Very Small Birds That Do Well in Captivity

A small pet bird can be a wonderful addition to your home.
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One of the best ways to breathe more life into your home is by adding a feathered friend or two to your family. Set yourself up for success by choosing a small species, with a personality that suits your family. Zebra finches, canaries, parrotlets and lovebirds are superb choices.

Zebra Finches

Originally hailing from Australia, zebra finches (Teaniopygia guttata) have been bred in captivity for hundreds of years. These tiny tweeters make great pets and are available in a number of different color varieties. By mixing and matching colors, you can put together a combination that reflects your new family’s personality. Zebra finches are absolutely tiny birds that only reach 4 inches or so in length and weigh about an ounce. Finches are social birds that like to sing to their sweetie, so always keep them in pairs or larger groups. A pair of finches would be quite comfortable in a cage 24 inches long, 24 inches wide and 24 inches tall.


Male canaries (Serinus canaria domesticus) are some of the most vocal birds, and they will infuse your home with cheerful melodies. While canaries are social birds and prefer to live with a friend, they can be kept singly if you provide them with plenty of love and attention. Your canary will require a lot of time to sleep, so his cage needs to be in a room that can be made quiet and dark by early evening. Canaries require a cage that is at least 18 inches long in all directions.


Lovebirds (Agapornis sp.) are intelligent little birds that love to get into mischief. They are fond of dunking items into their water dish, stealing trinkets from their humans and learning to escape from their cages. If you have plenty of time and attention to bond with a lovebird, you can keep a single bird. However, when lovebirds have a cagemate, they are very affectionate, spending much of their time preening and nuzzling each other. If you decide that lovebirds are for you, provide them with a cage that is 2 feet long on all sides, and invest in a large catch-tray to help contain their mess.


Parrotlets (Forpus sp.) have the personality of their larger cousins; they just cram it into a 5-inch-long body. Capable of developing a vocabulary of more than 100 words, these intelligent little birds are gaining in popularity. If you decide to bring a parrotlet into your family, only acquire one bird -- they can be possessive and territorial when housed with a cagemate. Parrotlets need a cage that is 24 inches long, 24 inches wide and 24 inches tall and filled with toys, mirrors and props.

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