If you're looking to add a pet bird to your family and you have kids, it's helpful to avoid the species that could overwhelm or even injure a child. While there are exceptions to every rule, certain bird species tend to do better with an experienced adult to meet their needs. Some of these birds are prone to biting when provoked while others are rather sensitive and don't appreciate rambunctious children. Here are eight bird species that might be best to steer clear of if you have kids.
Most tame pet birds rarely bite out of aggression. But birds use their beaks for grasping, climbing, and exploring—occasionally on their caretakers. This might be unsettling to a child, especially with a large bird species.
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Macaws are large, powerful parrots that demand a lot from their caretakers in terms of time and attention. In addition, they are equipped with massive beaks that could severely injure a small child, even if the bird was only trying to play. Macaws also tend to be quite noisy, which might be too chaotic for a home with kids.
Length: 30 to 36 inches
Weight: 28 to 46 ounces
Physical Characteristics: Green forehead fading into teal on nape, back, tail, and wings; yellow chest and underside of wings; large black beak (blue-and-gold macaw)
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Although cockatoos are known to be very affectionate birds, they bond strongly to their caretakers and require lots of socialization. A young child most likely has school and other responsibilities that would take them away from their bird. Plus, a cockatoo's beak is capable of producing a very powerful bite that could seriously injure little fingers.
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)
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Amazon parrots require lots of space to exercise and play. They also need to spend ample time socializing with their caretakers. Otherwise, they might become depressed or develop destructive behaviors, such as feather picking. While they are great talkers, their care demands often outweigh this novelty in the eyes of many children.
Length: 15 to 17 inches
Weight: 16 to 23 ounces
Physical Characteristics: Green body; yellow head; red at the wing bend; tan beak; white rings around the eyes (double yellow-headed Amazon)
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The eclectus parrot is typically easygoing, but it might be too sensitive to tolerate energetic children. These birds often bond strongly with their caretakers and need to spend ample time with them. They also prefer to adhere to routines, which might not be possible with children's activities. Although they're typically loving birds, they can deliver a damaging bite if provoked.
Length: 17 to 20 inches
Weight: 13 to 19 ounces
Physical Characteristics: Primarily emerald green, red and blue under wings, and orange beak (male); primarily bright red, blue on chest and tail, and black beak (female)Continue to 5 of 8 below.
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African grey parrots often have the intelligence level of a young child, and for this reason a child probably isn't the best choice for their caretaker. These sensitive birds do well with gentle, patient adults, especially those who have sufficient time to interact with their birds. They need lots of mental and physical stimulation to remain happy and healthy.
Length: 9 to 14 inches
Weight: 11 to 19 ounces
Physical Characteristics: Mostly gray plumage with pale edging; black beak and bright red tail (Congo African grey); tan upper beak and maroon tail (Timneh African grey)
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When properly tamed, Indian ringneck parakeets can have charming and comedic personalities. But they do have a reputation for being somewhat nippy and difficult to train, especially during adolescence. Even tame birds usually aren’t highly affectionate and might disappoint kids looking for a hands-on pet. They’re also highly intelligent and need a caretaker who will challenge them mentally and physically.
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
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Conures typically are intelligent and energetic birds, and they’re capable of making some shrill screams that surely will interrupt a young child’s nap time. Tame conures can be very affectionate pets, as long as all family members handle them correctly. But these birds can be quite assertive when they want and can quickly turn aggressive if something upsets them.
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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The crimson rosella is typically not the species for people with limited bird experience, as it’s not easy to tame. These birds must be correctly handled on a daily basis for them to remain friendly with their human family members. They also might be nippy, especially during adolescence. And they’re quite intelligent and curious by nature, which can get them into trouble if their caretakers don’t keep them in a bird-safe area.
Length: 10 to 14 inches
Weight: 5 ounces
Physical Characteristics: Red with patches of blue on face, wings, and tail; black feathers highlighting back; females have green on tail