If there is one trait birds are known for besides flight, it's the sound of their voices. While a bird's call may be music to its caretaker's ears, not everyone will find it to be so pleasant. So if you live in close proximity to your neighbors, consider a quiet bird species that does well in small spaces. These birds are relatively petite and easygoing, especially compared to their larger bird cousins. Here are eight bird species suitable for apartment living.
Just because a bird tends to be quiet, that doesn't necessarily mean it's low-maintenance. It still needs plenty of daily mental and physical stimulation.
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If you have your heart set on a hookbill, consider a budgie (or parakeet). These small birds tend to chatter throughout the day, but they usually aren't loud enough to disturb neighbors. Moreover, while they are relatively active, they don't require the massive enclosures of larger parrots. In addition to daily out-of-cage playtime, outfit your budgie with an enclosure that is longer than it is high for space to hop and fly.
Length: 6 to 8 inches
Weight: 1 ounce
Physical Characteristics: Green abdomen; black and yellow back; yellow head; dark blue tail; mutations include blue, yellow, white, and gray
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The small size of canaries makes them ideal companions for apartment dwellers, though they generally don't appreciate being handled. While they are fairly vocal, their tiny voices go virtually unnoticed by those who aren't near them. In spite of their size, canaries can make a mighty mess. Seed, vegetable bits, and pellets tend to scatter when these birds reside in your home.
Length: 5 to 8 inches
Weight: 0.5 to 1 ounce
Physical Characteristics: Feathers of bright yellow (most common), red, orange, or white; some varieties have head crests or frilly feathers
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Like canaries, finches are generally hands-off pets due to their fragile size and skittish nature. In addition, while they frequently vocalize throughout the day, their tiny voices do not carry as easily as those of a larger bird. Finches do well when kept in small groups, and they require as large of an enclosure as possible, as that typically is their sole space for exercise.
Length: 4 inches
Weight: 0.5 ounce
Physical Characteristics: Black and white throat bars, orange cheek patches, and red-orange beak (male zebra finch); gray coloration throughout the body and less vivid beak (female zebra finch)
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Although cockatiels take up a little more room than some smaller species, their calls and chirps rarely reach levels that bother neighbors. Cockatiels have a lot of personality, and their ability to learn to whistle is amazing. These birds can easily adapt to most living situations, and they tend to do well with other birds.
Length: 12 to 13 inches
Weight: 3 ounces
Physical Characteristics: Gray body; yellow face and crest; orange cheeks; long tail; mutations include albino, lutino, pied, and cinnamonContinue to 5 of 8 below.
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Tiny parrotlets lack the ability to screech like many other parrots. Their soft chirps are hardly enough to disturb even the pickiest neighbors. Active and playful, these birds can swing, hop, and fly all day with the energy of a toddler. Yet they don't require the space of a larger species to get their exercise.
Length: 4 to 5 inches
Weight: 1 ounce
Physical Characteristics: Green head and body; blue on back and behind eyes; mutations include blue, yellow, and white
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If you want a larger bird, members of the pionus family, such as the blue-headed pionus or bronze-winged pionus, are known for their quiet nature. These birds tend to be easygoing and gentle, and they don’t have a propensity for biting. But they do need a large enclosure to accommodate their size, as well as space for out-of-cage playtime.
Length: 11 inches
Weight: 8 to 9 ounces
Physical Characteristics: Blue head and neck; green body; black patches over ears; red on underside of tail; black beak with red sides
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Native to Australia, Bourke’s parakeets are generally mellow, quiet birds. They’re only moderately active, but they prefer a roomy space in which they can fly for at least a few hours a day. These birds often bond closely with their caretakers and do well with other peaceful birds, such as finches.
Length: 7 to 9 inches
Weight: 2 ounces
Physical Characteristics: Brown-tinted plumage; pink abdomen; blue rump; yellowish-brown beak; males have blue crowns while females have white
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Many parrots can be rather noisy and demanding, but Senegal parrots tend to be calm and quiet. These birds often bond with just one person and thrive on daily interaction with their families. They only require a medium-sized enclosure but should have as much out-of-cage time as possible for exercise and enrichment.
Length: 10 inches
Weight: 4 to 5 ounces
Physical Characteristics: Gray head; green wings and chest; V-shaped patch of a red to yellow color on belly
Birds to Avoid
If you're looking for a quiet bird, avoid species, such as cockatoos and macaws, which are known to be on the louder side. But keep in mind every bird is different. Although some species tend to make less noise, always assess the individual bird you want to bring home before committing.