Our round-up of the world’s top-flight pets!
Have you ever wondered what kinds of pet birds are kept by the rich and famous?
The acquisition of rare, unusual, or ornamental birds is the preserve of the world’s wealthiest, with many of these beautiful creatures housed in palaces, estates, and mansions across the globe.
Procuring expensive pet birds is not always easy. Many species are endangered, with international legislation place to curb their trafficking as well as stringent licensing of even captive-bred birds.
Most expensive pet birds live a life of luxury with space and care provided to achieve maximum longevity and quality of life. An Outdoor Aviary will be needed to ensure they have room to fly around and exercise. We recommend the Omlet Outdoor Aviary which is actually a chicken run but serves well as a safe place to fly.
Expensive birds are not only owned by private individuals and enthusiasts but can also be purchased on behalf of zoos or sanctuaries who want to expand their inventory of animals for the public to enjoy and can provide the expertise needed for their care.
Be intrigued and surprised as you browse our list of some of the world’s most expensive feathered friends!
The top 7 most expensive pet birds
1. Gouldian Finch
Also known as the Rainbow Finch, these exquisitely colored, petite birds command sobering prices from their collectors. Expect to spend upwards of $400 dollars for a single bird from a reputable breeder.
When purchasing these exclusive finches the coloration is key to its price with unusual blue or silver-backed colorations carrying a premium.
Despite breeding, finches can remain pretty wild and usually are kept by experienced breeders who provide a spacious aviary and plenty of birdseed to forage.
2. White Peacocks
At over $1000 per peacock, Australians are going crazy for these enigmatic birds, which are especially popular at weddings. The all-white coloration is certainly breathtaking, especially in the fan-like tail feathers of the male.
Interestingly the white color is not albinism but rather a pattern mutation that has given rise to the silver pied peafowl breed. For millennia, peacocks have been associated with wealth and royalty and opulence.
To keep these stately birds at their best you not only need open space, but secure fencing and roosting to keep the peacocks from predators, much like you would free-range chickens.
A set of flamingos are the ornamental bird of choice for the ultra-rich with the land space to house them appropriately. These birds fare surprisingly well in Northern Europe where they are a feature in the gardens of several exclusive estates and villas.
They are not illegal, but usually require licensing. Captive-bred flamingoes cost upwards of $1500 per bird. The reality of life with a flock of pet flamingoes is far from glamorous, however.
Firstly they require a specialist diet of shrimp, mollusks, and red algae that maintain their distinctive pink-hue. Secondly, they are known to produce copious quantities of foul-smelling droppings wherever they go necessitating round the clock groundskeeping!
4. Ayam Cemani chicken
These are easily the world’s most expensive backyard hens, but the good news is that they can earn their keep by laying eggs. This rare Indonesian breed of chicken is notable for its striking dark coloration, due to the production of melanin that makes its iridescent feathers, flesh, wattles, comb, and beak black.
A relative of the Indian Kadaknath chicken and descent of the Indian Jungle Fowl, the Ayam Cemani is far more prized, commanding up to $2500 per hen. The main breeding populations are found in the Democratic Republic of Congo, but hens are shipped to fanciers across the world.
They are notoriously difficult to breed, which further adds to their cost. Eggs are creamy colored but as Ayam Cemani hens are poor sitters, incubation is almost always necessary for successful breeding.
You cannot get much more exotic than the Toucan, the national bird of Belize that is famed globally for its quirky proportions and colorful giant bill. It’s no surprise that there is a lucrative market in breeding toucans in captivity and prospective owners are known to spend as much as $9500 to procure a well-bred member of the Ramphastidae family.
Owning a pet toucan is pleasurable as these beautiful birds have a warm engaging personality, but there are several hoops to jump through and considerable expense entailed in successfully keeping this bird.
The trade in exotic pets like the toucan is internationally restricted and even if your toucan is captive-bred, you are likely to need a license to keep your bird.
They will need specialist veterinary cover and an Outdoor Aviary that provides an environment that is as close as possible to their natural habitat. The diet of a toucan is almost as exotic as the bird, including delicacies such as mango, papaya, ground beef, and lizard!
6. Hyacinth Macaw
The Hyacinth Macaw is one of the world’s most exclusive and expensive birds coating over $40,000 for a single vivid blue macaw. They hail from South America and at over 1 meter in length from head to tail, is the largest flying parrot in the world.
Its vibrant coloration is striking and distinctive making it highly prized, though losses of habitat and trapping of wild birds have to lead to it becoming endangered.
Once acquired the costs for keeping this large and heavy parrot just keep mounting, as they will require string perches, large cages, and expansive aviaries to accommodate their broad wingspan and physical strength.
7. Racing pigeons
For many, these unassuming birds could be mistaken for the common pigeons that flock any town center or city. But amazingly, the humble pigeon easily eclipses many other animals to be one of the world’s most expensive animals, eclipsing thoroughbred racehorse, exotic breeds of dogs, or big cats.
Racing pigeons carry their weighty premium because of their uncanny ability to cover thousands of miles at speed. Pigeon racing is big money and income derived race winnings can make the right bird a valuable commodity.
There is a strong international market for these birds and bidding can be fierce. Prices for elite racing pigeon start and hundreds of thousands of dollars up to $1.4 million paid for a bird in China in 2019.
With the right amount of cash, you can definitely acquire a pet bird that will really stand out! The perfect conditions and care provided by moneyed owners make many of these birds just as tame and engaging as the humble budgie or cockatoo! Parrots like the Hyacinth Macaw even have their own travel cages and staff for globe-trotting adventures with their owners.
If money was not an issue, what kind of feathered friends would you keep at home? Let us know your thoughts and ideas in the comments section below!