So you’re looking for a new avian companion and wondering which parrot would best fit into your life? Picking the right parrot isn’t just about which species you find attractive or interesting; it’s about considering your lifestyle, needs, and the bird’s temperament. In today’s blog, we’ll delve into some advice and suggestions for anyone who is in a similar situation to one of our readers who moved to a cozy basement apartment in London, already has a cockatiel, and is looking for a parrot that can be independent yet affectionate.
Firstly, it’s wonderful to hear that you’ve had experience with large birds such as African Greys and Alexandrines. These birds are not for beginners, and your experience puts you in good stead for bringing another feathered friend into your home. However, your new living situation does place some limitations, mainly concerning noise levels. Parrots like Sun Conures and Cockatoos, for instance, are known to be loud and might not be the best fit for a basement apartment setting.
For those who are in a similar situation and are looking for quieter options, consider birds such as Senegal Parrots or Meyer’s Parrots. These species tend to be on the quieter side, and their vocalizations are generally softer and less piercing than some other parrot species. Both Senegals and Meyers are also known for being independent but will still enjoy spending quality time with you.
Highly Intelligent: African Grey parrots are known for their extraordinary intelligence and are often compared to young children in their cognitive abilities. They have been shown to understand concepts like numbers, colors, and even basic human language.
Excellent Mimics: Not only can they mimic human speech remarkably well, but they can also imitate various sounds, such as doorbells, car alarms, and other animals.
Sensitive Birds: African Greys are emotionally sensitive and may suffer from stress or anxiety if their environment changes abruptly or if they are not given enough attention.
Lifespan: With good care, these birds can live up to 50-60 years, making them a long-term commitment.
Dietary Needs: They require a varied diet that includes fruits, vegetables, and a lower fat seed mix, along with specialized pellets designed for them.
Medium to Large Size: Alexandrines are medium to large parrots, generally measuring between 22 to 25 inches from head to tail.
Strong Beak: They have a very strong beak, which they like to use for chewing. Providing plenty of safe, destructible toys can help keep them occupied.
Social But Independent: Alexandrines are known to be social birds that enjoy interaction but are also comfortable spending time alone, making them relatively independent.
Talking Ability: While not as skilled as the African Grey, Alexandrines are still capable talkers and can learn a moderate vocabulary.
Longevity: They also have a long lifespan, often living up to 40 years or more with proper care.
Smaller Size: Senegal parrots are smaller than African Greys and Alexandrines, typically ranging from 9 to 10 inches in length.
Quieter: Generally, Senegal parrots are quieter than many other parrot species, which can make them more suitable for apartment living.
Affectionate but Not Needy: They tend to form strong bonds with their owners but are also content to spend time alone.
Lifespan: Senegals can live up to 25-30 years, so they are also a long-term commitment.
Ease of Care: They are relatively easy to care for compared to larger parrots, needing a basic diet of pellets, fruits, and vegetables.
Sub-Saharan Natives: Meyer’s Parrots are native to sub-Saharan Africa and are accustomed to a variety of habitats, including woodlands and savannas.
Adaptable: They are highly adaptable birds and are generally less sensitive to changes in their environment compared to African Greys.
Moderate Noise Level: Meyer’s parrots are not known to be especially loud, making them suitable for those who prefer a quieter bird.
Social but Independent: Much like the Senegal Parrot, Meyer’s Parrots are known to be social yet content to spend time alone.
Diet: They thrive on a varied diet that includes fruits, vegetables, and specialized parrot pellets.
Working from home 4 days a week provides a good opportunity to build a strong bond with a new bird, but occasional office visits mean the bird should also be fine on its own for some hours. In this regard, you might want to consider Pionus parrots. These birds are known for their calm demeanor and are often content to entertain themselves when their human companions are not available. They are also less likely to scream and are generally good apartment birds.
Compatibility with your existing cockatiel, Pearly, is another important factor to consider. As you already know, Pearly has not gotten along with foster birds in the past, so it might be best to go for a species that is generally peaceful and not overly territorial. You mentioned fostering a Green Cheek Conure (GCC) who had behavioral issues. While not all GCCs are “velcro birds,” they do tend to form strong bonds with their owners and can become jealous of other pets, which might not be ideal in your situation.
You also mentioned a fondness for parakeets, and if noise weren’t a concern, another Alexandrine might have been the perfect choice. However, you could look into quieter species like the Bourke’s Parakeet or the Lineolated Parakeet, which tend to be more apartment-friendly with regards to noise. These species are generally mild-mannered and can be very sweet and interactive without being overly demanding of your time.
Lastly, while all parrots have the potential to make noise, some are more prone to “screaming sessions” than others. No parrot is guaranteed to be silent, but many species are more likely to communicate in chirps, whistles, or even talking rather than loud screams. It’s also essential to provide plenty of enrichment activities, toys, and mental stimulation to minimize any screaming out of boredom or frustration.
In summary, each parrot species has its unique temperament and care requirements, so you should choose one that best fits with your lifestyle and capabilities. Always do your research and, if possible, spend time with the species you are considering before making a decision. Consult with avian veterinarians and experienced parrot owners, as they can offer valuable insights into which bird might be the best fit for you. With your level of experience and love for parrots, you’re already on the right path to finding the perfect new companion!