An umbrella cockatoo clinging to the side of its enclosure.

How to Choose the Right Habitat Size for Your Pet Bird

As the place where your pet bird will likely spend the most time, it’s crucial to choose an appropriately sized cage or aviary. A common pitfall is housing birds in cages that are too small, which can not only impede the bird’s comfort and happiness, but may also pose a safety risk. In the following video recorded in celebration of National Pet Bird Day, Dr. Kemba Marshall, DVM, DABVP (Avian) offers some expert advice on choosing the right habitat size for your pet bird.

As Dr. Marshall explains, a good rule of thumb is to purchase the largest habitat that you have space for. At a minimum, birds need to be able to extend their wings end to end without touching any part of the habitat. The macaws shown in the video have plenty of room to fly within their aviaries—and as Dr. Marshall notes, they are very vocal, which indicates that they are content.

Here are a few more guidelines to keep in mind when choosing a habitat size for your bird:

Basic Guidelines

If you don’t have room in your home for a habitat that will allow your bird to fly around, the Merck Veterinary Manual recommends choosing one that is at least one and a half times the bird’s wingspan in width, depth, and height. This will ensure that your feathered friend has space to move and stretch without risking injury to their wings or tail feathers, and will minimize stress, which can lead to behavioral problems.

Multiple Birds

If you plan on housing more than one bird in the habitat, increase the space requirements appropriately. Remember that every bird has a unique personality and temperament—don’t assume that birds of the same species will necessarily get along when placed in the same habitat. If you’re unsure whether two or more birds can live together, ask your avian vet about methods for safely introducing them.

Bar Spacing

The right bar spacing is also important for preventing injury. In general, larger birds will require larger gaps between the bars of their habitats.

Searching for the ideal habitat for your avian companion? Check out our locator tool to find a pet bird retailer near you!