A sight for sore eyes! Why parakeets are a delightful pet.
If you are looking for a pet that is great company, easy to care for with a hint of the exotic, you can do no better than a colorful parakeet! These small lively birds make great pets for owners of all ages and with good care, you’ll find that they are surprisingly long-lived. There are so many great benefits to keeping these small parrots including:
- Small sizes of these birds make it possible to adequately house them even if your property is small and your space is limited, unlike larger parrots and cockatiels.
- Fantastic plumage with vibrant yellows, blues, whites, and greens make a beautiful display and will really brighten up your room.
- Wonderful company from these engaging and cheery birds make them excellent companions, especially for the elderly. You can spend hours observing their antics or training them to speak or perch on your shoulder or finger!
Are there different types of parakeet?
It may surprise you but there are actually at least 115 parakeet species ranging from the classic budgerigar to larger and hardier species like the ring-necked parakeet.
Parakeet really is a term for any small to medium-sized parrot and so cover a range of families of birds. They do share familiar features such as slender bodies, long tails, a hooked bill for peeling fruit and shelling seeds, and an outgoing disposition.
This makes choosing your pet all the more exciting as you have a wide range of comparably sized birds to choose from. Better still they all share the colorful plumage and personable temperament you will come to love as the owner of these birds.
Our round-up of the 7 best parakeets for a first-time keeper
7. Ring-necked Parakeet
Origin: Africa or Asia depending on subspecies.
Length: 38 – 42 centimeters (14.9 – 16.5 inches).
Wingspan: 42 – 48 centimeters (16.5 – 18.8 inches).
Colour: Vivid blue or green coloration is present in both sexes. Males sport a red and black neck ring which is absent in females or at most grey colored.
Longevity: Up to 30 years.
Ring-necked parakeets are gregarious pets who will keep you entertained for hours with their high octane antics. However, these larger parakeets require space, toys and lots of attention to remain at their best so be prepared. They can vocalize and with effort and attention become tame and can be trained to speak.
Origin: South America
Length: 30 – 48 centimeters (12 – 18.8 inches).
Wingspan: 48 centimeters (18.8 inches).
Colour: Quaker parakeets have a range of breeds with distinctive colors including blue, parblue, lutino (yellow), and cinnamon.
Also known as the Monk parakeet, this relatively large parakeet is not as reclusive as its name might suggest but is an active and sociable bird that is inquisitive and loves to mimic.
It gets its ‘Quaker’ moniker from a strange shaking and quaking behavior the species exhibits which is thought to be unrelated to cold, hunger, or stress. They will bond with you and other birds they are kept with, so TLC is a must.
Length: 36 centimeters (14 inches).
Wingspan: 53 centimeters (20.8 inches).
Colour: Deep crimson red to pale yellow and green with blue cheeks, shoulders, and tail.
Longevity: Up to 25 years.
The vibrant plumage of rosellas like the Crimson rosella makes them desirable exotic pets. With time and attention, they can be tamed, especially if fed treats and tidbits that encourage bonding. They also love to whistle and chat and will thrive if given the space of a good aviary and a diet as varied as their coloring.
Length: 18 – 23 centimeters (7 – 9 inches).
Colour: Grey and rosy pink plumage with browns and blues
Longevity: Up to 8 years.
These adorable little birds are small and cute and similar in size and disposition to the budgerigar. They are affectionate and easy to care, without too many impositions on an owner’s time, making them ideal for the first-time keeper.
With a little effort, they become very tame and will happily perch on your shoulder and be cuddled in your hands. They love to fly and will appreciate time out of the cage to fly around the room.
Keep your windows and doors shut as, like budgies, they are known to fly away if given opportunity.
Length: 33 – 40 centimeters (13 – 16 inches).
Wingspan: 38 centimeters (15 inches).
Colour: Greens, yellows; powder blue head, and a blush-red breast. Dark feathers above the beak look like a slick mustache which gives rise to its name.
Longevity: Up to 20 years.
This distinctive bird is very much the Inspector Clouseau of the parakeet family due to its famous moustache.
They are much rarer than other types of parakeets and unlike other birds, they fare better kept alone as pairing can be fraught with problems.
They will be engaging and inquisitive, wanting to know everything you are doing. Provide them with adequate space to stretch their wings and be careful to keep them from straying if you let them out into an enclosed room.
Origin: India and Sri Lanka.
Length: centimeters (13 – 16 inches).
Wingspan: 58 centimeters ( 23 inches).
Colour: Green with blue-grey coloration on the cheeks and red patches on their shoulders. Like ring-necked parakeets, male Alexandrine Parakeets have a rose and black neck ring. Their large red beak is unmissable.
Longevity: Up to 30 years.
The Alexandrine Parakeet is a slightly larger and jocular relative of the Ringed-neck parakeet. It is the largest of the parakeets and is hardy and independent-minded, making it good company even if kept alone. It requires space but is relatively quiet making it suitable for an apartment or neighbors nearby.
Length: 18 centimeters (7 inches).
Wingspan: 30 centimeters (12 inches).
Colour: Yellow-green; blue-white.
Longevity: Up to 10 years.
The budgie is a classic beginner pet due to its pleasant temperament and easy handling. It is by far the most popular small bird in the world. Its small size helps too as you will not require a large cage and you will have lots of fun training these friendly birds with treats, swings, and other toys. You may even be able to get a word or two out of them as they are capable of ‘talking’.
We like the GeoDome birdcage. Thanks to its unique shape it has a lot more space than a standard square cage for the same amount of room in your home.
Frequently asked questions
What should I look for when choosing a new parakeet?
If you are buying a young bird, you should examine it carefully, as making sure it is disease-free is a priority, especially if you will be homing your new bird with others. Look out for these 5 factors when observing a potential pet parakeet:
- Are they alert and sociable?
- Is their plumage healthy?
- Does the bird have clean nostrils, beak, and vent area?
- Is the beak correctly proportioned?
- Does the bird have the correct number of toes?
What diet does my parakeet need?
A bag of birdseed will only go so far with most parakeets. Make sure that you liven things up with millet spray and small portions of fresh fruit and vegetables. Learn more in our article “Can parakeets eat oranges?”
Should I keep one or many birds?
Parakeets are sociable creatures, so you will need to provide lots of company if you decide to keep a single bird. Owning a pair or small flock of parakeets of the same species will require more space and resources, but will benefit the birds by providing natural interaction and reducing isolation and anxiety.
The sheer range of cute and cheerful birds available means that you should have no trouble finding a parakeet to make your own. Size does count and larger and more parrot-sized birds will need a generously sized cage, and even smaller birds will appreciate being able to fly.
Each of these parakeets will make a great companion and we’re sure that you’ll settle into the routine of caring and training your sweet new parakeet of choice in no time!