Parakeets VS Parrots: How To Tell Them Apart

blue parakeet in a cage

Written by Peralee Knight

Updated: January 23, 2023

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Parakeets and parrots have a lot in common. The name parrot is an umbrella term for the brightly colored tropical bird family that shares four-toed feet and similar diets. But there are a lot of differences between parakeets and parrots. This article will highlight the most noticeable difference and other ways to tell these two apart!

Key Differences between Parakeets and Parrots

The key differences between parakeets and parrots are their size, appearance, and behavior.

The key differences between parakeets and parrots are their size, appearance, lifespan, and behavior. Members of the parrot family have high intelligence and are known for their ability to mimic human speech, though not all parrot species can. Parakeets are significantly smaller than parrots and are a species in the parrot family.

In addition to size, a few other ways parakeets are different from other parrots are explained below!

Parakeets vs Parrots: Appearance

parrots sitting in a rainforest together

There are over 350 different parrot species, and 15 of them are parakeets.


Parakeets have long, distinctly pointed tail feathers, whereas other parrot species do not. Parrots have shorter tail feathers that are wider at the base and squared off. They also have more rounded heads but share the parrot family’s vibrant plumage. Parakeets are one of the smallest species in the parrot family, which is the key difference that sets them apart.

Parrots comprise over 350 unusual species that vary in size, coloring, and physical appearance. Parakeets are also called budgerigars or budgies, and there are fifteen unique species.

Parakeets vs Parrots: Behaviour

Originally native to Australia, all species of parakeets can mimic human speech. Also, parakeets are considered to be more affectionate than other parrots and form deep bonds with their owners. They are also more social than many other parrots and are one of the few types that choose to live close to each other.

Parakeets vs Parrots: Which Is The Better Pet For You?

pet parakeet on human shoulder

Parakeets are more affectionate, playful, and easier to care for than larger parrot species.


All species in the parrot family have their own specific needs regarding habitat, and parakeets are no different. Owning any type of parrot requires research to ensure that it is the right choice for your home and lifestyle. Parrot species of all kinds are very social and vocal animals, and this should also be considered before getting a parrot.

While all parrots are different, larger species have some common needs and considerations. Parakeets are much smaller, and their needs are the same for all species. Dietary needs are highly similar for all parrots, but larger birds may need special supplements.

Taking Care Of A Pet Parakeet

Generally, parakeets do not require a lot of space, and multiple birds can coexist well in one enclosure. Though it is advisable to allow at least an hour outside the cage, most parakeets are content with their own space. They are known to be inquisitive, playful, and unafraid of humans, even in the wild. They are also much less likely to bite than other parrot species, making them good first birds for older kids!

However, parakeets have a significantly shorter lifespan than many other parrots. A parakeet lives between 5-15 years. This means that they are an easier commitment than other parrots. Though parakeets are also quite vocal, they are one of the quieter parrots in volume.

Parakeets are excellent for beginner bird owners. If you are often away from home, it is recommended that you get two, to keep each other company!

Taking Care Of A Pet Parrot

Owning a parrot depends on the individual species and the size of the bird itself. In general, parrots require more space and are not content to stay caged. Most parrot owners provide several perches outside their enclosure to allow them to roam.

Larger parrots like the Macaw can also be temperamental. Some species are affectionate with humans and each other, while others are more solitary. Also, parrots can cause significant injury if provoked. Even smaller parrots like Senegal can inflict some real damage!

About Parrots And Commitment

African grey parrot walking on floor of house

Parrots can live for a long time, and some species live for over 80 years.

© Black

When adopting a parrot, the most important consideration is how long the bird is likely to live. Parrots can live for quite a long time, and some species like African Grey Parrots can live for over 80 years. Parrots form intense bonds with their owners and want to be wherever they are. It is important that any owner allow their pet to form relationships with other people. They can easily outlive their original owners and may find it difficult to bond with a new person.

Parrots also tend to be very vocal, and some species will chatter, whistle, or talk constantly. Owners with close neighbors or who live in apartments may have problems with noise complaints! These factors, unfortunately, end in many parrots being returned or sent to shelters because owners simply were not prepared for them. Any parrot species can make a wonderful and chatty new friend for the right owner!

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