Well-socialized parrots are friendly, cuddly, and affectionate pets. However, you may have heard horror stories about parrots severing fingers or screaming incessantly.
The species is a major determinant of a parrot’s nature and disposition. Opt for a lovebird or budgerigar (especially an English budgie) if you want a small, friendly parrot that enjoys human company.
No matter which species you choose, training and socialization are essential. Even the most relaxed and loving parrot can grow unruly if it’s not tamed and socialized from a young age.
Parrots are sociable animals that live in large flocks. If a pet parrot is left in its cage without companionship and enrichment, it’ll grow unhappy and develop behavioral problems.
To get the most out of a relationship with a parrot, spend time together and meet its care needs.
What Are The Most Friendly Parrots?
There are about 402 parrot family members (psittacines), each with unique personalities and temperaments. If you’re considering buying a pet parrot, you’re likely concerned about these factors:
- Time-consuming: Clever birds need enrichment, engagement, and companionship.
- Loud: Parrots produce loud sounds and noises.
- Messy: Drop food and debris.
- Large: The biggest parrots are macaws, cockatoos, and Amazon parrots.
- Biters: Bites from large parrots are painful, especially if done in a state of panic.
This may scare off new owners or make them hesitant about getting a parrot as a pet. However, certain species are mostly calm, friendly, and easy to please.
If you want a pet parrot with a huge personality but diminutive stature, consider getting a parrotlet.
These adorable birds are so small that they’re sometimes called pocket parrots. They grow to just 4-5 inches. There are many parrotlet species, but only 2 are kept as pets:
A Pacific parrotlet (Forpus coelestis) is bright green, but males have blue on their tails, wings, and behind their eyes.
Although tiny, they have the temperament of a larger bird. Their personality is compared to the Amazon parrot. They’re smart, energetic, active, and playful. Despite this, they’re not noisy.
The parrotlet can learn to talk, repeat single words, and mimic simple phrases. However, they’re not the best talkers in the parrot family.
Pacific parrotlets must be trained properly and early on in the relationship.
Green-rumped parrotlets (Forpus passerinus) have similar colors to Pacific parrotlets but are smaller.
Both species share the same temperament and can be unruly if not properly socialized. Once trained, they’ll be more gentle, affectionate, and sweet-looking pet birds.
Green-rumped parrotlets take longer to acclimate to their surroundings, and training will be long-term and must be consistent. If you’re new to parrots, it may be better to get a Pacific parrotlet.
Due to their size and temperament, parrotlets are good for novices. Parrotlets are small enough to fit in apartments and quiet enough not to upset the neighbors.
You’ve likely encountered a cockatiel, even if you’re not parrot savvy. A cockatiel (Nymphicus hollandicus) is a small parrot with an iconic head crest that tells you how it feels.
Its classic look includes a grey body, yellow face and crest, and orange cheek patches. Aside from these colors, you can also find color mutations, such as the following:
- Albino cockatiel: A pure white bird.
- 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.
Most cockatiels reach 12-14 inches long, which is significantly smaller than most members of the cockatoo family. Cockatiels usually live for 15-20 years, but some birds reach 30.
When it comes to talking, cockatiels can speak. They vocalize, whistle, and mimic speech and the sounds they hear, like the doorbell or kettle. However, they’re quieter than most parrots.
The cockatiel has a friendly and bright temperament. They’re happy to learn tricks, such as:
- Bell ringing.
Indeed, this small bird loves to play and will keep you occupied for hours. Cockatiels aren’t known for being affectionate, preferring to express their love by being near you.
If you choose a cockatiel, it won’t be hard to find someone who has first-hand experience with them.
In the U.S., budgies (Melopsittacus undulatus) are called American parakeets.
However, ‘parakeet’ is an umbrella term that can refer to as many as 115 species. While all budgerigars are parakeets, not all parakeets are budgerigars.
The budgerigar is from Australia and is known for its green feathers and scalloped markings on its back and wings.
Other common colors for American parakeets include:
- Black (anthracite).
Budgies are popular pets because they’re small and friendly. They’re slightly bigger than parrotlets at 7-8 inches tall. However, English budgies (show budgies) are 1-2 inches longer than Australian budgies.
Another reason for their fame is their intelligence. Not all parrots will learn to talk or dance, regardless of their species. However, budgies are quick learners who can say many words.
Large parrot species are smart, but a budgie can be almost as clever without the size. With the right care, budgies will amaze you with their intelligence while being easy to take care of.
Conures are beautiful parrots with bright and vivid colors.
Most conure feathers contain green with colorful embellishments, usually blue, red, orange, brown, and yellow.
They’re monomorphic, so it’s near-impossible to physically tell the difference between males and females.
Conures are a diverse species that comprise many different small and medium-sized birds, including:
- Green-cheeked conures.
- Sun conures.
- Jenday conures.
- Nanday conures.
- Red-masked conures.
- Half-moon conures.
- Dusky-headed conures.
- Mitred conures.
- Blue-crowned Conures.
- Golden-capped conures.
- Queen of Bavaria conures.
- Patagonian conures.
- Austral conures.
Conures are bold, outgoing, and eager to investigate everything. They’ll peck new objects with their beaks to learn more. They’ll also want to play and engage with bonded humans.
They’re boisterous birds that emit high-pitched screeches and do so regularly.
This screech is used when scared, startled, or wanting attention. Aside from screeches, conures can also talk, but their vocabularies aren’t as expansive as other species, like African greys.
Conures thrive in households where someone is always available to give them attention. They also like environments with interesting things happening, but they’ll want to sleep after sunset.
The pionus is a small-to-medium-sized parrot that reaches 10-12 inches long. They live for an average of 30 years.
Pionus parrots typically brandish a ring of white around their eyes, with red feathers at the end of their tails.
The colors differ based on species, but most are muddy and muted. There are 7 species of pionus parrots:
- Blue-headed pionus.
- Dusky pionus.
- Red-billed pionus.
- White-crowned pionus.
- Bronzed-winged pionus.
- Scaly-headed pionus.
- Speckled-faced pionus.
Pionus parrots aren’t energetic or loud and can be considered standoffish. However, their owners would beg to differ because they’re such loyal and devoted birds.
The pionus hits the sweet spot for many owners. When talking, this bird lacks a clear speaking voice, but it can mimic some words and phrases.
The pionus is ideal for people who want a bird with novelty that’s not overly loud. This pet parrot is good for inexperienced owners due to its gentle and relaxed disposition.
Meyer’s parrots (Poicephalus meyeri) feature brown or green feathers with bright yellow markings on their wings and sometimes on their heads.
They’re a small, stocky species that reaches 8-9 inches long. The life expectancy of Meyer’s parrots is 20-30 years, which is about average for birds of their size.
Their diminutive size and unspectacular colors compliment their understated personality. This parrot is an easy-going bird that enjoys watching people and what’s happening in its environment.
Meyer’s can’t talk as well as larger species, like Amazon parrots, but they can learn some words. They’re better at whistling and mimicking environmental sounds, like beeps from microwave ovens.
While all parrots bite when stressed or scared, Meyer’s bite less frequently than other species. They’re happier chewing wooden toys, destroying cardboard, and exploring the world with their beaks.
Meyer’s are ideal for people who want a small, quiet, and understated pet parrot. Unlike many species, they’re not one-person birds and can bond with the entire family.
Lovebirds are friendly and affectionate to humans and same-species birds. These parrots choose one mate and bond for life.
There are 3 species of lovebirds commonly kept as pets:
- Fischer’s lovebirds (Agapornis fischeri).
- Rosy-faced lovebirds (Agapornis roseicollis).
- Black-masked lovebirds (Agapornis personata).
Colored mutations have also been selectively bred in domestic lovebirds.
Lovebirds are small parrots, reaching just 5-6.5 inches long. Their life expectancy is about 10-12 years, but there are rare cases of lovebirds living for 25 years.
Choosing a lovebird as a starter pet has many advantages. The most obvious is they’re small, so their cages will be less expensive, and they’ll eat less food.
Many novices want lovebirds due to their cute appearance. While this is true, lovebirds need constant attention, especially if they lack an opposite-sex bonded partner.
If you find a lovebird a mate, it’ll likely become devoted to them. Unfortunately, this can change the dynamics of the human-parrot relationship, as the bird won’t be quite as excited when it sees you.
Lovebirds have a lot of energy and are always moving, except after sunset. They’re small parrots, but the lovebird packs a lot of personality in its tiny body. A lovebird will be active, curious, and playful.
Eclectus parrots (Eclectus roratus) have fur-like feathers, giving them a fuzzy outline.
Their beaks resemble candy corn, and their eyes look small due to the thin band of pale white around each pupil.
They’re sexually dimorphic, so it’s easy to distinguish between male and female parrots. Males have emerald green feathers, while females have ruby-red feathers.
Eclectus parrots are medium-sized birds that reach 12-14.5 inches long and live for 20-30 years. They’re very intelligent birds that are less noisy than many parrot species.
However, they sometimes emit a loud honking sound, which can startle people who aren’t expecting it.
Despite having an unusual voice, Eclectus parrots are good talkers and can develop a vast repertoire of words if given sufficient training. However, they rarely speak until they reach 12 months old.
Eclectus parrots are ideal for families who want a friendly, non-aggressive pet bird that interacts with people it knows and trusts. They’re good with children but appreciate a calm, relaxed home.
What Makes A Parrot Friendly?
All owners want a friendly parrot, but you can’t just buy a sociable species and expect to have a cuddle bug right away. A parrot’s temperament depends on various factors:
If you’re a beginner, you may not have the skills to guide a parrot to good behavior. You may also lack time to be consistent with training. If so, it may be better to do the following:
- Trained parrot. This allows you to give an older parrot a home.
- Ask a family member to train it. If someone in the household spends more time at home, they could take over the training. Unfortunately, the bird may bond with them more than you.
- Less intelligent parrot. All parrots are bright, but some species are smarter than others. You may sacrifice a parrot with a wide vocabulary and tricks for a bird without behavioral problems.
According to Veterinary Clinics of North America, a parrot’s high intelligence makes training vital.
One parrot may be docile and sweet, while another may be unruly, cantankerous, and stubborn.
Even if 2 parrots are from the same species or family, this difference in personality can be stark. You can’t be entirely sure how friendly a parrot will be until you meet them.
Many parrots have had difficult lives. If a parrot had a previous owner, it could have been mistreated.
Parrots have good memories, so they remember these negative experiences. Sometimes, a new owner resembles a previous bad owner, creating problems in the relationship.
Other parrots are grieving the death of an owner or are sad they’ve been surrendered.
If a parrot doesn’t get sufficient attention and is caged 24/7, it’s likely to act out. Parrots need a clean and spacious cage, enrichment, toys, nutritious food, and one-on-one time with their owners.