How Do I Choose The Best Pet Song Bird?

Zebra finches are native to Central America.
Zebra finches are native to Central America. (Image: Zebra Finch image by Mike Price from

There is a large assortment of beautiful and intelligent song birds out there for you to bring home as a long-term pet. From tiny chirping finches and cute canaries to massive macaws, the number of options can be overwhelming. You have to take into account your personal preferences when comparing bird species and note that all pet songbirds can be loud and messy animals that need a lot of love and attention.

Take the noise level into account when picking a songbird. Parrots make loud squawking sounds at daybreak, while parakeets are quiet until their owner removes the night shade from the cage. Cockatiels have been known to repeat words and noises they hear at random times. Finches constantly sing all day.

Some birds appreciate being handled more than others. If you aren’t interested in holding your songbird, perhaps finches or a canary would be your best bet. For those who prefer to hold their feathered friend, look into budgies, cockatiels and parrots. With a little training and handling, they will enjoy being held by you.

Think about how long you want to own a songbird, as most songbirds live for many years and are a long-term investment. Smaller songbirds can live on an average between seven to 15 years. Larger parrots can reach an age of between 30 and 50 years.

Cockatiels can live between 12 and 20 years.
Cockatiels can live between 12 and 20 years. (Image: Cockatiel Karma image by Kit from

Look at the plumage and overall appearance. Do you prefer the soft yellow hues of the canary more than the bright blue of a budgie? Would you rather have a vivid green parrot or a small group of wildly patterned finches? Take your time, as this bird will be with you for a long time with proper care.

Tips & Warnings

  • All birds need access to food, a safe enclosure, water, toys for enrichment and attention from their owner. If you aren't able to meet these needs, a bird is not the pet for you.
  • Note that larger birds such as macaws can give a nasty bite--be careful when handling large birds.

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