When we think of pets, we typically have mammals in mind: dogs, cats, bunnies, rodents – even otters! But for some, the ultimate pet is a bird.
Birds, though, are fundamentally different creatures from mammals. Evolutionarily speaking, they diverged from mammals tens of millions of years ago and now share very little in common with each other at all. Both have two eyes and a stomach, but apart from that, they’re incredibly different life forms.
Pet birds, therefore, can sometimes be a mystery. Their behaviors are so different from the kinds of things you see in mammals that it can be hard for humans to interpret. At least both dogs and people have a neocortex. Birds don’t have this part of their brain at all. Instead, their cognition is set up in a completely different way.
The Unusual Pet Vets points out that there are many different bird species. The animal grouping is at least as diverse as mammals, and perhaps more so. Birds range from the relatively primitive ostrich to the super-advanced parrot and crows, both of which have intelligence rivaling that of monkeys.
Furthermore, some birds are more suitable as pets than others. Looking after emus is tough, and you’re unlikely to get any reward for all your hard work and care. Caring for an intelligent tropical bird, on the other hand, can introduce you to a whole new world of avian relationships!
In this post, we’re going to take a look at the pet-friend bird species you need in your life right now. Prepare to be amazed.
The Hyacinth Macaw
The hyacinth macaw is a species of parrot with beautiful blue and indigo markings. These birds are attractive because of their highly sociable nature. They want nothing more than to spend the evening with their owners, sitting on their laps or perched on their arms.
The downside to owning these birds is their physical size. They’re large. But as long as you have space, they can make excellent companions. Hyacinth macaws need a spacious dwelling and plenty of room for friends too – perhaps another macaw!
Because of their place in popular culture, doves won’t immediately strike you as bird species you might keep as pets. But these grey, pigeon-like creatures actually make excellent companions.
Doves are a highly friendly and domesticated species of birds. They hardly ever bite and are usually easy to train.
What’s more, they have a big enough brain to bond with their owners, specifically, meaning that they can pick you out in a crown. While they need caretakers, doves can pretty much look after themselves and don’t require hours of attention, as some parrot and cockatiel species do.
The Green-Cheeked Conure
Conures originally hail from the South American jungle, making their lives flying between the trees. Birds in this species have vibrant green colorings, reflecting their natural environment. Over the years, various breeders have domesticated them, making them suitable for captivity.
Green-cheeked conures are perhaps the best option in this genus, owing to their playful and friendly nature. Individual birds are quieter than most conures, but often have a naughty side you’ll either love or hate. What’s more, they’re a highly intelligent bird, meaning you can have hours of fun training them and even talking with them.
These birds typically need a large aviary, the size of a double garage, so you’ll need a bit of land if you want to keep one. Furthermore, you’ll need a vet in the local area who understands how to look after them if they get sick.
A cockatoo might be just what you need if you’re in the market for a large pet bird. These birds come in a variety of colors. They typically have beautiful plumage that extends from the back of their heads. By nature, cockatoos are friendly and sociable birds with strong personalities. Because of their large brains, they tend to bond very strongly with their caretakers and prefer to be with them all the time.
If you buy a cockatoo, therefore, you need to be the sort of person who is in the house for the majority of the day. This bird might be the ideal pet for people who plan on working from home post-virus.
If your cockatoo starts to feel lonely or neglected, they will pick at their feathers and might engage in other destructive behaviors. If you see behavior like this, you may need to change their living arrangements or find a way to have them sitting on your shoulder while you work. Just remember to wear a bib. Birds can’t control when they go to the bathroom!
Cockatiels are medium-sized and highly-intelligent pet birds. This species first came to North America and Europe from Australia in the nineteenth century. Since then, they’ve been captivating their owners, owing to their extreme gregariousness and cognitive abilities.
Cockatiels are more similar to humans than most birds. They need a positive environment to thrive and often pick up on their owners’ subtle behavior cues.
It is essential to get cockatiels as babies. Hand-feeding them helps to form a strong bond with owners, making adult life more manageable.
Cockatiels don’t talk like parrots, but their intelligence comes out in other ways. They will, for instance, whistle the noises that they hear in their environment, such as the sound of a jingle on TV or the whirring of the dishwasher. Some birds can accurately recreate the sound of doorbells and telephones.
Cockatiels are usually around 12 inches in length and weigh about three ounces. They have grey bodies, a yellow face, and bright orange cheeks.
Owning a pet bird is a fundamentally different experience from having a dog or a cat, but it can be rewarding. First, you’ll probably be one of the few people you know who actually keep birds at all. And second, you get to explore a radically different side of nature. Birds are fundamentally different from run-of-the-mill pets. They always keep you on your toes. And so there’s never a dull moment.