8 of the Most Exotic Pet Birds

Green Aracari (Pteroglossus viridis)
Michael Fitzsimmons / Getty Images

Many people are familiar with the most common and popular types of pet birds, such as budgies, finches, and cockatiels, but naming some of the more uncommon and exotic pet species can be a challenge. Whether you are researching these rare species in the hopes of adopting a unique pet or you are merely curious, you'll find some of these birds to be extremely unusual. Here are eight of the most exotic pet birds in the world.


Some of these larger bird species have specialized care requirements such as large ground habitats or high flight enclosures that make them less than ideal prospects for the average bird owner.

  • 01 of 08

    Black Palm Cockatoo

    Black Palm Cockatoos

    Jim Bendon / Flickr / CC By 2.0

    A bird that is as equally impressive as it is uncommon, the Black Palm Cockatoo is an eye-catching species that originates, like all cockatoos, in Australia. These very large birds are highly intelligent, but they aren't known for being especially affectionate. It is important that they receive proper training in order to make suitable pets. Black Palm Cockatoos are only recommended for highly experienced owners of large challenging parrots; this beautiful but bold bird requires a bold owner.

    Species Overview

    Length: 20 inches

    Weight: 31 to 42 ounces

    Physical Characteristics: Very dark, smoky gray to black body, beak, feet, and legs; very long, dark crest; bright red patches of bare skin on cheeks; intimidating upper beak

  • 02 of 08

    Victoria Crowned Pigeon

    Victoria Crowned Pigeons

    Tambako the Jaguar / Getty Images

    Beautiful and unusual, Victoria Crowned Pigeons are very large birds, and yet, they are actually quite gentle and easy to tame. They need wide spaces in which to live and can be challenging to keep for this reason. While their dipping bird dances are intriguing, they spend much of their time running on the ground, so they cannot be kept caged like many pet bird species. Keepers of these birds must provide them with an expansive room or enclosed yard so that they are able to get the exercise they need to thrive.

    Species Overview

    Length: 29 inches

    Weight: 5.5 pounds

    Physical Characteristics: French blue feathers, a dark mask, and maroon breast; a lighter shade of blue on the wings; a crest of dark blue lace with vivid white tips, red eyes

  • 03 of 08

    Golden Conure

    Golden Conures
    PollyDot / Pixabay

    Also known as the Queen of Bavaria Conure, the large, colorful, and striking Golden Conures are truly a sight to behold. But as too many of these birds have been captured from the wild, they have become endangered so they are increasingly hard to come by in the pet trade. They are considered rather uncommon as a result. While there are breeders that offer these birds for sale occasionally, all sales of Golden Conures are strictly regulated. It can be difficult to locate one. The survival of this species is not assured.

    Species Overview

    Length: 14 inches

    Weight: 8 ounces

    Physical Characteristics: Bright yellow body; dark green tips of flight feathers; pink legs and feet

  • 04 of 08

    Australian King Parrot

    Australian King Parrots
    Magee / Pixabay

    A beautiful and uncommon bird from Down Under is the brightly feathered Australian King Parrot. They are the only parrot species with an entirely red head. Highly intelligent birds, they can form close bonds with their owners but seem to be a little more resistant to affection than other types of birds. These birds are good candidates for owners who have plenty of experience keeping and working with the hard-beaked hookbills. As very large birds, they need plenty of space to exercise and play in order to thrive in captivity.

    Species Overview

    Length: 16 to 18 inches

    Weight: 9 ounces

    Physical Characteristics: Bright red plumage on the heads and chests, vivid green feathers on the backs and tails, and blue feathers underneath the wings (male); green feathers on the heads, backs, and chests, red bellies, patch of blue on the rumps (female); gray feet and legs

    Continue to 5 of 8 below.
  • 05 of 08

    Archangel Pigeon

    Pigeon breeds such as the Archangels, Kings, Fantails, Tumblers, and Homers are smart, beautiful, and gentle birds. They’ve been selectively bred and tamed, and while they can’t survive in the wild, they thrive as pets. The splendid Archangel is considered first and foremost to be a color variety. This shimmering pigeon claims a long history. Going back as early as the 13th century, this breed of pigeon has evolved alongside the monarchies of many European countries.

    Species Overview

    Length: 13 to 14 inches

    Weight: 12 ounces

    Physical Characteristics: Bronze or gold body with wings of black, white, or blue; unfeathered legs and dark orange eyes; possibly crested

  • 06 of 08

    Green Aracari

    The Green Aracari is one of the smallest members of the toucan family. Toucan keepers know how difficult these birds are to keep in a home; many more hazards are involved with them than with even the large parrots. First, with a need for a constant supply of ripe, fresh fruit, these birds are expensive to feed. A toucan's fruit is also flung about all day long, so walls near aracari enclosures must be washed often. Moreover, toucans will ingest any sort of dangerous, life-threatening objects, so vigilance is key. Lastly, these birds fly quickly and directly into handlers' faces; goggles or protective eyewear are a must.

    Species Overview

    Length: Up to 13 inches

    Weight: 4.5 ounces

    Physical Characteristics: Black head and neck (males); bright chestnut head and neck (females); bare turquoise skin in front of eyes, red skin behind the eyes; yellow, dark red and black bill

  • 07 of 08

    American Crow

    Crows and ravens are in the family Corvidae; they are the incredibly intelligent black and shiny birds of worldwide literature and folklore. However, corvids are protected and illegal to own as pets in the United States and in many other countries. Wildlife authorities are aware that if they were allowed to be pets, nest robbers would sell baby birds and wild populations would plummet as has been the case with many parrot species in many countries around the world.

    Species Overview

    Length: Up to 18 inches

    Weight: 11 to 22 ounces

    Physical Characteristics: All black; stout beak, black legs and feet, brown eyes

  • 08 of 08


    Kdsphotos / Pixabay

    Possibly the most uncommon of the pet birds are the owls. While owls are commonly depicted as loyal pets in books and movies, in reality, they are simply not suited to life in captivity. All owls are antisocial, lone hunters that do not bond with people, and they bite. But perhaps the most important factor is their unique dietary requirement. In order to stay healthy, these raptors must be fed whole rodents on a daily basis; attempting to supplement or change their diet inevitably fails. Coupled with the fact that keeping captive owls is illegal without special permits in all of North America and most of the world, it's no wonder that they are very uncommon pets.