10 Things To Know Before Having Parrotlet As A Pet

The Parrotlet has rapidly gained in terms of its popularity as a pet. The main reasons for this are its small size, great personality, beautiful color, and calm voice. If the individual bird is well socialized, it will be a charming and loving companion who enjoys a cuddle or at least a scratch on the head.

They are intelligent birds, but this is not the species that can be obtained if you want a ‘talker’.

Some Parrotlets learn a few words or even simple phrases, but most don’t. The other downside to these feathered pets is that they bite and the less socialized they are, the harder and more often they bite!

Here is a list of 10 main things you should know before having parrotlet as a pet:

1. Lifespan Of A Parrotlet

In the wild, the Parrotlet has a lifespan of up to 10 years. If well cared for in captivity, they can reach 20 years or even, in very rare cases, 30 years. However, the standard life expectancy for the pet parrotlet is 12 to 18 years.

This amazing longevity must be kept in mind when considering these birds as pets, as it means that they are a long-term investment of time, effort, and money.

2. Socialization

It should be kept in mind when considering getting parrotlet as a pet bird that, like exotic or non-traditional pets, is not the product of hundreds of years of domestication. This means that they require much more time and effort to socialize than a dog or cat. They can become aggressive and destructive if they are not handled often enough.

Furthermore, they need an environment that matches their natural environment as much as possible and, more importantly, allows them to carry out natural and instinctive activities.

With Parrotlets, these include having space to fly and a habitat that allows foraging.

Failure to provide this is likely to result in a bird that is anxious, shy, unwilling to be manipulated, and that bites or nips much stronger and more often than a happier, more socialized pet.

It is preferable to get a young bird so that it can get used to being manipulated, and therefore socialized, from the start. Socializing with an older bird that has not had this takes much longer and success is not guaranteed.

As with any socialization and/or training program, it is essential to reinforce or reward good or desired behavior. You must not punish bad or undesirable behavior or lack of desired behavior; just ignore it.

The best boosters for Parrotlets, and many other pets too, are food in the form of special treats and affection and play.

Socialization in the form of play, manual feeding, and handling must occur daily so that the bird is happy and remains socialized.

3. One Parrotlet Or More?

There is a simple answer to the question of whether you should buy one or more parrotlets. Unless you plan to have an aviary stocked with a flock of Parrotlets and/or breed them, then you should only get one bird.

The reason for this is that if you have a couple of birds, they will understandably bond with each other and neither will need or want affection or time from their owner. While this may be appropriate for some, most want a pet that is friendly.

4. Male Or Female?

Unlike some pets, it doesn’t matter if you have male or female parrotlet. How good a pet is for a bird is entirely up to socialization and has nothing to do with gender.

5. Personality

Parrotlets owners and breeders agree when it comes to the range of adjectives they use to describe these pintsized parrots.

They are described as smart, comical, sweet-natured, playful, affectionate, intrepid, energetic, cheeky, daring, curious, and, if not socialized, they handle themselves daily and are given enough attention, they can be aggressive and nippy.

There is a danger associated with the fact that they are curious and very active. As the owner, you should be constantly aware of where your Parrotlet is, as it can easily sit, stand, or be injured.

While it is necessary to spend time with these little birds on a daily basis, they are also happy to be left alone if they have interesting habitat and toys to play with. If they don’t, they will get bored and can get a little destructive.

6. Behavior

It can be very helpful to understand what behavior is normal and what is not. This may inform how to interact with your little feathered friend and help him to notice when he is not well.

Feeding behavior in juvenile parrotlets

There are a couple of behaviors that may seem alarming or worrisome but are perfectly normal. All serve to protect the young bird or obtain food.

Young birds use vocal calls (chirping) to ask for food. This causes the mother bird to regurgitate food.

Parents also shake their heads to keep food flowing. Defensive behavior in very young birds that have not yet been weaned involves ‘growling’ and swaying from side to side.

Both are designed to scare off intruders or predators. They both stop once the young bird has been weaned.


Generally speaking, this species is not noisy at all. They can make a little louder shriek if they are scared or afraid, but otherwise, the chirps and other calls they make are soft.

Social noise

Chatting with each other, particularly at dawn and dusk, is an important part of group dynamics in flocks of birds. These calls are necessary for group cohesion and are often accompanied by mutual grooming, further strengthening bonds within the group.

Pet birds are not really tame and will continue their wild or natural activities. Therefore, you should expect a Parrotlet to be more vocal at these times of the day.

Since their voices are small, these calls are unlikely to bother you and certainly will not cause ructions with neighbors!

Dusk is considered by many bird owners to be the ideal time to spend social and bonding time with your pet.


All birds bite, but the less socialized a bird is, the more often it will bite and the more painful it will be for the recipient!

Pet bird bites in an act of self-defense and very rarely aggression. It may also be that a bird is using its beak to grab or get up instead of biting for biting’s shake.

Birds that are used to, and even enjoy, being handled will be unafraid and therefore unlikely to bite.

Since you can’t punish a pet bird for biting, the solutions are socializing and training and avoiding biting.

Parrotlet owners who are chronic and severe biters may need to consult an avian breeder or veterinarian for advice on how to handle the problem.

Sleeping Habits

Small birds like this species don’t necessarily need a nest box or a special perch. As uncomfortable as it sounds, they are often very happy to sleep as they hold onto the sidebars of a cage or aviary with their feet and beaks.

As tempted as you may be to move a bird to a more comfortable sleeping place, you shouldn’t, as you may not be accommodating again that night.

Inappropriate Sexual Behavior

Sexually mature birds that have become closely attached to their owner or, conversely, birds that have not been socialized and do not have a suitable mate may exhibit mating behavior that is abnormal.

In either case, the Parrotlet will attempt to mate with objects such as fingers, hands, toys, or objects in the cage or aviary. While this behavior may seem harmless, it should be addressed.

The most frequently suggested and adopted action is the removal of the object that is the target of this behavior. The second option is to get a suitable species mate.

However, other more subtle solutions can be used, such as changes in diet, training, and even changes in lighting. A Parrotlet vet or breeder can advise you on the best recovery course to stop and prevent this type of behavior.

Compulsive Or Obsessive Behavior

As with some people, individual birds can develop a pattern of behavior that is habitual, consistent, and appears to be without reason or reason. In birds, these actions often take the form of rocking, rocking, or rocking the body or head; pacing, or even spinning or running in circles.

The first step should be to carefully observe the nature and frequency of the behavior and then take the bird to a vet.

Symptom notes or a behavioral video will help the vet conduct an evaluation. It is important to rule out a medical reason for the behavior. If the problem is not illness or disease, the Parrotlet may be bored or unhappy.

The remedy here would be to spend more time with its owner, toys or other objects to play with, or a companion or companion of the same species. A more interesting diet also helps in some cases.

7. Parrotlets And Other Birds

There are some basic facts and simple guidelines when it comes to parrotlets and other birds.

As noted above, these highly social and gregarious little birds need company, although they can be left very happy alone for part of each day. Some breeders claim that a single bird needs at least two hours a day with its owner and out of its cage to keep it from feeling lonely and unhappy.

While these small parrots can be kept with a companion or, if the environment is appropriate, in a small flock, they should not be kept with birds of a different species.

The only exception is the budgies, and even then, it may not be a happy combination. You would have to keep an eye on them to make sure they got along well.

Parrotlets do not know that they are very small and will attack birds much larger than themselves. This can have serious consequences for one or both birds. Aggression levels increase in breeding times in both male and female parrotlets.

8. Parrotlets And Other Pets

This should go without saying, but … a bird should never be out of its cage or be left alone if there is a cat or dog in the room or area.

Even domesticated pets still have predatory instincts and one of them is hunting or at least playing with birds.

There are bacteria and viruses that live naturally in saliva and under the clutches of healthy cats and dogs. These are deadly to birds, so death could even result from a small scratch.

9. Parrotlets And Children

Children can certainly benefit from learning about the responsibility that comes from pet ownership and care. However, parrotlets are not ideal pets for young children.

Little children are not always aware of their strength and can accidentally injure or crush a small bird when they ‘love’ it. Also, these pint-sized birds can bite very hard and will likely do so if they are clumsy or fearful.

If you have a child or children and a Parrotlet, it is essential to monitor their interactions and teach the child what to do and what not to do. This could save pain and distress in general!

10. Costs Of Owning A Parrotlet

Depending on the species, you will pay in the region of $100 – $300  (£72 – £215) for a Parrotlet (and considerably more for a rarer color).

Be careful when buying or relocating a lower-priced “Pre-owned” Parrotlet, as it may be an older or unhealthy bird and you will have no way of knowing how well-fed, healthy, socialized and behaved it is.

Other one-time costs for a pet bird that will not be used for breeding include:

  • A suitable flight cage: $69.00 – $414.00 (£50.00 – £300.00)
  • Food and water bowls: $5.50 -16.50 (£ 4.00 – £ 12.00) each (it is recommended that you buy 2 of each)
  • Toys: $2.75 or £2.00 each or £30/£41.00 for a multi-toy package
  • Cuttlefish: $4.80  (£3.50) for a pack of two
  • Nesting box: $9.65$22.00 (£7.00- £16.00)
  • Perches: $2.00 – $2.75 (£ 1.50-£ 2.00) each.

Ongoing expenses like food are difficult to estimate because it depends on the diet you select for your pet parrotlets. However, a bag of parrotlet pellets costs, in the region of $9.65 (£7.00) for a 1 kilogram / 2.2-pound bag.

There are expenses that one can predict to some extent. But there are others, such as veterinary bills for illness or injury, that cannot be predicted.