Keeping birds can be a rewarding experience and with their beautiful colours and birdsong they can make wonderful pets and companions.
Owning a pet bird is a big responsibility as you will need to understand their needs and behaviour. Also some varieties of bird require more attention than others and will need a lifelong commitment as they can live for up to 60 years or more.
Petstop sell a variety of birds in store and here are a few things to consider which will help you find the perfect bird to welcome into your home.
How much time can I devote to a bird?
How much time do you have to spend with your bird every day? If you have a busy lifestyle or are out at work you may find a canary or budgie less demanding than a parrot.
Can I make a life long commitment to a bird?
Pet birds can be quite long lived and some bond so closely with their owners that they find adapting to a new home rather difficult. We have a guide below on the lifespan of birds popularly kept as pets:
- Canaries 5 - 15 years
- Budgies 7 - 15 years
- Cockatiels 2 - 20 years
- Lovebirds – 10 - 20 years
- African Grey Parrots – 50 - 70 years
- Parakeets – 15 – 20 years
- Macaws – 50 - 80 years
- Rosellas – 15 – 20 years
- Kakarikis – 5 – 15 years
- Rock Pebblars – 20 – 25 years
What sort of bird do I want to keep?
Do you want a bird that is fairly independent or a bird that you can interact with? Finches and canaries are quite self-reliant and don't normally take to handling. If you want a bird that you can teach to talk or do tricks then a bird from the parrot family would be ideal. Budgies, cockatiels, lovebirds, parakeets and macaws are all members of the parrot family. These tend to be sociable birds and some need a lot of attention so if you don't have much time to spend with your bird they can exhibit neurotic behaviour.
How much noise will my bird make?
Noise levels are important as some birds can screech, some are little chatterboxes and others sing away all day. Budgies, cockatiels and lovebirds can be fairly noisy but not as loud as parrots or macaws. If you live in a flat and neighbours are a concern then finches, doves, and canaries are better choices if you want to keep the noise down.
Do I have enough space in my home to keep a bird?
How much space do you have for a cage? The size of your pet bird matters as the bigger the bird, the bigger the cage. Even smaller birds need good sized cages as they need room to fly about and exercise. Birds need time outside their cages to stretch their wings too!
How much mess will my bird make?
Birds can be messy, especially when they are eating as food gets scattered about and falls outside their cage. Some birds also produce a lot of feather dust (fine white powder) and this can set off allergies or asthma. Your bird should never be left unsupervised outside their cage as some can get up to mischief and can make quite a mess tearing things apart.
How many birds should I keep?
Most birds like the company of their own kind so it is best to have a pair or a group, depending of the variety of bird. Some birds such as parrots can be kept on their own and will bond with their owner instead of a mate.
Budgerigars are members of the parrot family and originate from Australia. They are the most popular bird to keep thanks to their cheerful, friendly nature and attractive bright colours. They are natural acrobats, easily tamed and make great companions for their owners. Budgies can learn to mimic simple words and phrases, whistle and chirp.
- Budgies are good for beginners and will interact with the whole family. They can live between 7–15 years and are normally 7-10 inches (18-25 cm) in size. Budgies can kept alone but they are sociable birds, living in a flock in the wild, so they are happier when kept as pairs or as part of a group.
Cockatiels are native to Australia and are the smallest member of the cockatoo family (cockatoos belong to the parrot family). They are very popular as pets and are intelligent and inquisitive with lively personalities. Cockatiels are easily tamed and make great companions. They can learn to mimic simple words and phrases as well as sounds. Cockatiels whistle, hiss and can screech when they want your attention.
- Most cockatiels are gentle, affectionate and docile birds which makes them a good first bird for beginners. Cockatiels have a crest on the top of their heads that they use to express emotions – they will raise it when they are startled or excited. They come in a variety of types including the coloured Cockatiel, grey cockatiel and white faced cockatiel which Petstop sell in store.
- They can live between 15–25 years and are normally 12 inches (30 cm) in size. Cockatiels are very social birds and a single bird will get very attached to their owner but in the wild cockatiels live in large flocks and mate for life so ideally you should keep two cockatiels together or as part of a group.
Canaries originate from the Canary Islands off the west coast of Africa and are a member of the finch family. They are very colourful songbirds and although the most common colour is yellow they can come in a variety of types including the red agate, red intensive, white / blue, yellow / variegated and green canary. Male canaries (cocks) have a better singing voice than the females (hens).
- Canaries are easy to look after and make good birds for beginners. They are charming little birds with a gentle, shy temperament. They can live between 5–15 years and are normally 4.5–8 inches (12-20 cm) in size. Canaries like the company of their own species so are best kept in pairs or larger groups.
Macaws are native to Mexico and South / Central America and are the largest members of the parrot family. Their colours are stunning and they are very intelligent birds. They are playful and active birds with a wide wingspan so a large cage is needed. Macaws also need a lot of out-of-cage time. They have big personalities and can be challenging to keep as pets as they need a lot of attention and interaction. Macaws will suffer if you can not dedicate enough time to spend with them as they bond to their owners for life. They are noisy birds and screech loudly but can learn to mimic simple words and phrases as well as sounds.
- Macaws are not good birds for beginners and you will need to be an experienced bird owner to handle one. Macaws can live between 50 – 80 years and there are 16 different species. They range in size from 13 - 36 inches (33 - 91 cm) depending on the type of Macaw. These birds will need a commitment similar to that of owning a dog and if you are not at home much we do not recommend that you have one as a pet. Macaws can be kept on their own or in a pair or group provided they have bonds with each other.
Lovebirds are small and social members of the parrot family and are native to Africa and its surrounding islands. They are very active inquisitive birds with a sweet and affectionate nature but they can be a little feisty. There are 9 species of Lovebird including the black-cheeked, fischers (masked), lutino (pied) and peach-faced (pastel) lovebird which Petstop sell in store.
- Lovebirds are a popular bird to keep and they love company so they will become very attached to their owners and their family. They can be noisy but are not loud - their calls range from a high pitched squawk to chirping and chattering. They can learn to mimic simple words and phrases as well as sounds but are not well known for talking. Lovebirds are between 5–6 inches (12–15cm) in size and live between 10–20 years. They are social birds and need to be kept in pairs or as part of a group.
African Grey Parrot
African grey parrots come from the rainforests of West and Central Africa and are highly intelligent. They are renowned for their ability to mimic words, phrases and sounds and in some cases they have shown that they can understand and use human language. African grey parrots are entertaining, sensitive birds and their high IQ means that they need lots of attention and affection. They are active birds with a wide wingspan so a large cage is needed. African grey parrots also need a lot of out-of-cage time. They will bond to their owners for life.
- African grey parrots are noisy and can squeak, whistle, click and shriek. They can live between 50–70 years and are 13 inches (33 cm) in size. They are not good birds for beginners and you will need to be an experienced bird owner to handle one. These birds will need a commitment similar to that of owning a dog and if you are not at home much we do not recommend that you have one as a pet. African grey parrots can be kept on their own or in a pair or group provided they have bonds with each other.
Rosellas originate from Australia and are members of the parrot family. They are brilliantly coloured beautiful birds that are very active and need lots of room to fly out-of-cage. Rosellas are not known for their talking ability but they can mimic whistles and songs. They are noisy birds and can call quite loudly. Rosellas are adventurous and curious so they will need lots of toys and human interaction to thrive.
- They are not good birds for beginners and you will need to be an experienced bird owner to handle one. However with regular and patient handling they can be very affectionate with their owners and enjoy human company. There are 8 species of rosella including the Golden Mantled (Eastern) Rosella that Petstop sell in store. Rosellas can live between 15-20 years and average 12 inches (30 cm) in size. In the wild rosellas live in flocks during the winter so ideally you should keep them as pairs as they can become quarrelsome in a group.
Kakarikis are small members of the parrot family that come from New Zealand. They are brightly coloured, very busy birds who like to explore and investigate their surroundings. Kakarikis are noisy but not loud, they like to chatter and squeak. They can mimic simple words, phrases and sounds but are not well known for talking. There are 3 species of Kakariki and several sub-species including green and lutino (pied) kakarikis which Petstop sell in store.
- As kakarikis are so active they will need out-of-cage exercise to stretch their wings and larger cages with the space to play in. They can live between 5–15 years and are 8-11 inches (20–28 cm) in size. Kakarikis in the wild fly in small flocks and are best kept as a pair or in a small group.
Rock Pebblar (regent parrot)
Rock pebblars (regent parrots – also known as regent parakeet, black-tailed parakeet, the smoker parrot and the marlock parakeet) are native to Australia and are intensely coloured small and energetic members of the parrot family. They are known for being great fliers and need plenty of out-of-cage exercise and a roomy cage with space to play in.
- Rock pebblars are not noisy birds but they can learn to mimic simple words and sounds as well as calls and song from other birds. They are gentle birds and are easy tame and can live between 20–25 years. They are between 14–16 inches (37–42 cm) in size and travel in large flocks in the wild. Being sociable birds they are best kept in pairs or as a small group.