Parrots are known to be cuddly and affectionate. However, they’re also known to be full of energy and sometimes aggression. You might’ve heard terrible stories about parrots biting off fingers or screaming for hours. When you choose a parrot of your own, you’ll want the friendliest breed.
There are friendly breeds in every category of parrot. If you want a small one, then you can choose the conure or love bird. If you want a friendly parrot that’s easy to care for, then check out the cockatiel or the budgerigar. If you’re after a friendly bird to suit children or large families, try the Eclectus or meyer’s parrot.
No matter the species you choose, training will be a crucial factor. Even the most docile parrot will grow unruly or bite if it’s not properly socialized. Parrots that are friendly at first, but then left alone in their cage, may also grow unfriendly. When properly trained, even large birds with powerful bites will be docile and loving.
What Are The Best Parrots For Beginners?
Across the world, there are about 402 different species of parrot. Each has its own coloring, temperaments, and personality. If you’re looking to keep one as a pet, you may be concerned about the rumors. After all, parrots are known to be:
- Intelligent, so they need a lot of enrichment and socialization
- Loud, especially if you’re teaching them to speak
- Messy, as most birds are
- Large, especially if you choose an African grey or macaw
- Powerful biters, which will be uncomfortable if your parrot gets mad
This may scare away new parrot owners or make them hesitate to keep one of these lovely birds as a pet. However, there are breeds known for being calm, affectionate, and low maintenance. Here are the best small parrots for beginners:
If you want a bird with a personality but small stature, you can check out the category of parrotlets. These small, adorable birds are so tiny, in fact, that they’re often called pocket parrots. They can grow up to 3 to 4 inches in height. There are many different parrotlet species. However, only two are commonly kept as pets:
- The Pacific parrotlet
- The green-rumped parrotlet
Let’s explore which of these small birds is ideal for you.
The Pacific parrotlet is the more common of the two. This bird is colored bright green. The males cap this off with blue coloring on their tails, wings, and behind the eyes.
Although small, they definitely have the temperament of a larger bird. In fact, their personality is often compared to the much larger Amazon parrot. They are smart, energetic, active, and playful. Despite this, they lack a reputation for being noisy.
In fact, some parrot owners think this bird is too quiet. The parrotlet can learn how to talk, repeat single words, and mimic simple phrases. However, they are definitely not the most talkative of the parrot family, nor will they be the first to talk.
Pacific parrotlets must also be trained well and early. Because of their temperament, this species can easily become aggressive when left alone. That’s true for most parrots, but it’s especially important here. This species tends to be underestimated. The parrotlet has a bite stronger than that of a budgie, so it packs punch for its size.
This species has similar coloring to the Pacific parrotlet, but the green-rumped is much smaller.
Both species share a temperament and will be unruly if not properly socialized. Once it’s trained, however, your green-rumped will be gentler and more affectionate. With that said, it takes time. Green-rumped parrotlets take longer to acclimate to their surroundings. Training will be long-term and must be consistent.
If you’re brand new to training a parrot, it may be wise to stick with the Pacific breed.
Who Should Choose A Parrotlet?
Because of its size and temperament, this species is good for beginners who don’t have a proper set-up for a bird just yet. Parrotlets are small enough to fit in apartments. As quiet birds, they also won’t bother your neighbors.
Cockatiels are one of the most popular choices for beginners and novices alike. Even if you’re not parrot savvy, you’ve likely met one of these. The cockatiel is a small parrot with an iconic head crest. Its classic look includes a grey body, yellow face and crest, and orange cheek patches. Aside from this coloring, you can also find color mutations in the pet trade, such as:
- The albino cockatiel, which is pure white.
- The pearl cockatiel, which has ‘pearls’ along its feathers. These are small spots of different colors.
- Cinnamon cockatiels are a brown color with grey feathers.
- Silver cockatiels, which have grey feathers with red or dark eyes.
When it comes to talking, the cockatiel can speak as well as most species. They vocalize, whistle, and mimic speech and noises. However, they are quieter than most parrots. This can be either an advantage or a disadvantage, depending on who you ask.
The cockatiel is also known for its friendly and bright temperament. The birds are very intelligent, happy to pick up tricks like:
- Bell ringing
Indeed, this small bird loves to play. It will keep you occupied for many entertaining hours. On the other hand, the cockatiel isn’t exactly known for being affectionate. It’s definitely not the cuddliest parrot species. Instead, the cockatiel prefers to express its love by simply being near you. It will like petting and playtime, but cuddling is tolerated at best.
Who Should Choose The Cockatiel?
Cockatiels are a very common pet, making them an excellent choice for beginners. If you choose this species, it won’t be hard to find someone who has first-hand experience with the bird.
Their quiet nature and small size also mean they’re great for apartments. You won’t need a large cage, and you won’t be annoying your roommates.
With that said, you should be comfortable with the cockatiel’s lack of cuddling. This bird is definitely friendly and sociable. However, it’s not an affectionate pet that likes being held close. If that’s what you’re after, it’s best to keep looking.
Another gentle parrot species is the budgie. That’s short for budgerigar. In the U.S., this species is more often referred to as parakeets. However, the term parakeet can be used to refer to as many as 115 different species. While budgies definitely belong in this group, they are vastly different from other parrots.
The traditional budgerigar comes from Australia. It’s known for its bright green and yellow body. It features a scalloped marking on its back and wings. Other common color variations include:
Budgies are so common as pets that they poll just behind cats and dogs. That’s mainly because of their size. Budgies are small parrots, just a step above parrotlets at 7 to 8 inches tall. English budgies are an inch or two longer than the traditional budgie.
Another reason for their fame is their intelligence. Not all parrots will learn how to talk or dance, regardless of their species. However, the budgie tends to be a quick learner. It may even speak more clearly and learn more words than larger parrots.
Who Should Choose A Budgie?
Large parrot species are known for being smart. However, the budgie can be just as clever without the size and the upkeep. If you really want a parrot because of its ability to talk but are a beginner, this species is a perfect choice. With the right care and attention, this bird will amaze you with its intelligence, all while being easy to take care of.
Friendly Parrot Species
Is size less important than personality in your bird? Do you have small children and need a docile parrot? Since beginners will do best with a calm breed, look no further. These calm species will suit you best.
Another familiar face on this list is the conure. When it comes to a friendly parrot species, it’s the poster child. Your conure will love to be the center of attention with its clever brain, friendly attitude, and boatloads of energy. To top it off, this species has bright and eye-catching colors.
Conures are small- to medium-sized parrots. They can be as long as 10 to 20 inches. They come in a wide range of bright colors, including:
Unlike other parrot species, conures aren’t cautious and meek. Instead, they are bold and outgoing, eager to inspect every new part of a house. The conure is known to be a very rambunctious pet and will happily make noises at its owners. It may peck a new object with its beak to check it out and will love to be where people are.
In fact, conures are so affectionate that you’ll often find this bird asking for cuddles. The bird loves to climb under its owner’s shirt, snuggle inside pockets, and get in the way. When it’s not cuddling, it will be watching its humans, dancing around, and even mimicking movements.
Nothing pairs better with its bright personality than its loud habits. Conures emit a high-pitched screech and aren’t afraid to do this often. This screech is used when it’s scared, startled, or just plainly in need of attention. Aside from screeches, conures can also talk, but their vocabularies aren’t as wide as other species.
Who Should Get A Conure?
Conures thrive in large households where there is always someone available to give them attention. They also love environments where there is plenty of activity. This makes conures perfect for owners who love their conspicuous personality. They are also good for people who need a cuddly pet.
The pionus parrot is a very rare household pet. Compared to more colorful, more talkative, and more eye-catching parrots, these birds aren’t well-known – even in parrot circles. Nonetheless, the pionus definitely has some of the best characteristics you can find.
At first glance, the pionus has a simple appearance. It’s about 10 to 12 inches in length. It brandishes a ring of white around its eyes, with red feathers at the end of its tail. The coloring differs based on its breed, but most colors are muddy and muted. That’s especially obvious when compared to the bright blues, greens, and yellows of other parrots.
Even in terms of personality, the pionus has a reputation for being unremarkable. They aren’t energetic, they aren’t loud, and they’re a bit stand-offish. However, their owners would beg to differ. These birds aren’t as cuddly as a love bird, but they’re definitely affectionate and loyal. They are not loud, but they’re not silent.
Indeed, the pionus hits the sweet spot for many parrot owners in different ways. When it comes to talking, this bird can have a pretty large vocabulary. It lacks a clear speaking voice, but it will be quick to mimic complicated words.
Who Should Get A Pionus?
The pionus is ideal for people who want a bird with novelty. Unlike others on the list, this parrot is definitely not a common pet. It’s still good for beginners due to its friendly and affectionate nature. It’s small and quiet, making it perfect for those living in apartments.
Meyer’s parrot is not one of the most popular parrot species. At first glance, it’s overshadowed by other parrot species thanks to its coloration. The bird comes in either a dull brown or green. It features bright yellow markings on the wings and sometimes on the top of the head. Nonetheless, this underrated parrot has climbed into the hearts of many owners.
Its coloration goes well with its understated personality. This parrot is the poster child for an easy-going bird. It likes to observe, watching its owners and other members of the household. Unlike other birds, the meyer’s doesn’t ask for a lot of attention. It will happily sit on its perch with a toy.
Of course, that doesn’t mean the meyer’s doesn’t form bonds. In fact, unlike most birds, the meyer’s can form bonds with multiple people. This may even include entire households. The meyer’s is also loyal. Once this bird has chosen you, you are friends for life.
While they aren’t known for being cuddly, these birds are definitely affectionate. They do not require much attention, but they love to be scratched and petted.
Who Should Get A Meyer’s Parrot?
Meyer’s parrots are ideal for people who want a parrot but can’t devote a lot of time to their companions. It’s also a great choice if you have a large household. The bird will bond with all the members and love you for life.
What Is The Most Gentle Parrot?
No matter the species, all birds are capable of being tough to handle. This goes double for parrots since they have powerful jaws.
Nonetheless, some types of parrots are gentler than others. With the right care, these birds tend to express their affection gently:
Love birds, also known as Agapornis, are one of the common beginner parrots. As the name implies, they’re known as friendly and affectionate – both to humans and each other. These parrots only choose one mate and bond for life. Once they have, they will spend a lot of time with their mate.
There are 9 different species considered love birds. When it comes to pets, the more colorful species are the most popular. Colored mutations have also been selectively bred in domestic love birds. The most common is a bright green, with different colors on the upper body.
Choosing a love bird as a beginner pet comes with many advantages. The most obvious is that these birds are tiny. Their cages will be less expensive, and food won’t be eaten as quickly. It also means that this species takes less space and will create less of a mess.
However, this species does have its disadvantages. Many beginners want love birds because of the sweet and affectionate image that comes with them. While this isn’t necessarily false, it can accidentally make your bird a handful. Lovebirds need constant attention and affection. In fact, it’s wise to keep them in pairs because of the degree of attention they need.
Additionally, lovebirds have a lot of energy. They are small, but the lovebird can pack a lot of personality into its tiny body. Yours will be very active, curious, and playful. Because of this, it is important to train your bird so it doesn’t develop any harmful behaviors.
Who Should Choose A Love Bird?
The lovebird is the perfect species if you don’t mind taking care of two parrots instead of one. It’s also great for owners who want to play with their birds regularly. Because these birds are more energetic, you may need to pour a lot of time and effort into training them.
The Eclectus is known for its interesting appearance. The most obvious characteristic is the fur-like surface of its feathers, giving it a fuzzy outline. These birds have vibrant coloration; deep green for males and bright red for females. Their beaks typically resemble candy corn. Their eyes look small due to the thin band of pale white around each pupil.
There are many different types of Eclectus all over the world. No matter the type, these birds are known as one of the most peaceful and easy-going. They are commonly recommended to people with large families because they’re less likely to act out. In fact, the Eclectus is docile enough to spend time with children.
Even still, all parrots still have their limits. It’s important to train the Eclectus properly and make sure it’s given proper care. Eclectus parrots need a lot of space, or else they will become restless. This playful bird will also need a lot of stimulation. You should provide it with toys at all times.
Despite their zen-like personality, these birds are not quiet. The Eclectus is beloved for its extensive vocabulary and its overall penchant for vocalizing and mimicking.
Who Should Get An Eclectus?
Eclectus are perfect for families who are concerned about aggression in parrots. You can have a safe, happy bird without compromising on the classic parrot traits. The Eclectus is also happy to talk, be taught tricks, and socialize with other household members.
What Makes A Parrot Friendly?
All owners want a friendly parrot. However, you can’t just buy a so-called friendly species and expect to have a cuddle bug right away. A parrot’s temperament will depend on three main factors outside its species
The most important factor is how well – and how often – the bird is trained. If you’re a beginner, you may lack the skills to guide your parrot to good behavior. You might also lack time to be consistent with their training. If that’s the case, then it’s best to:
- Buy a parrot after it’s been trained. This also lets you give an older parrot a good home, even if it can’t stay with its original owner anymore.
- Have a roommate or family member train it. If someone in your household spends more time at home, perhaps they can take over consistently training the bird. Just be aware that the bird may bond with them more than you.
- Buy a less intelligent bird. All parrots are bright, but some species are less sharp than others. You may sacrifice a wide vocabulary, but make up for it with a bird that doesn’t need as much behavior training.
In fact, an article in the Veterinary Clinics of North America determined that a bird’s intelligence makes effective training even more important.
The character of a parrot can be just as varied as people. One parrot may be docile and sweet. Another may be unruly and stubborn. Even if they’re from the same species, this difference in personality could be stark.
As such, you can’t be entirely sure how friendly your parrot will be until you meet it. Be prepared to use training to perfect that friendly nature once it’s in your home.
If a parrot doesn’t get enough exercise, have the right diet, or get enough attention, it’s more likely to act out. This is especially true if the parrot has been rehomed to you. If it was treated poorly, underfed, or left in a cage 24/7, it will bring the behavioral issues home to you.
Be sure to have patience with your bird and check on its living conditions. If your parrot seems less friendly, maybe it needs a change to its diet or routine.
Do Parrot Bites Hurt?
As mentioned, parrots can be a handful to new owners because of their bites. You may be curious if you can handle that more tactile problem. Will a bite really hurt that bad?
Unfortunately, parrots can cause damage with their beaks. Owners have lost eyes, digits and have earned deep scars because of bites from a parrot.
In fact, according to the American Association for Hand Surgery, parrot bites can be more harmful than bites from other pets. This is because of the pathogens that are present in a parrot bite.
How Strong Is A Parrot’s Bite?
The average force of a bird’s bite is about 300 to 400 psi. This makes a bird’s beak strong enough to crack nuts, shells, and seeds in one go. Compare this to the average bite of a human being, which is 162 psi.
However, the actual force of a parrot bite depends on many different factors. Bigger parrots have a stronger bite than smaller parrots. For example, the biting force of a large macaw has been estimated at 500 to 700 psi. This is the equivalent of big dogs, like the mastiff.
How To Prevent Parrot Bites
With that in mind, you should never try to accept bites as a natural part of training. It’s not something to be tolerated, like when a puppy nibbles on you. Instead, take these steps to prevent biting:
- Wear padded gloves. If your parrot has a biting habit, be sure to wear protection as you train that out of them.
- Watch your parrot’s body language. If it appears defensive, don’t approach it without padding. You may also need to give it space until it calms down.
- Check for disturbances. Parrots usually bite when they’re scared or threatened. It may be a bad habit, but it may also be a reaction that holds no malice. Check the area and remove anything that might be scaring your bird.
- Reprimand bad behavior. When your parrot bites, tell it “no” in a firm tone of voice. Accompany that with a gentle but firm tap on the beak. This will teach the bird that its biting is not allowed.
Are Big Parrots Dangerous For Beginners?
Of course, you may be worried that owning a large bird is more dangerous. The hyacinth macaw is one of the largest breeds, for example. It has powerful beak muscles, which gives it a powerful bite.
The bite alone shouldn’t be a deciding factor. The hyacinth macaw is also known to be a docile species. It’s uncommon for these birds to use their full strength. That means it’s less likely to bite you than, say, a parakeet. The little bird’s energy levels, in contrast, may cause it to be more rebellious.
With that in mind, beginners can choose any parrot without worry for their fingers. Just be sure to pick a friendly parrot based on its size, temperament, and the care it needs. As long as you can meet its requirements, your parrot will be friendly and loving in return.