What is the Best Pet Bird for Beginners?


Finding the best pet bird species for beginners may seem daunting but look no further. If you’re interested in f you’re new to birds and want to go beyond feeding them and watching them outside your window, it may be time to take the next step and find a bird you can keep as a pet. Before you rush out and pick up the first bird for sale at a pet shop, there are some helpful tips to consider. Following are ten different species of birds including a brief description about what makes them a good choice for beginners.

What is the best pet birds for beginners?

1. Finches and Canaries

Canaries and Finches are closely related and similar in regard to care and behavior. 

In reality, a canary is a true finch. Both make a great first bird pet and are an extremely popular choice. While most think of a yellow canary, many are bright orange, green, or brown. The canary is loved for its vibrant colors and song, though only the males are the ones singing. Similarly, the finches are not known for song as much as they are for chirps.

Both are happy just staying in the cage and singing and don’t like to be over handled. Similarly, finches are happy left to be observed in their cages. They are very fast movers and like to climb, so they will need a cage large enough for them to fly around in. Finches should always be bought in pairs or more since they are social birds. If the cage is too crowded, fights may break out. 

You may have heard the saying, “a canary in a coal mine”. This came about because of the bird’s ability to detect toxins, especially gases like methane or carbon monoxide. Sadly, he bird would die before the toxin levels in the coal mine would harm the miner. While, they probably saved countless coal miner lives. 

To keep a canary as a pet, make sure their cage is kept out of a cold draft and never exposed to smoke from a non-stick frying pan as both can kill he canary. Also, be careful if using deodorizers, smoke of any kind including scented candles, bug sprays, or cleaning solutions. Another consideration is to put a screen over their cage to protect them from insect bites. Mosquitoes carry a disease that can be fatal for a canary.

Average Adult Size: Small, about 4.9 to 5.3 inches with a 7.9 to 9.1 inch wingspan.

Average Adult Weight: Average weight of .7 oz. Some weigh as little as .4 oz. or as much as 1 oz.

Average Lifespan: 10 years

Behavior: Only male canaries sing but both male and females canaries and finches enjoy a hands-off approach as they don’t really like to be handled. They much prefer being observed as they safely stay in their cages. While they prefer not to be handled by humans, they are social birds and enjoy a friend in their cage with them. Do give them plenty of space to spread their wings or expect cage battles over territory.

Favorite Food: Seeds, dried fruits and vegetables, nuts, and whole grains.

2. Budgies / Parakeet

Budgies, also known as Parakeets, are popular pet birds because they are relatively inexpensive, friendly, small, cute, and affectionate as pets. You can also train them to show off with a few tricks including learning to talk. To keep a budgie healthy, they are going to need to stay in a clean cage with companionship, daily exercise and a healthy diet of fresh veggies and fruit.


Average Adult Size: 7 inches long with a 12-inch wingspan

Average Adult Weight: 1.1 to 1.4 oz.

Average Lifespan: 5 to 14 years, some live as long as 20 years

Behavior: Budgies, or parakeets, tend to display an affectionate personality though they are typically a bit timid at first.

Favorite Food: Apples, pears, melons, kiwi, berries, grapes, and oranges.

3. Cockatiels

Cockatiels are very popular since they are small and like to be snuggled. When making your selection, choose a female since they tend to be gentler and more affectionate than the male cockatiels who tend to be more moody and demand attention. The cockatiel will need a large cage filled with toys and perches and will need to be let out of the cage a couple hours each day.

Average Adult Size: 12 to 13 inches

Average Adult Weight: 2 to 4 oz.

Average Lifespan: 10 to 14, but up to 30 years

Behavior: Love to be petted and snuggled. They make great whistlers, while some learn to talk.

Favorite Food: seeds, pellets, dark, leafy greens, apples, bananas, and melon

4. Parrotlets

Parrotlets are small and easy to maintain as a pet. What they may lack in size, they make up for in personality as they are extremely entertaining, and most importantly, very loving. Though, they do demand a lot of attention. In fact, they soak up all of the attention their owners are willing to shower upon them. They are typically a blue or a green apple color. Most are quieter than their talking relatives, but some do like to make some noise.

Average Adult Size: 3 to 5 ½ inches

Average Adult Weight: 18 to 28 grams

Average Lifespan: 20 years

Behavior: They love parrot kabobs and other shreddable toys and like swings and boings.

Favorite Food: pellet-based diet supplemented with fresh fruits and vegetables and some seed as well as cuttlebone or other calcium-rich sources.

5. Doves

Doves, especially the Java dove, make excellent first-time pets. They are beautiful and feel comfortable being held or setting atop their perch or on your hand or shoulder. They make a nice cooing sound that can be very soothing.

Average Adult Size: 13 inches

Average Adult Weight: 4.9 to 7.6 oz., average adult female is 5.6 oz. And 6.35 oz. for the males

Average Lifespan: up to 5 years. The first year is the roughest, and the oldest known dove lived more than 31 years

Behavior: Doves are known for their soothing coo. They love to perch, even if this means on your finger or shoulder and are comfortable being held.

Favorite Food: A variety of seeds, grains, greens and fruits. Some swallow fine sand or gravel to help their digestive system and sometimes eat snails, earthworms, or insects.

6. Conures

Conures come in a wide variety of colors and personalities. One of the best for a first bird pet is the green-cheeked or maroon-belied conures. These birds are playful and affectionate. Some may even speak a few words.

Average Adult Size: Small conures are about 10 inches, though the gold-capped conure may grow to about 13 to 14 inches

Average Adult Weight: From 2 to 3 ounces up to more than 5 ounces

Average Lifespan: Depending on the exact type, a conure can live from about 10 years up to 30 years or more

Behavior: Depending on the variety you choose, they tend to be playful and show plenty of affection to their owners. Some even speak.

Favorite Food: Pellets should make up 75 percent of their diet along with dark, leafy greens, apples, bananas, and melon.

7. Pinous Parrot

Pionus parrots may not capture your eye with colorful plummage, though their feathers look almost iridescent, and they have wonderful personalities. They are calmer than the parrotlets and not very noisy, though they are able to learn a few words. These are sweet birds.

Average Adult Size: The smallest, white capped pionus, reaches between 9 to 10 inches

Average Adult Weight: The smallest, white capped pionus, weighs about 7 to 8 oz.

Average Lifespan: 25 years, some live up to 40 years as pets

Behavior: As far as parrots go, these are sweet birds and calmer than some other varieties. They are not very loud, though they can speak. They are also good eaters.

Favorite Food: pellets, fresh fruit and vegetables

8. Amazon Parrot

Amazon Parrots are intelligent and are jokesters, loving to be center stage. They love attention, though they are slightly larger and a bit more pricey than other birds. They are really good talkers, especially if you choose the yellow-naped option. For first-time bird owner, the lilac-crowns, blue-fronted, red-lored, and white-fronted types are a great place to start since they are quieter, less demanding, and easier to handle overall. Just make sure your Amazon parrot gets plenty of exercise and socialization opportunities as well as providing them with plenty of toys to play with.


Average Adult Size: 10 to 18 inches

Average Adult Weight: 12 oz. to 1 and a half pounds

Average Lifespan: 50 years

Behavior: They like to clown around and be the center of attention, so be prepared to be present and showering them with as much attention as possible. Their long lifespan sometimes leaves them outliving their owners.

Favorite Food: A variety of seeds, nuts, fruits, berries, and vegetation. They especially love the fruits of the African oil palm tree.

9. Macaw

Macaws are often referred to as gentle giants because of their size. They are sociable and friendly and love to cuddle and play. Since they are so large, they will require a great deal of space to keep them as pets.

Average Adult Size: Some can reach nearly 3 and a half feet long with a 60 inch wingspan

Average Adult Weight: 2 to 4 lbs.

Average Lifespan: 40 to 50 years

Behavior: Need plenty of space to spread their wings, but they are sociable and love to cuddle and play.

Favorite Food: nutritionally balanced diets of pellets as well as fresh fruits and veggies and healthy table foods.

10. Cockatoo

Cockatoos are last on this list of first-time bird pet recommendations for a reason. In general, they tend to not make good pets for beginners. While some cockatoos may be affectionate and like to cuddle, others tend to be aggressive and prone to biting, especially when they reach five to seven years of age. Though, they do bond well with people, so for that reason they are cautiously on the list of first-time pets but only for those who have plenty of time to devote to the bird, do not live in close quarters to neighbors who would be disturbed by the noise, and perhaps want a challenge. Though, their need to bond also leads to separation anxiety for the bird when you are not around. They also require constant attention and scream and squawk.

Average Adult Size: 12 to 26 inches

Average Adult Weight: Depending on exact species, 7.7 oz. To 2.2 lbs.

Average Lifespan: 50 to 70 years

Behavior: Not typically recommended for beginners as these birds can be aggressive and have a loud squawk.

Favorite Food: seeds, vegetables, small amounts of fruits, nuts, proteins, cooked rice, bean mixture, and table food like cheese, corn, cereal, pasta, or meat.

How much room do pet birds need?

Every bird will need enough space to fly inside the cage. The amount of space needed will be determined mostly on the size of the bird’s wingspan as well as how active they are. The minimum width of a cage for a pair of birds needs to be three times their combined wing span. The very least amount of space should allow at least 2 wing beats between perches.

What do pet birds eat?

Usually a pellet diet is recommended since they provide the proper nutritional mix that the bird needs. About 2/3 of their diet should be pellets. Often supplement with fruits and vegetables, but avoid fatty foods and other table foods that could be toxic to a bird.

How often do you need to feed a pet bird?

When in the wild, birds eat mainly in the morning and evening, so mimicking this natural feeding behavior means two meals a day.

Do pet birds need to fly about?

Yes, birds need to fly. Flying provides them with necessary exercise which in turn builds up their resistance to fight disease.

Do pet birds require vaccinations?

Most caged birds are not routinely vaccinated. Though, there are a few vaccines that are available for pet birds, mainly the polyomavirus vaccine.

Do pet birds need sunlight?

Just like humans, birds need to soak in some amount of vitamin D from natural sunlight every day. A bird needs at least a half hour of direct sunlight each week, but the more the better.

Do pet birds need baths?

Bathing is an important behavior for birds. It keeps their feathers and skin healthy but is not vital for pet birds. Some birds seem to like to bathe once a week, while others never bathe.

Do pet birds smell?

Birds do not normally smell bad. Even their droppings don’t typically have an odor, and bad breath is not common. There are a few illnesses, however, that could cause a bird to smell.

Do pet birds poo everywhere?

While some birds can actually be house trained where to poo, the rule of thumb is to expect poop. That is, wherever the bird flies and lands for more than about 20 seconds, there is usually poop there. They do, however, have natural flight paths and favorite places to land where they choose to poop. They tend to do so just before taking off or just after landing.


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About Us

We are avid bird-watchers who recently retired, allowing us more time to travel the world. Fortunately, we have managed to visit numerous countries around Europe, Asia, and America. Watching and photographing birds has been a passion for many years and we are making the most of the extra time on our hands!


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