FAQs about purchasing a parrot

Most species that are hand-fed make very good pets. But how to determine which one is right for you? I have made some questions that might help you finding the species that fits you.

Parrots come in sizes from tiny to huge, the question is: How big do you want your parrot to be or can you handle? You have budgies, parrotlets and lovebirds and on the other side of the spectrum you have the large cockatoos and macaws.
Large parrots can be dangerous to small children and small dogs and they also inflict injuries on grown-ups with their powerful beaks.
Another thing is that they are very expensive, not only in purchasing but also in maintaining. Not to forget the space you'll need to house these species.

How much value do you attribute to talking ability? African greys are usually excellent mimics but it might take a year to learn to talk and they usually don't talk when strangers are around. Amazons on the other hand love to let everyone know that they can talk. My senegalparrot Iago keeps absolutely quiet when strangers are around, but Zazu, my cockatoo loves to let everyone know that HE IS ZAZU! Budgies may learn to talk at very young age. Note that there is never a guarantee that your bird WILL talk, even if it is an African grey!

Is cuddling important for you? Some birds just love this, other birds dislike this and show affection in other ways. Cockatoos are known to adore cuddling, you can stroke them till your arm is getting tired!

How loud can you handle or can your neighbours handle? When you have an appartment it is pretty clear that a Moluccan cockatoo wouldn't be a good choice as this featherduster may drive your neighbours insain! Choose a parrot that has the reputation to be quiet, such like a senegalparrot.. 

How much time demands the bird you want? Some birds can easily stay allone in their cages while some some species are exstremely demanding and require at least a few hours a day. In the beginning this might not be a problem but this might be boring in time. Be honest to yourself about the amount of time you will be spending with your bird.

How much money can you spend? (On both parrot and equipment?) A bird might be pricy but think also about its cage, toys and so forth. As an example, all the equipment I needed for my senegal was more expensive than my senegal itself! For a large cockatoo or macaw it is usually up to the price of the bird itself.

How active do you want your parrot to be? Some parrots are constant in motion and it might drive you crazy. Compare a budgie with a for example African grey. You'll probably notice that they move in a different frequency. 

How important are the bird's looks? Do you want a green bird? Or a pure white cockatoo? Or perhaps the striking beauty of the eclectus has captured your heart?

The descriptions I will mention are ONLY stereotypes that will apply to most birds of that species. When you think a bird that has been described in this list might be right for you, do some more reading about this species (Choose recent books!) and talk to people who own these species. There are also parrot related mailing lists.
Note that EVERY bird has its own personality and there are also exceptions to these characteristics! There are quiet cockatoos and loud senegals, there are African greys that don't talk and cockatoos that have extensive vocabularies.

Budgies: These small parrots are relatively cheap, widely available and in a variety of colors. They are playful and very active and while they chatter they are not loud. They are easy to accommodate and easy to tame when you buy them young. Young birds can be recognized by the dark iris. Females have a light blue to flesh-colored cere (Fleshy area above the beak) and in males the cere is dark blue to purple-pink. Males are said to talk quite well.
If you don't have much time, buy two birds. However, by placing them together they might never be tame or talk, but it is better that being selfish and keeping a lonely bird.

Lovebird are also relatively cheap and widely available and in an abundant variety of color. They are fairly nervous and very active. They are easy to accommodate and quite easy to tame when purchased at young age. They are not known for their talking ability though my sister's lovebird can say its own name. She especially does this when held if front of a mirror.
They calls are quite loud, somewhat high-pitched..
If you want a tame lovebird I suggest you only take one lovebird as you run a risk of your lovebird becoming independent when held in pairs.0

Cockatiels are larger and more nervous than budgies. They make excellent pets if purchased young and it is said that males have more speech ability than females. Males are also louder than females. These birds need to be clipped properly as they are very powerful flyers!

Parrotlets are small, affectionate and clowny birds. It is said that they usually good talkers and they are not loud. I have had a parrotlet and he was very quiet, but didn't talk as well. They can bite very hard, even though they are so small. (At least, that is what I felt!) They can be a bit demanding and bossy, and they require lots of baths and toys. They are a little bit more expensive than a cockatiel.

Quakers or Monk parakeets are playful and affectionate and may even say a few words. They can become quite demanding of a person and attack other persons that approach to near. Their beaks are very strong and they can inflict painful bites!

Conures are from South America and form a very large and diverse group of birds. They are all sociable and playful and most of them are very loud. Their size varies from smaller than a cockatiel to as large as a small macaw. Their coloration and talking ability also varies a lot among species.
Broadly, they can be divided in two groups. Aratinga and Pyrrhura. Aratinga conures tend to be larger, more colorful, louder and better talkers. Pyrrhura conures are smaller and more quiet. The icon above is a sun conure.


Lories and lorikeets are small to medium sized and mostly they have fantastic colors! They are playful, affectionate and can learn to talk. However there is a big disadvantage: Due to their feeding (They are mainly pollen eaters) they produce messy, smelly liquid droppings.

Poicephalus parrots: This group is formed by a groups of small to medium sized parrots. They are very intelligent, playful and they are able to speak, though with a somewhat electronic voice. They have very strong beaks compared to their size. They can easily inflicting serious injuries. It is said that they are not suitable for household with young children because they would react nervously to fast movements but I haven't noticed anything like this in my sennie!

Ringnecked parakeets are long tailed small to medium sized parrots and most come from Asia. The Indian ringneck is the most common species of them and it is available in it natural color green as well as some mutations. They are not so expensive and they are quite good talkers but they can become pretty loud as they mature. They also have the reputation of loosing tameness as they develop, but others say none of this is true. They are somewhat independent.

African greys are very intelligent birds, which are know especially for their good talking ability as well as their plucking-behaviors if neglected. There are two sub species: The Congo and the Timneh. The Timneh is smaller, darker and with a maroon tail and horn colored upper mandible and is said to be sweeter and more shy than the Congo. It is also less expensive. The Congo has a red tail and a black upper mandible.
Next to their good talking ability they are not too loud and playful. These birds should be get used to change of toys, surroundings etc at very young age as they tend to become afraid to change as they get older.

Eclectus parrots.. No, the images above are not two different species, but different sexes of the same species! The red one is the hen. (female) These beautiful creatures can make wonderful pets and are not too loud. They can also learn to talk quite well and they are as happy to play by themselves as with you. Females have a reputation for not making good pets, but there are also exceptions to the rule. These parrots usually dislike being scratched; They will show affection in different way then.

Amazones are usually loud but can talk quite well and they also like to let other people than you enjoy of their vocal arts. During periods of hormonal fluctuations these birds can become incalculable. If they bite they can inflict serious wounds.
The best talkers are considered to be the double yellow headed and the yellow naped and the blue fronted amazones.
Quieter en friendlier species are the Lilac-crowned and the White Fronted amazones.

Pionus parrots are generally smaller than amazones but they are very similar in appearance. These birds share a reddish undertail and a quieter, steadier nature. It is actually an amazone without the hormonal swings and aggression. Pionus parrots are very friendly and gentle, they don't make a lot of noise either and they are not considered good talkers.

Cockatoos are very intelligent birds and they vary in color: White, pink, salmon and black species exist, but black species usually are very expensive and hard to get. They are very demanding and usually love cuddling. They produce a lot of feather dust which may cause or aggravate allergies in people. Cockatoos are usually very loud and they cannot talk very well, though my too introduces himself, asks how you're doing etc.. They have extremely strong beaks and can easily ruin your table.

Macaws exist in different sizes, from smaller than some conures to 3 feet. Macaw are demanding, playful, intelligent, cuddly and LOUD! They can be aggressive to strangers and they have a very strong beak. Their talking ability is mostly quite poor.

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