Are you looking for large pet birds that will make an excellent addition to your flock? If you’re an experienced avian owner who’s ready to step up and take the challenge of raising large, exotic birds, you came to the right sanctuary!
We curated a list of the largest pet birds you can ever have and the responsibilities that come with them.
Although this list is predominated by macaws, you’ll discover:
- Brightly-colored pet birds with good talking skills and the ability to learn and perform some tricks
- Minimalistic birds with a learning capacity on par with a 2-year-old child
- An Amazonian bird with excellent mimicry skills in opera singing
We’ll also share with you the pros and cons of raising large exotic birds to help you weigh in if they’re right for you.
So, let’s get right into the best big birds for pets!
1. Hyacinth Macaw
|Cost:||$5,000 and over $12,000|
|Weight:||42 to 51 ounces|
|Talking Ability:||Can pick up a few words|
Topping off our list of large pet birds are the Hyacinth macaws, the largest of all parrots. With an average length of 40 inches, a weight of 42 to 51 ounces, and a striking cobalt blue plumage, these birds are surely wonderful creatures to behold.
They’re not among the most fluent talkers but this large pet bird is highly intelligent and can learn some words and may even use those in the proper context.
These rare bird species that are native to central and eastern South America are gentle. But due to their enormous size and 60-year lifespan, they’re hard to care for.
This large pet bird is ideal for an experienced bird owner who has the time and resources like large aviaries to tend to its needs.
Trading wild-caught Hyacinth macaws are illegal because these large pet birds are getting near to becoming endangered. So, it can be difficult to find them too.
2. Red and Green Macaw
|Cost:||$3,000 to $4,000|
|Size:||26 to 40 inches|
|Weight:||32 to 60 ounces|
|Wingspan||41 to 49 inches|
|Talking Ability:||Can learn and mimic a few human words|
Placing second on our large pet bird list are the brightly colored red and green or green-winged macaws.
As the name suggests, they have deep vibrant red feathers on the head, shoulders, and breast and a greenish band below the shoulders which then transition to dark blue on the wings. And the light blue on the ramp finishes the look.
Just like the previous bird species, these striking macaws are tame, easygoing, and affectionate. In fact, they’re one of the most docile macaws.
These large pet birds are smart as they can also learn to mimic about 15 words and perform some tricks. However, they can get loud when they’re excited, feel threatened, or need attention.
They’ll screech and scream and sometimes bite hard so they need tough chew toys and experienced owners.
With an average lifespan of 50 years, they can accompany you for life but that also means you need to commit to them for a lifetime.
3. Scarlet Macaw
|Cost:||$2,000 to $4,000|
|Size:||31 to 38 inches|
|Weight:||32 to 39 ounces|
|Lifespan:||40 to 50 years|
|Talking Ability:||Can speak and mimic words and sounds|
At a glance, this large pet bird may look similar to the green-winged macaw, but there are subtle differences you have to take note of.
Scarlet Macaws are vividly red with distinct bright yellow and blue edging on their wings. They also have a large white eye patch.
These flashy parrots consistently make the list of the most popular parrots every year and it’s easy to see why. These intelligent birds are energetic and full of character. They can also be very affectionate if hand-raised and can make excellent companions.
However, they’re idiosyncratic birds. So, there’s a high chance that these large pet birds can become fixated on one person.
These large pet birds can learn to talk and mimic 5 to 10 words and learn some tricks. However, they’re extremely loud which makes them unsuitable for apartments and condominiums and those with noise-sensitive neighbors.
Furthermore, these large pet birds are needy for attention and a very large cage.
4. Blue and Gold Macaw
|Cost:||$1,000 to $2,000|
|Size:||30 to 36 inches|
|Weight:||28 to 46 ounces|
|Wingspan||41 to 45 inches|
|Talking Ability:||Can talk and mimic human words|
Now, we’re down to another large pet bird with captivating beauty and wit. Blue and Gold macaws are among the most popular macaws out there not just because of their pretty face but also due to their personality and talking ability.
They’re the most prolific talker among the macaws because of their clear speaking voice and ability to learn a vocabulary of 20 words and phrases. These large pet birds are also fast learners because they innately want to please their owners.
They got their name from the most prominent colors in their body. They feature a green forehead that turns into teal blue covering the nape, back, wings, and tail.
The other notable feature is the bright golden yellow plumage on their chest, the underside of their wings, and the belly.
This breed is easier to recognize but as needy as the previous species. They need lots of socialization time and attention from their owner. Otherwise, they may resort to screaming out of sadness and boredom.
5. Military Macaw
|Size:||27.5 to 33.5 inches|
|Wingspan||33 to 43 inches|
|Talking Ability:||Can learn a handful of words and phrases|
The last macaw bird on this list is mainly green-colored with lime green on the head that transitions into a darker and olive green on the body. These birds also feature a pop of blue on their wings and bright red tuft on their foreheads.
These military macaws are friendly and easily tame birds. Although they aren’t known for being particularly sociable, military macaws that have been handled and socialized properly may take pleasure in being petted and cuddled.
But sometimes military macaws can become nippy if they’re not happy or well-trained. Although this bird is not inherently as good a talker as other parrots, you can train it to be talkative and it can acquire a few words and phrases.
They’re easy to train and they love learning tricks, which is why they’re a popular choice for award shows. Some can even be potty-trained.
6. Eclectus Parrot
|Size:||17 to 20 inches|
|Weight:||13 to 19 ounces|
|Wingspan||8 to 10 inches|
|Lifespan:||30 to 50 years|
|Talking Ability:||Can talk and mimic words|
If you think the macaws are too large for you, here’s another captivating bird that can also pass as an excellent pet; the Eclectus parrots.
The name Eclectus was derived from the word “eclectic” because this is a sexually dimorphic species which means the male and female look different.
Male Eclectus parrots boast an emerald green feathering with bright orange beaks and hints of red and blue under their wings. Female Eclectus, on the other hand, exhibit a bright red plumage with black beaks and deep purple marks on their chest and tails.
They look so different that in the early 20th century that they were believed to be entirely different species. But their coloration helps them blend with their natural habitat.
They excel in talking and mimicking words but they’re quieter than other parrots. These large pet birds are intelligent and friendly but males tend to be more trainable and agreeable.
7. Black Palm Cockatoo
|Cost:||$8,000-16,000 to as much as $23,000|
|Size:||22 to 24 inches|
|Weight:||2 to 3 pounds|
|Talking Ability:||Can talk and mimic words|
If you’re not a fan of brightly-colored parrots, here’s something dark and bold bird for you; the Black Palm cockatoos also known as Goliath cockatoo.
True to its moniker, goliath cockatoos are the largest of their kind but if hand-fed and trained extensively, they can make excellent and tame pets. But they’re not as affectionate as other parrots though.
These large pet birds have dark, smokey gray feathering which appears darker than others, and bright red patches of bare skin on their cheeks.
What makes these birds unique is the ability to use tools like large sticks in drumming against a hollow tree. Their drumming can be heard for up to 100 yards. Pretty impressive, right?
On top of that, they’re the best talking cockatoos who have a human-like sound, especially when they say “hello”. However, they can also be loud and noisy.
8. Sulphur-Crested Cockatoo
|Cost:||$2,000 to $4,000|
|Size:||15 to 20 inches|
|Weight:||12 to 31 ounces|
|Lifespan:||60 to 80 years|
|Talking Ability:||Can learn to speak words and phrases|
If you’re not into brightly colored or dark-colored birds, then this species may be the one for you—the Sulphur-crested cockatoo.
Contrary to the previous cockatoo, these large pet birds sport a white plumage with a yellow crest, black beak, and feet.
They’re playful, active, highly demanding, and emotionally complicated birds but they can also be friendly and sometimes, affectionate.
With a lifespan of 60 to 80 years, these large pet birds can outlive you and other parrots on this list. So, that’s worth considering.
These large white bird pet birds are good at mimicking human words and phrases because they’re smart and trainable. Their learning capacity is comparable to a 1 to 2-year-old child and they can learn some tricks.
However, they can also get noisy and become a nuisance to your neighbors.
9. Umbrella Cockatoo
|Cost:||$1,000 to $3,000|
|Weight:||16 to 26 ounces|
|Lifespan:||70 to 80 years|
|Talking Ability:||Can’t learn to talk or imitate but they’re not good at it|
They may be smaller and more minimalistic-looking compared to other parrots in this list, but umbrella cockatoos are entertaining pet birds with affectionate nature.
However, their affection can sometimes turn into obsession toward their favorite person, so that aspect is worth considering.
These gentle and sweet birds can make excellent companions because they’re rarely aggressive and they form strong bonds with their caretakers. But they’re also long-living so they can outlive you.
On the brighter side, these big white pet birds are capable of mimicking human sound and speech although they’re not good at it. They produce a loud grating sound or scream and hiss when alarmed. But they can learn various tricks which is why they’re often featured in bird shows.
10. Double Yellow-Headed Amazon
|Cost:||$2000 – $3000|
|Size:||15 to 17 inches|
|Weight:||16 to 23 ounces|
|Wingspan:||8 to 8.5 inches|
|Talking Ability:||They’re good talkers and can mimic human words|
We’re wrapping up our large pet bird list with the double-yellow-headed Amazons. They may be the smallest on this list but these avian creatures can surely brighten up your home with their colorful personality and remarkable mimicry ability.
These large pet birds can learn to mimic opera singing which is why they’re a popular pet for centuries.
These Amazon parrots can be affectionate when hand-fed from a young age. However, they go through a hormonal bluffing stage when they’re about to become sexually mature. At this phase, they can be nippy and aggressive towards people.
But on the brighter side, these green-colored parrots with yellow heads and white around the eyes are adept at learning words and phrases. They may not be able to compete with African Greys but they can build a decent word bank.
Pros and Cons of Keeping Large Pet Birds
Bigger birds such as macaws are intelligent and can learn human words and phrases but it requires consistent training to develop that skills. Since they’re long-living creatures with bright and colorful plumage, they can surely brighten up your home and accompany you for a long time.
In fact, with diligent care, they can even outlive you.
- Lifetime companion
- Striking plumage
- Highly intelligent pet birds
- Ability to talk
However, these big birds come at a high purchasing and maintenance cost. They also require a lifetime commitment and a lot of patience because their screech and screams tend to be loud and sometimes ear-piercing.
On top of that, they need lots of socialization and mental stimulation. Failure to provide enough socialization time can lead to the development of aggressive and destructive behaviors.
That’s why we kept on reiterating that these birds aren’t for novice owners because they have complex needs that can be too much to handle for beginners.
- Requires lifetime commitment
- Needs lots of social interaction
- Can be noisy
Frequently Asked Questions About Large Pet Birds
What’s the biggest bird you can have as a pet?
The biggest pet bird you can have include macaws like Hyacinth macaws, Green-winged, Scarlet, Blue and gold, and Military macaws. Other large exotic birds that can also make good pets are the Eclectus parrot, cockatoos, and Amazon parrot.
What large parrot makes the best pet?
It can vary depending on one’s preference but the best parrots to keep as pets are those with excellent talking abilities like African Grey, Eclectus, Umbrella cockatoos, and Yellow-naped Amazon.
What is the biggest exotic bird?
The biggest exotic bird has to be the Hyacinth macaw. But these cobalt blue birds with enormous size are critically endangered and around 5,000 of them are left in the wild today.
What is the best big bird for beginners?
The best large pet birds for beginners are African grey, Umbrella cockatoo, Eclectus, Yellow-naped Amazon, and Sulphur-Crested Cockatoo. But these birds can also be highly demanding and sometimes hard to care for.
Final Thoughts About Large Pet Birds
Large pet birds are captivating avian creatures that can surely impress your guests and entertain your family members. But they come with huge responsibilities that should not be taken lightly.
But if you have the experience, time, and resources to tend to their needs, the pros outweigh the cons. They can be the best large birds for pets that you can spend your life with.
Which among the big birds for pets above is your favorite? Let us know in the comment section below.