Key Characteristics of 5 Popular Pet Birds

One of the most exciting things about having a pet bird is that each individual bird has their own unique personalities, characteristics, and behaviors. However, if you’re considering adding a feathered friend to your household, understanding the common traits of different bird types can help guide you to the best bird for your lifestyle. Here are some key characteristics of five of the most popular types of companion birds:


Also known as budgerigars or budgies, parakeets are among the most popular pet birds worldwide. Weighing only about an ounce and growing to seven inches in length, these small, colorful birds are known for their playful personalities and ability to mimic sounds and speech. Parakeets thrive on social interaction and can form strong bonds with their human companions. With proper training and socialization, they can become affectionate pets, often enjoying perching on shoulders or fingers. Parakeets are relatively easy to care for and are an excellent choice for first-time bird owners. Other key traits of parakeets include:

  • Average life expectancy is approximately 12-14 years.
  • While parakeets found in the wild are primarily green and yellow in color, those bred in captivity come in a range of hues, including blue, green, gray, yellow, and violet.
  • Due to their small size, parakeets require less space than many other types of birds, making them ideal for owners with more limited room.


Cockatiels are beloved for their friendly and gentle nature, making them ideal companions for families and individuals alike. Recognized for their distinctive crest and orange cheek patches, cockatiels are highly social creatures and enjoy spending time with their human flock. They are intelligent birds that can be trained to perform tricks and mimic sounds, such as the ringing of a telephone. Cockatiels thrive on mental stimulation and benefit from having toys and activities to keep them engaged. Here are a few other fun facts to know about cockatiels:

  • Cockatiels live to be around 15-20 years old.
  • They are medium in size, weighing approximately 2.5-3.5 ounces.
  • The crests on cockatiels’ heads provide them with a unique ability to communicate how they’re feeling—cockatiels may raise their feathers when they are surprised or excited, while flat feathers indicate that they may be agitated.


Finches are small, active birds known for their cheerful yet generally soft chirping and colorful plumage. These sociable creatures are best kept in pairs or small groups, as they enjoy the company of their own kind. Finches are relatively low-maintenance pets, but do require a spacious cage with plenty of perches and adequate room to fly; for this reason, horizontal cages tend to be a better option than vertical cages. While they may not seek out human interaction as much as other species, finches can still make delightful pets, adding beauty and liveliness to any home with their playful antics. If you’re considering a finch as a pet, you can also expect the following traits:

  • A life expectancy of up to 10 years.
  • A small size of only about half an ounce and 5-6 inches long.
  • Compared to other types of birds, finches tend to crave the company of other finches—so you may want to consider a pair!


Aptly named for their strong pair bonds and affectionate nature, lovebirds are known for their vibrant colors and playful personalities. These small types of parrots thrive on social interaction and enjoy spending time with their chosen mate or human companion, requiring plenty of mental and physical stimulation to prevent boredom. Despite their generally sweet personalities, lovebirds can be territorial and may display aggression towards other birds, so it’s essential to provide them with adequate space and attention. Other characteristics of lovebirds include:

  • They can live up to 20 years.
  • They weigh approximately two ounces and measure 5-6 inches in length.
  • Like parakeets, lovebirds are often recommended for first-time bird owners—although their sociable natures and propensity for bonding means they may require a lot of attention.


Conures are energetic and charismatic birds that bring a burst of color and personality to any home. Known for their playful antics and vocalizations (which may be a drawback if you prefer quiet or live in a home with shared walls), these medium-sized parrots are highly social and form strong bonds with their human flock. They enjoy being the center of attention and thrive on interaction and stimulation. While conures are intelligent and can be trained to perform tricks and even talk, they require plenty of mental and physical enrichment to prevent boredom and behavioral issues. Here are a few other things to know about conures:

  • When well cared for, conures can live for 20 years or longer.
  • Conures are a group of parrots that share similar traits, rather than a single species; therefore, they can range in color and size, from 10-15 inches long and 3-9 ounces on average.
  • While conures originate from South and Central America, the now-extinct Carolina conure was significant as one of the only parrots native to the United States!

Want to learn more about these and other popular types of pet birds? Check out our bird type fact sheets, or take the pet bird quiz to find a species that may be right for you!