10 Top Friendly Pet Bird Species

By ALYSKALHAGEN
Alyson Kalhagen
10 Top Friendly Pet Bird Species
01 of 10

Budgerigar

Two green budgies preening

kerkla / Getty Images

Enjoying popularity around the world, budgies (also known as parakeets) are some of the best pet birds for good reason. When properly tamed and cared for, these birds can be extraordinarily friendly and affectionate. On top of being small and fairly low-maintenance, budgies take well to training and can learn to perform many fun bird tricks, including learning to talk. Budgies are good for beginners to bird ownership.

Species Overview

Length: 6 to 8 inches

Weight: 1 ounce

Physical Characteristics: Green abdomen; black and yellow back; yellow head; dark blue tail; mutations include blue, yellow, white, and gray

02 of 10

Cockatiel

white cockatiel outside a cage and a gray cockatiel in a cage

Brenda Hughes / Getty Images

The captivating cockatiel is another great choice for anyone who wants a friendly and affectionate pet bird. Hailing from Australia, these birds make excellent pets when hand-fed as babies and raised in positive environments. While they don’t normally learn to talk, cockatiels are exceptionally intelligent. Many learn to whistle quite well and mimic common household noises, such as doorbells, telephones, and microwaves. Cockatiels are good for beginners.

Species Overview

Length: 12 to 13 inches

Weight: 3 ounces

Physical Characteristics: Gray body; yellow face and crest; orange cheeks; long tail; mutations include albino, lutino, pied, and cinnamon

03 of 10

Cockatoo

Close-up shot of a cockatoo

 

Jochen Schlenker / robertharding / Getty Images

If you prefer a large pet bird that is friendly and affectionate, a cockatoo can be a great choice. These beautiful birds bond very strongly with their caretakers and prefer to be with them as often as possible. It is imperative that you have plenty of time to spend socializing with your bird. Cockatoos can become depressed if they aren’t given enough attention and might resort to feather plucking or other destructive behaviors. These birds are better for experienced bird owners than beginners.

Species Overview

Length: 18 inches 

Weight: 16 to 26 ounces

Physical Characteristics: Primarily white plumage; pale yellow on wings and tail; large white crest; black beak (umbrella cockatoo)

04 of 10

Hyacinth Macaw

hyacinth macaw
 Toshihiro (Bill) Shoji / Getty Images

Known as “gentle giants,” hyacinth macaws are the largest of all parrots. And as sociable and friendly birds, they love nothing more than to spend time playing and cuddling with their owners. Due to their size, it can be difficult for most people to provide proper housing for these birds. But those who are able to meet their needs are rewarded with an incredible relationship with their feathered friend. Hyacinth macaws are best for experienced bird owners.

Species Overview

Length: 40 inches

Weight: 42 to 51 ounces

Physical Characteristics: Solid blue plumage; yellow patches around eyes and beak; black beak; dark gray feet

 
05 of 10

Dove

Ring-necked dove on the ground

Juhani Vilpo/Getty Images

You might not immediately think of a dove as a friendly pet bird, but domesticated, hand-fed doves are known to be extremely sweet and gentle. These birds rarely bite, and even people with limited bird experience generally find it easy to train and bond with doves. They enjoy their caretakers’ companionship but usually won’t be overly demanding of attention.

Species Overview

Length: 11 to 13 inches

Weight: 5 to 8 ounces

Physical Characteristics: Plumage of dull grays and browns; black collar around nape of neck; black eyes and beak; mutations include white, orange, and pied (ring-necked dove)

06 of 10

Parrotlet

Blue-winged Parrotlet (Forpus xanthopterygius)
 Bertrando Campos / Getty Images

Spunky and relatively easy to care for, parrotlets are known for having personalities much larger than their tiny bodies. Those considering parrotlets must have plenty of time to play and socialize with their pets, as these birds can become a little wild without regular handling. But people who interact with their parrotlets every day are usually able to form strong bonds with these comical little birds. These birds are good for beginners.

Species Overview

Length: 4 to 5 inches

Weight: 1 ounce

Physical Characteristics: Green head and body; blue on back and behind eyes; mutations include blue, yellow, and white

07 of 10

Green-Cheeked Conure

Green-cheeked conure

Paul Atkinson/Getty Images

Hailing from South America, green-cheeked conures thrive on spending time socializing with their caretakers. By nature, they are intelligent, playful, and slightly mischievous birds. But compared to other conure species, they tend to be quieter and more easygoing. They usually don’t learn to talk, but their charming personalities are more than enough to make them entertaining and engaging companions.

Species Overview

Length: 10 to 11 inches

Weight: 2 to 3 ounces

Physical Characteristics: Predominantly green; olive cheek patches; gray breast and head; maroon tail; blue flight feathers; mutations include turquoise, yellow, and cinnamon

08 of 10

Hahn’s Macaw

Hahn's macaw face

 

KF Shots/Getty Images 

Also native to South America, Hahn’s macaws are the smallest macaws. But they pack a lot of personality into their compact bodies. They are intelligent and playful birds that tend to be gentle when properly socialized and handled. These macaws prefer to spend as much time interacting with their caretakers as possible and might become depressed if they feel ignored. They also can be rather noisy, though some do learn to talk quite well. Hahn’s macaws are best for experienced bird owners.

Species Overview

Length: 12 to 14 inches

Weight: 6 ounces

Physical Characteristics: Primarily green plumage; blue forehead; red edges of wings; orange eyes; white rings around eyes

 
09 of 10

Eclectus Parrot

Male and female eclectus parrots

Steve Clancy Photography/Getty Images

Native to rainforests in the Solomon Islands, the eclectus parrot is a species with striking dimorphism, meaning the males and females look very different; the males are bright green while the females are red. These large parrots are very friendly and intelligent, but do best in a home without too much hustle and bustle, as they are easily stressed by noise and tumult. They thrive with lots of socialization and predictable daily routines, however. Eclectus parrots easily learn to talk, but generally aren’t as noisy as some other parrot species.

Species Overview

Length: 17 to 20 inches

Weight: 13 to 18 ounces

Physical Characteristics: Males are bright green with blue and red under the wings; Females are bright red with purple on the chest

 

10 of 10

Canary

golden canary
 Dave Lewis / Getty Images

Known for the sweet singing of the males, canaries are friendly birds that are a type of finch native to the Canary Islands. They are cheerful and intelligent small birds that can be easily trained to sit on their owner’s hand, and they are easy to care for, making them a good beginner’s bird. They don’t care for heavy handling, however, although they enjoy gentle stroking and attention.

Species Overview

Length: 5 to 8 inches

Weight: Less than 1 ounce

Physical Characteristics: Yellow, orange, white or red feathers over the entire body

 

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