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Bird species – Which one is right for me

There´s a very extensive variety of birds in the world that can become part of our lives, each one of them with its own characteristics and behaviors, making it a complicated task (to say the least) to choose the most suitable one for us. Let’s take a look at the factors to consider:

Color

The enormous number of colors and combinations that can occur is one of the criteria most often used.

Singing

Many homeowners are interested in the singing of the bird. In this case, the male canary is the best option.

Bird species - male canaryMale Canary

Image / Dario Sanches.


Form

Differences exist among species, not only in size but in shape. We see this when we compare, for example, a zebra finch with a cockatoo, or a hummingbird with a toucan.

Imitation

The bird´s ability to mimic sounds and words is one of the factors that certain owners seek.

Which factors should I take into account for having a positive relationship with my bird?

Space

A cage, no matter how small, requires: a) a location within the house that allows her to interact with family members, and b) a safe place, away from drafts, fumes or emissions which can poison her.

Time

The bird needs care in terms of feeding, cage cleaning, drinking and daily interaction with the owner, such as: “chatting”, playing and cuddling. Having a bird in a proper way requires you to spend time with her every day of her life, and it has to be a routine time. What does this mean? It means birds like routines, knowing the times of the day when she can enjoy the food, a refreshing bath or her owner´s attention.

Money

The greatest expenditure occurs at the time of the animal´s acquisition, with respect to gaming accessories and complements. In addition to visits to the vet, you have to invest on any special care that each species could have.

game accessories for birdsImage / Mike Fernwood.


Longevity

This is an important factor as it will tell you how many years of your life you´ll have to devote to her in time and affection. You can buy a “short-living” (7-15 years) or “long-living” (40-70 years) species. To get an idea of the longevity of some birds, take a look at the following table:

  • Canary: 4-15 years.
  • Parakeet: 7-15 years.
  • Lovebirds: 10-15 years.
  • Nymph Cockatoo or Carolina: 12-20 years.
  • Amazon Parrot: 40-70 years.
  • Macaw: 40-60 years.

Behavior

Every species have specific characteristics that define them: eating habits, preferences, and reproductive variables. Any responsible owner should get at least a minimal information about his new friend that will be under his responsibility for many years. It´s often assumed that just by having one clean cage as well as enough food and drink, the bird will be in perfect condition, but this isn´t true. We need to know if that particular species lives better alone, in pairs or in groups, if she´ll need some zone or nest (besides the cage) to take shelter in, which type of cage suits her better: in conclusion, how to create conditions for her to be happy.

 

 

Failure to get informed and not knowing the physiological and behavioral needs of a bird that inhabits our home is an unforgivable mistake and lack of respect for her life. The following information will help you to understand the behavior of some birds you might be interested in:

Canaries

canary on cage


  • Characterized by their joy, sympathy, feather´s colors and beautiful singing.
  • They´re a little shy and skittish, so grabbing them isn´t recommended. They prefer to interact with their owner from the safety of their cage.
  • Social with other birds, whether they´re from the same species or a different one.

Parakeets

parakeets in cage


  • Fun, easy to educate and with imitation skills.
  • They like to be in company and living in couple.
  • They get easily entertained with toys.

Lovebirds

bird species - lovebirdsImage / “ludanstore”.


  • They need to live with another bird of the same species with which they can have a loving relationship.
  • They can be kept in groups but always in pairs.
  • The male and the female spend a lot of time caressing each other´s feathers (no wonder why they´re called “lovebirds”). They´re cheerful, loving and sociable.

Nymph Cockatoos or Carolinas

Nymph Cockatoos or CarolinasImage / Andrew Braithwaite.


  • They are very docile, outgoing, friendly and educable; also have imitation abilities.
  • They rely heavily on owners, to whom they can become attached in an almost “sick” way.
  • They don´t tolerate loneliness very well and if they´re going to spend many hours alone is better not to buy them.

Macaws

bird species - macawsImage / Javier Ignacio Acuña.


  • Their intelligence and juggling ability makes them ideal pets. To satisfy these skills you need to buy ropes, swings, toys and branches.
  • They require time and dedication from their owners.

Amazon parrots

bird species - Amazon parrotImage / Etsy Ketsy.


  • Outgoing, friendly, intelligent and with great imitation abilities.
  • They need constant care from their master and an entertaining environment to wear out their energy and satisfy their curiosity.
  • They need a large cage.
  • They can vocalize in a deafening way.

In our “Bird care for newbies” article you can find more tips on how to take care for a bird by providing an environment where she can be comfortable and happy.

Choosing a bird that is healthy

It´s important to choose renowned specialty stores and breeders that are recommended by local or national breeder´s associations. We must be sure that the animal that will be with us for many years has a healthy state. To avoid doubts on this, one could ask the opinion of a birds-specialized veterinarian or demanding a health guarantee from the store (this is a document signed by a veterinarian which says that the bird is free of disease, has been raised in optimal conditions and with adequate food, etc..). If we can´t count with the help of a veterinarian and the store doesn´t give us the written health guarantee, we can be guided by the following signals (of the animal) before buying:

Her nostrils are clean and have equal size.

Her eyes must be free of secretions, with no swelling and providing a shiny appearance.

Breathing should be “normal”, without panting.

The beak must have no deformities or scales.

Should be awake, alert and attentive to everything that happens around her.

Her plumage must look “elegant”, shiny, without bald spots or poor developed areas.

bird with healthy plumage


When you look at a bird that is part of a group, follow her closely and analyze her behavior towards the rest: is she isolated, does she follow the group or is she attached to one of her companions (in the two latter cases it would be wise to buy more than one bird).

 

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