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Picking Your Bird

Learn about small- to medium-sized birds

En español

Rule of thumb: the bigger the bird, the bigger the commitment from its owner (training, housing requirements and social interaction).

Most experts would recommend novice bird owners begin with a small- to medium-sized bird:

Parakeets (about 6 to 12 inches; live on average 8 – 10 years)

  • Can easily entertain themselves with toys
  • Come in many beautiful colors
  • Can become "talkers"

(about 13 inches; live on average 12 – 15 years; in the parrot family)

  • Can whistle, sing and mimic sounds (males can sometimes mimic speech)
  • Have smaller beaks to "discipline" you while you're learning their needs
  • Are intelligent, with the ability to learn entire songs and tricks like ringing bells, waving bye-bye and playing ring toss

(5 inches or less; live on average 10 – 15 years)

  • Require minimal social interaction
  • Pay little attention to humans
  • Lovebirds (about 6 inches; live on average 10 years)
  • Are intelligent
  • Have pleasant personalities

Large-sized parrots
(15 – 40 inches; live 3 – 70 years, depending on species; includes African greys and macaws)

  • Demand more stimulation as a result of their intelligence
  • Form strong social bonds with humans
  • Play with toys, which are often torn apart and can get expensive, though you can make your own
  • Require a very big cage
  • Leave larger messes of scattered food and waste
  • Can make ear-piercing vocalization


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