
Noise: average, generally quiet but may learn to imitate sounds or talk


Care: high, very active and playful, specialized diet produces liquid droppings which can be messy
Lifespan: 15+ years
Diet: nectar, fruit, commercial food for lories
Time &  Maintenance: average to high, love attention and playtime
Noise: high, high pitched squeaks, may be taught to talk

Quaker Parakeets

Care: average, can be mischievous, provide chewing toys and a nest box to discourage territoriality
Lifespan: 25 to 30 years
Diet: commercial food, fruit, vegetables, protein
Time & Maintenance: average
Noise: average, may learn to talk


Care: average, provide lots of toys and a bathing dish
Lifespan: 10 to 35+ years
Diet: commercial food, fruit, vegetables, protein
Time & Maintenance: high, playful, curious, and outgoing, possibly destructive, bond well to owner, may learn tricks
Noise: high, some species are noisier than others, many will learn to talk

African Greys

Care: high, high strung and easily stressed, calm environments are necessary
Lifespan: 40+ years
Diet: commercial food for African Greys, fruit, vegetables
Time & Maintenance: high, must be properly socialized to avoid favoring of only one caretaker
Noise: high, can be expert mimics, best talker of the large parrots


Care: average to high, provide lots of toys, large cage required, can be destructive
Lifespan: 25 to 50+ years
Diet: commercial food, fruit, vegetables, protein
Time & Maintenance: high, they can be demanding of attention
Noise: high, very vocal, capable mimics and talkers


Care: high, strong beaks make secure cages and tough toys necessary, leave tv or radio on while you're gone to curb loneliness
Lifespan: 30+ years
Diet: commercial food, lots of fruit and vegetables
Time & Maintenance: high, demanding of attention and can develop psychological problems if they feel neglected.  [Play with your cockatoo often, but keep in mind that they will always expect the highest amount of attention you show.  If you are away for most of the day, get your bird used to being alone in its cage for extended periods from day one.]
Noise: high, can be ear-piercingly loud (especially some males), may learn to talk


Care: high, need very large cage, but also need time outside cage, powerful chewers, provide many wooden toys
Lifespan: 25 to 50+ years
Diet: commercial food, unsalted nuts, fruit, vegetables, protein
Time & Maintenance: average to high, playful and affectionate, need good supervision outside cage due to chewing
Noise: average to high, hand-raised, well-bonded macaws are generally quiet, but can be very loud when they want to (usually at dawn and dusk), some may be taught to talk

More Information on Birds:

Caging Accessories

Feeding Your Bird