Which Bird Is For You?
Buying A Bird
Choosing a bird can be a difficult task at best. There are a great many species available for the prospective owner. Before choosing a bird, it is important to consider certain factors including size, noise level and moodiness. For future bird owners and current bird fanciers alike, Birdmart.Com offers the following breed directory. It is a work in progress, so new birds are being profiled all the time. Please stay tuned to find a profile of your favorite parrot. If you have a specific species you'd like to see profiled, please e-mail us!. Remember, the behavioral characteristics illustrated here are very general and may not be true for all birds of that type!
Macaws: South American Distribution
This is perhaps one of the most coveted birds in aviculture. These South American beauties are often toted as the giants of the psittacine kingdom. While it is true that they are certainly the largest parrots, some Macaws are amongst the smallest parrots, as well. The Hahn's Macaw rivals a petite Aratinga Conure for size (~35cm). These birds are very intelligent and can be very comical and affectionate. However, Macaws are often known to challenge their owners for dominance and with such a large, threatening beaks this can be a intimidating at best. In Macaws, it is the smaller species which can be the most challenging. The giant Hyacinth Macaw is often called the most gentle of macaws (or even of the psittacines!) while the tiny Hahn's Macaw is known to be quite sassy and challenging.
Conures: South American Distribution
Conures are the small cousins of the Macaw. Like the Macaw, this pint-sizes parrots are aerodynamically shaped with thin bodies, long wings and a long tapered tail. In flight, they are a stunning sight to see. In the pet trade, there are 2 major genus of conures: the Aratinga and the Pyrrhura. There are a few species that are considered mono genic meaning they are the only member of their genus - these birds do not conform to the specifications of either Aratinga or Pyrrhura. Conures are perhaps the most varied of all the parrots. In general, the Aratinga conures are the larger birds with heavier frames and wide, thick beaks. These birds tend to be noisier and better talkers. These birds have a lot of variety in color and body type from species to species. The Pyrrhura conures, on the other hand, are very petite. They tend to all be darker in color with distinct, scallop-edged feathers. They are known to be quiet with an even, gentle personality. The Pyrrhura conures are wonderful parrots for the first-time bird owner.
Amazons: South American Distribution
Amazons are amongst the most common and popular large parrots in Aviculture. Long prized for their talking ability, the Amazon is known as a comical and gregarious pet. These birds look little like the Macaws and Conures they share their homes with. They are heavy, stout birds who almost look uncomfortable in flight. There are several species of Amazon available in the pet trade. Each species has a very distinct personality. However, there are a few traits common to Amazons. They can often be rowdy and excitable, but fairly confident. Amazons are known for their mood swings, so it is important that an owner learn to "read" the bird's moods. Some Amazons, such as the Yellow Nape, Double Yellow Head and the Blue Front are amongst the best talkers in the bird world. They mimic so well that it is often hard to tell their voice from their owners! While Amazons are delightful pets, they are often not "cuddlers," preferring instead to be vocally interacted with or to play with its toys (although it is a rare Amazon that doesn't appreciate a good scratch on the head).
African Grey Parrots: African Distribution
Greys are highly prized amongst true bird lovers for their amazing intelligence. In recent years, research has indicated that these parrots may have intelligence rivaling a 5 year old human child! There has been a good deal of evidence supporting the fact that these birds not only talk, but they know the meaning of the words they say (later research with other species supports that this holds true for many other parrot species, as well)! While this makes Greys a very popular pet, new owners rarely realize the hardships associated with this species. African birds in general tend to be quiet and more prone to hiding than their South American cousins. As a result, if not well socialized, a Grey is very prone to stress reactions. Unsocialized birds may often become extremely aggressive to strangers. Also, because they are so intelligent, birds that are not intellectually stimulated and interacted with also are very subject to stress. While they are very smart, it is very hard for Greys (or any pet) to reason changes in lifestyle, changes in housing, etc. In Greys, stress is often manifested in feather picking or over grooming. Screaming and biting may also result. However, for an owner knowledgeable in bird psychology and willing to take time to work with their pet, and African Grey is a wonderful and charming addition!
Cockatoos: Pacific Distribution
Cockatoos are quickly emerging as the preferred hookbill pet amongst fanciers. They are known to be smart, cuddly, playful and good talkers. These birds are also beautiful, most being white with powdery pinkish or yellowish hues. All cockatoos have a crest of some sort on top of their heads which becomes erect when startled or excited. While many people view cockatoos as the perfect parrot, few realize until they have one that these birds can be difficult to own. With their intelligence and affectionate nature come a certain neediness. 'Toos become settled into a routine quickly and are often not excepting of change. Boredom, stress and loneliness are common afflictions to these pretty birds. Often, screaming, moping or feather picking are a result. With cockatoos, it is important to set ground rules early and to establish that you may not be around the house all day. A baby cockatoo that is overly coddled or spoiled at a young age may have trouble adjusting to the "real world" when its beloved owner has to go to work or go off on a trip. It is important that these birds be socialized early, or a fear of new placed or new people may result. However, a properly raised cockatoo is a true joy. If started off right, cockatoos can be outgoing and amazingly intelligent (some say they rival African Greys for brains). If considering a cockatoo as a pet, be sure to do extensive research on their behavior. Talk to other 'too owners to see what has worked for them. If started off right, the cockatoo may be your perfect pet!
Cockatiels: Pacific Distribution
Cockatiels are perhaps one of the most common pet birds. These little dynamos are easy to breed and become wonderful pets if hand raised. Like Cockatoos, tiels are known for their crested head. The original color is the "grey" which is yellow and grey with orange cheek patches. From this color pattern, many beautiful mutations have occurred. In breeding, there is a whole science associated with the combining and breeding of color mutation tiels. Cockatiels are relatively inexpensive pets and make great first birds because they possess many of the same traits and needs as the larger hookbills. Tiels are affectionate and can learn to talk and whistle many tunes. They can be stubborn, so tiels are a great way to learn behavior training for birds. When getting a tiel, it is best to get a young hand-raised bird that you can "start off right." Start establishing behaviors early (such as the "step up" command) and don't let the bird start setting rules through biting early on. Tiels are both stubborn and manipulative, so once it learns that you can be "bullied" the pattern may be hard to change. Also, be sure to start your new pet off on the right diet, as cockatiels are very stubborn about changing their eating habits.
Budgerigars: Pacific Distribution
Budgerigars ("budgies") are the birds most commonly called "parakeets" in the pet trade. These little hookbills rival the cockatiel in sheer volume for bird fanciers. Their numbers may solely be due to the low price tag often associated with their purchase. Unfortunately, the low price tag usually yields a bird that was bred and raised in an aviary and is therefore afraid of humans. Essentially, this situation give you a nearly wild pet, which can be an unpleasant situation for many new owners. Like other parrots and parakeets, though, budgies make wonderful pets if handraised. They can be affectionate, charming and great little talkers. In fact, handraised budgies make wonderful first birds and can be a very pleasant pet experience indeed. Like all birds, it is important to start your budgie out with the right behavior and feeding. Amongst hookbills, budgies rival the cockatiel for "stubbornness" as well. The original color of the Budgerigar is green and yellow. Because of their prolific breeding, many mutations of the original color have cropped up including a lutino (all yellow), white and blue and a harlequin (yellow and blue).
Eclectus: Pacific Distribution
These parrots are somewhat unusual, but quickly gaining popularity in the pet trade. There are four main types of Eclectus Parrots. Unusual among hookbills, Eclectus are sexually dimorphic, meaning the male and female of the species look markedly different. The males are bright green with red or purple under their wings. The females are a brilliant red color. Both have a orange-yellow beak and unusual feathers that have a hair-like consistency. Eclectus make quiet, gentle pets if raised correctly. They can talk and have soft, sweet voices. The males tend to be much friendlier than the females, who tend to be more standoffish and may get nippy in order to be left alone. Eclectus can be hard to breed in captivity. However, for certain breeders (who have the correct Eclectus finesse) these birds will breed very well. For this reason, there may be a large difference in price from one source to the other.