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8 Rarest Pet Birds in the World

Nicole Cosgrove

Often, people will admire an animal and decide they want to keep it as a pet. Many times, this is not an ideal situation for the animal. This happens frequently with birds. Because they are beautiful and fascinating, birds are often trapped for sale in the exotic pet trade.

This causes problems not only for the bird species itself but also disrupts the ecosystem from which the birds come. It is estimated that only 1 in 6 of the parrots captured in the wild for the pet trade survive the process. The same is true for other species.

That being said, some people work to breed and protect endangered species of birds. They release them back into the wild to restore decimated populations or help introduce them to new environments where they can thrive.

If you’re interested in learning more about bird species that are rare as pets, including some of which can be helped by breeding and reintroduction to the wild, read on.divider-bird

Rare Pet Birds

1. Archangel Pigeon

Size: 10 to 11 inches
Habitat: Throughout Europe
Temperament Calm, docile

The archangel pigeon has been selectively bred to produce its unusual coloring. They have bronze or gold bodies with a metallic sheen to the feathers. Their wings are black, white, or blue and they have bright orange eyes. This breed has specifically been bred as a domestic bird and can’t survive in the wild. They are primarily used in shows and as ornamental pet birds.


2. Australian King Parrot

Australian King Parrot
Image Credit: Buntysmum, Pixabay
Size: 16 to 18 inches
Habitat: Eastern Australia
Temperament Intelligent, vocal

The Australian king parrot is kept as a pet because of its look, not because it is affectionate or likes handling. Males are bright red with green wings and black tails. Females look quite different. They are green with a red belly and legs. One problem with keeping them as pets is that they need a large space in which to roam around. They aren’t happy with small cages and need handlers that know how to give them the space they need.


3. Black Palm Cockatoo

black palm cockatoo
Image Credit: BangKod001, Shutterstock
Size: 22 to 24 inches
Habitat: Australia
Temperament Territorial, intelligent, social

The black palm cockatoo is one of the largest species of cockatoo. They are dark grey to black with maroon cheeks. They also have a feathered crest on their heads that looks like palm fronds, giving them their name. Those that are kept as pets are described as very needy. They are social and intelligent and will grow depressed and destructive if they don’t receive the care and interaction they need. Although they were once common, they are now considered vulnerable in the wild. Habitat destruction and capture for the pet trade have led to a sharp decrease in their numbers.


4. Golden Conure

golden conure
Image Credit: PollyDot, Pixabay
Size: 12 to 13 inches
Habitat: Brazil
Temperament Active, curious, vocal

The golden conure is bright yellow with just a touch of green at the tips of their wing feathers. They have a white ring around their eyes, tan beaks, and pinkish legs. This species of conure is endangered due to heavy deforestation in its natural habitat and capture for the pet trade. It’s very difficult to purchase one of these birds from a breeder as their sale is heavily regulated.


5. Green Aracari

Size: 12 to 16 inches
Habitat: Brazil, Venezuela, French Guiana, Guyana, and Suriname
Temperament Social, affectionate, energetic

The green aracari is a toucan. It has very dark green, almost black, feathers on its back and tail. The chest is light green or yellow and the head is burgundy. Their beaks are tri-colored in yellow, burgundy, and black. These large birds are very active and, in the wild, spend time in small groups that forage for food together. As pets, they require very large cages and a lot of attention.


6. Hyacinth Macaw

Hyacinth Macaw
Image Credit: Erika Kirkpatrick, Shutterstock
Size: 40 inches
Habitat: Brazil, Paraguay, Bolivia
Temperament Gentle, intelligent, noisy

The hyacinth macaw is the largest of all parrot species. As their name implies, they are bright blue. There is a yellow ring around their eyes and on their chins. They are endangered, rare birds and really shouldn’t be kept as pets. Their large size means they need a lot of space. They also have very specific dietary needs. In the wild, these birds eat nuts only from two types of palm trees. While they can eat other kinds of nuts, it’s not the same as their natural diet. Furthermore, these birds are not solitary creatures. They live in pairs in the wild and will become depressed and destructive if they don’t have company in captivity.

Related Read: How Much Does a Hyacinth Macaw Cost? (2021 Price Guide)


7. Macaw

Severe Macaw
Image Credit: Severe Macaw, Chiar DAmico, Shutterstock
Size: up to 40 inches
Habitat: Mexico, Central America, South America
Temperament Raucous, playful, destructive

The macaws are a group of 18 different species. They are a type of parrot known for their very long tails. The color variations of the different species of macaw can include blue, yellow, green, red, orange, and white. In the wild, they live in pairs and family groups. They are highly social and very active. Some species are endangered due to the widespread destruction of their habitat and capture for the exotic pet trade. While these birds are kept as pets, it’s debatable whether or not they should be. Captivity prevents their normal social groups and doesn’t allow them the space they need for flight.


8. Victoria Crowned Pigeon

Size: 29 to 31 inches
Habitat: New Guinea
Temperament Intelligent, docile

The Victoria crowned pigeon was named to honor Queen Victoria. These majestic birds have a plume of lacey blue feathers on their heads. They are very large and can weigh up to 7 pounds. The feathers on their bodies are light blue with maroon on the chest. They are the largest species of pigeon in the world. They spend most of their time on the ground and need a significant amount of space to run around. They also need places to perch. It’s highly unlikely they can find what they need in your home so they are best left to zoos where they can be properly cared for.divider-bird

Final Thoughts

While it can be tempting to own a beautiful and rare bird, it’s often not in the animal’s best interest. Often, bird owners underestimate the amount of space and attention birds need. Instead of keeping wild birds as pets, it’s better to go see them in zoos and wildlife sanctuaries where they are properly cared for by expert handlers.


Featured Image Credit: ambquinn, Pixabay

Nicole Cosgrove

Nicole is the proud mom of Baby, a Burmese cat and Rosa, a New Zealand Huntaway. A Canadian expat, Nicole now lives on a lush forest property with her Kiwi husband in New Zealand. She has a strong love for all animals of all shapes and sizes (and particularly loves a good interspecies friendship) and wants to share her animal knowledge and other experts' knowledge with pet lovers across the globe.