Small Parrot Breeds (With Pictures)

small parrot breeds

Wondering what the small parrot species are? Here are the small parrot breeds that you can check out.

Owning a small-sized parrot has its fair share of benefits which includes being able to carry them around either in your handbag or pocket.

Also, smaller-sized parrots (i.e. parakeets) are a great option for beginner bird owners, as they are more forgiving and easier to care for compared to larger parrots.

They are without a doubt, wonderful additions to any household.

Here is a list of small parrot breeds.

Small Parrot Breeds

Buff-Faced Pygmy Parrot

Buff-faced pygmy parrot is considered the smallest parrot in the world with a length of just 8 to 10 cm (3.1 to 3.9 in), which is just the size of a human thumb.

It weighs about 0.41 ounces.

Unfortunately, these breeds of parrot don’t make a good pet.

This is because they have a unique and unusual diet of lichens and fungi found in bark, both of which aren’t easy for owners to buy.

Although unique and beautiful, these little parrots have become impossible to domesticate.

Many attempts have been made to domesticate them in the past, but that has resulted in these birds succumbing to early deaths.

This is majorly due to the unavailability of their unique diet in captivity.

Also, zero flock members and less activity in captivity contribute greatly to their discomfort.

They can be domesticated but giving utmost attention to their diet and other needs would be necessary for their survival.

Parrotlets

At 4½–5 inches long, the Parrotlet is considered the world’s second-smallest parrot specie after the pygmy parrot.

It comes in several varieties, each with its unique characteristics.

One thing, however, that they all share is that, when given the right care, they can make wonderful pets.

Parrotlets require a lot of exercise and socialization, so adopters should have a lot of spare time to spend with them.

Some can learn to talk, and those who can’t usually have a large personality that shines through.

The Parrotlets’ closest relatives are the Amazon parrots, so it’s no surprise they delight parrot lovers with their funny character.

Parrotlets live 20 to 30 years in captivity, which is a long time commitment for anyone considering adding one to their family.

Canaries

The canaries are the descendants of Finches, deriving their name from the Canary Islands located off the coast of northwestern Africa.

It is 3-4 inches long.

A canary might be the right pet for you if you are more of a hands-off pet owner.

With their gentle nature and sweet sounds, canaries can appeal to anyone, even if they don’t like to be held. They are entertaining to watch.

Another reason for their popularity is that male canaries are amazing singers. They can fill a house with bird songs during springtime.

Even if you have two male canaries, they will compete for the best song.

Both birds, however, must be kept in separate cages during the breeding season to avoid fights.

It’s possible, but not recommended to keep them together outside of breeding season.

Female canaries don’t sing, but they do make cute chirping noises, and they can be kept together without any problems.

It’s best to avoid keeping male and female canaries together, especially if you don’t want babies.

The canaries come in many colors, including pure yellow, bright red, brown, and white.

There are also different types of canaries: some have sleek feathers, while others have feathers that resemble mop tops.

Their lifespan is about 10 years.

Finches

Finches are small, compactly built birds with an average length of 3 to 10 inches.      

The smallest ‘true’ finches in the world are Andean siskin and lesser goldfinch.

For many years, finches have been kept as pets.

Probably the first domesticated finch was the Bengalese or society finch, which is still popular today. 

Finches, like their cousins, canaries, are hands-off pets, but they can be a delight to any household.

They are known for their chirps and songs, as well as their variety of colors and personalities.

Their lifespan is approximately 10 years, making them easy to care for.

A zebra finch is a gray and white bird with an orange beak and cheek patches on the males. And it is one of the most popular finches.

The Society finches (known for their gentle natures), and the Lady Gouldian finches (known for their bright colors) are also very popular.

Unlike canaries, finches need at least one other finch to thrive. They are extremely social animals and need to live together.

Due to their small size, it’s easy to keep a whole flock of finches together in a bird cage.

You should, however, try to keep birds of the same species together as certain finch species will pick on other species when given the opportunity.

Generally, Finches do not require much handling as they are uncomfortable to human touch.

Since these cute little creatures hardly demand any cuddles from their owner, this makes them a great choice for bird lovers who have a busy lifestyle.

However, they do, require a spacious enclosure that gives them the freedom to fly freely for a good wing exercise session.

Budgie (Budgerigars)

Considered the World’s Most Popular Pet Bird, the tiny Budgie (also known as “Parakeet”) is one of the smallest breeds of parrot.

It has a small size of around 6 to 7 inches from beak to tail and weighs about 30 to 40 grams on average.

It is a good choice for parrot enthusiasts who feel that they aren’t quite ready for a very large bird. It is beginner-friendly.

The budgie can learn to talk quite well, and some have even developed a vocabulary that consists of hundreds of words.

They are the smallest talking parrots in the kingdom.

They also love to learn tricks and are quieter than most other smaller parrots.

Although Budgies require space to play and exercise, they can be housed in much smaller cages than larger parrots like Macaws or Cockatoos.

Because of this, they are often chosen by apartment dwellers or those who have smaller or cozier living quarters.

Budgies typically live 7 to 15 years in captivity.

Cockatiels

lutino cockatiel in grey background

The Cockatiel is slightly larger than some of the other parrots on this list as it grows to 12 or 13 inches from head to tail.

The Cockatiel is a popular small parrot that delights bird owners (young and old alike) with their playful personalities.

They enjoy spending time with their owners and need plenty of time each day to play, exercise, and socialize outside of the cage.

Cockatiels are sometimes known to learn a few words, but most of the time they mimic household sounds such as telephones and doorbells rather than human speech.

They are highly trainable and respond well to positive reinforcement.

A cockatiel typically lives 15 to 25 years in captivity.

Small Conures

While most Conure species are medium-sized or larger, some small Conure species can also make great choices for those looking for a small parrot.

These include the Black-Capped Conure, which is only 10 inches long, and the Half-Moon Conure, which is even smaller.

They can be louder than some of the other species listed here, but they are extremely intelligent, bond strongly with their owners, and enjoy learning tricks and playing games.

Conures also have a long lifespan as a healthy Conure can live as long as 20 years in captivity.

Lovebirds (African lovebirds)

Hails from Africa, the beautiful colors found in Lovebird feathers are one of the things that make them such popular pets. Their beauty is unmatched.

They range in size from just over 5 inches to just over 6½ inches, making them among the smaller parrot species.

There are many types of lovebirds, and with proper training and socialization, they call all make great pets.

Lovebirds don’t normally learn to talk, but they can be delightful little performers in other ways.

It is a popular misconception that Lovebirds must be kept in pairs. This is not true at all.

Lovebird owners have generally found that single Lovebirds make better pets than pairs as they tend to bond with their owners rather than with another bird.

The average lifespan of lovebirds in captivity is 15 to 25 years.

Bourke’s Parakeet

Bourke’s parakeets are not only small, but they have a relaxed and placid personality which shows their quiet lifestyle.

They can however emit high-pitched squeals when startled. So they need a chilled-out home.

These birds also produce sweet melodies.

They enjoy interacting and bonding closely with their owners, but they can also entertain themselves.

Bourke’s Parakeets measure 7-8 inches and are of similar size and shape to budgies.

Considering their small size, they are best suited to living with budgies, cockatiels, and Finches.

They have an average lifespan of 5-8 years.

Senegal Parrot

Small in size, Senegal parrots grow between 9 and 10 inches in length.

Despite this, they are relatively heavy, weighing between 113 and 170 grams on average.

Senegal parrots are divided into two subspecies:

  • P. s. Senegalus: Known for its yellow chest.
  • P. s. Vesteri: Distinguished by its orange and red chests.

Although their average lifespan is between 20 and 30 years, some have lived up to 50 years.

Despite their small size, they need around 2-3 hours of enrichment daily.

Senegal parrots thrive in a cage that measures at least 20 x 20 x 28 inches.

But since Senegals need space to stretch their legs and wings, the bigger the cage, the better!

Meyer’s Parrot

Meyer’s parrot is closely related to the Senegal parrot.

They’re less well-known, but a bit smaller, measuring 8-9 inches.

Although petite, they can weigh as much as 120 grams which makes them a heavy breed compared to their average length.

They are calm, quiet birds with an abundance of soft chirps and high-pitched tweets.

They can be taught to repeat words they hear at an early age, and with the right training, they can become capable talkers.

Meyer’s parrots are also keen observers, and despite not minding watching the world go by, they do need a fair amount of human interaction.

They become loving and affectionate when you socialize with them.

Blue-Headed Pionus Parrot

The Pionus parrot with the blue head is the smallest of the Pionus parrots.

It’s about 10-12 inches long and 250 grams in weight.

Because these birds have a stocky build, they can appear larger than they actually are.

The average lifespan of a blue-headed Pionus parrot is 30 years.

Pionus parrots scream sometimes, but their screams are low in volume, so they shouldn’t bother your neighbors.

They are well-known as one of the quietest tiny parrots.

And despite their reputation for being independent, they form strong bonds with their owners.

Although they enjoy playing with toys and with their owners, they’re more easy-going and quieter than some other parrot species.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing because it means they’ll fit in better with families who want a more relaxed pet.

White-Fronted Amazon Parrot

They are the smallest of the Amazon species.

They are 10 inches long and 220 grams in weight and have a lifespan of up to 50 years.

Don’t be deceived by their size; white-fronted Amazons are known for their larger-than-life personalities.

They’re happy to approach strangers even in the wild which is because they are a playful, confident, and curious breed.

They also form strong bonds with one another in captivity.

This can lead to them being one-person birds, which can be problematic for other family members.

Hahn’s Macaw

Hahn’s macaws are also known as red-shouldered macaws.

Though not exactly small, they remain the smallest of all macaws and belong to the mini macaw parrot group, according to the American Federation of Aviculture.

Hahn’s macaws are powerful birds with strong beaks and jaws, despite their small stature of 12-14 inches.

They can bite through even the flimsiest of cages.

They weigh between 140 to 165 grams.

They’re light birds who don’t require a large cage. The cage should be at least 34″ wide, 24″ deep, and 36″ tall.

Despite their small size, these parrots make a lot of noise. They scream frequently, especially when they are scared.

As a result, they’re not well-suited to living in an apartment. They are, nevertheless, entertaining birds who enjoy being active.

What Is the Smallest Breed of Parrot?

The Buff-faced Pygmy parrot is the smallest breed of parrot. It is a tiny species of bird weighing about 0.41 ounces and with a height of 3.4 inches.

They are indigenous to Papua New Guinea and West Papua, Indonesia.

These bright green birds are fairly understudied and are known mainly for their status as the world’s smallest parrot.

Their population is stable and they are listed under Least Concern on the IUCN Red List.

What Is the Best Small Parrot for a Pet?

Depending on your age and personality, the Budgie or Cockatiel is the best small parrot for a pet. For instance, the Cockatiels are better companions for the elderly, while the Budgie will make a better companion for the young ones.

Budgies can provide the constant playful support that keeps children busy through the day, and they will continue to vocalize as long as they play.

They are known to vocalize a lot more than the Cockatiels.

A Budgie will be full of energy and will be more prone to flying around and indulging in playful activities.

A Cockatiel on the other hand is relatively low in energy. It vocalizes during the day and spends a lot of time just sitting around and looking at things.

So, you would do better to go with the Cockatiel, if you do have a noise concern on your mind.

What Is the Best Small Talking Parrot?

The Budgie is considered the best small-talking parrot. It is capable of learning hundreds of words, far more than many parrots several times their size.

Although it can take some practice to get them to start talking, with patience and consistency, the owner’s effort is sure to be rewarded with a bird that constantly chatters using human words.

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