Parrots are intelligent and emotional animals with complex care needs. Experienced owners compare sharing a household with a pet parrot to living with a clever human toddler.
Not only are parrots fast learners and skilled problem solvers, but they experience similar emotions to humans. Never get a parrot unless you’re willing to spend time keeping them happy and healthy.
Are you ready for a long-lived parrot that’ll require several hours of your time each day? All parrot species present wide-ranging challenges, not limited to the following:
- Hormonal aggression.
- Jealousy and envy.
- Unexplained biting.
- Chewing furniture.
- Messy eating.
- Pooping everywhere.
Large parrots usually have more complex care needs and training requirements. However, they may learn more skills (words, tricks, etc.) and show a broader spectrum of human-like emotions.
What Is A Good Parrot for A Beginner?
Certain parrot species are quick learners, fun-loving, affectionate, entertaining, and friendly toward their owners. With that in mind, here are the best beginner parrots:
- Size: 7-8 inches tall.
- Weight: 1.1 to 1.4 ounces.
- Lifespan: 7-15 years.
- Cost: $20 to $40.
These small parrots have bright, colorful plumage and are sweet-natured birds. Tremendously social, budgies (Melopsittacus undulatus) are friendly, affectionate, and loving toward their owners once tamed.
Budgies (American parakeets) are lively and talkative, so a happy, healthy bird will sing, chatter, and chirp. A quiet budgie may feel unwell or unhappy about a lack of company or engagement.
Many owners buy 2+ budgies, which is ideal because they thrive in the company of same-species birds. Two correctly introduced budgies usually get along well in the following combinations:
- Two male budgies.
- A male and a female budgie.
Two females may enter conflict because they’re far more territorial, especially during the breeding season.
Despite their small size, budgies can be demanding. Many are bossy, and some bully more timid birds. That’s why some people opt for English budgies, which are calmer and more relaxed.
They can build a large vocabulary, with some birds learning 1000+ words. Budgies enjoy learning to speak and interacting with their owners, but their voices are usually gravelly.
Despite being talkative, budgies are quieter than other birds because they’re small. Budgies’ vocalizations don’t exceed 65-70 decibels, while large birds (like macaws and cockatoos) can be very loud.
Budgies are the world’s most popular pet birds because they’re the best beginner parrots. Whether you want a good first pet bird or a pet parrot for kids, budgies are ideal for everyone.
- Size: 12-13 inches tall.
- Weight: 2-4 ounces.
- Lifespan: 15-20 years.
- Cost: $80 to $250.
Cockatiels (Nymphicus hollandicus) are friendly and outgoing birds. Females are gentler and more affectionate than males, but females may bite harder due to a need to protect their eggs and hatchlings.
Female cockatiels usually have less vibrant colors, and their personalities aren’t as exuberant. Many people opt for a male because they’re more playful and fun-loving, almost like court jesters.
Cockatiels are the smallest members of the cockatoo family. Very playful by nature, these medium-sized birds get along well with and form strong bonds with their owners.
They require 2-4 hours of playtime outside their cage daily. They also need a large cage and 3+ perches (at different heights and angles) and toys to keep them entertained when you’re unavailable.
An interesting feature of cockatiels is their crest. Aside from being expressive and beautiful, the crest will help you understand a cockatiel’s mood.
A flattened crest could mean a cockatiel is stressed or scared. Meanwhile, a raised, spread-open crest may tell you a cockatiel is interested, intrigued, or attentive.
Cockatiels are highly communicative birds. While they aren’t the best talkers, they can learn up to 20 words. Most owners enjoy teaching cockatiels tricks and playing games together.
Unfortunately, their inability to see well in the dark can lead to night terrors. While this can affect all parrot species, cockatiels are prone to freaking out due to perceived threats, real or otherwise.
Cockatiels make ideal family pets because they’re friendly, affectionate, and entertaining birds. While they’re not cuddly, cockatiels like perching on shoulders and being around their owners.
3/ Green-Cheeked Conures
- Size: 10 inches.
- Weight: 60-80 grams.
- Lifespan: 10 to 15 years.
- Cost: $150 to $350.
Green-cheeked conures (Pyrrhura molinae) have gained significant popularity recently because they’re small, intelligent birds with affectionate natures and fun-loving, comical personalities.
Most conure species are large and noisy birds (although characterful and entertaining), but green-cheeked conures are quieter. They still vocalize regularly, but they aren’t as loud.
Green-cheeked conures can be comical, performing acrobatics and engaging in amusing antics. You’ll regularly find them climbing the cage bars and hanging upside down.
They aren’t the best talkers, but they can learn some words (about 15-20), although their speech is gravelly. If you don’t teach a conure to speak early, it’s more likely to imitate sounds.
Conures aren’t aggressive birds but can be moody if not trained properly or if they feel ignored. Also, green-cheeked conures can become one-person birds if not cared for by the entire family.
Green-cheeked conures sometimes engage in feather-destructive behavior (forcefully removing feathers) if their care needs aren’t met. This should be distinguished from molting, which is a natural process.
They love spending time with and playing with their owners, eager to gain their approval. Green-cheeked conures are affectionate birds that form long-lasting relationships with their favorite humans.
4/ Senegal Parrots
- Size: 9-10 inches.
- Weight: 4-6 ounces.
- Lifespan: 30-40 years.
- Cost: $500 to $800.
Like other members of the Poicephalus species, Senegal parrots (Poicephalus senegalus) are calm, sweet-natured, and fun-loving birds who bond closely with those who meet their care needs.
While they can become one-person birds if the entire family isn’t involved in caring for them, they cope better than most without the company of a second bird.
Their relaxed temperament makes them easier to tame and train than other birds. In a parrot-proofed room, you can teach them games like ‘fetch,’ ‘hide and seek,’ and ‘peekaboo.’
Senegals are easily startled, reacting adversely to loud and unexpected noises from children. If you have kids, they must be taught ground rules and supervised when engaging with a Senegal parrot.
They’re sensitive to their surroundings, reacting negatively to sudden changes in decor and colors. Bright colors like red and orange are warning signs in the wild, invoking fear.
While all birds are vocal, Senegal parrots are among the quietest parrots because they don’t scream as much as other birds. This makes them ideal pet birds for apartment living.
While Senegal parrots can learn to talk, they’re not the best human mimics. However, most owners find that Senegals can learn up to 20 words if training is commenced early in life.
Despite their intense facial expressions, they’re fun and playful birds that make loving pets.
5/ Pacific Parrotlets
- Size: 5 inches.
- Weight: 1 ounce.
- Lifespan: 15-20 years.
- Cost: $200 to $350.
Pacific parrotlets (Forpus coelestis) are small and sassy parrots with larger-than-life personalities. Despite their adorable appearance and sweet-sounding vocalizations, they can be bossy and fearless birds.
Parrotlets are classed as ‘true parrots,’ closely aligned to Amazon parrots. Despite being significantly smaller birds, similarities can be observed in their appearance and personalities.
They’re active and playful birds. If trained properly, they enjoy being handled when in the right mood. Once a bond has been formed, parrotlets may preen your hair.
Always note their body language to ensure they’re in the right mood, as parrotlets can bite if they feel overwhelmed or stressed. Parrotlets’ beaks are strong, so their nips hurt more than budgies.
If you have other pets, they should be kept apart in different rooms to avoid confrontations. Parrotlets are known not to back down from fights with larger animals like cats and dogs, often to their detriment.
They aren’t the best talkers in the parrot family, but they can learn some words. However, their small size means they aren’t noisy birds (maximum of 65 decibels), so they won’t disturb your neighbors.
With training and regular handling, pacific parrotlets can make playful and affectionate companion birds.
6/ Quaker Parrots
- Size: 11-12 inches.
- Weight: 3.25 to 4.25 ounces.
- Lifespan: 20-30 years.
- Cost: $300 to $600.
Quaker parrots (Myiopsitta monachus) are playful, curious-natured, and playful medium-sized birds. They have confident personalities and are born entertainers, performing mischievous antics.
The first time you lay eyes on a monk parrot, you can be forgiven for thinking it’s unwell, but don’t let the constant head-shaking fool you. This behavior is called ‘quaking.’
Monk parrots can become excellent talkers with training, developing an extensive vocabulary of words from just 3 months old. Quakers also speak clearly and are easy to understand.
Quakers are noisy birds, squawking loudly to express how they feel. If you ignore them, they’ll make even louder noises until you pay them attention.
Check the legal status of this parrot in your state. They’re agricultural pests in states like California due to their rapid reproduction rate and predatory behavior toward other bird species.
7/ Peach-Faced Lovebirds
- Size: 6 inches.
- Weight: 1.6 to 2.2 ounces.
- Lifespan: 15-25 years.
- Cost: $50 to $200.
We assume lovebirds must be kept in pairs, but they can thrive in captivity as lone birds.
Peach-faced lovebirds (Agapornis roseicollis) can be nippy initially. So, spend time with a lovebird and train it daily until it’s tamed. That way, it’ll be comfortable around you and better behaved.
When kept in pairs, lovebirds are monogamous and dedicated to each other, meaning you may feel excluded. However, peach-faced lovebirds are quite active, with entertaining and comical personalities.
Lovebirds aren’t good talkers, but expect lots of chattering and whistling, especially at sunrise and sunset.
Lovebirds can be hostile toward other birds, so they should be kept in separate cages. That’s especially true with budgies because confrontations between the two species are common.
Avoid leaving them alone for more than 12 hours because lovebirds are happiest when they have company. Lovebirds are good beginner parrots, developing close bonds with their owners.
8/ White-Fronted Amazon Parrots
- Size: 9.5 to 10 inches tall.
- Weight: 6.5 to 8.5 ounces.
- Lifespan: 40+ years.
- Cost: $1,000 to $3,000.
White-fronted Amazon parrots (Amazona albifrons) are medium-sized parrots with high intelligence levels. They’re gifted talkers that enjoy singing, and screeching is one of their favorite past times.
White-fronted Amazon parrots are the smallest of all Amazon parrots.
They’re gentle-natured since other Amazons are known to play rough, wrestling their owners with their beaks. However, white-fronted Amazon parrots are very friendly and fond of petting.
While they can still bite, white-fronted Amazons can be trained. Their smaller size lends itself well to handling by beginners, as long as you put in the time and effort.
Learn about the parrot’s needs, behavior, and body language. For example, Amazons sometimes experience “play overload,” where they get too excited and carried away when playing.
According to Developmental Psychobiology, Amazon parrots can develop serious behavioral problems and stereotypies without enough enrichment.
One advantage of Amazon parrots is their clear and expressive body language. Pinned eyes, ruffled feathers, stances, and vocalizations effectively communicate their feelings.
White-fronted Amazons can be very loud, so beware if you live in an apartment. Like most Amazons, they learn many words and phrases and can mimic you or things they hear in their surroundings.
9/ Sun Conures
- Size: 12 inches.
- Weight: 4 ounces.
- Lifespan: 15 to 30 years.
- Cost: $200 to $800.
Their lively demeanor and affectionate nature set sun conures (Aratinga solstitialis) apart. They can be easily trained, which helps control their somewhat strong personalities.
Fun and cuddly, they’re open to being handled by different family members as long as they’re treated well. They’re not usually one-person birds.
Sun conures are particularly loud, meaning noise levels can be an issue if you have close neighbors. They love nothing more than screaming when they’re having a good time.
Their contact calls are ear-splittingly loud but will be customized to you. Also, sun conures are talented at mimicking humans and household appliances like doorbells and beeps from microwaves.
Sun conures are curious birds and thrive when able to actively explore their surroundings.
10/ Pionus Parrots
- Size: ~10 to 12 inches.
- Weight: 8 to 9 ounces.
- Lifespan: 15 to 25 years.
- Cost: $200 to $900.
Pionus parrots (Pionus menstruus) vary in color from one bird to another, so no two birds are the same.
Their lack of notoriety is why many people choose them. Since there aren’t as many owners, Pionus parrots have an elusive charm. They’re from the Poicephalus species, the same as Senegal parrots.
Physically, they resemble Amazon parrots but are much quieter and more reserved.
They’re known to be somewhat aloof and standoffish but are easy-going and friendly. If various family members meet their care needs, they’re unlikely to become one-person birds.
Children should be supervised when handling a parrot, as their beaks can cause harm. When stressed or scared, pionus parrots will produce a hissing sound that serves as a warning.
Pionus parrots aren’t the best talking birds. Their gravelly or raspy voices are unclear, but they can learn some words and phrases. How quiet or loud the bird is will depend on its living environment.
All the above birds are good beginner parrots, but the right pet for you depends on your circumstances. If you have nearby neighbors with limited space, opt for a smaller bird with lower maximum decibel levels.