All parrots are not the same – some are biters and aggressive, while others are mellow. In this article, I look at 15 parrots that make for the friendliest pets that you can take home.
Parrots are one of the most popular pets on the planet, after dogs and cats.
But they also get a bad reputation at times because some owners report them to be aggressive and destructive.
While almost all pet parrot species can learn to be friendly and affectionate with training, there are few for whom these traits come more naturally.
In this article, I look at 15 parrot species that are particularly friendly and love hanging out with humans.
I have categorized them into small, medium, and large sizes, to make it easy for you to choose one for your home.
Friendliest Small Parrots
Standing at just three or four inches in size, the name parrotlet does justice to these birds – they are like miniature versions of their more famous parrot brethren.
While parrotlets are a diverse species, there are two that are more commonly kept as pets.
The bright green-colored bird has a unique personality – despite its diminutive size, parrotlet owners often call it nothing short of Amazon parrots.
These birds are friendly and energetic and love to spend a lot of time playing. Even then, they are not as noisy as budgies.
These birds are so smart that they can even learn to talk. They can mimic human speech and simple words. However, they are not talkative lot.
One thing to remember about them is that Pacific parrotlets need to be trained early if you want to ensure that they don’t become aggressive.
If you thought the Pacific Parrotlet was small, the green-rumped cousin is even smaller!
However, these beautiful birds are very similar in color and temperament to the Pacific Parrotlets.
They are very gentle, loving, and affectionate towards anyone that is caring for them.
Green-rumped parrotlets take a bit of time to open up to others. They need continuous training for a long time, and hence they are not good beginner birds.
Budgies, parakeets, whatever you want to call them – are easily the brightest and most colorful birds in the parrot family.
Budgies originally were yellow and bright green colored birds, but there are several varieties. Some of the more common ones include blue, grey, yellow, and white.
These birds are really quite small, but they are definitely much bigger than parrotlets. On average, most parakeets would be about 7-8 inches long.
Parakeets are extremely intelligent and fun-loving birds. They can learn how to talk, swoon to music, and dance. They are super smart and learn very quickly.
In fact, parakeets can be considered on par with larger parrots in this aspect.
Due to their smaller size, they are also much easier to keep, and of course, food, rations, and vet inspections all cost a bit less with these birds due to their size.
3. Love Birds
Love birds are a popular choice for beginner parrot owners. These birds are extremely friendly and affectionate in nature.
They come in nine species, with the more colorful ones being the most popular.
Love birds bond for life with their partner, a trait that they carry in their relationship with their owner as well.
These birds are small (only about 5.1 – 6.7 inches), and therefore you won’t need to spend a lot on cages and food.
However, they need constant attention and affection from their owners because of what I mentioned above.
They are very energetic birds with playful personalities.
You should only get a lovebird for yourself if you are willing to devote the time and effort that is needed to keep these birds engaged and happy.
Friendliest Medium Sized Parrots
Conures are attention seekers – they are always the center of attraction wherever they go.
These birds can be clever, funny, energetic, and of course, friendly.
They come in several colorful varieties, the most popular ones being yellow, blue, orange, and green.
Typically, conures are somewhere between 10 to 20 inches.
Conures are very outgoing and love to explore things. They want to see, feel and experience everything in your house and on your person.
They are also noisy and chirpy, especially around their owners. Sometimes, they can also be very loud and screechy.
However, they usually don’t have a large vocabulary (though they can talk).
These birds love company and want to go with you wherever you are going. They also demand cuddles and scritches all the time.
Conures mimic movements as well – they like to dance around when their owner enters the room.
They are also very inquisitive. Conures love picking up things and checking them out with their beaks.
These friendly, loving, and energetic birds are perfect for homes where there are a lot of people to interact with and give them company.
Cockatiels are among the most popular pets in the world, and there are several good reasons for that. These birds have extremely friendly and bright personalities.
Cockatiels come in a wide variety of colors (as many as 18 color mutations). The most popular ones include the original greys, pearls, pieds, yellow-faced, and albinos.
These birds are very smart. They can vocalize, mimic speech, learn words, and can be trained for a decent vocabulary as well.
They are not very chatty and have a soft personality – they aren’t boisterous. They are quiet companions who love to make bonds with their owners.
Cockatiels are fairly quick at learning new tricks. From the basic “step up” to whistling and jumping, they can do just about all the tricks that other parrots can do.
They are not particularly fond of public displays of affection or cuddling, but they like their stitches from time to time.
While they are not as inexpensive as lovebirds or parakeets, cockatiels are fairly inexpensive.
Moreover, they are good beginner pets because their maintenance does not require constant attention.
For example, you can leave a cockatiel at home with the TV on all day, and it won’t be all fidgety or anxious when you come back.
6. Pionus Parrots
Despite being one of the best pets by all measures, Pionus parrots are not very popular.
These birds are often outdone by the flashiness, garrulousness, and playfulness of others in the parrot species.
Measuring about 10-12 inches in length, they are in the same category as cockatiels when it comes to size.
But those who have owned a Pionus parrot always have a special place in their hearts for these birds.
These birds are usually considered the proverbial middle ground to everything – They are not extraordinary in almost any aspect of their personality.
For example, Pionus parrots aren’t as loud or chirpy as Amazons and Macaws, but they can vocalize and have a pretty good vocabulary of words after being trained.
They aren’t as cuddly and attention-seeking as lovebirds and parrotlets, but that doesn’t mean that they cannot be affectionate.
Most Pionus owners know that their bird is a bit standoffish. It respects its personal space and wants you to do the same.
But the good part about them is that their friendly and loving side can be brought out through training.
For Pionus owners, these birds are the most attentive and caring ones in their flock – but only when they are trained right from the beginning.
The best household for a Pionus is not a single-person home.
These birds can be equally friendly with multiple people, but they never grow too over-dependent on just one owner.
7. Meyer’s Parrots
Meyer’s parrots are pretty unremarkable among the hordes of colorful parrot species out there.
With their dull colors, such as brown or green, they are generally not the first ones that you will pick out from a flock.
But over the years, these birds have started to make their way into bird owners’ homes, in a large extent due to their easy-going and fun-loving personalities.
Meyer’s parrots are keen observers. They watch very carefully as you and others go about their work throughout the day.
Like Pionus parrots, Meyer’s parrots can form bonds with several people and do not necessarily become clingy to just one person.
While they are not overly cuddly or demanding, these birds can be very affectionate, and they are extremely loyal as well.
When they decide that you are their friend, they will remain friends with you for life.
8. Green-Cheeked Conures
Green-cheeked conures are very popular pets for beginners. Due to this reason, I have singled them out from the conure family here.
Their temperament and small to medium size (they are about 10 inches long) make them very attractive to new bird owners.
Moreover, you can find these birds very easily at nearly all breeders, and they are quite cheap as well.
Green cheeks don’t have an aggressive bone in their body. They will hardly ever try to nip or bite you and can be very loving and caring.
They become extremely attached to their owners, which is why it is important to ensure that they get a lot of playtime with you.
In fact, unlike most parrots, green-cheeked conures can remain loving and affectionate pets even after they have pair bonded and started a family.
Green-cheeked conures have a fairly long lifespan of about 25 years, which makes them perfect lifelong companions.
One thing that pet owners might miss, though, is that these birds do not usually learn to talk.
However, their playfulness and joking around endear them to most bird lovers.
9. Hahn’s Macaws
Hahn’s Macaws are one of the most beautiful birds in the entire parrot family.
Importantly, these birds are a hot favorite among pet owners because they are much smaller than the average Macaw, making it easier to manage them.
Measuring only about 12 to 14 inches, these birds are categorized in the middle-sized category. This is unlike most other Macaws, which I will cover in the larger-sized bird category.
But I would still put them in the large category, partly because of their large hearts and attitudes.
These playful birds are a bundle of joy to be with. They need their training, yes, but once socialized, Hahn’s Macaws can give you a lifetime of fun and companionship.
One thing to note about them is these Macaws are particularly loud, so if you don’t like such boisterous behavior, they are probably not the right bird for you.
Caiques are playful and loving birds that love to perform a little maneuver that bird lovers call “surfing.” (rubbing their bodies while perched on a human’s hand).
These birds are attention seekers but have lovely personalities and can form very strong bonds with their owners.
They also love to play games and like becoming the center of attraction – one reason why they learn tricks pretty quickly.
These birds are energetic and need to expend that energy through toys, which is why it is important to give them an adequate supply at all times.
Large Friendly Parrots
11. Amazon Parrots
Amazon parrots are again extremely popular among the parrot species, largely because their personality is simply unmatched.
These guys simply love to be playful, loud, and outgoing.
Moreover, they are able to express everything that they are feeling through their body language – be it by pinning their eyes, raising their neck and head feathers, and so on.
These birds have somewhat of a destructive streak. They love to break the toys and things that they own.
They like to swing around from their cage bars and even fight with their owners.
One of the most common things that Amazon parrots do is to arm wrestle their owners using their beaks.
It’s during these matches that they sometimes go overboard.
You have to learn when to stop the play and give your bird some time to think things over and when to encourage it to continue going.
As the owner of an Amazon, it is very important to keep an eye out for the behavioral cues that I discussed earlier.
If you don’t do that – you risk getting bitten!
While there are as many as 27 species of Amazon parrots, only about 10-12 of them are commonly kept as pets.
The most common ones are the double Yellow-headed Amazons, Orange-winged Amazons, Lilac crowned Amazons and Yellow-naped Amazons.
On average, these birds can be anywhere between 10 to 16 inches in size and usually live between 25 to 60 years.
If you have never heard about cockatoos or seen one, you may recognize them from various pirate stories – yes, they are that parrot.
These birds have a dual reputation of being both mean and aggressive and very friendly and cuddly.
The difference, of course, lies in the way they are trained. Cockatoos need to be trained regularly and often from their very early ages in order to become loving and affectionate birds later on.
If not, they end up becoming mean biters and very destructive.
While cockatoos aren’t like dogs and cats in the sense that they aren’t exactly very cuddly, these birds are very loyal. They love to always be around their owners (which is probably where the pirate imagery draws upon).
Moreover, these birds are able to learn many words and have an excellent vocabulary, which also makes them very endearing to humans.
While there are many species of cockatoos, three, in particular, are more friendly than others.
The Bare-Eyed Cockatoo
Also known as the Little Corellas, these birds are very attention-seeking and love to hang around their owners and get involved in everything they are doing.
These birds are extremely friendly, but as I said earlier, it is best to train them from an early age so that they do not become aggressive.
The Moluccan Cockatoo
Moluccans are, in fact, so attached to their pet parents that they can get destructive if they perceive the object of their affection is not giving them enough time.
The Umbrella Cockatoo
White cockatoos are both playful and friendly. They are also very clingy, but not as much as the Moluccans. They don’t do well if left alone, just like other cockatoos.
All three species are friendly and loving, but only if you give them enough time.
More than 20 species of Macaws exist in the world, and nearly all of them are very friendly and affectionate birds.
Again, training is a major factor involved in the behavior of all of the bigger parrot species, which include Macaws as well.
When socialized from an early age in the proper way, they are gentle and affectionate. But if not done timely, they can become aggressive.
Macaws have unique personalities, so it’s important for the pet owner to understand what they are all about before getting one.
They are loud and big and tend to use their size to overpower others that come near them, be it humans or other parrots.
That said, their true nature comes out over time as they become more and more attached to their owner.
These birds need a lot of toys because they tend to chew through almost everything that you give them.
Unlike cockatiels and other smaller parrots, Macaw owners know that getting toys is a significant part of the cost of ownership that needs to be factored in.
They are also very intelligent creatures that need to be challenged all the time, like dogs.
Getting them to learn to forage and providing them with food items that help this behavior is an important part of having them.
Macaws are also lungers – they use their rather large size to intimidate people by doing such things. For the trained bird, however, this is more of a game rather than having any ill will.
One of the most stunning specimens of the Macaw species is the Hyacinth. They are quite the opposite of Hahn’s Macaws (that I covered earlier) on the size spectrum – they can grow upto more than three feet!
Despite their size advantage, these birds are gentle giants. They love cuddling and getting pets and scritches from their owners.
14. Eclectus Parrots
Eclectus parrots are often described as quiet, tranquil, and friendly. Their vibrant colors and fur-like feathers make them a particularly beautiful bunch.
These birds are very peaceful and calm, unlike many others that are in the same size range (35 to 42 inches).
That is why, despite their large size, families that have children often love to keep them.
Of course, they do need a lot of space to move around, as well as care and attention from their owners. Otherwise, they tend to become restless.
They also need a lot of enrichment and toys.
These birds are intelligent and, with proper training, can develop an extensive vocabulary of words. They also love to learn and do tricks.
15. African Gray Parrots
They can learn to speak, solve problems and even apply tools for doing some things.
But their intelligence is also matched by their incredible capacity to love, a fact that makes them very popular among bird lovers.
They are attentive, loyal, and fun to be with. They are also very smart and somewhat capable of understanding human emotions through their expressions.
Frequently Asked Questions
Which parrot is least likely to bite?
It is difficult to say which parrot is least likely to bite as it ultimately depends on the individual bird’s personality and upbringing.
However, some species of parrots are known to have a more gentle temperament and are less likely to bite, such as the African Grey Parrot, the Eclectus Parrot, and the Pionus Parrot.
It is important to note that all parrots have the potential to bite, especially if they feel threatened or uncomfortable in their environment.
Proper socialization, training, and handling can help reduce the likelihood of a parrot biting.
What is the friendliest talking parrot?
The African Grey Parrot is often considered the friendliest talking parrot.
This species of parrot is known for its intelligence and ability to mimic human speech, making it a popular choice as a companion bird.
African Greys are also known for their affectionate personalities and their ability to bond deeply with their owners.
They are social birds and require a lot of attention and interaction, but their playful and curious nature makes them a joy to be around.
Overall, the African Grey Parrot is a great choice for those looking for a friendly and talkative pet bird.
What is the most affectionate pet parrot?
There are several breeds of parrots that are known to be affectionate pets, but the most popular ones are the African Grey Parrot, the Cockatiel, and the Amazon Parrot.
The African Grey Parrot is known for its high intelligence and ability to mimic human speech, making it a popular choice for those who want a companion that can communicate with them.
The Cockatiel is a smaller parrot that is known for its playful and affectionate nature and its ability to bond closely with its owners.
The Amazon Parrot is also a popular choice for those looking for a pet that is both affectionate and intelligent, as it is known for its ability to learn tricks and communicate with its owners.
Ultimately, the most affectionate pet parrot will depend on the individual bird’s personality and the bond it forms with its owner.
What is the best pet parrot for a family?
The best pet parrot for a family depends on various factors such as the family’s lifestyle, living situation, and experience with birds.
Generally, larger and more social parrots such as African Greys, Cockatoos, and Macaws are not recommended for families with young children.
They can be loud and require a lot of attention and space.
Smaller parrots such as Budgies, Lovebirds, and Cockatiels are great options for families as they are easier to handle, require less space, and are generally quieter.
However, it is important to do research and consult with a veterinarian or bird expert before making a decision, as parrots require a lot of care and attention to thrive in a family environment.
So that’s it! Please remember that each parrot has its own personality and behavior traits. Unless hand-reared, many of them also have a history. All of this impacts their nature.
The above list is just a general description that most parrot owners tend to find for their birds.
In fact, it is very much possible to find love and affection from other pet parrot species also. You just have to spend the time and effort in training the bird to bring out the best in its behavior.
With the right encouragement, patience, and proper methods, any parrot can become a loving and friendly companion to you.
Thank you for reading, and I hope you find a bird that perfectly suits your expectations!