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20 Best Parrots to Keep as Pets (With Pictures)
When most people think of keeping birds as pets, the first birds that come to mind are parrots. Many people envision their parrot speaking with them, copying their words. However, only a few out of the 350 known species of parrot can even learn to talk!
Parrot is a very vague term, given that there are massive differences between breeds. Some of the largest and smallest parrots may not look like they’re even from the same family!
So, which of these colorful winged creatures make the best companions? As it turns out, quite a few of them! To help you narrow down the choices to the ones that will best fit what you’re looking for, we’re going to list the 20 best types of parrots to keep as pets, with enough information about each to help you get a feel for the different breeds.
1. African Grey Parrots
These are some of the most iconic and intelligent parrots around, known for their ability to learn many different words, using them to interact with their beloved owner. But that interaction isn’t just for show. These parrots need interaction to keep them happy and they don’t want to be left alone.
One amazing thing about African Greys is that they can live up to 60 years in captivity! If you get one when you’re young, you’ll likely have a lifelong companion. Should you decide to get an African Grey when you’re already later in years, your pet will probably survive you.
- Related Read: How to Choose the Right Cage Size for African Greys
Cockatoos are demanding birds that become practically obsessed with their people. Because of this, they’ve earned the nickname of “Velcro” because your Cockatoo will always be stuck to your side!
These are medium to large-sized parrots, with protruding crest feathers that make them easy to tell apart from other species. Because of their high levels of intelligence and proclivity to throw tantrums when not getting enough attention, many people say that Cockatoos are akin to two-year-old children.
Large birds, covered in vibrant shades of red, blue, and gold, the Macaw is the picture that comes to mind when most people think of parrots. They can span from 20 to 50 inches in height, living for 30 to 50 years. As such, getting a Macaw is a serious commitment of space and time.
One thing to keep in mind with Macaws is that they can be extremely noisy. Their screech can wake family members or neighbors in nearby apartments, so they’re best suited for individuals who don’t have neighbors sharing a wall.
If you want the colorful companionship of a parrot without having to sacrifice an entire room of your home to provide adequate space, then you might consider a Parrotlet. These are the smallest parrots, so they don’t need too much space.
What they do need is a lot of attention. They’re naturally friendly birds, but they’ll become less friendly very quickly if left alone. If you provide plenty of attention from the start, your Parrotlet will bond closely with you. But if you give your Parrotlet a partner, they’ll bond with each other instead of you.
- Related Read: 8 Best Parrot Pellets of 2021
Cockatiels are the smallest member of the Cockatoo family, and they’re extremely popular in the United States. They’re easy to care for and just as easy to get along with, making them an excellent choice for a first parrot. Just remember, they can live up to 25 years with good care, so your Cockatiel will be part of the family for a long time!
Cockatiels have an instantly identifiable crest on their head. What’s interesting is that you can tell your Cockatiels emotional state by paying attention to their crest.
6. Senegal Parrot
Many parrots can be very excitable, screeching and shrieking when they’re happy or displeased. But the Senegal parrot, a much less well-known parrot breed, is much calmer and quieter than other types of parrots. This makes them an excellent choice as pets.
Moreover, these parrots are about nine inches long on average. This means they don’t need much space to thrive. With minimal space needs and a calm disposition, this is the perfect parrot for an apartment.
Parakeets, also called Budgerigars outside of the United States, are one of the most popular birds for first-time parrot owners. They’re small for parrots, averaging around seven inches long, so their space needs are minimal. But their intense colorations make them quite a spectacle.
These birds are known for their curious nature, always wanting to find new areas for exploration. They’re also very social, constantly interacting with their people. But because of their strong flock mentality, Parakeets are best kept in pairs or even larger groups.
- Related Read: 7 Pets That Don’t Smell
8. Eclectus Parrots
Medium-sized parrots with a lifespan of up to 30 years, Eclectus parrots make for excellent companions. One very interesting trait displayed by this breed is the color difference between males and females. Males are an almost neon green with accents of red and blue and a beak that resembles candy corn. Females are a bright red color, with blue accents and black beaks.
9. Amazon Parrots
Wildly colorful and highly intelligent, Amazon parrots are very popular as pets, though you’ll need to be able to provide high levels of care for them. They need a lot of social interaction, nearly all the time. Expect to spend a good deal of your time each day keeping your Amazon parrot satisfied.
There are many species of Amazon parrots, though their numbers in the wild are falling due to over trapping. Most of these parrots are green with numerous accent colors, generally reaching heights of 13-18 inches.
10. Pionus Parrot
Pionus parrots wear their feelings on their sleeves…er, feathers. They will become quiet and guarded around strangers, but demanding drama queens who want to be the center of attention with their family.
Small for parrots, they top out at about 10 inches in length and can live for 30 years with proper care. They’re very colorful, both physically and personality-wise!
11. Conure Parrot
Though they’re a medium-sized parrot that averages about 20 inches in length, the Conure parrot is very active and will require more space than other parrots of a similar size.
These birds are very social and very loud. They’re not shy about making their feelings known, tending to vocalize all of their emotions. Colorful birds, they often break away from the common greens and reds of most parrots, and can often be seen in various shades of orange and yellow.
12. Burrowing Parrot
Much more docile than other parrot species, the Burrowing parrot is a great choice for bird-keepers who don’t want all the noise and excitement commonly associated with parrots. But don’t worry, you’ll still get to form that close bond with your Burrowing parrot since they’re very affectionate.
In fact, one thing that separates these parrots from others is that they can bond with an entire family, not just a single person. Similarly, they’re known to be monogamous birds, staying very loyal to their partners.
- Related Read: How Much Does It Cost to Own a Parrot?
13. Caique Parrot
Short and stocky, the Caique parrot has strong legs, though they’re not the best flyers. Instead, they often jump and climb to reach their destination, keeping flights to a short distance.
These parrots can mimic talking, though they’re not the most adept at it. Still, they’re very sociable, and can even learn to do tricks. If you want a smaller parrot that you can really have fun playing with, the Caique parrot is a great option.
14. Yellow-Naped Amazon Parrot
These are some of the most popular Amazon parrots to keep as pets. This is because they’re very common and have a knack for learning many words. These are some of the best-speaking parrots, so if you want to have a conversation with your bird, consider a Yellow-Naped Amazon parrot.
Though generally affordable, there are some rare color variations of this parrot that command high-dollar prices. In fact, a very rare mutation with blue coloring and a white spot goes for as much as $30,000!
15. Meyer’s Parrot
Though they are often social and bond closely with all members of their family, the Meyer’s parrot doesn’t like to be the center of attention. They want to be involved with the family, but they prefer to hang back and watch from a distance. Unlike many types of parrots, these birds won’t demand your attention, though they still need to be handled a lot.
These are small, brown and green parrots, from the same family as the Senegal parrot. They’re popular as pets, though not nearly as popular as the Senegal, who is the show-stealer of the family.
16. Ring-Necked Parakeet
These birds are very obviously named for the colorful ring around their necks. They’re medium-sized parrots with an outgoing personality. One of the reasons they’re so popular is that they can be quite talkative. They’re not the best at mimicking human language, but they’re very vocal and are excellent at sharing their emotions through sound.
17. Kakariki Parrots
Small and colorful with a goofy personality, these parrots are excellent companions. They’re very smart, able to learn tricks and words without much difficulty.
Kakariki parrots are small, reaching an average length of 11 inches. But about half that length is just tail! They’re not very noisy for parrots, but they do make a lot of different sounds to display how they’re feeling.
18. Timneh Greys
Almost every bird enthusiast knows about African Grey parrots. But what’s unknown to many is the fact that there are actually two distinct species of African Greys. The more common and well-known species is the Congo African Grey, but the Timneh Grey is just as desirable, albeit for different reasons.
Still highly intelligent and able to learn just as much human speech, the Timneh Grey parrot is more docile than their more popular cousins. They sometimes begin to mimic words even earlier than the Congo African Grey, though they don’t mimic voices like their cousin parrots do.
- Related Read: 10 Best Parrot Foods of 2020 — Reviews & Top Picks
19. Quaker Parakeet
If you’re looking for a smaller parrot that can talk with the best of them, then you might take a look at the Quaker Parakeet. Also called the Monk Parakeet, these birds are about 11 inches long and are well-known for their word-copying abilities.
When caring for your Quaker Parakeet, you should try to talk about everything you’re doing. With time and repetition, this bird can pick up many different words and become quite vocal.
Lovebirds are so named for the close bonds they form with a single partner. Though legend has it that they must be kept in pairs to be happy, or that they’ll die if separated from their mate, neither of these is true.
These are some of the smallest parrots that make great pets, ranging from five inches to about six and a half inches in height. Unlike many other parrots, Lovebirds have short tail feathers, a characteristic that makes them easy to differentiate.
If you’re looking for a colorful companion with a bubbly personality, then there is no shortage of parrots for you to choose from. Though the iconic Macaw or African Grey might be the first image that pops into your head when you think of parrots, there are still loads of other adorable varieties to choose from.
No matter what type of parrot you ultimately choose, be sure that you’re well prepared before bringing it home. Do your research on the type of parrot you’re picking so that you can be well-equipped to cover all of their needs. Some birds need a lot of interaction, some need a lot of space, but all need a lot of love.
You might be interested in some parrot gear. Check out:
- 10 Best Parrot Foods of 2020 — Reviews & Top Picks
- 8 Best Parrot Cages for 2020 – Reviews & Top Picks
Featured Image Credit: bluepaints from Pixabay
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.
- 1. African Grey Parrots
- 2. Cockatoos
- 3. Macaws
- 4. Parrotlet
- 5. Cockatiel
- 6. Senegal Parrot
- 7. Parakeets
- 8. Eclectus Parrots
- 9. Amazon Parrots
- 10. Pionus Parrot
- 11. Conure Parrot
- 12. Burrowing Parrot
- 13. Caique Parrot
- 14. Yellow-Naped Amazon Parrot
- 15. Meyer’s Parrot
- 16. Ring-Necked Parakeet
- 17. Kakariki Parrots
- 18. Timneh Greys
- 19. Quaker Parakeet
- 20. Lovebirds