3 of the Best Pet Birds for Kids

cockatiel on a girl's shoulder

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If your child has asked for a pet bird, it's necessary to do your homework first. There are many factors to consider before bringing a bird into your home, including its care requirements, social needs, noise level, and cost. But perhaps most importantly, it's critical to choose a bird species that can coexist well with kids.

  • 01 of 03

    Finches

    A zebra finch perched on a branch

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    Finches and canaries are first on the list of best 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.

    Finches don't usually care much for interacting with humans. So if you decide on a finch, get two or more for them to have some company. Moreover, though some people are able to train their finches and canaries to allow handling, most of these birds should not be taken out of their cage. That means if your child craves a bird they can really interact with, consider either a budgie or cockatiel instead. Finches are very delicate birds that require gentleness and caution.

    While they are not a hands-on species, finches are charming birds to keep in your home. And they can provide an entertaining and educational experience for children. If you decide finches are best for your child, you often can find some at local animal shelters and rescue groups.

  • 02 of 03

    Budgies (Parakeets)

    Girl with a green budgie sitting on her hand

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    Budgies (or parakeets)⁠—their proper name is "budgerigar"⁠—are a close second on the list of best pet birds for kids. These colorful little birds can be a lot of fun for young aviculturists. They tolerate handling quite well, are relatively easy to care for, and can learn to talk. They have gentle personalities and often bond quite strongly with their owners, making them wonderful companions for young bird lovers.

    Choose a budgie if your child wants a bird that will truly be their best friend. Most hand-fed budgies are very sweet and will gladly oblige. However, budgies are still small and delicate, so children should be taught safe bird handling.

    Budgies require a balanced diet of leafy greens, vegetables, some seed, and a formulated pelleted diet. An all-seed diet is very unhealthy for them. The average pet budgie lives around five to 10 years; a healthy diet plays a key role in its longevity.

  • 03 of 03

    Cockatiels

    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 and require a bit more work than finches or budgies do. So select a cockatiel for kids who really have a desire to keep birds and learn about them.

    Some of the care responsibilities involved include feeding a balanced diet (not solely seed), providing fresh water daily, cleaning the cage, and interacting with the cockatiel. Although your child might require supervision when completing these tasks depending on their age, they still can learn a lot from caring for a bird like a cockatiel. 

    There are many cockatiels available for adoption. Contact your area's animal shelters and pet rescues for more information about whether a cockatiel is the right fit for you and your child.

    -Edited by Patricia Sund