Popular Bird Reference Guide

I cannot say enough to please remember that all birds require a lot of time and love to become the joy and new family member you are looking for. Before making the quick buy at your local pet store and bringing a new bird into your home… PLEASE do your homework and learn everything and all you can about the bird’s needs, behavior, how much everything will cost up front and how much you need to spend on food and finding the best bird cage type and location for your cockatiel or any bird species. Go talk to local popular bird breeders, talk to an avian vet, attend bird shows, ask questions and read all you can before making the final call. I wouldn’t trade all my cockatiels and parrots for anything despite the noise level throughout the day lol.


Probably the best all around inexpensive companion birds. These bright and lively birds are very gentle and social. Males become fluent speakers and whistlers although more independent. Females are generally quieter and more social, but not as good a talker.

Common Varieties: Grey, Lutino, Pied , and Pearl
Native Habitat: Australia
Height: 10 to 12 inches from top of crest to tip of tail
Life Span: 15 to 25 years
Sex Differences: When mature males are usually more colorful than females
Cage Requirements: Minimum size 18″H x 18″W x 18″D


The most common and inexpensive of all pet birds. Playful and fun these little guys are a joy to have. Parakeets (also known as Budgies) are hardy and quiet birds that can even learn to talk.

Native Habitat: Australia
Height: 7 inches from head to tip of tail
Life Span: 7 to 15 years
Sex Differences: After 4 months, cere becomes blue in males, brown in females
Cage Requirements: Minimum size 12″H x 14″W x 12″D


Well known for their beautiful song and brilliant coloration, especially during breeding season. These birds will certainly brighten any room they placed in.

Common Varieties: American Singer, Border Fancy, Red Factor
Native Habitat: Canary Islands and Azores
Height: 5 to 7 inches from top of head to tip of tail
Life Span: 5 to 14 years
Sex Differences: Males have loud song and vent becomes enlarged during breeding season. Females rarely sing and vent only swells slightly.
Cage Requirements: Minimum size 12″H x 10″W x 12″D

These delightful little birds will add excitement and color anywhere. Simple to keep and care for, but they do best in pairs. Some peep or sing softly, many can be finger trained.

Common Varieties: Lady Gouldian, Society, Zebra
Native Habitat: Found worldwide
Height: Generally 3 to 6 inches from top of head to tip of tail
Some varieties develop quite extended tail plumage
Life Span: 4 to 5 years
Sex Differences: When mature males are generally brighter colored or differently colored than female. Some varieties show no differences.
Cage Requirements: Minimum size for a pair 14″H x 36″W x 10″D

Amazon Parrots

Probably the most popular group of parrots available today. These birds are generally very social and loving. These fun-loving birds will appreciate a variety of toys. Always try to purchase young birds, as older parrots can be difficult to tame and train. Some Amazons can make quite a lot of noise, especially in the early morning and late evening hours.

Common Varieties: Blue Fronted, Double Yellow-Head, Lilac Crowned, Spectacled
Native Habitat: Mexico, Central and South America
Height: 10 to 18 inches from top of head to tip of tail
Life Span: 25 to 50 plus years
Sex Differences: Most varieties show no sexual differences
Cage Requirements: Minimum size 24″H x 18″W x 18″D

African Grey Parrots

Talking and mimicry are these birds’ best known traits. They can learn an incredible amount of words, phrases and sounds. Young birds bond very well with humans, sometimes developing a preference for a single person. Quite loving and intelligent, these birds are a real joy to have, but do require a lot of attention.

Common Varieties: Red Tail, Timneh
Native Habitat: Central Africa
Height: 12 to 13 inches from top of head to tip of tail
Life Span: 50 plus years
Sex Differences: No visible sexual differences
Cage Requirements: Minimum size 24″H x 18″W x 18″D


The best known and most often seen of the larger pet birds. Macaws are very intelligent, can develop an extensive vocabulary, and can be taught many tricks. These beautiful animals are often the feature attractions in bird shows. Macaws require a lot of attention and training. They can be prolific chewers and can become very noisy. Very affectionate birds, often developing very strong bonds with their humans.

Common Varieties: Blue and Gold, Green-Winged, Hyacinth, Noble, Scarlet
Native Habitat: Mexico, Central and South America
Height: 12 to 40 inches from top of head to tip of tail
Life Span: 25 to 50 plus years
Sex Differences: No visible sexual differences
Cage Requirements: Minimum size 24″H x 18″W x 18″D for smallest varieties
Minimum size 48″H x 48″W x 36″D for largest varieties


Every bird lover is familiar with this group of white colored birds. As a group they are quite loving and can become moderate talkers. They love people and need social interaction. They sometimes bond with only one family member. Cockatoos are very intelligent, are active chewers, and can be quite mischievous. Powder from feathers can sometimes trigger allergic reactions in people. Daily misting can help eliminate problem.

Common Varieties: Goffin, Greater Sulphur-crested, Moluccan, Umbrella
Native Habitat: Australia, Indonesia, and Phillipines
Height: 12 to 26 inches from top of head to tip of tail
Life Span: 30 plus years
Sex Differences: No visible sexual differences
Cage Requirements: Minimum Size 36″H x 24″W x 24″D

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6 Responses

  1. Peggy on November 19th, 2009 5:39 am

    Awesome guide – keep up all your good work!!!!

  2. kevin on July 11th, 2010 5:02 am

    You have answered so many of my questions and me and my son was able to go to the store and choose the right cockatiel and perfect cage for him/her (we don’t know yet).

  3. patrick on January 11th, 2011 5:04 am

    really enjoyed reading this blog post because i was just going crazy to know this? I am always trying to find good information. thank you.

  4. Dr. Cockatiel on June 3rd, 2011 9:35 am

    So glad to hear you enjoyed the guide. Makes it all worth writing it hearing comments like yours. Thank you again.

  5. aga on August 23rd, 2011 4:58 am

    No lovebirds in the list? Well, they can be a handful. Agreed that cockatiels are the best especially for first time pet owners. Thank you for this site and this post, it is very helpful for newbie tiel owners like me.

  6. Dr. Cockatiel on September 10th, 2011 7:52 am

    Aga, there is no list of birds. The only species of bird I talk about on this website are cockatiels but I don’t dislike other types of birds lol. Over my lifetime from age 1-current. I’ve owned and cared for over 50 cockatiels in my lifetime from when they were babies to adults up to 15+ years old.

    I Over 35+ years, I noticed so many changes in a cockatiel itself but also noticed how many similar things and traits they have kept over such a long period of time. I enjoy writing about them and know how confusing things can be when buying your first bird.

    I love all birds and although I only write about cockatiels on this blog but I own parrots and my basement is basically a avairy with about 20 birds of all types (you can imagine taking care and cleaning 15 cages daily and going through pounds of food a day :)

    To you question, yes I like lovebirds but only owned 2 so I don’t feel I can give the best advice on that particular breed. Thanks for reading!

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