In this article, we will show you four of the best parrots for beginner owners.
Please understand that there is no such thing as a beginner parrot-just parrots that are less demanding than others.
We will look at the personalities of the parrots, and also the nuances of the birds. One thing you have to know right away is that parrots should never be alone.
You must always have another parrot for socialization, and to prevent psychological problems. If you understand this, you will be able to keep any parrot you like.
The best parrots for new owners are Poicephalus, Pionus, Amazon Parrots, and Parrotlets.
These birds have personalities that are relatively easygoing and thus make for a more accessible experience for new bird parents and we will describe them in more detail later in this article.
Remember, like all birds, they still require a high level of care and concern, which we will discuss in depth.
Continue reading to learn about how to start your parrot experience on the right foot.
Understanding Parrot Personalities: What Is Important to Know?
When you are shopping around for a parrot to introduce into your family, it is critical to understand what makes the parrot good for your particular household.
To understand this fully, there are some personality traits and quirks that you should know about when assessing individual breeds of birds.
After all, parrots are birds with big personalities.
Similar to how dog owners choose breeds based upon their size, personality, and demeanor around family members and other pets, the same approach should be taken when deciding which parrot will take up residence in your home.
One thing that parrot owners absolutely love about their pets is the wide range of sounds they are able to produce. The vocal ability of your parrot will vary.
Some parrots are very loud, and others are rather quiet. Some will learn to speak human words; others may only make lovely bird sounds.
There are four distinct categories of birds and how they talk:
- Vocal Communicating
Some species can overlap and go into more than one category. The Vasa parrot, for instance, is a quiet species of parrot.
Meanwhile, African Greys, Amazons, and Quaker parrots are just some of the species known for being great imitators of human speech.
Please note, however, that birds are just like us: They have their own personalities, and not all will talk.
You should also note that these birds are the noisiest at sunrise, and sunset or when they want to speak with their flock (which could be their fellow bird or even you, the pet parent!).
If you are looking for a rather quiet bird, or if you want to know how loud certain species are, we recommend reading the following articles:
- 5 parrots that are great for apartments!
- 5 awesome parrots that are rather quiet
- Are budgies loud?
- Are Cockatiels loud?
Exercise and Activity
Toys are integral to your bird’s good health and mental stimulation.
Toys are more than just items that pass the time when your pet is in their cage.
They are tools of mental stimulation and allow birds to do the behaviors they would normally do in the wild, such as forage.
If you are a busy professional or have an active family life, your parrots will be by themselves and need something to do.
And, you simply cannot be there for every moment of every day. They have to learn to entertain themselves when nobody is around.
The way parrots do this is by way of toys. Parrots with no toys will end up doing behaviors that are detrimental to their health, such as feather picking.
They may also become rather apathetic, as their brain has nothing to focus on. Parrots are extremely smart and need something to do.
Toys keep them physically active, which is important for preventing obesity. In the wild, birds forage for food, hop around from branch to branch, and interact with other birds.
They also like to gnaw and chew on things. You might see parrots in the wild carrying around twigs and leaves or swinging around on tree branches.
These are nest-building and play activities, totally normal and natural. As bird owners, it is our responsibility to provide an outlet for creative and healthy behaviors.
Toys such as play gyms, for instance, keep them active and also aids in beak health. Exercise on their cage bars, perches, or toys helps them stay strong.
It keeps their muscles in great shape. It is just like a human going to the gym for a workout each day.
Some essential toys that should be included in every parrot cage include:
- Shreddables, such as old clean newspaper, or a clean small cardboard box (If you are worried about letting your parrot play with cardboard, read our article on that here!)
- A cuttlebone, which aids in beak health and is chewable. Some flavored cuttlebones are also available. (We show you in this article why you MUST get a cuttlebone for your parrot!)
- A play gym, which helps them climb, swing and perch (Parrots love swings, but not every swing is good. Read here what to look out for when buying a bird swing!)
- A perch in which the claws do not touch each other; aim for perches of varying sizes and widths. Natural perches that can be chewed are ideal. (Rope perches are loved by most parrots, we show you why here!)
- Toys that make noise, like parrot chimes or ball with a bell inside.
Always verify that the toys are made with non-toxic materials and see what other bird owners say about it before you buy.
A Long Life
Understand that when you do purchase your parrots, you are making a lifelong commitment to caring for this animal.
Parrots have a long lifespan, as compared to many other pets.
Small birds in the parrot family, such as the budgie, are considered seniors at age 6, cockatiels age 12, and Amazons, African Greys, and cockatoos at age 30.
Parrots of all sizes can live for many years as “senior citizens”.
Do understand that when you choose to bring a parrot into your life, you are committing to his care for many years.
Understanding Basic Care
Entire books have been written on the best ways to care for a parrot. However, this portion serves to let you know about the basics of good parrot care.
Firstly, having a great cage is critical in making sure your parrot is comfortable.
The cage is their home, and it is a retreat that they make their own and turn into their territory.
It meets their needs for lighting, which is 12 hours of daylight and 12 hours of darkness.
The size of the cage you will need is going to depend on which species you buy. All parrots require a cage that lets them spread out their wings freely.
The cage should also be furnished with safe and stimulating toys, food, water, a perch, and a cuttlebone, among other things.
Should a parrot have a long tail, he or she needs a cage that accommodates this tail.
- Parrotlets need a cage that is 20x20x30.
- Poicephalus need a cage that is 36x24x48
- Amazons need a cage that is 40x30x60
- Pionus need a cage that is 24x24x32
As we discussed earlier, parrots should never be alone.
Sharing a cage will only work if the species are exactly the same, and that is no guarantee the birds will like one another and get along.
Do not ever house birds together unless you know how they will act. And, be sure that you know the gender of the birds before placing them in a cage together.
You should also know that keeping the cage clean is a daily task and super important. Change out food and water bowls daily.
Wash them with organic or pet-safe dishwashing soap, drying them completely.
Rotate toys to keep parrots interested, stimulated, and be sure to clean any toys with debris on them. Change out paper or cage lining every day.
Parrots are capable of grooming themselves, but sometimes need your help in doing so.
You can let them hang out in the shower with you when you bathe or mist cool water above their head. Be sure that you turn on the shower first to see how your parrot reacts.
You can also fill the sink and let him or her splash around. You should also learn how to safely trim the nails of your parrot, as not trimming the nails can lead to lacerations and infections.
Some cage perches aid in the trimming of the nails, which helps pet parents greatly.
Your parrot will enjoy eating a variety of foods, just as humans do. Parrots love to eat fruit, seeds, nectar, and veggies.
You should give your parrot nutritional pellets for basic vitamins and minerals as well as good energy to play, groom, make noise and climb, and supplement these with fun treats like fruits, veggies, seeds, or even treats designed just for parrots called Nutri-Berries.
Fresh foods, like berries, leafy greens, bananas, and squash are considered snacks, so keep them appropriately sized for your parrot.
And be sure that you avoid the following at all costs when serving your parrot:
- Sugar cereal
- Microwave popcorn
Always double-check that it is okay to serve your parrot a snack if you are unsure.
Consider purchasing parrot reference book like this parrot cookbook (great for when the Internet or power goes out) or printing a food list and keeping it nearby, so you always know what is okay.
Parrot Supplies: A Major Investment
There are some truths which cannot be avoided when it comes to buying a parrot. One of these is that it is expensive to establish your bird into a space that is his own.
Sometimes, friends and family may have supplies from previous bird ownership they can give to you. But this should be approached with caution.
Cages should be in good repair and the bar spacing should be appropriate for your particular bird.
Anything from a .75 inch for the smallest breeds to about 1.5 inch spacing for the big breeds is appropriate.
Some products are not necessary, despite what you may have heard on the Internet or from friends.
We will discuss what is needed to get your parrot feeling comfortable and happy from the first day he comes home.
- Choose a cage that is appropriate for the species you chose. Some bird owners even suggest you go a size up.
- Be sure the cage is stocked with clean, fresh water, and of course nutritional pellets and a small snack of fresh fruit or vegetable.
- Food should be placed into stainless steel or non-toxic bowls.
- Make sure your cage has a perch made of natural wood, rope, or cement.
- Include a few safe toys for fun and play.
Other Absolute Necessities
- You should also have a spray bottle to mist your bird.
- Be sure you have a nail trimmer available.
- Be sure you have pet-safe dishwashing soap.
- Safe cleaning agents for your parrot’s cage
- Travel carrier (for vet visits).
Things to Avoid
- Sandpaper material perches
- Over the counter medicines or “cures for feather picking”
- Plastic toys with small parts (swallowing hazard)
Avian First Aid Kit
You can buy an avian first aid kit on any popular online retail site or pet store, or you can absolutely put together one of your own.
This kit serves as a chance for you to stabilize any injuries your bird sustains before you can take him to the vet for professional help.
Things to include in your first aid kit if you build your own should be:
- The phone number for your vet
- Bird towel or net
- Safety scissors, tweezers, pliers, disposable medical gloves, magnifying glass, pen-light, nail clippers, wire cutter
- Hemostatic products (they help control bleeding), paper towels, lubricants safe for birds
- Gauze, non-stick pads, bandage rolls, popsicle sticks, cotton swabs, first aid tape
- Eyedropper, syringes, feeding tubes, avian rehydration consumable
- Heating pad or lamp, hot pack (It is critical to keep birds warm if transporting them while they are sick).
- Antibacterials-chlorhexidine, eye wash, sterile saline
Be sure that you make yourself aware of how to administer first aid to a sick or injured bird.
You may even wish to see if your local pet store or bird enthusiast group offers first-aid training.
Such knowledge is power and may be the difference between life and death for your beloved friend.
Different Types of Parrots
Regarding Where to Purchase Your Pet
The best thing you can do when you are finally ready to buy a parrot is to use your good judgment and common sense.
Perhaps you know about a breeder or a reputable pet store whose parrots are raised ethically and cruelty-free.
Make sure the place you would like to adopt your parrot from raises their birds with care and an ethical manner of treatment.
Birds bought in pet stores may be the product of hasty breeding and may carry disease.
If at all possible, speak with an animal protection agency, such as the SPCA, to see about adopting a parrot.
Granted, the parrot may not be a good fit in terms of personality, and the parrot’s breed may not be good for beginners.
But it is always better to re-home a pet that needs a good, loving place to live. If adopting, you should be put through a screening process to ensure that you will be a good parent for the parrot.
A good screener will be honest with you and let you know if they do not feel you would be a good fit for that particular parrot.
The bottom line: List the places you can adopt parrots. Then, investigate them to make sure they do right by their animals as well as prospective owners.
Featured Breed: Poicephalus
The Poicephalus parrots that you commonly see kept as pets include the Senegal and Meyer’s parrot. You may also see the red-belly parrot as well as the brown-headed in a cage near you.
If you are short on space, this breed is a good one as they are smaller than other parrots.
They also do tend to be somewhat quieter, also great for those with close-by neighbors or light-sleeping family members. They are native to Sub-Saharan Africa.
These little guys love to climb around the cage, so be sure that yours has horizontal bars. This lets them go all over safely. Rope toys and play ladders are great for these guys, too. This gets them exercise and helps burn off energy.
Poicephalus love to eat nutritional pellets, so make sure you have an ample supply of these handy. They are affectionate, playful birds but do not like to be cuddled.
They may mimic sounds but are not known so much for talking. A Poicephalus that is known for talking is the red-belly parrot.
- They are very playful.
- They have very outgoing personalities.
- They love to be pet, especially getting their heads scratched.
- This is not a very cuddly breed of bird.
- They may be shy, so interaction should be limited and respectful.
Featured Breed: Pionus
These beautiful creatures are what some think of as a “best-kept secret.”
It has all the most wonderful qualities you could want in a parrot, but not so many of the negative personality traits that parrots have.
These parrots are about 10-12 inches in length. They have a short, square tail, with red feathers at their vent.
Otherwise, they vary in color greatly and no two are exactly alike! They are found in South and Central America, inhabiting the savannahs, mountainous regions, and the forest.
Pionus like to eat pellets, so be sure that you have lots of them available. You can also serve them fresh fruits and veggies for a snack.
As far as personality goes, the Pionus tends to be a rather quiet mid-sized parrot. They are easy going and affectionate, and overall very sweet.
The Pionus owner should be prepared to give a lot of attention to their bird and spend plenty of time with him.
These parrots need attention, which can be hard in a home with many birds or other pets.
This bird is good for families, but young kids should still be closely supervised when handling the bird. Even though they are easy going, any bird will bite if they feel threatened.
When it comes to talking, Pionus are not always known for being the best at talking. Some of these parrots, however, can get a pretty good vocabulary going.
Their voice may be a bit raspy, but a person who spends lots of time with the bird will be able to discern what they are saying.
- Can live for 25 to 40 years if properly cared for
- Colors differ from bird to bird
- They have feisty, lovable and intelligent personalities
- Relatively quiet in comparison to other breeds of parrots
- When afraid, this breed tends to make hissing noises-newbies may think their bird is having trouble breathing.
Featured Breed: Amazon Parrots
These popular fellows are medium in size and have very sociable personalities. They are outgoing, very playful, and can be rather boisterous at times!
Many of these parrots like to sing, too.
The males have a tendency to act “manly” or exert their dominance by doing things like fanning out tail feathers or strutting across the floor as a means of showing off.
These guys love to be the center of attention. They are known for their bold colored feathers of yellow and green and will do funny things to get the attention of their owners or fellow birds.
They love to stay clean and take baths, so you may wish to bring this parrot into the shower when you bathe.
You can mist them lightly with cool water or fill the sink and see how they like it.
Amazons LOVE food; so be sure you do not overindulge them.
They have a habit of asking for table food from their owners, and overweight is common among this particular breed.
They need plenty of cage space and toys to stay active, happy, and at a healthy weight.
Be sure that you keep your Amazon satisfied with healthy pellets as well as healthy snacks of fruits and veggies.
An Amazon parrot who gets enough exercise, good food, and care can live to the ripe old age of 60 years!
They really love to talk, and they love music and the sound of singing. Amazons like to learn many words and sing songs, imitate sounds and be very noisy when desiring attention. Some even make a joyful sound as they eat tasty food.
- An extremely outgoing and friendly bird
- They enjoy making lots of noise
- They express themselves by way of body language-easy for bird owners to see if they are okay
- Sometimes, they may play too hard and this results in a nip from your parrot.
- The lifespan of 60 years may be too much for some prospective owners.
- Obesity is a risk for this breed.
Featured Breed: Parrotlets
These cute little fellows often get mistaken for being parakeets (budgies). They are different in price, and they have a very different temperament than a budgie.
They are just 5 inches long making them smaller than most parakeets, too.
Common types you find in a home setting are the Pacific parrotlet and the Green-rumped parrotlet.
The Pacific parrotlet originated in Mexico as well as Central America, and they are known for having big personalities despite their tiny stature.
Males are green with blue streaks behind their eye, on the rump, and wings. Females do not have the blue coloring but may have a blue streak behind their eye.
They are not very noisy, so they go great in apartments and close living spaces. They repeat words and phrases but are not very talkative in comparison to other birds.
If they are left too long with no handling, they tend to get aggressive. Their bite is a force to be reckoned with!
The Green-Rumped parrotlet is even smaller, and have blue on their wings if male and none if female.
They are gentle-even more gentle than their Pacific brethren-and make a great choice for the novice bird owner.
- Small in stature, but have huge personalities
- Parrotlets enjoy the company of humans and each other.
- Easy to tell the males from the females-a “dimorphic” species.
- They may get territorial with one another.
- Not the strongest talkers of the parrot family.
The Importance of an Avian Vet
Your veterinarian should specialize in avian care. Yearly visits to ensure general well-being are necessary.
An avian veterinarian understands and knows about the infections, allergies, and diseases that are specific to birds.
Your avian veterinarian can provide medicine and supplements that can help a sick bird.
Over the counter medications often recommended by well-meaning pet store employees do not have what it takes, most of the time, to help a bird get over what ails them.
Before you adopt a parrot into your family, make sure you know where a good avian vet is so that yearly checkups and any emergencies can be handled in an effective way.
The decision to adopt a parrot is not one that can be answered overnight.
There must be a planning period that occurs, in which you get everything ready, talk it over with your family, and then take some time to welcome your new friend home.
Remember, this is a huge commitment, but the right person will see it as a rewarding journey of companionship and not a burden.