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17 Different Types Of Parrots That Make Great Pets (With Pictures)

Top Parrot Species

There are over 350 parrot species in the world that still exist today.

And if you’re looking for a parrot pet, that can be a handful of choices!

So, today, we’re listing the 17 different types of parrots based on looks, intelligence, and size that you can choose from. 

We’re going to go through the most:

  • colorful
  • intelligent
  • most prominent
  • and smallest parrots

parrot species

So, whether you’re looking for a colorful parrot or one that can mimic human speech, this article can help you find the pet that best suits your needs and preferences.

But before we dive deep into their world, here’s a little refresher about what parrots are.

What is a Parrot?

Parrots such as parakeets, macaws, cockatiels, and cockatoos belong to the order Psittaciformes.

They come in various shapes and sizes, but they all have a few things in common.

First, the bird must have a bent beak and zygodactyl feet to be categorized as a parrot which means that each foot has four toes.

Two of which point forward and two of which point backward.

The majority of parrots are gregarious birds that live in flocks.

Most wild parrots dwell in the warm southern hemisphere. But they can also be found in many other parts of the world, including northern Mexico, Australia, South America, and Central America.

So, what are the most colorful parrots in the world?

Top Parrot Species Meet the Most Amazing Birds Ever

Top Parrot Species in Terms of Color

Here’s a list of the best-looking parrots with bright and colorful plumage.

Macaw Parrots - Top Parrot Species

Top Parrot Species #1. Macaws

The word beautiful is an understatement if we’d describe the Macaw birds.

These large, powerful birds have stunning plumage, and it’s what catapulted them to stardom.

There are different types of Macaw, and each has different feathering styles and colors, but they’re all equally gorgeous.

Some of them are the following:

Scarlet Macaw

These eye-catching birds have vivid red feathers with yellow and blue on their wings and tail. 

Their beauty can be highly appealing. But if you’re planning to have this Macaw as a pet, there’s more to consider other than its remarkable appearance. 

These are giant birds that demand a lot of attention and exercise.

It is also worth noting that Scarlet Macaws can be obnoxious, unruly, and grumpy sometimes.

Length: 31 to 38 inches

Weight: 32 to 39 ounces

Blue and Gold Macaw

As their name suggests, blue-and-gold macaws have vivid blue and golden plumage covering most of their bodies.

They also have lush green highlights that fade into teal on the nape, yellow chest and wing undersides, and large black beaks. 

The black and white pattern near their eyes is also visually-striking. 

These birds are friendly and intelligent, and they enjoy being the focus of attention.

However, they need lots of time for exercise, and their vocalizations can be loud and shrill. 

Length: 30 to 36 inches 

Weight: 28 to 46 ounces

Hyacinth Macaw

Hyacinth Macaws features a striking solid blue plumage with yellow patches around their eyes and beak. They’re also one of the gentlest and most friendly birds on the planet.

However, they are known for being extremely sensitive. To survive, these birds require a peaceful atmosphere and several hours of socialization per day.

Length: 40 inches( about 1 meter)

Weight: 3-3.5lbs (Between 1.55 and 1.6kg)

Green-Wing Macaws

Green-wing macaws boast beautiful green and blue stripes on the backs of their wings and a predominantly striking red body.

Because of their normally calm disposition, these macaws are referred to as “gentle giants.”

They can, however, be adamant—if not obsessive—in their desire for attention from their favorite humans.

Length: 36 inches

Weight: About 3.5 lbs

Eclectus Parrot Species

Top Parrot Species #2. Eclectus Parrots

The Eclectus is among the few sexually dimorphic parrot species, which means that males and females look different.

Female birds have mostly red plumage with blue and purple feathers on their chest, tail, and black beak. 

On the other hand, male birds have vibrant green colors with red and blue accents under the wings and orange beaks.

The vibrant feathers of these parrots are distinct and striking. But they’re not only brilliant and colorful, but they also have a fur-like appearance.

The feathers can be fluffy and woolly at times.

Length: 17 to 20 inches

Weight: 13 to 19 ounces

Sun Conure

Top Parrot Species #3. Sun Conure

Sun conures are clothed with practically every color of the rainbow.

These fascinating birds’ heads, chests, and wings have red, yellow, and orange plumage with green and blue on their tail. And their flying feathers contrast with these colors.

They are frequently as brightly colored as they are noisy. You may hear Conures’ calls for miles, and they aren’t afraid to express themselves vocally.

Length: 12 inches

Weight: 4 to 5 ounces

Lilac-Crowned Amazon Parrots

Top Parrot Species #4. Lilac-Crowned Amazon

The majority of a Lilac-crowned Amazon’s body is green, with a maroon forehead and shades of lilac and violet in its crown.

Also known as Finsch’s amazon, these curious and lively birds require a lot of mental and physical activity.

They build deep bonds with their caregivers and prefer to socialize for several hours each day.

Length: 12 to 14 inches

Weight: 11 ounces

Budgerigars

Top Parrot Species #5. Budgerigars

Budgies, also known as Parakeets in the US, are available in over a hundred distinct hues.

The primary color of these tiny, seed-eating birds is green, which is used as camouflage in nature.

Other Budgies feature blue, opaline, grey, white, yellow, pied (mixed colors), cobalt, violet, and many colors.

Length: 7 inches

Weight: 1.1–1.4 ounces

Top Parrot Species in Terms of Size

Size plays a huge role when choosing a parrot bird to take care of.

Some experienced parrot owners and breeders prefer large parrots, while some newbies choose diminutive ones.

Either way, it’s essential to know how large your bird should be since its cage and feeds will depend on it.

5 Largest Parrots in the world

Oftentimes, the larger the parrot is, the longer their lifespan will be in captivity. But that also comes with higher costs, more bird feed needs, and bigger responsibility.

If you’re looking for giant parrots, here’s a list for you that describes their physical attributes.

Hyacinth Macaws- Top Parrot Species in terms of size

1. Hyacinth Macaws

The hyacinth macaw is the world’s most giant parrot.

They’re easily distinguishable due to their bright blue feathers.

They have a length of 40 inches from head to tail, with a wingspan of 4 feet.

Its weight ranges from 2.6 to 3.7 pounds.

Hyacinth Macaws are usually found in Central and eastern South America.

They thrive in palm swamps and woodlands in the wild and avoid thick woods.

If you decide to get a hyacinth macaw, you must know that they need extra care and attention.

They’re not your typical exotic pet, so you’ll need to seek a specialist breeder to obtain one.

Hyacinth macaws need more space than typical birds due to their size.

Additionally, their beaks are also powerful, and they can chew through cages.

So, you’ll need a heavy-duty stainless steel birdcage that they can’t chew through.

Others who weren’t able to find one preferred building a room for their Hyacinth macaws.

Length: 40 inches( about 1 meter)

Weight: 3-3.5lbs (Between 1.55 and 1.6kg)

Wingspan: Around 4 ft 

Lifespan: 50 to 60 years

Eclectus parrots- Top Parrot Species in Terms of Size

2. Eclectus Parrots

These striking birds also deserve to be on this list, thanks to their massive size.

Eclectus parrots are sweet-natured, docile birds.

They’re great with kids, but they don’t enjoy a lot of noise.

They’re also lively birds who require plenty of room in the cage to move about. 

These birds are generally pleasant and calm, but they need a caregiver who can keep them on a consistent daily schedule.

When they are trapped in a cage that is too small, they become restless and destructive.

Length: 17 to 30 inches

Weight: 13 to 19 ounces

Wingspan: 8 to 10 inches

Lifespan: 30 years in captivity

Sulphur-Crested Cockatoo - top parrot species in terms of size

3. Sulphur-Crested Cockatoo

The largest cockatoos are greater sulfur-crested cockatoos. Sulfur-crested cockatoos grow to be 15 inches long.

Even though they aren’t as enormous as the other parrots, they are still among the largest.

Unless your sulfur-crested cockatoo is allowed out for long periods, large cages are essential for housing. 

This parrot needs to spread its wings without striking the sides of the cage.

Sulfur-crested cockatoos are usually friendly, but they require time to adjust to being handled.

They don’t get along with kids, especially those who want to stroke their pets.

Length: 15 to 20 inches

Weight: 12 to 31 ounces

Wingspan: 40 inches

Lifespan: 20 to 40 years

Umbrella Cockatoo- top parrot species

4. Umbrella Cockatoo

Umbrella cockatoos are affectionate pets who enjoy being pampered.

They adore cuddling with their owners and have a strong bond with them.

They do, however, require discipline and boundaries.

Their personality might shift since they are fickle birds.

They can be playing one minute and screaming and nipping the next.

Because of their great size, they require a solid, well-built cage with lots of room for them to play.

They will become angry and aggressive if they do not have enough space. Because these cockatoos have a penchant for pulling out their feathers, they are prone to do it in tight areas.

Length: 18 inches

Weight: 18 to 26 ounces

Wingspan: 22 inches

Lifespan: 60 years in captivity

African Grey

5. African Grey

They’re one of the most well-known parrots on the planet.

To keep an African grey as a pet busy, attentive, and mentally challenged, you’ll need to provide plenty of toys and puzzles.

African greys are also easily stressed and require a peaceful environment to live in.

They prefer to have their cages against a wall where they may hide, and they enjoy roaming about in it.

These birds are also known for their advanced intelligence. But we’d talk more about that later. 

Length: 9 to 14 inches

Weight: 11 to 19 ounces

Wingspan: 18 to 20 inches

Lifespan: 80 years in captivity

5 Smallest Parrots You Could Ever Find

If you prefer tiny birds that you can hold in your hands, these are the smallest parrots you might find suitable for you.

Parrotlets - smallest parrot

1. Parrotlets    

The Parrotlet is the world’s tiniest parrot species.

It comes in a variety of shapes and sizes, each with its own set of characteristics.

However, they all have one thing in common: they can make fantastic pets when cared for properly. 

Parrotlets require a lot of socialization time and exercise.

So, those who adopt them should have plenty of free time to devote to them. Some of them can learn to speak, but even those who can’t tend to have huge personalities. 

Amazon parrots are their closest relatives.

Therefore, it should come as no surprise that Parrotlets can delight parrot fans with their hilarious personalities.

Length: 3 – 5.5″

Weight: 18 – 28 g

Lifespan: 20 to 30 years

Lovebird

2. Lovebird

Lovebirds are petite and compact, with a length of 5 to 7 inches. They are also 40 to 60 grams in weight. 

Their personalities are friendly and curious, and they create deep pair relationships with other lovebirds and their owners.

Lovebirds don’t usually learn to communicate. But they like learning tricks and charming little entertainers in other ways.

There’s a common misconception about lovebirds that they must be kept in pairs for them to thrive. However, that’s not always the case.

The majority of Lovebird owners have discovered that solitary Lovebirds make better pets than pairs.

It is because single birds form attachments and bonds with their owners rather than with other birds.

Length: 5 – 7 inches

Weight: 40 – 60 g

Lifespan: 15 to 25 years

Budgies

3. Budgies/ Parakeets

Long regarded as one of the most popular pet bird species, the Budgie (“Parakeet”) is one of the smaller types of real parrots.

They can be an excellent choice for parrot lovers who aren’t quite ready for a giant bird.

They like learning new tricks and are quieter than most other hookbills.

While Budgies require more play and exercise than larger parrots such as Macaws or Cockatoos, they may be kept in much smaller cages.

That’s why these birds are popular as companions for folks who live in apartments or have smaller spaces.

Length: 7 – 8″

Weight: 30 – 40 g

Lifespan: 7 to 15 years

Bourke's Parakeet

4. Bourke’s Parakeet

Bourke’s parakeets are not just tiny, but they also have a laid-back, peaceful demeanor. It indicates that they are silent. They also make beautiful tunes that are enjoyable to listen to. However, they need a calm environment because they make high-pitched squeals when frightened.

Bourke’s parakeets like engaging with their humans as well. They form intimate bonds with them, but they can also keep themselves entertained. In an individual cage or small aviary, make sure your bird has plenty of room to play.

Bourke’s parakeets are most suited to living with budgies, finches, and cockatiels due to their small size.

Length: 7 – 8″

Weight: 45 g

Lifespan: 5 to 8 years

Meyer's Parrot

5. Meyer’s Parrot

Despite their small size, they have a stocky build and can weigh up to 120 grams.

They’re quiet, tranquil birds with a variety of soft chirps and high-pitched tweets.

They can be trained to repeat things they hear and become skilled talkers with the correct training starting at a young age.

Meyer’s parrots are keen observers as well.

They like to sit and watch the world go by, but they also require some human interaction.

Length: 8 – 9″

Weight: 120 g

Lifespan: 25 years or more

Top Parrot Species in Terms of Intelligence

What makes parrots more appealing is their ability to learn and mimic human words. Some can even understand and speak different languages. If you feel like you’re into intelligent birds, here’s a list of options for you.

Top Parrot Species in terms of intelligence- Amazon Grey

1. African Grey Parrot

Many parrots can speak by mimicking their humans.

But what makes African Greys unique and truly intelligent is their ability to understand human words. 

One example of an intelligent African Grey parrot is Alex, a bird subject of a 30-year long study. 

He could speak, identify colors, numbers, and shapes, and has learned over 100 words in his vocabulary.

But they’re not just brilliant.

These birds are also smart enough to help a bird in need.

African grey parrots are the first bird species to pass a test that requires them to recognize when another animal requires aid and when to provide it.

According to Désirée Brucks of the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich in Germany, only bonobos and orangutans have passed this test. 
Even chimpanzees and gorillas didn’t manage to pass at it.
Special skills/talent: They can understand the meaning of words, count, tell jokes, laugh, and speak foreign languages.

Top Parrot Species in terms of intelligence- Macaws

2. Macaws

Striking Macaw parrots are not just well-known for their beauty and long lifespan, for they also got the brains. 

These birds are among the top parrot species in terms of intelligence because they can communicate and utilize tools when solving problems.

Additionally, they can recognize the change of emotions through observing their owner’s facial expressions. 

Special skills: They can read expressions, solve problems, and use tools

Top Parrot Species in terms of intelligence- Cockatoos

3. Cockatoos

These musically-inclined birds are among the top parrot species with remarkable intelligence because of their ability to innovate instruments using resources around them. 

For example, they can create drumsticks out of twigs and seed pods. 

On top of that, they can also unlatch most standard locks and learn complex tricks. 

No wonder why they’ve managed to dominate television shows as well, including David Letterman and Johnny Carson.

Special skills: They can create musical instruments, unlock locks and learn complex tricks.

Top Parrot Species in terms of intelligence- Budgies

4. Budgerigars 

These tiny birds also made it into this top parrot species list because of their ability to learn up to 100 words and phrases. 

Yes, these tiny birds have more to offer other than their colorful plumage. 

These birds can also communicate logically as one of them said, “I can’t wait until four,” when his owner told him that he can’t get out of his cage until four. 

Another smart Budgie is Victor, who has learned about 800 words, which is impressive for a tiny bird. 

Special skills: They can learn over 100 words and communicate in context.

Top Parrot Species in terms of intelligence- Amazon parrots

5. Amazon Parrot

Amazon parrots come in various colors and sizes, but they’re all clever, intelligent, and affectionate.

These birds can also perform a variety of difficult feats and jobs. They can also almost precisely imitate human voices.

For example, an Eclectus parrot can sing and even learn complete songs.

These birds make excellent pets because they are amusing, intelligent, trainable, and attractive.

Special skills: Amazon Parrots can mimic human voices almost perfectly and perform complex tricks and tasks.

Commonly Asked Questions

How Long Do Parakeets Live?

The average parakeet can live between 6-12 years. This really depends on how well you take care of them, genetic disposition, and diet.

How Long Do Parrots Live?

Parrots depending on if they are wild or captive can live between 10-50 years. Their lifespan actually is extended when they live in captivity vs the wild.

This is why some people’s parrots outlive them. That’s why it’s important to know before you invest in a parrot.

How Long Do Macaws Live?

Because they are such large birds, Macaws can live between 30-50 years in the wild, and even longer in captivity.

Are Blue Macaws Extinct?

Yes and no. The Spix Macaw became extinct in 2018 in the wild, but there are some birds that are in captivity being used in breeding programs. BUT there have been other people trying to introduce this bird in different countries around the globe.

Do Parrots Bite?

Yes, but parrots bite not just to bite.

Since these birds have few ways of communicating and they use biting as a way to express themselves.

Conclusion About Top Parrot Species

So, there you have it! Those are the best parrot pet options that you can choose from. There’s still a plethora of choices out there.

But always remember that the more prominent and wiser the parrot is, the needier they become.

Those with longer lifespans also need longer commitments. So, if you’re a newbie pet bird owner, we recommend starting your journey with tiny, low-maintenance birds like Budgies and Parrotlets.

But if you have the means of grooming, training, and raising a parrot, then you’re all set for an incredible experience of being a large parrot owner.

So, what bird from our top parrot species list stands out to you the most? Please share it with us in the comment section below.

READ NEXT: Quick Guide for Beginner Bird Owners – 8 Bird Facts You Should Know

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