Parrotlet vs Parakeet: Which is the best pet?

Written by Deborah Bagley
Published: March 14, 2022
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Parrotlet and parakeets are two adorable little birds of the parrot family are both kept as family pets. They are the two smallest birds in the parrot family, but one likes to cuddle, and one does not. A parakeet’s personality is much warmer and more affectionate than a parrotlet. Parakeets are happier with another parakeet roommate, whereas a parrotlet prefers solitude.

Both parrotlet and parakeets make nice family pets, however, their requirements to be happy are quite different. Let’s look at the differences between the two so that you can make up your own mind about which bird would be right for you and your family. Let’s take a deeper look at the differences that separate parrotlets vs parakeets!

Parrotlet vs parakeet: Comparing who makes the better pet, for your needs?

Parakeet vs Parrotlet
Parakeets and parrotlets are two of the smallest parrots, but both are popular pets.

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Parakeet:

  • Parakeets are affectionate, calm and docile
  • Smart and trainable
  • Happy, active little birds
  • Chatty without the shrill voice of some other parrots
  • Loves to play and enjoys a variety of toys
  • Gentle when handled and easy going
  • Loves human companionship and companionship of another parakeet
  • Freely interacts with humans in a cheerful gregarious way

Parrotlet

  • Parrotlet are aloof with attitude
  • Smart and trainable
  • Very active independent birds
  • Only vocal when they have something to say and can have a shrill parrot voice
  • Loves to play but is very territorial of its space
  • Can be nippy and cross when handled
  • Tolerates human companionship and prefers more of a solitary space
  • Requires positive human interaction daily to preserve its good nature

The Primary Differences Between a Parakeet and Parrotlet

The most important difference between parakeets and parrotlets is that parrotlets are much more comfortable being solitary. Parakeets love companionship, whether from a human or another parakeet. If you’re not in a position to be home much or travel frequently, a parrotlet may be a better option as a pet. Let’s dive into more details below.

parrotlet vs parakeet
Parakeets are affectionate and sweet.

Parrotlet vs parakeet: do they look the same?

Parrotlet and parakeets are both small parrots, but they have very different appearances. Parakeets have long tail feathers. Parrotlet has very short stubby tail feathers and a large beak for their size. They grow to be only 5″ long while a parakeet is about 7″. That can be a big difference in size! Both parrotlet and parakeets come in a variety of colors.

For example, while the most popular parakeet breed – budgerigars – are typically about 7″ in length, other parakeets can grow to up to 18″ in length. Since parakeet is a phrase generally used to describe small-to-medium parrots, there is quite a bit of variation between parakeets!

Parrotlet vs parakeet: is their diet the same?

parrotlet vs parakeet
Parrotlet are fierce pets and don’t require as much companionship.

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Parakeets and parrotlets love fresh seeds, vegetables, greens, and fruit. It is important to offer a good quality commercial diet so that they get their correct vitamins and minerals. Cuttlebone for calcium and mineral blocks should be offered free choice in their cage. When offering fresh food, it is important to cut it up into appropriately sized pieces. It is also important to remove uneaten food before it spoils. Fresh water should be available at all times.

Parrotlet vs parakeet: who has the better temperament?

Parrotlets are feisty defenders of their space. They are not cuddly birds, but they are very trainable. They do develop a bond with their human, but they are not affectionate. In many ways, parrotlets have the attitude of a large parrot in a tiny body.

Parakeets are extremely calm, affectionate, and bond with their humans. They are hilarious birds who can provide hours of amusement with their antics. Parakeets truly have a sense of humor and they require companionship to thrive. In several ways, the parakeet has a more pleasant temperament.

parrotlet vs parakeet
Green and blue are the two most common parakeet colors.

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Parrotlet vs parakeet: what is their lifespan?

Parrots, in general, have a fairly long lifespan. The lifespan of a parakeet can be 5-15 years with budgies typically living on the lower end of that range. Some larger parakeets can live beyond that range as well. Larger parakeets generally have longer lifespans with rose-ringed parakeets living up to 30 years! The lifespan of a parrotlet can be up to 20 years. These birds require a real commitment!

Parrotlet vs parakeet: who is more suitable for a beginner or young children?

For a beginner owner, or a home with young children, parakeets are a better choice Their calm, quiet and affectionate temperament makes them easy to handle and gentle. Parrotlets are feisty and opinionated, an experienced adult owner or experienced older child would be a better human choice.

Parrotlet vs parakeet: can they talk?

Parrotlet and parakeet both are able to learn to talk. The males are the ones who have the ability to talk and mimic sounds. Parakeets are a bit better at talking than parrotlets, their voices more closely resemble humans while parrotlets can sound a little squeaky and harder to understand.

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FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) 

Are parrotlets and parakeets in the parrot family?

Both parrotlets vs parakeets are the two smallest members of the parrot family. Parakeets have long tail feathers which parrotlets do not.

How are parrotlets and parakeets similar?

They both are highly trainable and smart. Both require at least 2 hours of human interaction a day, although the budgie would absolutely appreciate more. Either are excellent companions!

How are parrotlets and parakeets different?

Parakeets do not like to be left alone and prefer company. They are busy birds who like to happily chatter, whistle, and sing all day long. Parrotlets are fine spending time alone, they like your company too, but only on their terms. Parrotlets can be vocal, but only when they have something to say.