8 Top Friendly Pet Bird Species

white cockatiel outside a cage and a gray cockatiel in a cage

Brenda Hughes/EyeEm/Getty Images

It's no surprise that many people want a pet bird that is friendly, gentle, and well-suited to being a companion. These traits are even more important for people with limited pet bird experience. It's easier to bond with and care for an animal that has a naturally friendly disposition, rather than one that tends to be timid or aggressive. Here are eight of the friendliest pet bird species that typically make excellent companions.

Tip

Although all pet birds should be treated as individuals, it is possible to minimize the risk of biting and aggression by choosing a species known for having a gentle and sociable demeanor.

  • 01 of 08

    Budgerigar

    Two green budgies preening

    kerkla/E+/Getty Images

    Enjoying popularity around the world, budgies (also known as parakeets) are some of the best pet birds for good reason. When properly tamed and cared for, these birds can be extraordinarily friendly and affectionate. On top of being small and fairly low-maintenance, budgies take well to training and can learn to perform many fun bird tricks, including learning to talk.

    Species Overview

    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 gray

  • 02 of 08

    Cockatiel

    white cockatiel outside a cage and a gray cockatiel in a cage

    Brenda Hughes/EyeEm/Getty Images

    The captivating cockatiel is another great choice for anyone who wants a friendly and affectionate pet bird. Hailing from Australia, these birds make excellent pets when hand-fed as babies and raised in positive environments. While they don't normally learn to talk, cockatiels are exceptionally intelligent. Many learn to whistle quite well and mimic common household noises, such as doorbells, telephones, and microwaves.

    Species Overview

    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

  • 03 of 08

    Cockatoo

    Close-up shot of a cockatoo

    Jochen Schlenker/Collection Mix: Subjects/Getty Images

    If you prefer a large pet bird that is friendly and affectionate, a cockatoo can be a great choice. These beautiful birds bond very strongly with their caretakers and prefer to be with them as often as possible. It is imperative that you have plenty of time to spend socializing with your bird. Cockatoos can become depressed if they aren't given enough attention and might resort to feather plucking or other destructive behaviors.

    Species Overview

    Length: 18 inches 

    Weight: 16 to 26 ounces

    Physical Characteristics: Primarily white plumage; pale yellow on wings and tail; large white crest; black beak (umbrella cockatoo)

  • 04 of 08

    Hyacinth Macaw

    Close-up shot of a hyacinth macaw

    Tambako The Jaguar/Flickr/CC BY-ND 2.0

    Known as "gentle giants," hyacinth macaws are the largest of all parrots. And as sociable and friendly birds, they love nothing more than to spend time playing and cuddling with their owners. Due to their size, it can be difficult for most people to provide proper housing for these birds. But those who are able to meet their needs are rewarded with an incredible relationship with their feathered friend.

    Species Overview

    Length: 40 inches

    Weight: 42 to 51 ounces

    Physical Characteristics: Solid blue plumage; yellow patches around eyes and beak; black beak; dark gray feet

    Continue to 5 of 8 below.
  • 05 of 08

    Dove

    Ring-necked dove on the ground

    Juhani Vilpo/Getty Images

    You might not immediately think of a dove as a friendly pet bird, but domesticated, hand-fed doves are known to be extremely sweet and gentle. These birds rarely bite, and even people with limited bird experience generally find it easy to train and bond with doves. They enjoy their caretakers' companionship but usually won’t be overly demanding of attention.

    Species Overview

    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)

  • 06 of 08

    Parrotlet

    Green parrotlet sitting on a person's finger

    Harrison Farr/Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0

    Spunky and relatively easy to care for, parrotlets are known for having personalities much larger than their tiny bodies. Those considering parrotlets must have plenty of time to play and socialize with their pets, as these birds can become a little wild without regular handling. But people who interact with their parrotlets every day are usually able to form strong bonds with these comical little birds.

    Species Overview

    Length: 4 to 5 inches

    Weight: 1 ounce

    Physical Characteristics: Green head and body; blue on back and behind eyes; mutations include blue, yellow, and white

  • 07 of 08

    Green-Cheeked Conure

    Green-cheeked conure

    Paul Atkinson/Getty Images

    Hailing from South America, green-cheeked conures thrive on spending time socializing with their caretakers. By nature, they are intelligent, playful, and slightly mischievous birds. But compared to other conure species, they tend to be quieter and more easygoing. They usually don’t learn to talk, but their charming personalities are more than enough to make them entertaining and engaging companions.

    Species Overview

    Length: 10 to 11 inches

    Weight: 2 to 3 ounces

    Physical Characteristics: Predominantly green; olive cheek patches; gray breast and head; maroon tail; blue flight feathers; mutations include turquoise, yellow, and cinnamon

  • 08 of 08

    Hahn’s Macaw

    Hahn's macaw face

     

    KF Shots/Getty Images 

    Also native to South America, Hahn’s macaws are the smallest macaws. But they pack a lot of personality into their compact bodies. They are intelligent and playful birds that tend to be gentle when properly socialized and handled. These macaws prefer to spend as much time interacting with their caretakers as possible and might become depressed if they feel ignored. They also can be rather noisy, though some do learn to talk quite well.

    Species Overview

    Length: 12 to 14 inches

    Weight: 6 ounces

    Physical Characteristics: Primarily green plumage; blue forehead; red edges of wings; orange eyes; white rings around eyes