While there's no such thing as a no-maintenance bird, some pet bird species are easier to care for than others. These birds are on the smaller side, which means they typically make less of a mess than large birds do. They also require smaller enclosures, which results in less cleaning for their caretakers. And while some prefer ample socialization with their favorite humans, others are happy entertaining themselves with toys or other bird friends. Here are eight birds that people find to be relatively low-maintenance pets.
Several of these birds can live for 10 years or longer. So even if your bird's day-to-day care is minimal, it's still a substantial commitment.
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Doves are gentle birds that enjoy interacting with their caretakers but are also content to spend much of the day entertaining themselves. Because they're only medium-sized birds, cleaning up after them is fairly easy. Make sure they're fed a healthy diet, get at least a few hours of out-of-cage exercise, and have access to UV light to avoid a vitamin D deficiency.
Length: 11 to 13 inches
Weight: 5 to 8 ounces
Physical Characteristics: Plumage of dull grays and browns; black collar around nape of neck; black eyes and beak; mutations include white, orange, and pied (ring-necked dove)
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As long as finches have a roomy flight cage and a few friendly flock-mates, they generally require no handling or out-of-cage playtime. In fact, most finches would rather socialize with other finches than humans. So anyone who has enough time to feed, water, and clean up after them can enjoy their quiet chirps and amusing antics.
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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As a member of the finch family, canaries are another excellent choice for bird lovers who prefer a hands-off pet. There are different types of canaries to choose from, and each variety has its own care requirements. In general, these birds need a healthy diet, a cage in which they can fly, and some toys to remain healthy.
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 most parrots, budgies bond strongly with their caretakers and appreciate attention. But they tend to be easier to keep occupied than many larger species. A budgie in a spacious cage stocked with plenty of toys can thrive, as long as the bird's caretaker can socialize with it for at least a few hours per day. These birds also don't make much of a mess, especially compared to larger parrots.
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 grayContinue to 5 of 8 below.
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Like budgies, cockatiels require at least a few hours of out-of-cage playtime each day. But they are nowhere near as demanding as some larger parrot species. As long as they have a roomy enclosure with toys, they can entertain themselves for several hours. Although they normally don't talk, cockatiels are highly intelligent and can be trained to follow commands and whistle quite well.
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 cinnamon
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Lovebirds are another species that packs the charm of a large parrot into a smaller, lower-maintenance package. A common misconception is you must keep lovebirds in pairs, but single lovebirds can do fine with at least a few hours a day of interaction with their caretakers. Provide them with a roomy cage with plenty of toys, especially bird-safe items to chew.
Length: 5 to 7 inches
Weight: 2 ounces
Physical Characteristics: Short tail; somewhat stocky build; many color varieties, including green, blue, peach, yellow, and white; the face and body usually bear different colors
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Pionus parrots have a reputation for being devoted to their caretakers while retaining a streak of independence. This allows them to be content if you have to leave them alone for several hours. They love playing with their caretakers, but they also are happy amusing themselves with toys. Just make sure these active birds get at least three hours of out-of-cage exercise each day.
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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Sometimes mistaken for a budgie, the lineolated parakeet is one of the calmest members of the parrot family. They are quite social and need several hours of interaction with their caretakers each day, especially if they don’t have any other bird friends. But as small birds, they don’t take up much space or make a huge mess.
Length: 6 to 7 inches
Weight: 2 ounces
Physical Characteristics: Primarily green with black and dark green stripes on back, wings, and sides; blue under wings; dark green tail; tan beak