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7 Types of Parrots to Keep as Pets: The Ultimate Guide (2023)

Parrots to Keep as Pets

Reviewed by Carol Dunham

Seasoned Pet owner and enthusiast, Content Reviewer at

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to have a conversation with a parrot? Imagine asking your feathery friend about their day or having them greet you when you get home. As intelligent, affectionate pets, parrots have captivated humans for centuries. With over 350 vibrant species to choose from, deciding which parrot is right for you can be overwhelming.

In this comprehensive guide, we’ll transport you into the world of parrots – from their origins in tropical jungles to settling into their new homes as beloved pets. You’ll discover the different species’ unique traits, which ones make the best companion birds, and how to care for these complex creatures.

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Get ready to meet the most popular types of parrots to keep as pets and find your perfect match! Whether you’re an experienced bird owner or dipping your toes into parrot parenting for the first time, you’ll learn everything needed to welcome one of these colorful birds into your home. By the end, you’ll be able to pick the perfect parrot to be your feathered best friend.

An Introduction to Parrots

Parrots belong to the scientific order Psittaciformes. They are characterized by their curved, hooked beaks, zygodactyl feet (two toes pointing forward and two pointing backward), and often brightly colored plumage. Most parrots are highly intelligent and social animals that thrive when kept in pairs or groups.

In the wild, parrots inhabit tropical and subtropical regions worldwide. They nest in tree cavities and eat a diet of seeds, nuts, fruit, berries, and sometimes insects. Popular pet species include cockatiels, macaws, Amazon parrots, conures, parakeets, and cockatoos.

Most Popular Types of Parrots To Keep As Pets

cockatiel bird

1. Cockatiels

Cockatiels are small parrots that originate from Australia. They grow to 9-12 inches long and have a very distinctive vertical head crest. Their feathers are mainly grey with accents of yellow, white, and orange on the face, wings, and tail. Cockatiels are usually quiet birds that don’t make loud screeching noises like some other parrots. This makes them excellent starter birds for first-time parrot owners, as they are relatively easy to care for and can live 15-25 years with proper care.

Some key facts about cockatiels:

  • Average lifespan of 15-25 years
  • Affectionate, enjoy human interaction
  • Form strong bonds with owners
  • Minimal talking ability, but can mimic whistles and tunes

African Grey Parrots

2. African Grey Parrots

African Grey parrots are a medium-sized species native to equatorial Africa. They grow 13-18 inches long and have solid grey feathers, black beaks, and bright red tails. African greys are highly renowned for their intelligence and exceptional talking ability. They can learn hundreds of words and phrases and understand the meanings behind them.

These birds require lots of mental stimulation and interaction with owners. They form extremely strong bonds and need a peaceful environment free of stress. African greys can live up to 60 years, making them the longest living parrot species. Like any other parrot, African Gray Parrots can suffer sickness and it can be hard to diagnose. If your African grey is sick check this article to learn more, Sick African Grey.

Fun facts about African greys:

  • Known as the best talking parrot species
  • Require extensive daily interaction and affection
  • Sensitive birds that don’t tolerate noise or chaos
  • Lifespan between 40-60 years

Macaw Blue Macaws

3. Macaws

Macaws are very large, vividly colored parrots that originate from Central and South America. They range from 20-50 inches long and come in shades of blue, yellow, red, and green. Macaws are highly intelligent and social. They can learn tricks and even mimic speech. However, they are quite demanding as pets. Macaws require extensive daily interaction and exercise. They tend to bond very strongly with one person and are known for their loud, frequent screeching. Their long tail provides excellent balance and climbing ability. Depending on species, the average macaw lifespan is 30-75 years.

Fun macaw facts:

  • Require lots of attention and space
  • Loud screeching is common
  • Long lifespan between 30-75 years
  • Strongly bond with one person
  • Excellent climbers and balancers

parakeet yellow and green budgerigar

4. Parakeets (Budgerigars)

Parakeets, also known as budgies, are small Australian parrots growing 7-8 inches long. They come in hundreds of color mutations, with the most common being green, yellow, white, and blue. Parakeets are highly social and do best kept in pairs or groups. They have a curious, playful personality and better talking ability than larger parrots. Parakeets are generally quieter than other parrots and don’t make constant loud noises. Their smaller size and easygoing nature makes them an excellent starter bird. The average parakeet lifespan is 7-15 years.

Parakeet highlights:

  • Small size at 7-8 inches
  • Hundreds of color mutations
  • Social, best kept in groups
  • Quieter than other parrots
  • Easy to care for
  • Lifespan of 7-15 years

White Cockatoo

5. Cockatoos

Cockatoos are medium to large parrots originating from Australia and Indonesia. They are easily recognized by their distinctive movable headcrests. Popular cockatoo species kept as pets include Sulphur-crested, Umbrella, Goffin’s, and Palm Cockatoos. Cockatoos require extensive one-on-one interaction and affection from their owners. They tend to bond very strongly with one person. Cockatoos are also known for their frequent, loud vocalizations when excited or upset. Depending on the species, cockatoos can live 20-70 years.

Cockatoo characteristics:

  • Strongly bond with one person
  • Need lots of attention and affection
  • Known for loud vocalizations
  • Lifespan between 20-70 years
  • Distinctive headcrest

Conure yellow red and green bird

6. Conures

Conures are small to medium sized parrots native to South America. They grow 10-20 inches long and display beautiful, colorful plumage. Shades of red, orange, yellow, green, and blue are common. Conures are extremely social and energetic. They require abundant daily playtime and interaction with their families. Unfortunately, they are also very loud birds, especially when stressed or bored. Conures tend to form close bonds with all family members. Their long tail provides excellent balance and climbing skills. Depending on species, conures typically live 15-30 years.

Conure facts:

  • Very social and energetic
  • Need lots of interaction and playtime
  • Tend to be very loud
  • Form bonds with entire families
  • Long tail aids balance and climbing
  • Lifespan ranges 15-30 years


7. Lovebirds

Lovebirds are very small parrots originating from Africa. They grow just 5-7 inches long but have huge personalities! Nine different species of lovebird exist, with coloration consisting of greens, oranges, yellows, and blues. Lovebirds have a stocky body shape with a short, blunt tail. They are highly active, curious little birds that require lots of attention and interaction. Lovebirds do well when kept in pairs or groups. Their average lifespan is 15-20 years.

Lovebird characteristics:

  • Very small in size at 5-7 inches
  • Nine different species exist
  • Active and curious personality
  • Require abundant interaction
  • Do well in pairs or groups
  • Average lifespan of 15-20 years

Choosing the Right Parrot

When deciding what type of parrot to get, consider your lifestyle, experience level, and living situation:

  • Noisy or Quiet? Macaws, cockatoos, and conures are very loud. Parakeets, Pionus, and Meyer’s parrots are quieter.
  • Apartment or House? Larger parrots like macaws need more space than apartment dwellers can provide. Small parrots like parrotlets and lovebirds do fine in apartments.
  • Experienced or Beginner? Cockatiels and parakeets are great starter birds. Macaws and greys need experienced owners.
  • Interaction Time? Parrots are flock animals and need lots of attention. Can you spend several hours a day interacting with your bird?

Also research each species’ lifespan. Parrots often outlive their owners, so you need to plan for their lifelong care.

Caring for Your Pet Parrot

To keep your parrot healthy and happy, provide:

  • Ample cage space – The cage should allow them to fully spread their wings without touching the sides. Add lots of perches, toys, and puzzles.
  • A balanced diet – Feed your parrot a variety of fruits, veggies, whole grains, and high-quality pellets. Avoid seed-only diets.
  • Socialization – Parrots are highly intelligent, social flock animals. They require several hours per day of interacting, playing, and bonding with owners.
  • Environmental enrichment – Rotate new toys into their cage regularly. Allow supervised playtime outside the cage daily.
  • Vet checks – Schedule annual checkups and wellness exams with an avian vet. Seek prompt care if your parrot seems ill.

With proper care, affection, and patience, parrots make wonderfully engaging, lifelong animal companions. We highly recommend doing extensive research before acquiring one of these high-maintenance birds. When you welcome a parrot into your home, you are making a decades-long commitment to providing exemplary care. Below are products we recommend for looking after your pet parrot.

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Bringing a parrot into your home is a major commitment. While this article provides an overview on parrot ownership, there is still much more to learn before getting your own bird. The species, proper care, diet, housing, enrichment, and health needs vary greatly depending on the type of parrot.

Speaking with an avian veterinarian is the best way to get expert guidance tailored to your specific situation. The licensed vets at Easy Vet Answers can answer any questions you still have after reading this guide. Whether you want to double check that a parrot is right for you, have concerns about a new rescue bird, or need advice on an existing feathered friend, the vets are here to help.

Connecting with a Easy Vet Answers is easy – simply click the “Ask a Vet” button below. You can get fast, personalized answers to give your parrot the best care possible. Having a trusted avian vet on call 24/7 provides peace of mind to any parrot owner. Contact Easy Vet Answers today to get the insights you need from compassionate, experienced vets.

Types of Parrots to Keep as Pets Frequently Asked Questions

What is the best type of parrot for a pet?

The best type of parrot for a pet depends on your experience level, lifestyle, and preferences. For first-time owners, cockatiels and parakeets make excellent starter birds because they are generally quieter, easier to care for, and don't require constant attention like some larger parrots. More experienced owners may prefer highly intelligent but demanding species like African greys or macaws. Key factors to consider are noise level, required interaction time, lifespan, and size. Be sure to research any species thoroughly before getting a parrot pet.

What is the best Australian parrot as a pet?

Two of the best Australian parrot species kept as pets are cockatiels and budgerigars (parakeets). Cockatiels are small crested parrots that are relatively quiet, easy to tame, and bond readily with owners. Parakeets are very small, colorful birds that are social yet not needy for attention like larger parrots. Both cockatiels and parakeets originate from Australia, have playful personalities, and make excellent companions for the right owners. Other Australian parrots like cockatoos and rosellas can also make good pets but require more specialized care.

What is an Australian parrot called?

Some of the most popular Australian parrot species include:

Cockatiels - small crested grey parrots
Budgerigars - tiny green and yellow parakeets
Cockatoos - medium to large parrots with crests
Rosellas - medium brightly colored parrots
Princess parrots - rare, crested green parrots
King parrots - red, green, and blue medium parrots
So while there are many different Australian parrot species, some of the most common ones kept as pets are cockatiels and budgies.

What is the friendliest talking parrot?

African grey parrots are often considered the friendliest talking parrot species. They are highly affectionate and intelligent birds that form very close bonds with their owners. African greys can learn hundreds of words and phrases and understand their meanings. Their exceptional talking ability combined with their gentle, playful nature makes them a popular choice for those seeking a conversational pet parrot. Other talkative, friendly species include Amazon parrots, conures, parakeets, and cockatoos.

What parrot needs the least attention?

Low maintenance pet parrots that don't require constant direct human attention include Fischer's lovebirds, bourke's parakeets, and masked lovebirds. Lovebirds do well kept in pairs and can entertain each other. Bourke's parakeets are peaceful, quiet birds that like interacting but don't demand nonstop attention. Masked lovebirds are also independent and do okay left alone for periods during the day once they are settled into their home. Just be sure to give them ample daily playtime and affection.

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