When comparing the different types of birds that are commonly kept as pets, you'll find they are quite varied in personality and upkeep requirements. When choosing a pet bird, you'll want to take into consideration your budget, your tolerance for noise and mess and your availability as a pet owner. The most commonly kept cage birds are listed below in order of maintenance requirements, from the easiest to care for to the most difficult.
Finches are the easiest of the cage birds; they are birds to look at, not to handle. Because these birds are not tolerant of handling, they are the simplest birds to maintain. Finches range in price from $20 each to $200 each. They thrive in flocks, so you'll want to purchase a minimum of two finches for a cage. Finch cages are also the least expensive of the cages; a simple finch cage can be as inexpensive as $50.
Also known as budgies, parakeets are common cage birds because they are colorful, inexpensive and friendly. While it may take a long time to tame your budgie (try holding a millet spray and staying very still), parakeets can become very attached to a gentle and attentive owner. Gentle enough to be owned and handled by children, parakeets are also great pets for seniors in apartments because they are not very loud. You can find a parakeet for under $20. Male parakeets may learn to mimic household sounds and a word or two. Parakeets will survive with little out-of-cage time; you can get away with owning a parakeet who does not leave the cage at all, although your budgie will be healthier if you take him out for an hour a day.
Cockatiels are often named the ideal first pet bird because of their affordability, lively personalities and ability to talk. These birds are big enough to feel like a "real parrot," and have distinctive personalities. While they are gentle enough to be owned by children, they are feisty enough to provide excellent, highly interactive entertainment. Male cockatiels can whistle entire songs, mimic words and phrases and imitate household sounds. These intelligent birds need more out-of-cage time than parakeets; your cockatiel will need to be out of her cage at least two hours a day to be happy and healthy. Invest in a play stand for your kitchen counter or office These birds can be great family pets. It's worth it to pay for a handfed cockatiel, which will typically cost you around $100.
If you're ready for a bigger challenge, try out one of these medium-sized parrots. Quakers are known for their excellent ability to mimic phrases, being the third-best talkers behind the African Grey parrot and Amazon parrot. Conures are stunningly beautiful but emotionally needy birds who will want to be on your shoulder for hours a day. Both of these birds require patience with mess, noise (they are very loud) and emotional neediness. Both birds will want a minimum of three hours out of the cage each day. The Quaker will want to explore your house; the conure will want to be snuggling with you. Quakers typically cost between $125 to $350; conures cost between $200 to $500. Both birds live around 30 to 35 years.
The big parrots are also the most high maintenance of the different types of birds commonly kept as pets. Many people buy these birds without understanding the huge commitment these pets require. Most of the birds in these species are one-person birds, meaning they may become extremely attached to and possessive of one family member. They all require a minimum of three hours of out-of-cage time, and they are all capable of inflicting serious damage to both you and your property if provoked. Amazons are notorious for being temperamental, cockatoos are known for their incredible ability to destroy property, macaws are extremely bossy and African Greys are difficult to keep emotionally healthy. These birds are beautiful, expensive, domineering and sensitive. They require a great deal of commitment, attention and patience, but the people who own these beauties understand they are extremely intelligent creatures with personalities as big as their price tags. These birds may very well outlive you, so make sure you know what you're doing before you buy one.
Cleaning a bird cage is a lot easier and safer for your bird if you follow a regular daily and weekly cleaning routine.
Learn how to make homemade bird food as a treat for cage bird pets or for wild birds in your backyard.