8 Worst Pet Bird Species for Kids

Eclectus Parrot, Eclectus roratus polychloros, green and red parrot sitting on the branch, clear brown background, bird in the nature habitat on Western Papuan Islands, New Guinea in Asia.
Ondrej Prosicky / Getty Images

If you're looking to add a pet bird to your family and you have kids, it's helpful to avoid the species that could overwhelm or even injure a child. While there are exceptions to every rule, certain bird species tend to do better with an experienced adult to meet their needs. Some of these birds are prone to biting when provoked while others are rather sensitive and don't appreciate rambunctious children. Here are eight bird species that might be best to steer clear of if you have kids.


Most tame pet birds rarely bite out of aggression. But birds use their beaks for grasping, climbing, and exploring—occasionally on their caretakers. This might be unsettling to a child, especially with a large bird species.

  • 01 of 08


    blue-and-gold macaw on a cage

    ngirish / Getty Images

    Macaws are large, powerful parrots that demand a lot from their caretakers in terms of time and attention. In addition, they are equipped with massive beaks that could severely injure a small child, even if the bird was only trying to play. Macaws also tend to be quite noisy, which might be too chaotic for a home with kids.

    Species Overview

    Length: 30 to 36 inches 

    Weight: 28 to 46 ounces

    Physical Characteristics: Green forehead fading into teal on nape, back, tail, and wings; yellow chest and underside of wings; large black beak (blue-and-gold macaw)

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    two umbrella cockatoos preening

    Tannie Teh / EyeEm / Getty Images

    Although cockatoos are known to be very affectionate birds, they bond strongly to their caretakers and require lots of socialization. A young child most likely has school and other responsibilities that would take them away from their bird. Plus, a cockatoo's beak is capable of producing a very powerful bite that could seriously injure little fingers.

    Species Overview

    Length: 18 inches 

    Weight: 16 to 26 ounces

    Physical Characteristics: Primarily white plumage; pale yellow on wings and tail; large white crest; black beak (umbrella cockatoo)

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    Amazon Parrot

    Amazon parrot on a branch

    LuismiX / Getty Images

    Amazon parrots require lots of space to exercise and play. They also need to spend ample time socializing with their caretakers. Otherwise, they might become depressed or develop destructive behaviors, such as feather picking. While they are great talkers, their care demands often outweigh this novelty in the eyes of many children.

    Species Overview

    Length: 15 to 17 inches

    Weight: 16 to 23 ounces

    Physical Characteristics: Green body; yellow head; red at the wing bend; tan beak; white rings around the eyes (double yellow-headed Amazon)

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    Eclectus Parrot

    female eclectus parrot on a branch

    Eric Kilby / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

    The Eclectus parrot is typically easygoing, but it might be too sensitive to tolerate energetic children. These birds often bond strongly with their caretakers and need to spend ample time with them. They also prefer to adhere to routines, which might not be possible with children's activities. Although they're typically loving birds, they can deliver a damaging bite if provoked.

    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)

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  • 05 of 08

    African Grey

    African grey parrot

    retales botijero / Getty Images

    African grey parrots often have the intelligence level of a young child, and for this reason, a child probably isn't the best choice for their caretaker. These sensitive birds do well with gentle, patient adults, especially those who have sufficient time to interact with their birds. They need lots of mental and physical stimulation to remain happy and healthy.

    Species Overview

    Length: 9 to 14 inches

    Weight: 11 to 19 ounces

    Physical Characteristics: Mostly gray plumage with pale edging; black beak and bright red tail (Congo African grey); tan upper beak and maroon tail (Timneh African grey)

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    Ringneck Parakeet

    Indian ringneck parrot in a tree

    Neha Gupta / Getty Images

    When properly tamed, Indian ringneck parakeets can have charming and comedic personalities. But they do have a reputation for being somewhat nippy and difficult to train, especially during adolescence. Even tame birds usually aren’t highly affectionate and might disappoint kids looking for a hands-on pet. They’re also highly intelligent and need a caretaker who will challenge them mentally and physically.

    Species Overview

    Length: 14 to 17 inches

    Weight: 4 ounces

    Physical Characteristics: Green plumage; blue tail; yellow under wings; males have black and rose rings around their necks

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    two sun conures on a perch

    Prasit photo / Getty Images

    Conures typically are intelligent and energetic birds, and they’re capable of making some shrill screams that surely will interrupt a young child’s nap time. Tame conures can be very affectionate pets, as long as all family members handle them correctly. But these birds can be quite assertive when they want and can quickly turn aggressive if something upsets them.

    Species Overview

    Length: 12 inches

    Weight: 4 to 5 ounces

    Physical Characteristics: Bright orange and yellow with highlights of green and blue; black beak and feet; white circles around eyes

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    Crimson Rosella

    Crimson rosella in grass

    Steve Shattuck / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

    The crimson rosella is typically not the species for people with limited bird experience, as it’s not easy to tame. These birds must be correctly handled on a daily basis for them to remain friendly with their human family members. They also might be nippy, especially during adolescence. And they’re quite intelligent and curious by nature, which can get them into trouble if their caretakers don’t keep them in a bird-safe area.

    Species Overview

    Length: 10 to 14 inches

    Weight: 5 ounces

    Physical Characteristics: Red with patches of blue on face, wings, and tail; black feathers highlighting back; females have green on tail