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The Best Birds for Beginners, From Parakeets to Cockatiels

Considering a pet bird? These breeds are a great place to start your research!

A bird can be an excellent pet, but before you get a new bird and pick out its name, you should think about the breeds that make the best pet birds. While bigger birds like the macaws are beautiful creatures, their diets, behavior, required socialization, and overall needs may be more than a first-time bird owner is ready for.

Certain breeds of smaller birds take up less space and require less care than other types of birds do. If you're interested in adding a winged pet to your family, these breeds are perfect for new owners.

What Are the Best Bird Breeds for Beginners?


cockatiel standing on white background

Here's what to know about cockatiels. Originating in Australia, the cockatiel is the second most popular pet bird in the world. These small birds grow to an adult size of 12 inches and weigh between 75 and 125 grams.

Cockatiels are a great bird for first-time bird owners due to their friendly and playful disposition, as well as their trainability. Unlike some other breeds, cockatiels are not very noisy, making them great pets for apartments.

Cockatiels have a lifespan of approximately of 35 years, which can be intimating to new owners, but these sociable creatures can make a great addition to any family.


parakeet sitting on white background


"Parakeet" is a broad term for small to medium-sized birds with long tail feathers. Since this term is so broad, it encompasses a wide range of diverse breeds. In North America, the most common type of parakeet is the budgie, but is the parakeet right for first time bird owners?

While each parakeet breed is unique, their size, diet, and overall personalities make them great birds for first-time owners. Before choosing your specific breed of parakeet, take into consideration the noise level of each breed. While some are quiet, others are very noisy and should probably not live in apartments.

Again, the lifespan of parakeets is something to keep in mind when choosing your specific breed. Each breed is unique, but the average lifespan of parakeets ranges between 8 and 40 years.

Pionus Parrot

pionus parrot sitting on branch with green background is best bird breed for beginners

The Pionus parrot is one of the smaller breeds of parrots, originating from Central and South America. When fully grown, Pionus parrots will be between 9 and 13 inches, weighing 200 to 280 grams.

While many parrots are not suggested for first-time bird owners due to the potential for aggression, Pionus parrots are quieter and much less aggressive than other species. The combination of their outgoing personality and larger size, in addition to their tendency to bond with entire families, makes this small parrot a good pet for families with young children.

The lifespan of the Pionus parrot is upwards of 35 years, so it's important that the entire family is committed to providing ongoing care.


two lovebirds sitting on branch with blue sky

Originating from Africa and Madagascar, this little bird species is a good choice for people who have never owned a bird. One of the things that make them great pets is their compact size. Fully grown, lovebirds are between four and seven inches and weigh only 50 grams.

Lovebirds are very quiet, curious, energetic, and playful birds that love to explore. However, it's important that they are handled daily, as they can become nippy if they don't get proper social interaction. Due to this, lovebirds are best suited to adults or families with older children.

The average lifespan of lovebirds is up to 20 years, which is less than some other bird breeds but still requires a long-term commitment from owners.


two blue parrotlets sitting on branch together are best bird breeds for beginners

Parrotlets are the perfect breed for first-time bird owners who have their hearts set on owning a parrot. These little feathered friends have parrot-sized personalities in lovebird-sized bodies!

Fully grown, parrotlets will stand at approximately five inches and weigh anywhere between 20 and 30 grams. What makes parrotlets such popular pets is that they are smart, curious, affectionate, and fearless. They love human companionship and are happy to be trained and learn tricks.

Like their larger parrot cousins, parrotlets can also learn to talk. Males tend to be more talkative than females, and some birds can develop vocabularies of up to 100 words if consistently trained.

Parrotlet lifespans range between 20 and 30 years, which is shorter than some of the larger breeds of parrots but is still quite long. Again, it's important that you and your family are able to commit to providing ongoing care before bringing a parrotlet home.

The Decision to Bring Home a Bird

If you're looking for a beautiful, long-term companion, a pet bird might be right for you.

But before bringing your new pet home, take a lot of time to research each breed and see which best suits your lifestyle. Do you want your bird to be quiet or talkative? Calm or outgoing? Knowing the answers to these types of questions will help you find the perfect beginner bird for you and your family.

The only question that remains now (for the talkers of the group) is this: Does Polly want a cracker?

Are you a bird person? Share your favorite breeds & tips with our Wide Open Pets Facebook!

This article was originally published September 22, 2019.

READ MORE: 20 Beautiful Exotic Birds With Too Many Colors to Count