8 Best Pet Birds for Busy People

Finch on swing perch


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Choosing the best pet bird for your lifestyle can be difficult. And it gets even tougher if you have a busy schedule that doesn't allow you to spend hours with your bird each day. Birds are social flock animals, and many pet bird species need near-constant companionship from their caretakers. But some species are slightly more independent or are happy with the company of other birds, allowing their caretaker to spend more time away. Here are eight birds for people with busy lives.


Every pet bird requires some daily attention (feeding, cleaning, play) from its caretaker. Be positive you have the time to meet a bird's needs before acquiring one.

  • 01 of 08


    zebra finch on branch
    Danita Delimont/Gallo Images/Getty Images

    Even busy bird lovers can care for a flock of finches. Finches are generally hands-off pets and don't need much human interaction. They do well in small flocks of three to five birds, as long as you provide them with a roomy flight cage. To meet your finches' needs, you must be able to dedicate time each day to providing fresh food and water, cleaning anything that's dirty, and making sure everyone is happy and healthy.

    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)

  • 02 of 08


    yellow canary on perch

    Dave Lewis/Getty Images

    Like other members of the finch family, many canaries would rather keep to themselves than be handled by a person. In fact, canaries are relatively solitary and do fine when housed alone or in bonded pairs. (Don't house two male canaries together, as they tend to fight.) These birds need a roomy cage in which they can fly for exercise, along with some toys for entertainment.

    Species Overview

    Length: 5 to 8 inches

    Weight: 0.5 to 1 ounce

    Physical Characteristics: Feathers of bright yellow (most common), red, orange, or white; some varieties have head crests or frilly feathers

  • 03 of 08


    girl with a white dove

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    If you're looking for a bird that can entertain itself but also enjoys spending time with people, consider a dove. Quiet and gentle, doves need at least a few hours of out-of-cage play and socialization each day. But otherwise, they tend to be happy hanging out in their cage, as long as it is large enough to allow them to get some exercise.

    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)

  • 04 of 08


    a green and a blue budgie

    Allegra Walino/EyeEm/Getty Images

    Budgies (or parakeets) are tiny parrots that offer all the personality of their larger counterparts. While their small size means less of a mess to clean, they do require ample play and socialization. Budgies should have at least a few hours each day of quality time with their caretakers to prevent boredom and loneliness. They can be kept with other birds, but then they might not bond as closely to their humans.

    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

    Continue to 5 of 8 below.
  • 05 of 08


    two cockatiels

    Fernando Trabanco Fotografía/Getty Images

    Cockatiels are intelligent, friendly birds that form strong bonds with their caretakers. You must have at least a few hours each day to interact with your bird, or it might become depressed or engage in destructive behaviors, such as feather picking. However, these birds also can pass many hours of the day playing with toys in a roomy enclosure.

    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

  • 06 of 08


    Steve Littlewood/Getty Images

    Lovebirds are social creatures, and they can become a bit nippy without regular handling. So you must have the time to interact with your bird for at least a few hours every day. While they need out-of-cage exercise, they also can spend many hours playing with toys in their cage.

    Species Overview

    Length: 5 to 7 inches

    Weight: 2 ounces

    Physical Characteristics: Short tail; somewhat stocky build; many color varieties, including green, blue, peach, yellow, and white; the face and body usually bear different colors

  • 07 of 08


    blue-headed pionus flying

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    Pionus parrots have a reputation for being quite friendly with their caretakers, as well as somewhat independent. They are very active birds that need a roomy enclosure and at least three hours of daily out-of-cage exercise. But their independence allows them to remain happy if they must be left alone for some of the day.

    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

  • 08 of 08

    Bourke's Parakeet

    Bourke's parakeet in a tree

    Greg5030/Wikimedia Commons/CC By 3.0


    Bourke’s parakeets tend to be quiet, mellow birds that are less active than many other parakeets. They often are most energetic at dawn and dusk and then prefer to take it easy for the rest of the day. That can be an ideal scenario for a person who works during the day but can give their bird attention in the mornings and evenings.

    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