Thinking of a Bird as a Family Pet? Best Birds for You

Birds can make lovely and entertaining family pets. Generally speaking, smaller birds are better for beginners. They tend to be quieter, less messy, and have a shorter lifespan than large birds, some of which can live 100 years! Here is a list of some types of birds that make good family pets, and the general care they need.


Cheerful and bright, canaries make nice additions to the home. They are less tame than some birds, however, and do not require extensive human reaction. This, of course, could be a pro or a con depending on your situation.

Canaries need a fairly roomy cage, a canary-safe space outside the cage to fly each day (cover windows and mirrors), and fresh food and water daily. Their cage should be cleaned every day – even twice a day – but this is not complicated. It’s usually accomplished by simply sliding a newspaper-lined tray out from the bottom of the cage and changing the newspaper. Perches will need to be kept clean as well.

Canaries benefit from “treats” and additions to their diet, such as dandelion greens, lettuce, carrots, and apples.


These colorful “mini-parrots” are said to be the perfect family pet when it comes to birds. The whole family can participate in their care, and parakeets benefit from this social time. Budgies can also be trained to do tricks and even whole “routines,” and they can be taught to talk. Like canaries, parakeets should be given daily time out of their cage to fly and interact with the family. Their cage should be roomy and clean, with fresh food and water available.


Cockatiels (not to be confused with much larger cockatoos) are a bit more “advanced” than canaries and budgies. Cockatiels are larger, they live longer (about 20 years), and they like to talk. Cockatiels need a large cage and need to spend a lot of time out of it with the family.

Having the cage in a high-traffic area of the home may be helpful in meeting your cockatiel’s need for interaction, but your bird needs a quiet place at night. All birds should have their cages covered by a blanket or thin towel at night.

Another important thing to bear in mind is veterinary care. Avian vets are those vets who specialize in bird care; many “regular” vets do not treat birds. So make sure there is an avian vet available in your area before you purchase a pet bird.

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