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How to Choose the Right Bird Cage Size and Bar Spacing

how to choose the right bird cage size

Are you struggling with choosing a bird cage size for your avian companion?

It’s crucial to consider the bird’s size, wingspan, tail, and bar spacing in determining the correct bird cage dimensions. So it can be a little tricky at times.

And if you’re in a dilemma right now, don’t worry. We got you when it comes to choosing the right bird cage and bar!

In this guide, we’ll help you out in choosing the ideal bird cage size by discussing the following:

  • Factors to consider before purchasing a cage
  • A size guide for each species to help you determine how big a bird cage need to be
  • And tips on how to know if a bird cage is too small for your feathery companion

So, before hitting that purchase button, take this info into account first.

What to Consider When Choosing The Right Bird Cage Size

There are a gazillion birdcage options online, varying in color, material, shape, and size.

But before purchasing a bird cage online or at your local pet stores, you must consider the following to ensure you’d pick the right cage for your feathery companion.

1. Bird Size

Larger birds require larger cages, but even tiny bird breeds need a spacious home to exercise and spread their wings.

It also lets you put several toys and birdcage accessories like perches, food, and water dishes.

2. Bar Spacing

Inappropriate bar spacing can result in injury because the bird’s head may get caught up with the bars, resulting in panic and injury. Furthermore, small birds can escape if the cage bars are too wide.

The general rule is that a bird will attempt to put its head through any opening smaller than its eyes at some point in the near future if it does so to explore.

Now the next question will be how to measure birdcage bar spacing.

Here’s a Tip For You:

Compare the bird’s eye distance with the cage’s bar spacing. An exotic bird cage’s bar spacing must always be less than the space between the bird’s eyes.

In other words, the bars on the bird cage must be narrower than the space between the bird’s eyes to prevent injury and prevent escape attempts. Otherwise, the bird may fly out.

That can be a huge problem, but it wouldn’t be as bad as if the bird tried to squeeze through the bars and had its head caught.

The bird will typically struggle and increase in heart rate until it exhausts itself to the point of having a heart attack and passing away.

3. Bird’s Wingspan

As said earlier, birds must be able to stretch and flap their wings and fly inside their cage so they won’t get bored and lose their ability to fly.

That being said, you need to provide a cage greater than its wings so they can have ample space for exercise and their toys and other bird cage accessories.

4. Bird’s Tail

Some birds have long tails, so they need taller cages to ensure they can move around without damaging their tail feathers.

Some species are also prodigious climbers, requiring tall cages to accommodate and fulfill their desire to climb.

bird cage sizes

Bird Cage Size Guidelines You Can Follow

No birdcage is too big for birds. In fact, avian enthusiasts recommend providing the biggest cage you can to your avian companions.

But you must remember that larger enclosures often have large bar spacing too, so you must be careful in your purchasing decisions.

To help you find the right birdcage size, use this guideline for recommended birdcage size of the most popular bird species as a starting point.

Recommended Cage Size and Bar Spacing For Each Pet Bird Species

Bird Species Wingspan Cage Size (Width x Length x Height) Bar Spacing
Finches 8 to 10 inches 18 inches x 30 inches x 18 inches ¼ inch to ½ inch
Canaries 8 to 10 inches 18 inches x 24 inches x 18 inches ¼ inch to ½ inch
Parakeet Cage Size 5 to 11 inches 18 inches x 18 inches x 24 inches ½ inch
Lovebirds 9 inches 24 inches x 24 inches x 24 inches ½ inch
Cockatiel Cage Size 20 inches 20 inches x 20 inches x 24 inches ½ inch to ⅝ inch
Parrotlets 9.5 inches 24 inches x 24 inches x 24 inches ½ inch
Ringneck Parakeets 6 to 7 inches 24 inches x 24 inches x 36 inches ½ inch to 5/8 inch
Conure Cage Size 5.5 inches 24 inches x 24 inches x 24 inches ⅝ inch to ¾ inch
Quaker Parrots 19 inches 24 inches x 24 inches x 24 inches ⅝ inch to ¾ inch
Senegal Parrot 6 inches 24 inches x 24 inches x 24 inches ⅝ inch to ¾ inch
Caiques 15 inches 24 inches x 24 inches x 36 inches ⅝ inch to ¾ inch
Pionus Parrot 7 inches 24 inches x 24 inches x 36 inches ⅝ inch to ¾ inch
Jardines 24 inches x 24 inches x 36 inches  ⅝ inch to ¾ inch
Amazon Parrot 8 to 11 inches 24 inches x 36 inches x 48 inches ¾ inch to 1 inch
Mini Macaws 14 to 22 inches depending on the species 24 inches x 36 inches x 48 inches  ¾ inch to 1 inch
Large Macaws 40 inches to 5 ft. 36 inches x 48 inches x 60 inches  1 inch to 1.5 inch
Goffin Cockatoos 22 to 24 inches 24 inches x 36 inches x 48 inches  ¾ inch to 1 inch
Large Cockatoos 27 to 39 inches depending on the species 36 inches x 48 inches x 48 inches 1 inch to 1.5 inch
African Grey Parrot  18 to 20 inches 24 inches x 36 inches x 48 inches 3/4″ to 1 inch
Diamond Doves 24 inches x 24 inches x 24 inches ½ inch
Ringneck Doves 14 inches 24 inches x 36 inches x 24″ inches ½ inch
Pigeons 19 to 26 inches, depending on type or species 24 inches x 36 inches x 24 inches ½ inch 

It’s worth noting that Doves should be housed in a flight cage or given a daily flight time to fulfill their innate desire to flap their wings and fly like they used to in the wild.

If you can give Diamond doves daily flight time, a cage with dimensions of 24 inches x 24 inches x 24 inches and bar spacing of 1/2” is enough for them. But ringneck doves need more extended enclosures than Ringneck. 

So the bird cage size varies significantly depending on the bird’s size, needs, wings, and tails.

cockatiel cage size

Do Birds Like Wider or Taller Cages?

This may vary depending on the bird’s needs and means of travel. But the general rule is to choose a wider cage rather than a tall one with plenty of space so they can flutter from perch to perch.

Finches and canaries, for example, use flight as their primary means of travel, so they need ample space to fly back and forth.

However, birds with long tails need tall cages to ensure their tail won’t get damaged or injured when they’re moving around.

How Do I Know If My Bird Cage is Too Small?

A bird cage is too tight for your bird if it can barely walk and extend and flap its wings.

While your avian pet may be able to survive in a small cage, it may develop behavioral problems in the long run and suffer from sadness and various health problems.

Yes, your bird cage size can affect your avian friend’s quality of life, so you must ensure it provides ample space for him and his favorite toys.

Effects of Using Too Small Bird Cages

If your bird’s cage is too small to stretch its wings or hurt its tail when moving around or flying, it may lead to several behavioral problems.

For example, when their feathers become damaged, the bird may get stressed, exacerbating feather-plucking behavior or self-mutilation.

But you can prevent it by providing ample space, adding entertaining and mentally-stimulating toys, and giving playtime outside the cage.

round bird cage size

Other Considerations When Purchasing a Bird Cage

Aside from the bird cage dimensions, you need to consider the following factors as well to ensure you’re choosing the right cage for your pet.

Cage Material

The best material for bird cages is stainless steel. If properly maintained, they survive for at least fifteen years and are simple to clean and non-toxic to parrots.

Most wooden cages are attractive but lack the features needed for simple bird cage cleaning and disinfection. This is particularly true for finches, as you must remove all the wood from their cage and clean every crevice when they contract mites.

Cage Style

There are three main styles of bird cages that you can choose from, including the following:

Play Top

This type of bird cage provides your avian pet a place to be when playing. This can be useful if you spend time with your bird close to the cage.

But a play top isn’t necessary if you move your bird to another room when he or she is out and about.

Dome Top

A cage with a dome top provides extra inside height. Some can be opened on top. But it’s challenging to hang toys here if it opens.

It should be noted that if you buy a dome-top bird cage, the bird won’t have access to a playpen or top to play on outside of the cage, so it’s advised that you additionally get some form of play stand.

Flat Top

With flat-top cages, the top can be used to store equipment or play gyms. Stacking additional cages is also possible, while double- and triple-stacked cages are also available.

Whatever top you choose in the end, it’s crucial that your bird has access to an active area outside of the cage and can use it regularly.


After considering the aspects of the bird’s health and happiness, we bird parents must also consider the cage’s appearance and layout.

The cage should complement your way of life and serve your bird’s needs.

It’s best to pick one with a premium appearance that complements the room’s design or the area. You should also consider your bird’s color and the room’s colors.

Your bird is on show in a cage.

So, you want the color of the cage to stand out effectively against your bird’s main hues. Also, you won’t appreciate your bird outside the cage when the enclosure is the same color as your avian pet!

Stainless steel is a superb option to consider if your budget allows it. It contrasts beautifully with the color of most birds and looks great in practically every kind and design of the room.

Frequently Asked Questions About Bird Cage Size

We compiled the answers to common cage questions to give you more insights into choosing a safe bird cage and a spacious one.

What size cage should I get my bird?

The rule of thumb when buying a bird cage is to buy one four times its height and width. However, the bigger the cage, the better.

Just be careful with the bar spacing to ensure your bird can’t escape.

How big should a cage for 2 birds be?

The minimum cage width for a pair of birds is three times their combined wing span.

The wing span refers to the length of their wings from one wing’s tip to another when stretched out.

What cage size do I need for 4 lovebirds?

Since lovebirds are active birds, they need lots of space, specifically a cage with a minimum of 32 inches x 20 inches x 20 inches per pair of birds.

You may need to double that number if you have four lovebirds because you’ll need more room for toys, perches, food, and water dishes.

Is a bigger birdcage better?

Yes, the larger the cage, the larger the bird’s internal living space will be, allowing them to move around freely in its home as we move about in ours.

conure cage size

Final Tips When Choosing A Properly Sized Birdcage

Pet birds spend most of their time eating, playing, and observing your life in their tiny home. And giving too tight space can affect their plumage and body, leading to several behavioral issues.

But choosing the right bird cage size can help you avoid these problems.

Just check your bird’s size, wingspan, tail, and innate need to exercise and fly before purchasing. And if possible, give your bird the biggest cage you can get.

The guideline above is only a starting point, so you can purchase a bigger cage than the minimum but keep the recommended bar spacing in mind. Otherwise, your pet bird may escape and fly away.

Don’t forget to take into account the toys, perches, food, and water dishes because they can occupy lots of space in the cage.

These birdcage accessories must not get in the way when your bird is flying and moving around.

If you’re looking for online bird cage options for your avian companion, check our recommendations in the article below.

READ NEXT: 9 Best Bird Cages: Large, Small, and Outdoor Buying Guide and Review [2022]

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