There are relatively few bird species that can be kept in captivity successfully. However, those birds that can be kept in the home can make wonderful and cheerful companions and pets. The following list of suitable pet bird species might help you to understand which types of birds have the needs and characteristics that are most appropriate to your lifestyle and temperament.
Finches are what are known as “perching birds,” and are generally thought to be largely domesticated. They are characterized by their conical bills and bright colors. The most famous example of the finch species is the canary.
Finches primarily eat seeds, but also occasionally eat fruit and small insects. The metabolic rate of the finch is so high that they are actually capable of starving to death without food for as little as 24 hours. They have enormous energy and are very social birds, so they should always be in pairs. Finches do chirp and twitter, but they are largely quiet birds. They do not demand a great deal of attention from their owners, and if they are given plenty of nutritious and fresh food and water, they can live quite happily.
Parakeets are a long feathered, hook-billed, medium sized species of parrot. Also known as Budgies, parakeets have very social dispositions, and are best kept in pairs.
Parakeets require a fair bit of attention and recreation. Climbing mechanisms (branches or posts), balls, toys and mirrors should be included in the cages of parakeets to keep them active and amused. It is also recommended that the radio or television be turned on for an hour each day if the owners are unable to interact with their parakeets consistently. Parakeets might not be the ideal pets for people who are unable to devote much time to their exercise and socialization.
Cockatiels are an Australian species of Cockatoo. They have long feathers and, most notably, a crest at the top of the head that rises to vertical when the bird is excited and flattens completely when the bird is angry or defensive.
Cockatiels are highly social, and require very large cages to allow for flight and activity. They are happiest in pairs, and, like parakeets, are best suited to owners that can devote lots of time to play and attention. They are vocal birds; some can learn to talk, most are able to imitate sounds such as doorbells or barking dogs.
African Grey Parrots
The most highly intelligent species of parrot, the African Grey is noted for its keen ability to mimic sounds and to learn spoken language (many African Greys are capable of understanding the meaning of words and even creating phrases).
African Grey parrots have extremely long life spans, often living as long as 70 years. They require a great deal of attention because they are so intelligent; when they are left alone for extended periods of time they exhibit nervous and self destructive tendencies. When stressed, African Greys will pluck out their own feathers and develop numerous health conditions. In order to remain healthy and happy, these birds require lots of one-on-one attention and intellectual stimulation. They require very large cages with lots of toys and should have time daily out of their cages to explore and play. These are not appropriate pets for people who do not anticipate spending a great deal of time at home. Looking after an African Grey is akin to looking after a small child.