These 7 Birds Make the Best Pets for Kids

cockatiel on a girl's shoulder

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If your child has asked you for a pet with wings, there are many factors to consider before bringing a bird into your home, including its care and space requirements, social needs, and noise level. But perhaps most importantly, it's critical to choose a bird species that can coexist well with kids. Review the top seven bird species that make the best pets for children. 

Tip

Be aware that pet birds are a source of potential allergens. Birds normally produce a dust that can trigger allergic reactions like hypersensitivity pneumonitis, allergic rhinitis, and some types of asthma. Kids can react just like they might to dog or cat dander. Also, mites that live in bird feathers are another common allergen. Sometimes even the fine dust in bird droppings can be a trigger.

  • 01 of 07

    Finch

    A zebra finch perched on a branch

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    Finches and canaries (a type of finch) are nice pet birds for kids because they require minimal interaction and are easy to care for. Young children especially tend to love these birds because they are fascinating to watch and provide soothing "music" with their soft chirps and chatter, but these birds should not be taken out of their cage. While they are not a hands-on species, finches are still charming birds to keep in your home. If you decide finches are best for your child, get two or more birds that will keep each other company. Finches often can be found at local animal shelters and rescue groups. Finches and canaries have a life expectancy of three to 15 years.

    Species Overview

    Length: 5 to 6 inches

    Weight: 1/2 ounce

    Physical Characteristics: Bright yellow, whitish, or reddish body

  • 02 of 07

    Dove

    Doves (or pigeons) are known for their sweet and gentle dispositions. Unlike the hard-beaked hookbill parrots, softbills doves rarely try to bite or do damage with their softer beaks. Still, it always helps to use calm and positive socialization and bonding techniques with these birds. Doves can be a good match for older children who understand how to be calm and gentle, but doves need bird companionship too and do best in pairs. Mirrors and swings inside a dove's enclosure increase fun activity for the birds, but doves should also be allowed free-flight time out of the cage to interact with human caretakers. Doves and pigeons have a life expectancy of 10 to 25 years.

    Species Overview

    Length: 11 to 13 inches

    Weight: 5 to 8 ounces

    Physical Characteristics: Pure white, gray, white with gray, tangerine, pied, and orange; black eyes, black bill, dark purple feet

  • 03 of 07

    Lovebird

    Lovebirds are one of the smallest parrot species. These colorful little birds have all of the intelligence and personality of the largest of macaws. And yet these birds are fairly quiet companions, making them ideal for kids who live in apartments or condominiums. The lovebird has a life expectancy of 10 to 20 years.

    Species Overview

    Length: 5 to 6 inches

    Weight: 2 ounces

    Physical Characteristics: Mostly green, orange upper body and head, blue lower back and rump; red beak, white eyerings

  • 04 of 07

    Budgie (Parakeet)

    Girl with a green budgie sitting on her hand

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    Budgies (or parakeets)⁠ are colorful little birds from Australia that are fun for young aviculturists. They tolerate handling quite well, are relatively easy to care for, and can even learn to talk. They have gentle personalities and often bond quite strongly with their owners, making them wonderful companions for young bird lovers. Budgies have a shorter life expectancy of seven to 15 years.

    Species Overview

    Length: 7 inches

    Weight: 1 ounce

    Physical Characteristics: Light green body with black wing markings and yellow head; captive-bred colors include blue, gray, green, white, violet, yellow/blue

    Continue to 5 of 7 below.
  • 05 of 07

    Cockatiel

    Girl with a cockatiel sitting on her shoulder

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    Cockatiels are larger than finches and budgies, but they're still one of the best pet birds for kids. They can learn to talk, whistle, and do tricks, making them a delight for children. Cockatiels do well with older children who can devote time to interacting with them. They relish their time out of the cage, so they need a bit more cleanup work than finches or budgies require. So select a cockatiel for kids who really have a desire to keep birds and learn about them. Cockatiels have a life expectancy of 15 to 20 years, but some have lived as long as 30 years.

    Species Overview

    Length: 11 to 12 inches

    Weight: 2.5 to 3.5 ounce

    Physical Characteristics: Light gray body with long, dark gray tail, yellow and gray crest, yellow face; orange ear patch and white on the wing; dark gray bill

  • 06 of 07

    Quaker Parakeet

    The Monk parakeet or Quaker is actually a small parrot. But because they're only medium-sized birds, cleaning up after them is still fairly easy for children to do. The more your child verbally explains what they are doing around the cage, the more this bird will pick up on the words for things and how to mimics those words. Monk parakeets have a life expectancy of 20 to 30 years.

    Species Overview

    Length: 11 inches

    Weight: 4 to 5 ounces

    Physical Characteristics: Bright green, white or blue body; gray breast, cheeks, and throat resembles colonial-era Quaker clothing; orange beaks

  • 07 of 07

    Bantam Chicken

    The Silkie is a true Bantam chicken, meaning a mini breed of farm fowl. They make great pets for kids because of their sweet, cuddly, and friendly nature. Their feathers are referred to as fluff, and a fluffy chicken is exactly what they look like. They do poorly in the heat but thrive in cold. This bird does best in large confinement but also likes to roam. Silkies have a shorter life expectancy than other pet birds: seven to nine years.

    Species Overview

    Length: 8 to 14 inches

    Weight: 26 to 32 ounces

    Physical Characteristics: Walnut comb; fluffy feathers of black, white, partridge, buff, gray and blue color varieties

When a pet is for a child, always consider safety first. Avoid birds with strong, hard beaks. The damage that can be done by parrots, even by mistake, can be quite severe and cause permanent scarring to the thinner skin of a child. Also, the larger the bird, the louder the screech, so consider hearing safety as well. Some large pet birds can literally be as loud as a jumbo jet at takeoff when you compare the decibels.