If you have a parrot and want to get it a friend or simply would like a feathered companion for yourself, there are several important factors you need to consider. All parrot species are different, requiring different needs, attention and environments, in this article I will go over different parrot species and their needs, introducing new parrots to each other and things to look out for while getting one of these feathered friends.
Getting your Parrot a companion: Parrots, are primarily social creatures, preferring to live with company, so it’s often common (and recommended) to get your bird a friend. There are hundreds of parrot species on earth and it can be a little daunting trying to find the right one for you, and your bird. Firstly, The Most Important Factor in your parrot hunt is beak size. If you have a conure or budgie that you want to pair with a macaw or Eclectus, think again. Beak size symbolizes dominance in the bird world and can often make smaller parrots skitzy and constantly on edge.
I want you to imagine you had two parrots fighting over food (this happens all the time with parrots, and really, it’ll happen at some point to any two birds) these two parrots are a cockatiel and an Eclectus. Cockatiels are small birds and are known to be mainly placid, though they can be aggressive when they want to be. Eclectus, on the other hand, are around the size of a macaw, though they still are one the most placid parrot species to exist on earth, they are extremely strong.
Now, imagine the cockatiel and the Eclectus fighting, at the time you thought this relationship would work, and usually, these two birds get along, but , your Eclectus ends up seriously hurting and potentially killing your cockatiel without even meaning to, one bite with one of those massive beaks could take a finger off.
Secondly, there’s breeding. It’s quite common for a lot of people to want to get a mate for your parrot to start breeding. But, there’s a lot to consider before bringing this idea to life.
When you buy a mate for your parrot, you can expect for them to become quite passionate about each other, sometimes they’ll become aggressive to you for keeping them apart and so-on, during this guaranteed stage, it’s important to spend as much time as possible with the two parrots, otherwise th entire friendship you’ve developed may unravel, and believe me, that is common.
Secondly, there’s a whimsical idea becoming popular that if you mix two different parrot subspecies, you’ll breed a rare, expensive hybrid, though the idea is quite alluring, it is only ever that, an idea. 100% out of the time your rare hybrid eggs will be duds. So, it’s safer, and a lot less heartbreaking to stick with two parrots of the exact same species.
Which parrot suits you?
As mentioned above, there is a countless number of parrot species, and it can be daunting choosing the right one for you. There are big ones, small ones, talkative ones, quiet ones, musical ones, out-of-tone ones, dull ones, colorful ones, big ones, small ones and many, many more.
But, in total there are four major questions.
- How much time are you willing to spend?
- How much money are you willing to sacrifice?
- How much noise are you willing to handle?
- How much space are you willing to give up?
To answer these questions there is a quiz on my homepage. (link to be made and added here)
Pros and cons of each species:
Below I have added a list showing you information about a handful of popular parrot species.
Eclectus are big, beautiful and placid. If you want a stunning bird, the Eclectus is a reasonable option. With their placid, gentle temperament and extreme intelligence, Eclectus are a favorite for many parrot owners, but, be prepared to spend a lot of time with them, be prepared for a morning and afternoon scream-fest, and a lot of money on an aviary, (not a cage) as well as their million-dollar diet.
My personal favorite, the conure is a great option for an ‘easy’ parrot,( keep in mind, no parrot is easy to take care of and all deserve a lot of time and effort.) with their small size, jam-packed with personality, you’ll be surprised by the intelligence of such a tiny bird. The conure is relatively quiet and though, isn’t the best for talking or singing can be found trying to mimic your speaking. Conures also enjoy getting wet.
Macaws: The magnificent macaw is probably what comes to mind when someone says the word ‘parrot.’ And as expected, these birds are stunners and suit different lifestyles, if live out in the country and have a safe, large house you could consider a bigger macaw like the hyacinth or scarlet. But if you live in an apartment, you could consider a hahns macaw but only if the neighbors are deaf. Macaws are loyal birds that will show you a great deal of affection, but, beware of the nasty bite these birds possess.
Quakers are medium-sized parrots known to be somewhat aggressive and territorial making them best as an only child. These little birds can form strong relationships with their owners and are one of the more intelligent of parrots. They come in blue and grey tones as well as green and grey tones and are reputed to be one of the best-feathered companions.
Cockatoos are massive, beautiful birds native to Australia, but, be warned, if you live anywhere near close neighbors, a cockatoo isn’t the right bird for you, no matter how prepared you think you are, you can’t be prepared for the cockatoos piercing scream. Aside from that, cockatoos are loyal and it’s not uncommon for them to come with a sense of humor, but beware, cockatoos can have the tendency to bite, and to bite hard. But, if you can provide them with a large aviary, the right food, and living requirements and plenty of attention, a pet cockatoo will be a good option for you.
Lovebirds are a common parrot species kept as pets, and for good reason. These little birds are quiet, easy to care for and possess a relatively friendly temperament. These birds come in a variety of flashy colors, the most common one being green with a pink face. Though, a lovebird isn’t a “flock” animal as such and can be aggressive and territorial to other parrots.
Budgies are small parrots that are never considered as parrots but let that be proven wrong. Against common misconception, Budgies are really very intelligent and have as much personality as any large parrot. These birds are fairly easy to care for and are a good option as a pet for a child (but still, a child should be at least 10 years before receiving a parrot.) Budgies are also suitable for apartment living because of their quiet personality and don’t need a big space. If you are looking for an ‘easier’ parrot to look after, a budgie is one of the best options.
Cockatiels are small parrots known for their ability to sing or whistle tunes. Like the budgie, cockatiels are fairly easy to care for, requiring a small cage and aren’t very loud. Cockatiels along with budgies aren’t considered proper parrots, but that is false. Despite their small size, cockatiels are typically very intelligent and can be taught tricks as easily as any other parrot.
African greys are one of the most intelligent, maybe even the most intelligent, bird species out there. You can teach them to speak hundreds of words, complicated tricks, and some can even memorize your own daily schedule. Though these birds are incredibly smart, they are also chainsaws on legs, consuming anything they can get their claws on. African greys, are incredibly mainly grey in color! Along with this, they have a red tail that’s usually pretty nubby for a parrot. African greys- like the cockatoo, require a large cage, a lot of attention and the ability to scream without the police being called, if you can supply that without going mentally crazy, and an African grey is a pet option for you.
Amazon parrots come second to no-one when it comes to speaking. They have pretty good pronunciation and can learn hundreds upon hundreds of words. Amazon parrots are also flawless mimickers and can even sing full verses of songs, of course, to get your bird to do this would require you to sacrifice any other interests, relationships or reasons to live. But, if you still want to train your bird to learn the majority of the English language, the result will be beyond rewarding. Amazons are loyal birds that will develop strong, incredible bonds to you, as the owner. But beware, they are big birds and require high living standards.
Caiques, the plucky little parrot species developing a high amount of interest on social media outlets, their comedic nature, and somewhat random habits make them a reputable jokester. videos of caiques marching in circles, jumping up and down and wearing costumes have swarmed YouTube, Making these birds popular, to say the least. Caiques, being south American require similar care to conures, they’re actually very similar to conures, the only difference being Caiques are territorial and prefer to live alone without another bird in the house.
The ‘beginner’s’ First Parrot guide, The first day home, which species, etc.
To start off this article, I’d like to state that there is no such thing as a beginner bird, all birds are hard work and, if you play your cards right, you’ll have said bird for most of your life.
All parrots deserve equal adoration, but it’s no secret that some parrots require less maintenance than others. In fact, it’s not rare to find lists of ‘easy’ first birds on the internet. These lists mainly include budgies, cockatiels, and lovebirds, which are, yes, easier to care for than a macaw or Amazon parrot.
But, as mentioned above, these parrots aren’t getting recognized as proper parrots, people believe that these birds don’t require as much attention, because of their low maintenance. People think they don’t require special toys, people don’t feed these parrots properly and it’s become a problem, and therefore must be addressed.
Moving forward, if you have found a parrot species which suits your lifestyle, you move onto the next problem: breeders.
Whenever you get any bird or any pet, really, you should always look for breeders, pet stores or animal farms aren’t just reliable, but sometimes just unsafe, for you and your parrot. The main difference between a breeder or store is health, say you are to buy an animal off a breeder, if you got it off a breeder it’s a requirement in a lot of areas to have this animal checked over by a vet, as well as being vaccinated if necessary and given the proper medication.
The majority of pet stores don’t do this, there are common cases where an excited new owner comes home with their new exotic bird, obtained from the elusive Petco and it sadly dies a couple of weeks later, from being fed incorrectly at the store or not having the proper supplements, this is the sad truth for lots of chain pet stores.
Now, once you have found a bird breeder it’s time to choose which bird out of the little flock. Firstly, check to see which birds are the healthiest, brightest eyes, clearest vent, strong colors, no missing feathers, no flaking skin etc. even though the breeder will do this for you anyway, it’s never bad to double-check. Choose the healthiest birds and then handle them separately, see which one is most comfortable with you and your family members, the one who’s most comfortable is probably the best option for you.
Now that you’ve chosen a parrot and taken it home, you mind find yourself at a loss of what to do. There are multiple options that vary depending on the parrot species, if you were to get a more sensitive bird, like an Eclectus, it’s best to let It stay in it’s cage for a couple of days so it gets a feel for it’s environment. Just remember to take out any mirrors for the first few weeks so the bird bonds to you, not the mirror.
If you have a more resilient bird, interact with it for a couple of hours, just let it sit on your shoulder or head. Then, put it in it’s cage for the day.