With plumage as colorful as their vibrant personalities, it’s no wonder parrots have enchanted so many people. First-time bird owners should learn about the various types of parrots to determine which feathered friend would be best suited to their home and lifestyle.
Colorful, pint-sized, affectionate and affordable are some of the parakeet qualities that make them excellent starter parrots for beginners. Like most parrot subspecies, there are many different kinds of parakeets, and they are all intelligent creatures. The most common type of parakeet is called the budgerigar or budgie. Though usually a bit shy at first, parakeets are easy to tame and are known for their loving personalities and ability to bond closely with their human family. Many parakeets learn to talk in tiny voices that make them as endearing as they are entertaining.
Cockatiels are small- to medium-sized parrots that rival parakeets in popularity. While capable of mimicking sounds and words, most cockatiels prefer to whistle. Similar in appearance to the cockatoo, cockatiels are beautiful, intelligent and affectionate creatures who can enrich the life of their human families for many years. Cockatiels are known to become quickly attached to their owners and most enjoy snuggling up close for cuddles.
Don’t let the tiny 5-inch frame fool you, parrotlets are active and curious miniature parrots with larger-than-life personalities. These pint-sized bundles of joy don’t generally do much talking, but what they lack in vocal ability, they compensate for with affection. Most parrotlets enjoy the human touch and will often lean over to expose the neck and entice their human companions to give them a little scratch.
Known as “pocket parrots,” lovebirds pack all of the intelligence and personality of their larger parrot counterparts into tiny 5- to 7-inch bodies. Lovebirds get their name from their reputation for forming strong bonds with their mates. Their affectionate and loving nature makes them likely to bond closely with human companions as well and is part of what makes lovebirds such popular pets.
Though not as vividly colored or popular as sun conures, green-cheeked conures are a far better choice for novice bird owners simply because they make less of a racket. All members of the conure family are comical, playful and affectionate feathery friends who can learn to talk but are better known for mimicked sounds and ear-piercing screams. The noise level with any type of conure is higher than with most other small- and medium-sized parrots, but green-cheeked conures are the least noisy of the bunch.
Despite minor variances across species, all members of the parrot family require a substantial investment of time, money and attention from their human companions. Parrots are long-lived animals with an average life span of 10 to 80 years and have special needs for attention and social interaction, which is why adding a feathered friend to the family requires significantly more commitment than might be required with more traditional pets. Responsible bird parents give factors like noise levels, habitat and nutritional needs, personality traits and other unique needs serious consideration before making the commitment to adopt a parrot.
Kristina Barroso is a full-time teacher who has been freelance writing since 1991. She published her first book, a break-up survival guide, in 2007 and specializes in a variety of topics including, but not limited to, relationships and issues in education. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology from Florida International University.