Last Updated on: 26th June 2023, 10:49 pm
Some rare parrots, especially birds with unusual colors and markings, can command 5-figure asking prices. The good news is that inexpensive parrots are available from pet stores and breeders.
Budgies are the cheapest pet parrots, costing just $20 to $40. Other species that can be bought for under $500 include lovebirds, parrotlets, cockatiels, quaker parrots, and green-cheeked conures.
If you want to buy the cheapest macaw parrot, a Hahn’s macaw can be purchased for $800 to $1,200.
As psittacine birds are social animals, you may need a bonded pair, especially if you’re not around during the day. You’ll also need to pay for a cage, perches, toys, food, vet bills, insurance, etc.
Here are some important considerations before getting a pet parrot.
What Is The Cheapest Parrot You Can Buy?
Here are the most widely available and affordable parrots:
|Average Price||Average Size||Typical Lifespan|
|Budgies||$20 – $50||8-9 inches||7 – 15 years|
|Cockatiels||$150 – $250||12-13 inches||10 – 25 years|
|Lovebirds||$50 – $150||5-6.5 inches||10-15 years|
|Pionus Parrots||$900 – $1,500||10-12 inches||25-40 years|
|Pacific Parrotlets||$150 – $350||4-5 inches||15 – 20 years|
|Green Cheeked Conures||$250 – $500||10 inches||20 – 30 years|
|Quaker Parrots (Monk Parakeets)||$250 – $500||11-12 inches||20 – 30 years|
|Senegal Parrots||$800 – $1,200||9 inches||30 – 50 years|
|Caique Parrots||$750 – $1,250||9-10 inches||25 – 30 years|
|Hahn’s Macaws||$800 – $2,000||12-14 inches||25 – 30 years|
These are average prices, but birds with rare color mutations fetch higher prices. For example, while you may pay $20 for a green budgie, an anthracite budgie costs up to $10,000.
The other costs associated with parrot ownership include the following:
- A large cage.
- Cage liners.
- Bird-safe cleaning products.
- Toys and entertainment (ladders, bells, mirrors, chew toys, etc.)
- Food and water bowls.
- Nutritious food.
- Pet insurance for vet bills.
You may also need to “parrot-proof” your home to make it safer and minimize the escape risk.
Here are some relatively cheap pet parrots:
Budgerigars (American Parakeets)
The budgie is usually the cheapest parrot you can buy. You’ll find them for sale at most pet stores, including Petco and PetSmart.
Most budgies are 7-9 inches long and live for 7-15 years. If you find a larger bird, it’s likely an English budgie.
The most common and least expensive American parakeets have green, blue, and yellow feathers.
You can get a rainbow, lutino, albino, cinnamon, opaline, and spangled budgerigar. However, you’ll need to buy a budgie with unusual colors and markings from a breeder, which will be more expensive.
Parakeets produce less noise than other parrots because they’re small. However, budgies are very vocal birds that chirrup, whistle, chatter, and trill. Budgies can also become accomplished talkers if trained.
Parakeets enjoy human company and interaction, making playful and affectionate pets. If possible, consider introducing parakeets to your home in bonded pairs or small groups.
Cockatiels are ideal pets for people who want a friendly, fun-loving, and affectionate cockatoo species.
The cockatiel is the smallest cockatoo, reaching 12-13 inches. The life expectancy of captive cockatiels is up to 25 years.
Cockatiels form strong relationships with their owners, but some become one-person birds, preferring that person over all others.
Unlike budgies, cockatiels aren’t good talkers, communicating primarily in chirps and whistles. A cockatiel will mimic household noises, like microwave ovens and doorbells.
Cockatiels from a pet store have a uniform appearance – light gray body feathers, with a yellow head marked by two rosy orange cheek pads and a crest. A cockatiel’s crest signifies its mood.
Private breeders may offer color variations, which include:
- Albino: A cockatoo with no feather pigmentation.
- Lutino: A cockatoo with white body feathers, a yellow head, and bright red eyes.
- Pearl: Defined by a range of colored spots that resemble pearls on the feathers.
- Cinnamon: A brown shade is introduced to the gray body feathers.
- Silver: This leads to cold, metallic gray feathers and red eyes or darker gray feathers and black eyes.
Cockatiels are easy to tame and train because they like to please their owners. Unfortunately, cockatiels are prone to night terrors because they have poor night vision.
Lovebirds are “pocket parrots” that reach a maximum of 6.5 inches long. With the right care, they can live for 10-15 years.
Some of the visual aspects of lovebirds include:
- A short and stocky body.
- Mostly green feathers coupled with bright colors (orange, yellow, peach, blue, violet, white, etc.)
- Short, blunt tail feathers.
- Some species, like Fischer’s lovebirds, have prominent white eye rings.
The most common lovebird species cost $50 to $100.
Lovebirds are often described as active, playful, and curious birds. They seldom scream or vocalize loudly. Instead, they chatter and make clicking sounds.
Many pionus owners consider this bird a well-kept secret.
They’re less popular because they have no standout characteristics. They’re not as colorful or visually striking as some birds, and their personalities are less defined.
They can say a few words but aren’t accomplished talkers, and their voices aren’t as clear. The pionus can be a little standoffish, but they’re not aggressive.
All pionus parrots share some core physical characteristics:
- Size of around 10 – 12 inches.
- Short, stubby tail feathers.
- White rings around the eyes.
- Red feathers around the vent.
- A life expectancy of 25-40 years.
There are many pionus species, all of which look different. These include the dusky pionus, bronze-winged pionus, Maximilian’s pionus, white-capped pionus, and blue-headed pionus.
Pionus parrots make relatively quiet and relaxed family pets.
Pacific parrotlets are cute pint-sized birds, reaching just 4-5 inches long. Parrotlets are smaller than budgies and lovebirds.
Despite their diminutive size, parrotlets can live for 15-20 years. There are reports of them living for even longer.
If you’re planning to get a pair of parrotlets, they must be introduced to each other properly. Captive Pacific parrotlets can become jealous, territorial, and aggressive.
Parrotlets are confident and fearless birds, which have positive and negative connotations. While they’re unlikely to be skittish and anxious, they’ll be endlessly curious.
Pacific parrotlets are chatty but have a quiet voice to match their small body. They can learn up to 15 words but will make chirps and whistles if you don’t teach them to speak early in life.
Pacific parrotlets may still squawk, but their sounds are unlikely to be detected outside the home.
Green-cheeked conures reach just 10 inches long. They can live for 20 to 30 years if their care needs are met.
Olive green patches on a black head define green-cheeked conures. Other characteristics include the following:
- Red feathers in the tail and chest, surrounded by olive green.
- Bright green back feathers.
- A white ring around the neck feathers.
- Dark eyes surrounded by white rings.
All conures are cheeky and playful but can be prone to nipping. Despite being relatively quiet birds, they have fun-loving personalities and make good family pets.
Quaker parrots grow to 11-12 inches and live up to 30 years.
A Quaker (monk parakeet) is ideal for someone who wants a large parrot’s personality but lacks space or the financial capacity to buy and meet the care needs of a larger bird.
Quaker parrots aren’t prone to ear-piercing screams but are very chatty birds. They can develop an extensive vocabulary with training, sing along to the radio, and mimic home appliances.
Male and female Quakers look identical, with the following features:
- Bright green head, back, and wing feathers.
- Gray feathers on cheeks, breasts, and throat.
- Gray feet and a horn-colored beak.
Some U.S. states outlaw the ownership of Quakers, as local authorities consider them an invasive species and agricultural pests. Buying and owning a Quaker parrot is illegal in the following U.S. states:
- New Jersey.
In other states, legislation may apply even if owning a Quaker is legal. For example, there may be a legal mandate to keep the bird’s wings clipped to prevent escape, or an ownership permit may be required.
Quakers are intelligent with abundant energy. They have a reputation for being master escape artists.
While the price of a Senegal parrot doesn’t put it high on our list of cheap parrots, they’re widely available at pet stores.
This bird is small but stocky. It’s widely regarded as one of the calmest and most amiable parrot species. They’re from the genus of Poicephalus, which includes pionus parrots.
Senegal parrots are prone to imprinting on one human, so you’ll have to actively engage others in their care needs if you want a family pet.
The typical appearance of a Senegal parrot is:
- Bright, vivid green wing and chest feathers.
- A darker head – usually a deep shade or gray with a black beak and yellow eyes.
- A bright yellow or orange patch on the belly of some subspecies.
The Senegal parrot isn’t a prolific talker but can learn some words if you’re consistent with training. They’re usually serene birds free-roaming, clicking, clucking, and whistling contentedly.
Caiques are small birds, reaching 9-10 inches long. They often live long lives, with an average lifespan of 25-30 years.
The caique parrot is the clown of the parrot family. This bird loves entertaining and amusing its owners, regularly performing tricks and getting into mischief.
Two types of caique parrots are commonly kept as pets, and their visual differences are reflected in their names:
- The black-headed caique has a black head and beak, a white belly, an orange neck and legs, and green wings.
- The white-bellied caique has a white belly too, but a yellow or orange head and horn-shaded beak.
- Both caiques are quite stocky and heavy.
Caiques are curious and energetic parrots, requiring free-flying and regular play to stay healthy.
The caique parrot can be noisy, and they aren’t good talkers. A caique may learn a few human words but is likelier to whistle and click its tongue to vocalize.
The least expensive macaw is also the smallest true macaw.
The Hahn’s macaw makes an ideal pet for the family, packing lots of personality into its relatively small frame.
This playful and fun-loving species is affectionate and cuddly, capable of forming bonds with several people.
The following features identify a Hahn’s macaw:
- Green feathers, except for a patch of bright red under the wings. The Hahn’s macaw is sometimes called the red-shouldered macaw for this reason.
- A black beak that fades to white around the nares.
- Orange eyes framed by white rings.
- Black feet initially look disproportionately large compared to the rest of the body.
Take noise training seriously if you want to get a Hahn’s macaw. This bird is prone to screaming, so it may upset neighbors if you have thin walls or live in an apartment complex.
Hahn’s macaws like to whistle, which can become a standard form of communication. A Hahn’s macaw can develop an extensive vocabulary of human words, as they’re among the best-talking macaws.
Buying a cheap parrot is only part of the outlay. Parrots need a large-sized cage, 3+ perches, durable toys, nutritious food, and veterinary attention to stay happy and healthy.