Types of Pet Birds

Types of pet birds
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Written by Krishna Maxwell

Updated: January 23, 2023

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Birds can be wonderful pets if raised and handled correctly. There are at least 206 types of house birds, but not every bird is appropriate for a pet. Some birds need to live in large flocks to be healthy and happy. Others have an instinct to migrate, while others have a diet that is so specialized that it would be difficult for their owner to find just the right type of food for them.

In general, the larger the bird, the more time and attention it will need. Parrots and parakeets are the most popular pet birds. In the wild, these are very social, gregarious birds who live in large flocks. Some of the large parrot breeds can be very long-lived, with some species living more than 100 years. When hand-raised, these birds develop very deep bonds with their human friends. They often experience severe distress if they are separated from that person for long hours of the day. This leads to destructive behavior, anorexia, or self-mutilation.

Some birds take well to being domesticated and they can provide years of pleasure for their owners. Indeed, if some domestic birds are given good care, they can live for decades. Here are some different types of pet birds and how to take care of them.

1. Princess of Wales Parakeet

Types of pet birds - Princess of Wales Parakeet
One of the more beautiful of the different types of pet birds, the Princess of Wales Parakeet looks like a flying sherbet.

One of the more beautiful of the different types of pet birds, this Australian parakeet looks like a flying sherbet. The crown of the head is blue, there are lemon yellow and green patches on the wings, the back is ultramarine, the cheeks are pinkish-red, there are red feathers around the legs, and the tail coverts are green-yellow. The male has a red beak, and the female’s coloration is similar but duller. The parakeet is between 14 and 18 inches long and weighs about 3.53 ounces. Friendly and biddable, it is one of the birds that talk, but it is not a champion talker like the African grey parrot and is considered one of the quieter psittacines.

The parakeet forages on the ground in its native Australia, so it is best to place its food, which is mostly seeds and fruit, on the bottom of its enclosure. The best sort of enclosure is a flight cage, which is tall and wide and not only allows the bird to exercise but makes room for its long tail.

Go here to learn more about parakeets.

2. Star Finch

Types of pet birds - Star Finch
A Star finch sitting in a tree. This types of pet bird love to fly and needs a large enclosure.

One of the more beautiful birds that can be kept as a pet, this friendly little finch is known for its red face and bill. Its tail coverts are also red. It is yellowish-green on top, and its breast is spotted in pearly white. Only about 4 and 4.72 inches long, it weighs around 0.35 to 0.42 ounces. The male has a pleasing song.

Since the star finch likes to fly, it needs an enclosure that’s fairly large in size. An aviary equipped with tree branches with a substrate of clean newsprint is just the thing, and the paper needs to be cleaned daily. These types of house birds eat millet supplemented with hard-boiled eggs, green leafy vegetables, and apples. They should have fresh water daily.

3. Nonpareil

Types of pet birds - Nonpareil
Two Nonpareil (without parallel) songbirds sitting in a tree. This is one of the most beautiful types of pet birds on earth.

This finch was given its name because it is one of the most beautiful birds on earth with its plumage of sapphire blue, emerald green, and fiery orange. Though its somewhat high-strung disposition makes it a bit unsuitable for beginners, it is a tough bird that should be kept in a flock. An aviary with plenty of places for the birds to hide when they need to is ideal. Nonpareils won’t do well in a small cage and even turning on a light in a dark room might startle them.

These finches are not ground foragers and need perches above ground where they can access millet, finch seed mix, and unprocessed rice. This diet can be supplemented with green leafy vegetables such as kale and sprouts. Since they can be picky about what they eat, nonpareils might need vitamin and mineral supplements. Like other types of small pet birds, they should also be offered grit and cuttlebone.

Nonpareil finches are native to southeast Asia and Indonesia. It’s between 4.75 to 6 inches long and weighs between 0.60 and 0.67 ounces.

4. Budgerigar

Types of pet birds - Budgerigar
A beautiful blue budgie sits without a cage on a house plant. These birds are among the most popular types of pet birds.

Also known as parakeets or budgies, these pet birds are among the most popular. In their Australian habitat, budgies are green and yellow, but they’ve been bred to be mostly yellow, mostly green, violet, white, gray, blue, or pretty combinations of these colors. They don’t need a very large cage, though they will need toys to play with. Budgies are excellent for kids and for beginners, as their needs are uncomplicated. They’re also one of the types of small pet birds that talk if they’re trained to do so. There are two types of parakeets on the market, the English and the American. The English are the larger of the two, and its plumage is described as fluffier than that of the American bird. Budgies are about 7 inches long and weigh between 1 and 1.4 ounces, with a 12-inch wingspan.

The budgie can be easily kept in an indoor cage, but the cage needs to be as big as practicable so the bird can at least flap its wings. Parakeets should be fed a balanced diet, including pellets made for little parrots. The advantage of pellets is that the bird won’t be able to pick out the food it likes and ignore everything else. The diet should be supplemented with leafy greens.

Go here to read about budgies.

5. Hyacinth Macaw

Types of pet birds - Hyacinth Macaw
A beautiful hyacinth macaw sitting in a tree. These types of pet birds are among the biggest. The hyacinth macaw is also the largest flying parrot.

In contrast to the types of small pet birds, the hyacinth macaw is a giant. At about 3.3 feet long and 2.6 to 3.7 pounds, it’s longer than any other parrot. It’s also the largest flying parrot and can live for half a century. One of the most beautiful birds, it is purplish blue with yellow around its eyes and the corners of its beak. It’s a bird that can talk, a little. It’s also screechy, expensive, and can easily tear up the furniture. Clearly, the hyacinth macaw isn’t for beginners, but it’s a loving bird that does repay its owner’s investment.

Besides overall maintenance, one of the biggest challenges of owning these types of parrots is fulfilling their dietary needs. In the wild, the hyacinth macaw eats palm nuts exclusively. Not only that, the bird gets them by plucking them from cow patties. Fortunately, other sorts of nuts such as cashews and macadamias can be substituted. The parrot can also be coaxed into eating parrot pellets.

Due to its size, the hyacinth macaw can’t be housed even in a large cage. Few cages are large enough, and the bird is clever enough to break out of it anyway. Basically, the parrot needs its own room or an aviary with lots of toys. It also needs company or else it can become famously destructive.

For more information about types of macaws, read this.

6. Canary

Types of pet birds - Canary
The yellow canary, Crithagra flaviventris, is a small passerine bird in the finch family. This type of pet bird is one of the most popular domestic birds.

One of the most popular domestic birds, the canary is prized for the male’s beautiful song. It is a type of finch, and though “canary” is a shade of yellow, the bird has been bred to come in many colors. Unlike most of the different types of pet birds mentioned here, it is largely solitary. Indeed, being alone encourages the male to sing. Canary maintenance is easy, and they are the right bird for beginners and for children. Though wild canaries are omnivores, pets should be fed canary pellets supplemented with seeds, fruits, and vegetables. Like flamingos, red canaries need special food to maintain their red color.

Canaries, which are about 3 to 4 inches long, need a cage that’s wider than it is tall. The bird should be kept out of drafts and protected from extremes of temperature. Male canaries shouldn’t share the same cage, and one interesting fact about them is that they’ll stop singing if a mirror is put in their cage.

7. Red-cheeked Cordon Bleu

Types of pet birds - Red-cheeked Cordon Bleu
The red-cheeked cordon-bleu, (Uraeginthus bengalus), is a small passerine bird in the family Estrildidae. This is a sensationally beautiful type of pet bird.

This sensationally beautiful African finch has an aquamarine blue body, and the males have startling red patches on their cheeks. It’s an omnivore, but unlike the canary, it can’t really do without some insects in its diet as well as finch seed mix. So easily found mealworms, ant eggs, and the larvae of fruit flies should be mixed in with its seeds. It should also have green leafy vegetables, some hard-boiled eggs, and carrot tops now and then. Beeswax is also appreciated.

At 4.9 to 5.1 inches long, the red-cheeked cordon bleu needs plenty of space and does well in an aviary planted with vegetation. It is alright to house the finch with other types of small pet birds. The finch, especially the male, has a beautiful song.

8. Masked Lovebird

Types of pet birds - Masked Lovebird
Cute Masked Lovebird sitting on girl’s finger. These types of pet birds are named for the intense bond formed between a pair.

Lovebirds are small types of parrots named for the intense bond formed between a pair. This particular lovebird gets its name from the black mask over its face. It is only 6 inches long, has stubby a tail, golden neck, and olive green wings. The bill is red and there are white circles around the eyes that contrast beautifully with the black mask. It is tough to tell the sexes apart, though hens are a little bigger. Lovebirds are playful and affectionate. They are considered good for beginners though they’re a bit too bitey for kids.

Like other types of parrots, these African birds eat seeds, nuts, and fruit and do well on pellets made for lovebirds supplemented with leafy greens and fresh fruit. They also need toys, will appreciate a bath now and then, and need fresh drinking water daily. Though they’ll do well in a 24-inch by 24-inch cage, lovebirds should be let out once in a while to explore.

Birds discussed in this article

Bird Species
1.Princess of Wales Parakeet
2.Star Finch
5.Hyacinth Macaw
7.Red-cheeked Cordon Bleu
8.Masked Lovebird

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About the Author

Krishna is a lifelong animal owner and advocate. She owns and operates a small farm in upstate New York which she shares with three dogs, four donkeys, one mule, and a cat. She holds a Bachelors in Agricultural Technology and has extensive experience in animal health and welfare. When not working with her own animals and tending her farm, Krishna is helping other animal owners with behavior or management issues and teaching neighboring farmers about Regenerative Agriculture practices.

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