Parrotlets are adorable tiny parrots with huge personalities! If you’re thinking about bringing a companion home for your parrotlet but aren’t sure what bird will be good for them, we go over the ins and outs and possible solutions here. That said, the general rule is that there should only be one parrotlet per cage, and they don’t require a companion.
You definitely want your parrotlet to be comfortable, and we’re sure the last thing that you want to do is stress out your bird, so we hope that this article will help you make the right decision for you and your parrotlet.
The Single Bird
Many species of birds do appreciate living with other birds. If you’re unable to spend as much time with your pet as they require, finding a companion for them can give you both extra company.
The benefit of a single bird is that they will bond with you, and you’ll have a very devoted and loving companion that will enjoy spending as much time as possible with you.
Additionally, some types of birds actually require the companionship of another bird or even a small flock. For example, small birds like finches do best when with three to five others.
The Single Parrotlet
While parrotlets do tend to fly in flocks in the wild, it’s thought that they don’t actually need a cage companion. For all of their cuteness, parrotlets are aggressive and territorial toward other birds, even their own kind. The male birds will fight over food and territory, and they are known to attack females too, particularly if the cage isn’t spacious enough.
The general rule is that one parrotlet should live in their own cage, and they don’t necessarily require a companion—except for you, of course.
The 4 Rules for Introducing Another Bird
If you’re still thinking of getting another bird, there are a few rules that you need to take into consideration first.
1. Separated Cages
Under no circumstances should you put your parrotlet and companion bird in the same cage.
2. Cages Far Apart
Not only should they be housed separately, but the cages also need to be far enough apart that neither bird should be able to reach each other through the bars. You’ll want to avoid nipping and fights that might occur.
3. Only One Other Bird
It’s quite possible that the parrotlet might end up getting along with (or just tolerating) one other bird, but if you introduce a third, it will more than likely upset the balance and create a more antagonistic environment.
4. Close Supervision
When both birds are outside of their cages, there needs to be constant supervision. This includes if you only let just one of the birds out. The new bird could have their toes nipped at (or off!) if they land on your parrotlet’s cage.
Once you have the birds in their separate cages, you should start by keeping the cages quite far apart and only letting one out at a time. Eventually, you can bring the cages closer together and allow them both out at the same time when you feel that they are ready.
The Companion Bird
If you’ve decided that you really would love a new bird but want to get one that can hold their own against your parrotlet, we have a list of five species that might do fine.
Budgerigars (or parakeets, depending on where you’re from) and parrotlets are tiny birds from the parrot family. They are both active, affectionate, and intelligent birds that form bonds with their humans. Budgies are much more likely to get along with other birds too.
Cockatiels are mellower and more easygoing than parrotlets. While cockatiels are bigger, they could still get beaten up by parrotlets because of their aggressive natures. There are cases of cockatiels getting along well with parrotlets, of course, but it depends on the dynamics.
3. Sierra Parakeets
Also known as the grey-hooded parakeet and the Aymara parakeet, these small birds have a similar diet to parrotlets, and they actually do well with other parrots that are roughly the same size. There have been homes that have kept a parrotlet and a Sierra housed in cages next to each other and have had successful bonds form between them.
As small as the parrotlet is, they could still get hurt if they go after a much larger bird. Lovebirds are a fairly similar size to parrotlets and are also feisty and active.
5. Another Parrotlet
This is an obvious one. However, another parrotlet doesn’t guarantee that they will get along, so they still need to be placed in separate cages. There have been cases of bonded pairs turning on each other, so supervision is still important.
If your bird is raised with another, they will more likely bond with each other and get along beautifully. But there are also instances when the parrotlet matures, the dynamics start to change, and you’ll end up caging them all separately, anyway.
Each and every bird is an individual with their own unique personality, so there’s no telling how they will react to each other until you try.
Before You Buy Another Bird
Keep in mind that you will need to spend a lot of time with both birds to ensure the introduction and relationship goes well. If you don’t have that kind of time, keeping your parrotlet as a single bird is your best option.
Don’t forget to quarantine. Your new bird should be kept in quarantine for a minimum of 30 days and up to 60 days and seen by your vet before being in the same room as your parrotlet.
You’re also risking losing the close bond that you have with your parrotlet, as well as your parrotlet viewing the new bird as a threat to their relationship with you. If you’re feeling guilty because you work outside of your home for much of the day, as long as you spend time with them when you are home, and they have a large cage and lots of toys, your parrotlet will be just fine. You can also think about setting up a video camera so you can watch your parrotlet while you’re out. You might find watching them will make you feel better about leaving them alone.
Just be sure if you do decide to bring home a new bird that you’re getting them for yourself and not for your parrotlet.
If your parrotlet is raised with another bird, it might work out for you all, but introducing a new bird to your adult parrotlet is rife with uncertainty and possible disaster. You certainly don’t want to stress out your parrotlet or a new bird, so you need to be prepared for a certain amount of stress for your birds and yourself.
It’s understandable that you’re looking to provide your parrotlet with companionship, given how long these birds live—15 to 20 years or even longer!
But do your research, have a plan of action on how to handle the situation, and look for advice on parrotlet message boards and groups. It could work out with lots of time and patience and especially close supervision, so the choice is yours.
Featured Image Credit by Midnight-Sight, Shutterstock