If you're looking to acquire a pet bird but aren't interested in any of the most popular companion bird species, consider one of the best kept secrets of the bird world. Many of these lesser-known pet bird species form close bonds with their caretakers, and they come in a variety of sizes and care requirements. Here are eight bird species that aren't commonly seen in people's homes but still can make great pets.
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The rose-breasted cockatoo is one of the smaller cockatoo species, but don't let its diminutive size fool you. These birds pack a ton of personality into their little bodies. Also known as the galah cockatoo or galah parrot, these cockatoos are very affectionate. But they require a person who can spend lots of time playing and socializing with them, as they bond quite strongly to their caretakers.
Length: 12 to 15 inches
Weight: 10 to 14 ounces
Physical Characteristics: Pink chest and lower part of face; pinkish-white crest; gray back, wings, and tail; gray feet; tan beak
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The eclectus can live for 50 years or more with quality care, making it a substantial commitment. This interesting species is dimorphic, with males displaying brilliant green feathers and females sporting red and blue plumage. These highly intelligent birds do best with people who have experience with large parrots and can spend ample time interacting with them.
Length: 17 to 20 inches
Weight: 13 to 19 ounces
Physical Characteristics: Primarily emerald green, red and blue under wings, and orange beak (male); primarily bright red, blue on chest and tail, and black beak (female)
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Known to be highly entertaining, caiques are an excellent choice for people who want a medium-sized parrot with all the personality of its larger cousins. Often described as feisty, caiques are active birds that need plenty of playtime to stay healthy and mentally stimulated. Many caretakers report the hardest part about living with these birds is keeping them occupied.
Length: 9 to 10 inches
Weight: 5 to 6 ounces
Physical Characteristics: Color-blocked look with head, face, wings, belly, and thighs usually distinct colors; species and subspecies are typically some combination of black, white, green, yellow, orange, and blue feathers
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The crimson rosella is a medium-sized parrot that once was labeled as an "ornamental bird," unsuitable for taming. In fact, these birds can be very rewarding pets when given consistent training. They're typically not as cuddly as some other parrots, but a tame and friendly rosella usually can be handled without issue. Still, it's important to interact with your bird every day to prevent it from becoming antisocial.
Length: 10 to 14 inches
Weight: 5 ounces
Physical Characteristics: Red with patches of blue on face, wings, and tail; black feathers highlighting back; females have green on tailContinue to 5 of 8 below.
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The red-breasted parakeet, also known as the mustached parakeet, displays a veritable rainbow within its plumage of green, yellow, blue, black, pink, and turquoise. These birds are intelligent and social, forming strong bonds with their caretakers. Some even can be very demanding of their favorite person's attention. They also tend to be curious, always wanting to know what their caretakers are doing.
Length: 13 to 15 inches
Weight: 4 to 5 ounces
Physical Characteristics: Green and yellow back and wings; green-blue tail; rose breast fading into blue on belly and legs; blue head with black stripes above and below beak
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If you’re looking for a typically gentle bird, consider a pionus parrot. These birds tend to bond closely with their caretakers while retaining some independence, meaning they'll happily amuse themselves at times with their bird-safe toys. Many pionus caretakers say their birds aren't inclined to bite as much as some other parrots, though they’re certainly capable of nipping if provoked.
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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Many parrot species are generally noisy and demanding, but Senegal parrots often are relatively quiet and easygoing. When properly tamed, these birds can be friendly companions, though some have a tendency to bond only to one person. To prevent this from happening, make sure all family members regularly interact with the bird.
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
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Alexandrine parakeets are among the largest parakeet species, reaching lengths from head to tail of around 23 inches. They can live around 40 years in captivity, making them a long-term commitment. Properly tamed Alexandrine parakeets can be affectionate pets, though some will only bond with one person. As active birds, they need several hours of supervised out-of-cage playtime each day.
Length: 23 inches
Weight: 9 ounces
Physical Characteristics: Primarily green with blue-gray sheen on cheeks and back of neck; yellow-green abdomen; maroon shoulder patches; males have black and rose neck rings