Picking my First Bird


New member
May 1, 2017
Hi everyone!

I'm sure this is an extremely common topic, but I would like to ask for specific advice pertaining to my life and picking a bird that is perfect for me. BACKGROUND BLAH BLAH: I'm 19 years old, and I commute to college from my parents house. In the future I plan on moving into my own apartment in or around a city. My family has owned many pets over the years (horses, dogs, and before I was born Cockatiels), but I'm looking to get a pet of my own to have while I transition into living on my own. I wasn't entirely exited about owning another dog or getting a cat, so I've been researching into owning a bird.

In the research I've done, I narrowed down my search to picking between a Poicephalus or a Conure. And more specifically, a Senegal or a Green-Cheeked/Maroon-Bellied. I am still very open to other suggestions from others, but I have made a list of specifications for why I picked these species. The primary reason I'm making this post is to hear from people more experienced than me that my reasoning for these selections are sound.

NOTE: I have a bad habit of going overboard in writing too much information. Great for when I need to write essays, bad when I'm sharing "brief" information with strangers online. Sorry ahead of time for the really long post, and thank you if you do stick around to help.

1.) I want a bird that will be a social pet
This is personally the most important thing to me. I plan on living alone for quite a while, and am not really looking to live with other people (spouse, kids, roommates, etc.). Thus, I want a bird that will actually keep me company, though I don't particularly care if it likes ONLY me (I understand some birds have problems with strangers or other animals). Though it may sound counter intuitive, one of the main reasons I shied away from cats and dogs is because of this. While I know some dogs and cats are very social and friendly, my family's dog and many of my friends' dogs are lazy pets who would rather sleep in the other room than spend time with others. I understand that birds probably have a similar range and personality is not entirely dependent on the species, but the individual. Regardless, this is the primary reason I first considered a Conure as a possible candidate, and why I'm not interested in Canary's, Finches, Lovebirds, and certain Poicephalus (Poicephali?).

2.) I don't mind a chatty bird, but I can't have a loud bird
I've never minded the idea of living close to other people (noise doesn't bother me), but I do plan on living alone. The result of this is that I would like a bird that won't shy away from constant interaction, but won't annoy other neighbors while doing so. Yet another reason I'm not interested in a dog, this is really the only element that is unfortunately mandatory with no exceptions. This almost entirely turned me away from Conures, until I learned about GCCs and MBCs.

3.) Other species-specific requirements
I have many relatives who own or have owned lower maintenance birds (including my parents) and am already doing extensive research to ensure this goes as smoothly as possible. Though one thing I am concerned about is if there are things I do or can't do that may hurt the bird. This comes out to be two things. First, I don't want multiple birds or other pets. To my understanding, some birds enjoy or even need another companion, which I cannot do. Second, while I won't do it often, I would like a bird that can travel and be around others. I'm not personally a fan of taking long distance traveling vacations, though I would like to be able to visit family on occasion, and thus would need to bring my bird along. It doesn't need to be social, but be OK with being away from home and/or around others. I would still pack its normal cage, but I would need to keep it in a travel cage for a long drive (potentially 5-7 hours). This in particular has made me concerned about getting a Red Bellied Poicephalus among others, as I don't want a bird that's afraid of new things.

1.) Habitat
As I have stated, I will likely be in a small apartment, but I will give priority placement/size of any cage regardless of where I move. I will leave the cage open as often as possible while I am home, and be as social as my pet needs me to be.

2.) Species-specific abilities
Mostly what I mean by this is I don't care if I have a talented pet. Speaking ability or ability to do tricks is low on my list of cares. So long as my bird loves me it can be as dumb as a brick and I will still love it.

3.) Pet difficulty
One of the things I see the most on any pet advice website/forum is people rating pets on a "difficulty" chart. While I'm not one to ignore such advice, I am very willing to put up with training and caring for a high maintenance pet. This does not mean I am dumb enough to torture both myself and my poor pet due to my lack of experience, but I am willing to put up with a sassy or mischievous Conure, or any other species normally not intended for first time owners. This is primarily my self-instated rule to ensure I don't bite of more than I can chew, so no Cockatoos or Macaws.

Still here? TLDR, I want a personal companion who I can spend all of my time at home with, but is respectful of other people.
From what I have seen on this forum and other websites, I am to the point of deciding between a few possibilities. Once again, I apologies for making the selfishly long post but I greatly appreciate any feedback/advice anyone can give on the subject. Thanks!


Supporting Member
Aug 21, 2010
San Diego, California USA, Earth, Milky Way Galaxy
Goffins: Gabby, Abby, Squeaky, Peanut, Popcorn / Citron: Alice / Eclectus: Angel /Timneh Grey: ET / Blue Fronted Amazon: Gonzo /

RIP Gandalf and Big Bird, you are missed.
Welcome to the forums, thanks for an insightful introduction! I am not familiar with the personalities and specific bonding aptitudes of either species, though they have strong attributes and are sufficiently small to fit your broad requirements.

All of the research possible cannot overcome some of the wild-cards associated with parrots. The likelihood of bonding with you is reasonable, and one of the advantages of adopting a young hand-fed baby. Parrot development is in stages, and the process of physical maturation can alter their preferences. I don't believe either species is terribly noisy, always a consideration with apartment life. There is never a guarantee they will meet our expectations!

You seem sufficiently mature to have evaluated the forthcoming changes in your own life. Sometimes it is hard to project 30+ years into the future, though that is the potential arc of life with a parrot.

Beyond clinical analysis, you'll find spending quality time with prospective species will be helpful. Finding a nearby shelter, pet shop, or breeder to get to know them better will be extremely beneficial!


Supporting Member
Jul 10, 2015
Western, Michigan
DYH Amazon
I'm an Amazon Snob and to me, there is only one Parrot and that is an Amazon. That all said, if I was forced to select another Parrot and more specifically, a smaller Parrot, it would likely be a Cockatiel. This based on a larger than life personality and a wide range of ability of just keeping the you tied into them. They socialize quickly and therefore quickly adjust to just you to several people.

Traveling with a Parrot, is based more on taking your Parrot with you often. Start with short trips and increase from there. Most Parrots adjust to traveling quickly because their mind is designed to see the World move by quickly.

Regardless of, which Parrot species you choice. Let the Parrot choice you!!! If you are some place and there is ten Parrots around you. Most people will say, I like that one (for whatever reason), all the while right in front of you or just off to the side is a Parrot that is making every effort to connect with you. See that Parrot, let that Parrot come to you or you move to her or him and if they just keep coming - your likely got choose! Set the parrot back down and if it come right back to you, yup very possible.

The vast majority of the first week with a Parrot is spent on developing a want for a Parrot to be around you. Building a Trust Bond with you, a relationship! If the Parrot has already chosen you, your ahead of the others.


Well-known member
Jan 27, 2017
Iowa, USA
2 cockatiels
Hello and welcome to the forums!! It's great you seem to have done your research, thought things out and have narrowed down your search.

We've had lots of college aged people posting lately about acquiring a bird as they begin the next phase of their life. While parrot ownership is great, it is not recommended for everyone. That being said, I would not recommend you get the birds you've listed if you are living in an apartment. I owned a Jenday, and boy did he like to screech sometimes! Your neighbors might not enjoy that.

You'll also find that many of the members here are home-bound, as in, many are pretty much home a lot of the time, if not home all day, or at least have someone at home. As a college student going to live on their own, you will presumably be gone for most of the day with classes, correct? While it isn't impossible to own a bird and attend college, this isn't exactly ideal if no one else is living with you.

Another scenario I like to play out for people...say you're busy with college and you have your bird you've always wanted, you're managing to balance everything, and then you graduate. Hooray! You did it. But then you get a full-time job. Gotta pay the rent somehow and buy groceries and pay those vet bills, right? So while you're busy with your new job and working for most of the day to pay bills, guess who is at home alone most of the day? That's right, your bird. And what happens if your beloved bird starts getting upset from not being able to be outside its cage and see you as much anymore and starts screeching and screaming all day long? What happens if you get evicted?

At 19, you are at the age in your life where everything is fluid. You're just starting a new phase in your life and will now have the responsibility of keeping something not only alive, but healthy, happy, well-socialized and quiet (for your neighbors sake). But what happens if you want to travel? What happens when you get a boyfriend/girlfriend and you now have to divide that time into two? What if your bird hates them?

Not meaning to derail your dream whatsoever, but my advice to you is to really think about this decision, really think hard about it. Think about WAITING until your life is more solid and concrete.
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