When you think about expensive pets, you probably picture things like exotic big cats, monkeys, or rare reptiles. But did you realize that birds can be some of the priciest pets on the planet?
The birds on this list all cost a small fortune to buy, and that’s before you provide them with the luxury digs that they’re accustomed to. All this is to say that you can look at these birds, but don’t even think about buying one unless you have incredibly deep pockets.
The 10 Most Expensive Pet Birds
1. Racing Pigeons
One of the most expensive birds that you can own is a pigeon. Yep, a pigeon—just like the thousands you can find for free in any city in the world. The difference between racing pigeons and their less-prized counterparts is these birds have a truly noble calling: they allow people to gamble.
In some parts of the world, pigeon races are big business, and a fast bird can make their owner quite a bit of money indeed. That’s why many people are willing to pay top dollar for one of these birds; in fact, in 2019, an especially fast pigeon named Armando sold for $1.4 million!
We bet that it’s hard to get mad at a bird for pooping on your car when that bird is worth 10 times more than the vehicle.
2. Hyacinth Macaws
These South American birds are some of the most beautiful creatures on the planet, thanks to their gorgeous blue feathers and yellow markings around the eyes and beak. They’re also the largest flying parrot in the world. Both of these things add up to a hefty asking price—up to $40,000, in some cases.
Of course, some of that cost may be because these birds are becoming endangered, and owning one may not be legal where you live. This means that even if you have $40,000 to drop on a bird, you’re better off just buying a good pair of binoculars and a ticket to Brazil.
These large-billed birds are among the most vibrantly colored animals on the planet. While there are over 40 species to choose from, each one will be quite pricey to own. They’re also social, so you may need to take the price and multiply it a few times to get an accurate picture of the overall cost of ownership.
How much does a single Toucan cost? It’s not uncommon for them to go for $7,000 or more. That’s a ton of money for a bird, especially since you can get one for free by simply opening up a box of Froot Loops!
4. Goliath Cockatoos
These big black parrots (also known as Palm Cockatoos) hail from New Guinea, so part of their price is likely due to the difficulty of transporting them from their homeland. They have an extremely large bill (second only to the Hyacinth Macaw among parrots), and they make an astounding number of vocalizations, including many human-like sounds.
A single Goliath Cockatoo can run you $16,000 or more. The good news is that they’ve been known to live up to 90 years in captivity, so you’ll really get your money’s worth out of them.
5. Ayam Cemani Chickens
Ayam Cemani Chickens are black birds. This might seem trivial and unimportant, but the color isn’t just skin-deep—they’re black to the very core, including their meat and bones. They’re also notoriously difficult to breed, which is why a single hen can cost as much as $2,500.
They do lay large eggs, so you can get a bit of bang for your buck that way. Unfortunately, they’re not big fans of sitting on those eggs, so if you want to make more chickens, you’ll need to incubate them, which drives up your bottom line even more.
Nothing tells the world that you live in the lap of luxury quite like a flock of flamingos outside your door. Everyone who visits will know that you’re doing quite well for yourself, as these birds can cost as much as $1,500 each.
The good news is that owning flamingos is nothing short of glamorous. For one thing, they eat shrimp and a special kind of red algae, so your property will smell like a fishing boat. The good news is that you’ll actually come to love that smell because it sure beats the smell of their poop, which is notorious for being some of the foulest-smelling of any bird species on the planet.
7. White Peacocks
Peacocks are known for their ornately decorated plumage, which comes in just about every color imaginable. The most expensive peacocks in the world, on the other hand, lack any sort of color whatsoever—they’re completely white.
This is due to a recessive mutation called leucism, and these mutant birds go for about a grand each. Don’t try to catch one yourself either; they’re not found in the wild, so you’ll have to get yours from a breeder.
8. Scarlet Tanagers
The Scarlet Tanager is a medium-sized bird but they have a big voice. Their beautiful singing voices are just one of the reasons that these birds can fetch $900 or more from collectors.
They’re also quite striking to look at, as they have bright crimson bodies with black feathers on their wings and tails. These birds are quite clean and tidy by nature, but they primarily eat insects like termites, bees, and wasps, so you may not want to bring their lunch home with you.
9. Mountain Bluebirds
There are actually three different types of bluebirds, but the mountain variety is the most prized (and expensive at over $800 a pop because they’re the hardest to catch. They prefer elevations of 7,000 feet or more, and they’re generally found in colder climates.
These little birds have blue heads and shoulders that slowly fade to white as you move down their bodies. They’re known for happily accepting nest boxes, so you might be able to enjoy their company for free if you live in the right place.
10. Northern Orioles
This migratory species is a big fruit eater, and they prefer extremely ripe, dark fruits like mulberries and cherries. They’re known for being picky eaters, so don’t get your feelings hurt if they turn up their beaks at the meals that you offer them.
Then again, after paying $800 or more for one of these birds, you’d think that they’d show a little more gratitude! We guess they know that you’re not going to kick them out after dropping that kind of dough on them.
Each expensive bird on this list can make a great pet (or gambling buddy), but you don’t have to spend a fortune to get a great bird. At the end of the day, a regular parakeet or cockatiel can be just as rewarding to own at a fraction of the price.
Then again, you might be able to make enough money to buy all the birds you want if you manage to get your hands on an especially fast pigeon.
Featured Image Credit: Sanit Fuangnakhon, Shutterstock