Prospective bird owners have many choices when it comes to adopting a new pet. If you're not interested in any small bird species and can't accommodate a large bird, a medium-sized pet bird might be the perfect fit. These birds generally make less of a mess than a large pet bird. And they're still highly playful, affectionate, and intelligent. Here are eight of the top medium-sized bird species to keep as pets.
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As members of the parrot family, cockatiels delight their caretakers with their cheerful whistling and ability to mimic sounds. While they aren't as large as many other parrot species, cockatiels do appreciate having lots of space to play. They're also quite affectionate and need at least a few hours each day to interact with their caretakers.
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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Quaker parrots, also called monk parakeets, are known for their intelligence and are one of the top talking bird species. But their intelligence comes with a drawback. Because quaker parrots are so smart, they need lots of activity, so they don't become bored or depressed. And providing adequate mental stimulation for these birds can be a challenge for some caretakers.
Length: 11 to 12 inches
Weight: 3 to 5 ounces
Physical Characteristics: Green head, wings, and body; gray breast, cheeks, and throat; blue flight feathers; mutations include blue, albino, cinnamon, lutino, and pied
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Rainbow lorikeets tend to bond strongly with their caretakers and thrive when their humans can spend plenty of time playing and socializing with them. Unlike many other bird species, lorikeets need a specialized liquid nectar-based diet, which can be challenging for some people to provide. This diet also can be quite messy, so caretakers must be prepared to clean their bird's area regularly.
Length: 10 to 12 inches
Weight: 3 to 6 ounces
Physical Characteristics: Blue plumage on face and belly; green on wings, back, and head; red breast; yellow and orange highlights on sides; red beak; gray feet
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Some people who want a medium-sized pet bird might not be interested in a parrot species, and that's where pet doves are an excellent option. Doves are typically quiet, gentle, and affectionate birds. They're also very smart and can be taught a number of bird tricks, such as flying to a person on command. Plus, they're quite hardy birds and can be a good choice for calm, older children.
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)Continue to 5 of 8 below.
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One of the most recognizable medium-sized bird species is the colorful sun conure. These eye-catching birds often are not a good choice for beginners, as their personalities are just as robust as their plumage. With proper training and socialization, sun conures can make sweet and loving pets, but they need caretakers who can commit several hours a day to keeping them entertained.
Length: 12 inches
Weight: 4 to 5 ounces
Physical Characteristics: Bright orange and yellow with highlights of green and blue; black beak and feet; white circles around eyes
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Indian ringneck parakeets are highly intelligent birds that can learn to talk extremely well. Although the species has a reputation for being slightly nippy, consistent, patient handling can turn these birds into tame, friendly companions. They need a large cage that can accommodate their long tail, as well as ample out-of-cage time for mental and physical exercise.
Length: 14 to 17 inches
Weight: 4 ounces
Physical Characteristics: Green plumage; blue tail; yellow under wings; males have black and rose rings around their necks; mutations include blue, cinnamon, albino, and lutino
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Senegal parrots are smaller and quieter compared to many other parrot species. They tend to be comical and entertaining, though some might only bond with one person in the family. These birds love to climb and swing and appreciate a play stand or other bird-safe area away from their cage where they can exercise for at least a few hours every day.
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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Black-hooded parakeets, also known as nanday conures, certainly make more noise than you might expect from an animal their size. They tend to be chatty throughout the day and have the capability to make quite loud calls when they want to. These medium-sized birds prefer a cage in which they can do some flying, as they’re a fairly active species.
Length: 10 to 11 inches
Weight: 5 ounces
Physical Characteristics: Black head; green body; grayish-blue chest patch; blue tail; red accent on legs; white eye rings; black beak