Well-socialized parrots can be cuddly and affectionate pets. However, they’re also full of energy and can sometimes become aggressive. You may have heard stories about parrots biting off fingers or screaming for hours. When you choose a pet bird, you’ll want the friendliest breed of parrot.
If you want a small friendly parrot, a conure or love bird is highly recommended. If you want a company-loving parrot that’s easy to care for, then opt for a cockatiel or budgerigar. If you’re after an affable bird that can cope well with children or a large family, choose the Eclectus or meyer’s parrot.
No matter the species you choose, training and socialization will be essential. Even the most docile parrot can grow unruly if it’s not properly socialized. Parrots are friendly animals but, when left alone in their cage, may grow unfriendly. When properly trained, even large parrots will eventually become doting and loving pets.
What Are The Best Parrots For Beginners?
There are about 402 different species of parrots. Each species has its own unique coloring, temperament, and personality. If you’re looking to keep a pet parrot, you may be concerned about the following:
- Intelligent: Clever birds need enrichment and socialization
- Loud: Parrots produce a variety of sounds and noises
- Messy: Drop food and debris everywhere
- Large: The biggest parrots are the African grey or macaw
- Powerful biters: Bites will be painful if your parrot gets mad
This may scare away new owners or make them hesitate to keep one of these lovely birds as a pet. However, some breeds are calm, affectionate, and low maintenance. Here are the best small parrots for beginners:
If you want a bird with a personality but small stature, consider getting a parrotlet. These small, adorable birds are so tiny. In fact, that they’re often called pocket parrots. They can grow up to just 3-4 inches in height. There are many different parrotlet species, but only two are commonly kept as pets:
- Pacific parrotlet
- Green-rumped parrotlet
Let’s explore which of these small birds is right for you:
This bird is colored bright green, but males have 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 Amazon parrot. They are smart, energetic, active, and playful. Despite this, they’re less noisy.
In fact, some owners think this bird is too quiet. The parrotlet can learn how to talk, repeat single words, and mimic simple phrases. However, they are not the most talkative of the parrot family, nor will they be the first to talk.
Pacific parrotlets must 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 this species tends to be underestimated.
This species has a 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 trained, they will be more gentle and affectionate.
Green-rumped parrotlets take longer to acclimate to their surroundings. Training will be long-term and must be consistent. If 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. Parrotlets are small enough to fit in apartments. As quiet birds, they 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, such as:
- Albino cockatiel: This is pure white.
- Pearl cockatiel: Has pearls (small spots of different colors) along its feathers.
- Cinnamon cockatiels: Brown color with grey feathers.
- Silver cockatiels: 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 a pro or a con, depending on who you ask. The cockatiel is known for its friendly and bright temperament. The birds are intelligent, happy to pick up tricks like:
- Bell ringing
Indeed, this small bird loves to play. It will keep you occupied for hours. On the other hand, the cockatiel isn’t exactly known for being affectionate. It’s definitely not the cuddliest parrot species. Instead, it prefers to express its love by being near you. It will like petting and playtime, but cuddling is usually tolerated.
Who Should Choose The Cockatiel?
If you choose a cockatiel, 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 ideal for studio and one-bedroom apartments. You won’t need a large cage, and you won’t be annoying your roommates.
You should be comfortable with the cockatiel’s lack of cuddling. This bird is definitely friendly and sociable, but it’s not an affectionate pet that likes being held close. If that’s what you’re after, there are other options.
Another gentle parrot species is the budgie (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, mainly because of their diminutive size. Budgies are small parrots, just a step above parrotlets at 7-8 inches tall. English budgies are 1-2 inches 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 is a quick learner. It may 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 ideal. 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? Do you have small children and need a docile parrot? Since beginners will get on better with a calm breed, look no further:
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 10-20 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 rambunctious pet and will 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 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 rare household pet. Compared to more colorful, talkative, and eye-catching parrots, these birds aren’t well-known. Nonetheless, the pionus has some desirable characteristics.
The pionus is about 10-12 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 most obvious when compared to the bright blues, greens, and yellows of other parrots.
In terms of personality, the pionus has a reputation for being unremarkable. They aren’t energetic or loud, and they can be a bit stand-offish. However, their owners would beg to differ. These birds aren’t as cuddly as lovebirds, but they’re definitely affectionate and loyal. They are not as social as other parrots, but they’re not silent.
Indeed, the pionus hits the sweet spot for many owners. When it comes to talking, this bird has 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. This parrot isn’t a common pet. It’s still good for beginners due to its friendly and affectionate nature. It’s small and quiet.
Meyer’s parrot is not one of the most popular species. At first glance, it’s overshadowed by others due 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 parrot has climbed into the hearts of many owners.
Its coloration goes well with its understated personality. This parrot is an easy-going bird. It likes to observe, watching its owners and other members of the household. Unlike other birds, the meyer’s 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 several people. 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 as much time to their companions. They’re also a great choice if you have a large household as they’ll 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. Nonetheless, some types of parrots are gentler than others. With the right care, these birds tend to express their affection:
Love birds, also known as Agapornis, are one of the common beginner parrots. As the name implies, they’re known as friendly and affectionate 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.
Choosing a love bird as a beginner pet has many advantages. The most obvious is that they’re not overly large. Their cages will be less expensive, and food won’t be eaten as quickly.
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 make your bird a handful. Lovebirds need constant attention and affection. In fact, it’s wise to keep them in pairs because of the 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 active, curious, and playful.
Who Should Choose A Love Bird?
The lovebird is the ideal species if you don’t mind taking care of two parrots instead of one. They’re also good for owners who want to play with their birds regularly. Because these birds are more energetic, you may need to put 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 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. No matter the type, these birds are known as one of the most peaceful and easygoing. 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 so, 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 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 can 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 the bird is trained. If you’re a beginner, you may lack the skills to guide your parrot to good behavior. You may also lack time to be consistent with their training. If so, it’s best to:
- Buy a parrot after it’s been trained. This lets you give an older parrot a good home.
- Have a roommate or family member train it. If someone in your household spends more time at home, they could take over 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 behavioral training.
In fact, according to Veterinary Clinics of North America, a bird’s intelligence makes training even more important.
One parrot may be docile and sweet, while another may be unruly and stubborn. Even if they’re from the same species, this difference in personality could be stark. You can’t be entirely sure how friendly your parrot will be until you meet it.
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 treated poorly, underfed, or left in a cage 24/7, it will bring behavioral issues to your home.
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 and fingers due to parrot bites. 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.
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 accept bites as a natural part of training. It’s not something to be tolerated. Instead, consider the following:
- Wear padded gloves. If your parrot has a biting habit, wear protection as you train it out of them.
- Watch your parrot’s body language. If it appears defensive, don’t approach it without padding.
- Check for disturbances. Parrots usually bite when they’re scared or threatened.
- 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 isn’t 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 strong 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 bite strength. That means it’s less likely to bite you than, say, a parakeet.
Beginners can choose any parrot without worrying about their fingers. Pick a friendly parrot based on its size, temperament, and care needs. Meet its requirements and your parrot will be friendly and loving in return.