As the saying goes: You don’t own the parrot; the parrot owns you. Parrots are complex and emotional beings with needs that surpass those of dogs or cats.
Many experienced owners compare sharing a household with a parrot to living with an intelligent toddler.
Not only are parrots great puzzle solvers and quick learners, but they also experience many of the same emotions as humans. No one should get a parrot without being prepared for that commitment.
Are you ready for a long-lived parrot that will require several hours of your time each day? All parrots present different challenges, including:
- Emotional tantrums
- Territorial disputes
- Hormonal aggression
The larger a parrot, the more challenging it’ll be to care for, train, and handle. However, larger parrots can learn more words and tricks and show a broader range of human-like emotions.
What Is A Good Parrot For A Beginner?
There’s no such thing as an easy-to-care-for pet parrot. However, these species are considered quick learners, fun, affectionate, entertaining, and friendly toward their owners:
1/ Budgerigars (Budgies)
- Size: 7-8 inches tall
- Weight: 1.1 to 1.4 ounces
- Lifespan: 5-8 years
- Cost: $20 to $40
These small parrots have colorful plumage and are sweet-natured. Tremendously social, they’re very friendly and affectionate when handled once they’ve been trained properly.
They enjoy vocalizing and practicing with their owners, but their voices can be gravelly. Budgies (parakeets in the U.S.) are famous for their ability to develop an extensive vocabulary.
Many owners acquire several budgies. This is ideal as budgies are friendly and sociable birds that enjoy the company of their species. Two budgies will get along well as long as you combine:
- Two males
- A male and female
Two females may have more frequent conflicts. If you acquire only one budgie, you must dedicate more time to socialization because the budgie will depend entirely on you for company and playtime.
These birds are lively and talkative, so a happy, healthy budgie will constantly sing, chatter, and chirp. A quiet budgie is a sick or unhappy budgie.
Despite their small size, budgies can be quite demanding, to the extent of being bossy.
- Size: 12-13 inches tall
- Weight: 2-4 ounces
- Lifespan: 10-15 years
- Cost: $80 to $250
Cockatiels are loving, friendly, and outgoing birds. Females are usually gentler, as males get moody when they don’t receive the constant attention they crave.
Very playful by nature, these medium-sized birds get along well with their owners.
They require a minimum of 2 hours of playtime outside of their cage daily. So, they should be given a large cage to feel comfortable and multiple perches and toys to keep them entertained.
An interesting feature of the cockatiel is its crest. Aside from being beautiful, it’ll help you understand the cockatiel’s mood. A flattened crest could mean it is stressed or scared. Meanwhile, a raised and spread-open crest may tell you that it’s interested, intrigued, or attentive.
While cockatiels aren’t talkative, preferring to whistle, they’re adept at learning and following commands. So, teaching cockatiels tricks and playing together will be an enjoyable experience.
Cockatiels don’t live as long as some parrots but have a life expectancy of around 15 years.
3/ Green-Cheeked Conures
- Size: 10 inches
- Weight: 60-80 grams
- Lifespan: 10 to 15 years
- Cost: $150 to $350
Green-cheeked conures have gained popularity recently due to their affectionate personalities and relatively quiet demeanors.
Conures are ideal for those who’d like a larger parrot without the constant stress that macaws and cockatoos bring.
Conures quickly learn tricks and a few spoken words and enjoy playing with their owners.
They’re a good option in family homes, as they’re not necessarily one-person birds, so multiple household members can enjoy quality time with these precious, delicate creatures.
Conures aren’t aggressive but can be moody and bite if not trained correctly. So, being consistent and dedicated with their training is important, especially when they’re young.
Green-cheeked conures are known to be quite comical and active, performing acrobatics. Like cockatiels, they require plenty of space to fly and move around.
They love shredder toys and spending time with or near you. Green-cheeked conures are affectionate to their bonded owners.
4/ Senegal Parrots
- Size: 9-10 inches
- Weight: 4-6 ounces
- Lifespan: 30-40 years
- Cost: $500 to $800
Senegal parrots enjoy playtime and handling, which makes them an ideal pet for anyone looking for one-on-one interaction with a pet bird.
They’re naturally shy parrots, so they tend to be one-person birds, unhappy around crowds or family members. Senegal parrots make excellent life partners, as they can live for up to 40 years.
They’re sensitive to their surroundings, reacting negatively to sudden changes in decor.
Senegal parrots are among the quietest parrots, making them ideal for people living in apartments. They don’t tend to screech or scream as much as other parrots.
Instead, they enjoy whistling occasionally, so listening to you is an effective bonding exercise. A Senegal parrot will be content to sit on your shoulder as you watch TV or read.
Despite their relatively small size, Senegal parrots need a large cage to move around. Get something escape-proof, as these birds can be clever escape artists.
When it’s playtime, they can be quite acrobatic and display comical antics. Despite their intense facial expressions, they’re surprisingly fun and playful parrots.
- Size: 5 inches
- Weight: 1 ounce
- Lifespan: 15-20 years
- Cost: $200 to $350
These diminutive and sassy parrots have loads of personality, charming anyone who gets to know them.
They need 2+ hours of daily attention and playtime with their owners to stay mentally and physically fit. They’re active birds and, if trained properly, enjoy being handled when they’re in the right mood.
However, always watch their cues and body language to ensure they’re in a playing mood. Parrotlets can bite if they feel overwhelmed or stressed.
Although not all parrotlets are big talkers, some learn to talk, occasionally picking up words and phrases. Parrotlets chatter and chirp as all parrots do, but they aren’t guaranteed to talk.
This species makes great companions, bonding well with their owner if you keep only one bird. However, they’ll connect more strongly if you decide to get two.
They get along with other bird species but keep them in separate cages. Parrotlets have feisty personalities and aren’t afraid to boss others around despite their small size.
6/ Quaker Parrots (Monk Parrakeets)
- Size: 11-12 inches
- Weight: 3.25 to 4.25 ounces
- Lifespan: 20-30 years
- Cost: $300 to $600
The first time you lay eyes on a monk parrot, you might be forgiven for assuming it’s ill, but don’t let the constant head bobbing and shaking fool you.
This peculiar behavior is exclusive to quaker parrots, playing into their name as they quake.
Monk parrots love singing and whistling, sometimes developing an extensive vocabulary.
These parrots are definitely on the louder side, so anyone looking for a peaceful and quiet pet should look elsewhere, but this applies to any parrot.
Check the legal status of this parrot in your state. They’re considered agricultural pests in some states, like California, due to their rapid reproduction rate and predatory behavior towards other birds.
If you plan on getting a male and female, be aware that they lay 4-8 eggs per clutch twice a year, with a hatch time of 21-28 days. If you want to breed parrots, quaker parrots are a good choice.
7/ Peach-Faced Lovebirds
- Size: 6 inches
- Weight: 1.6 to 2.2 ounces
- Lifespan: 15-25 years
- Cost: $50 to $200
We assume that lovebirds need to be kept in pairs, but they do well when kept as single birds.
Despite their name, lovebirds can be quite nippy until tamed. So, spend time with your lovebird giving it training. That way, it’ll be well-behaved and comfortable around you.
When kept in pairs, lovebirds are monogamous, so you may feel a little excluded. However, peach-faced lovebirds are quite active, with entertaining and comical personalities.
Lovebirds aren’t that talkative, but you can expect lots of chattering and whistling, especially during the morning. That makes this species better suited to houses with plenty of space, where neighbors may not hear or be upset by the noise levels.
Lovebirds can be aggressive toward other pets, so they should be kept in separate cages from any other birds you acquire. That’s especially true with budgies, as confrontations are common.
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
Amazon parrots are medium-sized parrots with high intelligence levels. They’re gifted talkers and enjoy singing, and screeching is one of their favorite past times.
White-fronted Amazon parrots are the smallest of all Amazon parrots.
They’re gentler in nature 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.
You’ll need to learn about the parrot’s needs, behavior, and body language. For example, Amazons sometimes go through “play overload,” where they get too excited and carried away when playing.
According to Developmental Psychobiology, Amazon parrots can develop serious behavioral problems when not given enough enrichment.
One advantage to Amazons is their clear and expressive body language. Pinning eyes, ruffled feathers, stances, and vocalizations will communicate how they feel.
White-fronted Amazons can be very loud, so beware if you live in an apartment with close neighbors. Like most Amazons, they learn many words and phrases and can mimic you or their surroundings.
9/ Sun Conures
- Size: 12 inches
- Weight: 4 ounces
- Lifespan: 15 to 30 years
- Cost: $200 to $800
What sets sun conures apart is their lively demeanor and affectionate nature. They can be easily trained, which helps control their somewhat bossy 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, so noise levels can be an issue in smaller apartments. They love nothing more than screaming when they’re having a good time.
Their contact calls are ear-splittingly loud, but they’ll be customized to you. Also, sun conures are talented at mimicking you and other household appliances.
Sun conures need lots of open space, so be sure to get a 20 x 20 x 36 cage as a minimum. Sun conures are curious and thrive on exploring 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 vary drastically in color from one bird to another, so no two birds are the same.
Their lack of notoriety is why many people choose to raise them. Since there aren’t many pionus owners, these parrots have an elusive charm.
Physically, they resemble Amazon parrots but are much quieter and more reserved.
They’re known to be somewhat aloof and standoffish, but they’re still easy-going and not known for being aggressive. They can be handled by multiple family members, as they’re not one-person birds.
However, children should be supervised when handling a parrot. Those beaks can cause serious harm. When stressed or scared, pionus parrots will produce a hissing sound that serves as a warning.
Pionus parrots aren’t the most talkative birds. Their gravelly or raspy voices aren’t very clear, but they can learn many words and phrases. How quiet or loud your bird is will depend on its environment.
Pionus parrots adapt to loud noises in their surroundings by producing even louder noises.