8 Top Gentle Pet Bird Species

Zebra finch
Tom Stewart/ Getty Images

While all pet birds have the capability to bite and cause a ruckus, certain species tend to be more friendly and gentle than others. When properly tamed and cared for, these birds often are affectionate with their caretakers and lack a propensity for biting. Some are fairly active while others maintain a more relaxed disposition. Here are eight of the most gentle birds to keep as pets.


Remember, every bird has a unique personality. Individual birds can be nippy or difficult to tame, regardless of their species.

  • 01 of 08

    Pionus Parrot

    Blue-headed pionus parrot flying

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    Beautiful and soft-spoken, pionus parrots have gained a reputation for being some of the most gentle pet birds. While they are highly intelligent and thrive in social settings, they tend to be more independent than some other species. This typically makes them a little less moody than parrot species that demand attention. Pionus parrots are very active birds and will readily burn off energy with bird-safe toys.

    Species Overview

    Length: 11 inches

    Weight: 8 to 9 ounces

    Physical Characteristics: Blue head and neck; green body; black patches over ears; red on underside of tail; black beak with red sides

  • 02 of 08


    pet dove in a food dish

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    Doves are seen as symbols of peace and love around the world, so it should come as no surprise that doves are among the most gentle bird species. Indeed, these quiet, sweet-tempered birds make excellent pets and are even a good choice for apartment living. They tolerate handling well but don't demand attention from their caretakers.

    Species Overview

    Length: 11 to 13 inches

    Weight: 5 to 8 ounces

    Physical Characteristics: Plumage of dull grays and browns; black collar around nape of neck; black eyes and beak; mutations include white, orange, and pied (ring-necked dove)

  • 03 of 08


    pet budgies standing together

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    Budgies (or parakeets) are another great choice for those who prefer a gentle feathered friend. While they might bite when they're upset, their tiny beaks are hardly capable of doing much damage. And with proper training and handling, budgie bites can become quite a rare occurrence. These social birds love to spend time with their caretakers and delight in play with toys or even learning to talk.

    Species Overview

    Length: 6 to 8 inches

    Weight: 1 ounce

    Physical Characteristics: Green abdomen; black and yellow back; yellow head; dark blue tail; mutations include blue, yellow, white, and gray

  • 04 of 08

    Hyacinth Macaw

    Hyacinth macaw on a branch
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    Although it is the largest of the macaws, the hyacinth macaw's sweet and even personality has earned it the "gentle giant" moniker. These birds have large, somewhat intimidating beaks that are capable of cracking coconut shells. But properly raised hyacinth macaws don't tend to bite as often or as readily as many other parrot species.

    Species Overview

    Length: 40 inches

    Weight: 42 to 51 ounces

    Physical Characteristics: Solid blue plumage; yellow patches around eyes and beak; black beak; dark gray feet

    Continue to 5 of 8 below.
  • 05 of 08


    Zebra finches in a cage

    Tom Stewart/Getty Images

    With finches, it's their caretakers who must be gentle, as they are rather fragile little birds. In most cases, finches do better as hands-off pets. So if holding a bird is not important to you, consider getting a small finch flock of your own. Provide finches with as large of an enclosure as possible, so they can get their exercise, and enjoy their pleasant chirps and peeps throughout the day.

    Species Overview

    Length: 4 inches

    Weight: 0.5 ounce

    Physical Characteristics: Black and white throat bars, orange cheek patches, and red-orange beak (male zebra finch); gray coloration throughout the body and less vivid beak (female zebra finch)

  • 06 of 08


    Eclectus parrots in a tree
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    The eclectus is a large parrot species that's known to be an affectionate bird. These birds thrive on socialization with their caretakers and might become jealous if they feel they’re being ignored. Some people say a male eclectus is more affable while a female eclectus might become nippy, especially if she’s nesting. But the female birds also tend to handle stress better, which can make them less likely to lash out.

    Species Overview

    Length: 17 to 20 inches

    Weight: 13 to 19 ounces

    Physical Characteristics: Primarily emerald green, red and blue under wings, and orange beak (male); primarily bright red, blue on chest and tail, and black beak (female)

  • 07 of 08

    Bourke's Parakeet

    Bourke's parakeet in a tree

    Greg5030/Wikimedia Commons/CC By 3.0


    Native to Australia, Bourke’s parakeets tend to be gentle, good-natured pet birds, especially when they are hand-fed as babies. They’re usually most active and chatty around dawn and dusk, and they remain fairly mellow for the rest of the day. Although they are social birds, they typically won’t be demanding of your attention.

    Species Overview

    Length: 7 to 9 inches

    Weight: 2 ounces

    Physical Characteristics: Brown-tinted plumage; pink abdomen; blue rump; yellowish-brown beak; males have blue crowns while females have white

  • 08 of 08


    cockatiel on a girl's shoulder
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    Cockatiels long have been popular pet birds for their affectionate, gentle demeanor. These birds are playful and active, and they love to whistle and mimic household sounds. Although a cockatiel that hasn’t been properly tamed might be nippy, the species generally is very friendly around people and tolerant of being held. 

    Species Overview

    Length: 12 to 13 inches

    Weight: 3 ounces

    Physical Characteristics: Gray body; yellow face and crest; orange cheeks; long tail; mutations include albino, lutino, pied, and cinnamon