10 Most Popular Pet Birds in India – Legalities, Price & More

In India, many people have started adopting pet birds into their family due to their growing popularity.

Birds are intelligent creatures and have an interactive nature which makes them great companions.

They are friendly, gentle and well suited as family pets. There are many friendly pet birds that bring happiness into human life and make excellent companions.

If you are looking to buy or adopt birds, then this article is for you. We have mentioned all the information that will help you make an informed decision while choosing the best yet friendly pet bird.

So, what are the best pet birds in India?

  1. Cockatiels
  2. Budgies [also known as Parakeet]
  3. Love Birds
  4. Zebra Finches
  5. Pineapple Conures
  6. Dove
  7. Hyacinth Macaw
  8. Hahn’s Macaw
  9. Parrotlet
  10. Canary

Cockatiels

cockatiel bird

Cockatiels are small parrots with a variety of colour patterns, head crest and capability of mimicking speech. They were discovered in Australia in 1770 in the northern part of the continent.

They are the smallest from the cockatoo family and exhibit many of the same features and habits as the larger bird.

Cockatiels are gentle, affectionate and have friendly personalities which make them easy to breed in captivity.

They are easy to care and tame and are great at whistling tunes if taught. Originally cockatiels have grey body with a yellow face and crest and orange cheek patch but there have been several colour mutations over the years due to breeding in captivity.

Some common variations are albino, lutino, pied, pearl, laced or opaline, cinnamon, fawn or Isabelle and silver.

There are other mutations including emerald, creamface, pastelface, whiteface and yellow cheek cockatiels. Limited or no exercise can cause fatty liver disease in these birds.

Pelleted diets are great for them as they are nutritionally balanced. A variety of fresh vegetables and fruits along with proteins like hard-boiled eggs, legumes, and cooked meats in moderation should be offered.

It is not recommended to feed these birds with avocados, chocolate, coffee, and salt.

Cockatiels are active, playful and should be kept in a large cage that is at least 20 inches square and 26 inches tall with horizontal cage bars with no more than 3/4th inch wideness.

It is important to clip their wings and nails twice a year and visit a veterinarian or breeder for the same to prevent them from bleeding to death.

The bird can be bathed or sprayed with water once a week to get rid of the powdery dust on its feathers.

Regular cleaning of the cage ensures hygiene and prevents the house from foul smell. These birds must be kept away from insecticides and pesticides residue on fruits and vegetables and the cage must not be placed near the kitchen as the fumes can kill them.

If there are respiratory symptoms like wheezing, sneezing, coughing and nasal discharge it may be a bacterial infection and the birds must be taken to an avian veterinarian.

Scientific NameNymphicus hollandicus
Common NameCockatiel, weiro, quarrion , tiel
Size12 – 13 inches [Medium]
Sound LevelLow
Life Span15 to 20 years depending on care
InteractionYes
Apartment FriendlyYes
ColourGrey, Albino, Lutino, Pied, Pearl, Cinnamon and Mixed patterns

How much do cockatiel birds cost in India? Cockatiels are exotic birds and the average cost of buying cockatiel is Rs. 4000 but it can vary as per your area, pet shop, breeders reputation. Some types like Emrald cockatiel and Lutino butterfly cockatiels are costlier and price can range from Rs. 18,000 to 80,000.

Budgies

budgie parakeet bird

Budgies are the smallest parrot species and are also known as parakeets. They are native to Australia and are extremely friendly, easy to tame and have the ability to mimic human speech.

Budgies are very gentle and docile birds and can be handled well if adopted at a young age.

They are very active, playful and make good company for each other while living in pairs.

Originally it was a light green bird with a black bar on its wings, back and head. Mature females have a tan area around the nostrils while the male has the same area in bluish colour.

There are two types of budgies that are common in pet trading – the American budgie that is commonly found in pet stores and the English budgie that has a different appearance. Due to selective breeding in the pet trade, many colours and patterns of budgies are available including violet, blue, yellow, pied, albino and the classic neon green.

It is important to feed these birds a nutritious diet and seeds should only be included as a portion of it due to their high-fat level.

Pelleted diets are great along with fresh vegetables and cuttlebone can be given for calcium. It is important to have patience while introducing a new variety of food to them as they may be scared to try them.

Avocados, chocolate, sugar, and salt must be avoided from the diet as they are toxic for them.

They need several hours of flying time in a day and a lot of toys to help in exercising and mental stimulation. They are playful yet quieter than some other types of parrots.

It is better to buy budgies directly from a breeder by paying more for a hand-reared or very young bird for an easy hand-taming process.

It must be kept in a large cage with ample room for performing daily activities, toys and flight.

Horizontal cage bars are great for climbing and exercises. There must be sufficient room for them to perch at different levels and move comfortably.

Their wings can be slightly trimmed professionally to decrease flying ability and prevent accidents.

These birds are prone to iodine deficiency or develop tumours if the diet includes too many seeds and less variety of salad.

They are the happiest when kept in pairs but can be fine as a single bird as long as they get a good amount of interactive time with their owner.

How much does a baby budgie cost in India? Baby Budgies (Parakeet) usually cost anywhere between Rs. 500  to Rs. 2,500. This is an average range of price for budgies you should expect in India. If you buying the king size budgies or exhibition budgies, you can expect the price to range from Rs. 5,000 to Rs. 7,000.

Love Birds

Lovebirds
source – wikimedia [Ripton Scott]
Love birds, also called pocket parrots, have origins from the African continent and are available in different species.

There are three most popular species that prove excellent companions for human families of bird lovers.

They are charming, loving, active, curious and feisty and playful and form deep bonds with the owner.

They can be very cuddly birds but if not properly tamed and worked on from an early age they can be aggressive.

They are known for their short, blunt tails with stockier build and are available in colours like peach, teal, white and green.

Their main body has different colours than the head and face and over the years, there have been many colour mutations in them.

They produce a loud, high pitched screech when trying to seek attention with normal chips that are not loud but they like to chatter. To maintain a tamed lovebird regular handling and training is important along with good socialization.

The cages must be at least two feet wide, two feet tall and two feet long for flight with horizontal bars for perching and exercise.

Round cages are more likely to damage bird’s tail feathers during flight and it is better to avoid them.

Providing necessary attention every day can help in strengthening the owner-bird bond and prevent unwanted behaviour.

Safe wooden, leather, acrylic toys are recommended as they are aggressive chewers and must not be given toys with small parts, clips or loose strings.

As opposed to a popular myth, it is not necessary to keep love birds in pairs as long as the owner gives enough attention to the bird.

They can be fed with fruits, grasses, seeds, vegetables and other items for a diverse diet. A cuttlebone bird treat provides extra calcium and a pelleted diet provides all necessary nutrition.

Zebra Finches

zebra finch bird

Zebra finches have their native habitats in the arid areas of central Australia, Indonesia and East Timor where they live in large flocks but they originated in Costa Rica and Portugal.

The wild flocks of this bird prefer grasslands and forests preferably close to water. These birds are easy to care for, an excellent choice for first-time bird owners and should be kept in pairs.

Zebra finches are active, highly social, fun to watch and must be kept in large cages for flight.

They do not bond strongly with people and do not like handling but may become tame with good training.

They entertain themselves without much need of attention from the owner and are suitable for apartments as they have quiet chirps.

Male Zebra Finches have black and white bars on their throat and breast, brown patches on their side and orange on cheeks. The females have grey in those areas.

The male beak is brighter in colour both male and female zebra finches have red-orange beaks. Many colour mutations have developed over the years due to selective captive breeding.

Diet must include two teaspoons of good quality finch seed mix every day, variety of fresh green vegetable and fruits.

It is advised to give pelleted food for complete nutrition, eggs, cuttlebone for calcium and never give avocados as it is toxic for them.

These birds are to be kept in pairs and if there are many pairs it is recommended to keep them in a large cage for flight and movement.

A pair of zebra finches must be kept in cages that 30 inches long, 18 inches high and 18 inches wide with ¼ inch to ½ inch wire spacing.

They have quiet chirps and peeps that are easy to tolerate which makes them suitable for apartment living. They have a variety of whistles and calls with a conversational song like chirps.

They can be provided with swings and ladders, small bells or hanging toys for keeping them entertained.

They can tolerate a wide range of temperature but the cage must not be placed in direct sunlight or near air conditioning ducts.

If the bird appears to be having difficulty breathing it is necessary to seek help from an avian veterinarian immediately.

Pineapple Conures

Pineapple conures are small in size, beautiful and intelligent with an interesting personality.

It is native to South America and is found in forests and woodland areas of Brazil, Bolivia, Argentina, and Paraguay.

They usually live in flocks of 10 to 20 birds at treetop level or in large flocks where more food is available.

They have a playful, engaging, curious and mischievous nature and are less noisy than most other parrots.

Pineapple conures are affectionate and want to spend time with their owners, they can sometimes be uncooperative. With proper training, they can be taught simple tricks quickly as they are fast learners.

Pineapple conures sport bright red feathers, bright green back and wings, olive green and red patch on the chest with a whitish ring around the neck, black plumage on the head and olive green patches on their cheeks.

They have a long tail which is usually blue or maroon. They have white rings around the eyes and the beaks and feet are black.

There have been several colour variations other than pineapple conures including turquoise, yellow-sided, cinnamon due to selective breeding in captivity.

It is not easy to care for a conure bird as they require daily exercise and socialisation. Continuous supply of fresh fruits and vegetables every day ensures good immunity against all potential diseases.

A pelleted diet ensures a wide variety of supplements and maintains optimal health.

They are prone to feather picking due to boredom and may also be affected by a nervous system disorder, feather disease by fungal or viral infection.

These diseases are easily treated when caught upon early and hence avian veterinarian visits help in identifying them.

Pineapple Conures require a large cage that is at least 24 inches square and 30 inches high for flying activities.

It must have metal bars spaced ½ to ¾ inch apart with several perches of different sizes to keep its feet healthy. More the number of birds more should be the size of the cage.

Dove

Dove bird

There are more than 300 species of doves but the term commonly refers to the ring-necked dove originating from Africa, fruits doves in Australia and mourning doves in North America.

They are friendly, non-demanding pets that can be kept indoors or outdoors. These birds are tame, domesticated, handfed and have sweet, gentle dispositions as they rarely bite or damage with their beaks.

With positive socialisation and bonding techniques, they can be calmed to be less nervous around people.

Dove are peaceful in nature and are a great choice for older children who understand how to be calm and gentle with companion animals.

Originally a ring-necked dove sports dull tones of grey and brown over most parts of its body with dark coloured nape area.

Pet doves have a variety of selectively bred colours and colour combinations like pure white, tangerine, pied, orange and white-grey combination with specific markings.

Their eyes and bill are black coloured and they have dark purple feet. These birds have similar-looking males and females, although males are slightly larger in size.

They need exposure to natural UV lights from the sunlight or supplemental lighting indoors to avoid vitamin D deficiency.

Their diet must be comprised of fruits, berries and seeds but some species occasionally ingest insects.

Their diet can be supplemented with millets, commercial pellets formulated for softbills, and a variety of bird-safe fruits and vegetables.

Doves are easily found in speciality aviary pet stores and from breeders as they are very readily in captivity.

They are quiet with soothing vocalizations and require plenty of attention and socialisation from humans and not other birds. A sing bird requires an indoor cage of at least 24 inches square and 30 inches in height or bigger.

When kept outdoors quite often, it is important that the cage must be strong enough to keep the predators out and protects the birds.

Putting swings and mirrors in the cage can be a good idea to keep the bird entertained. They do not require a lot of chewing toys but need plenty of free flight time and interaction with the owner.

Hyacinth Macaw

Hyacinth Macaw Bird

Hyacinth macaw is a beautiful, cobalt blue bird and is more common in zoos than in private homes.

It is native to the central and eastern region of South America and has populations in Brazil, eastern Bolivia and northeastern Paraguay.

It is a rare and threatened species and must be kept by an owner that can fulfil all its needs and take good care.

Hyacinth macaw is a gentle bird as opposed to how frightening it appears due to its enormous size and powerful, sharp hooked beak.

These birds are easy to train by positive reinforcement and bond strongly with their human caregivers. They have multiple varieties of vocalizations from deep growls, loud screeching to high vibrating sounds and are also capable of purring.

These birds have a beautiful deep solid blue shade with bright yellow patches around the eyes and beak.

They are difficult to care for and anyone looking for getting one can check with animal rescue organizations and adoption agencies for a bird that has been given up. They are large yet beautiful and intelligent birds who demand more time and attention than other species.

These birds are very destructive and it is important to ensure there are many wooden toys and branches to chew on in their spacious cage.

Investing in a strong, durable stainless steel cage is necessary to avoid the bird from breaking the cage into rubble with its beak.

They must be taught at an early age not to use their beak on their human caregivers no matter how gently as they have very powerful beaks.

They are often considered neurotic due to their screaming, destructive and self-mutilating behaviour. However, with good socialisation and ample attention from the owner, this bird proves to be among the friendliest of all macaw species.

They are highly intelligent and learn to use words and phrases in correct context and repeat a few of them continually.

In captivity, these birds can be fed with fruit, vegetables, leafy greens and plenty of nuts like macadamia.

They require more amounts of carbohydrates compared to other parrot species. They can also be given specially formulated species-specific pellets supplementing with the diet.

Hahn’s Macaw

Hahn’s macaw is one of the two varieties of red-shouldered macaws and is the most popular among the miniature macaws.

It is native to South America and is the smallest among the macaws. They are intelligent, charming and have a great personality in a small compact body.

They perform spirited antics that are fun to watch and their size makes them suitable for families who live in smaller space and with children.

They are very noisy and hence cannot stay in apartment living as they can be annoying for the neighbours. Though they nip a bit during young age, they are very gentle birds that grow out of that habit.

Hahn’s macaws are excellent talkers and with the right training, they can learn many words and phrases.

They speak in a high pitch but clear voice and sometimes assume the role of a morning alarm clock at sunrise.

These birds are primarily green with a dark green-bluish cap of feathers on the forehead and bright red on the undersides of their wings.

It has a black beak with beige colour in the upper beak, burnt orange eyes and white eye-rings.

It needs plenty of time devoted towards training and bonding as being neglected and bored could make them angry and destructive.

Hahn’s macaws do not require a very large cage but need ample space according to their size for fully expanding wings and flying.

They are prone to self-mutilation or feather plucking when bored, nutritional disorders, digestive disorders and bacterial infections.

Veterinary bills, quality feed, toys and cages add up to the cost of caring for these high maintenance birds.

In captivity, Hahn’s caws must be fed a high-quality pellet diet in addition to daily servings of fresh vegetables and fruits depending on their size.

They must be provided with clean water every day and they are delighted to eat leafy greens like kale and spinach. They require an adequate amount of time outside the cage to fly, play, exercise and stretch their muscles and wings.

Parrotlet

Parrotlet bird

The pacific Parrotlets are found in Central America and South America but are most prevalent in Peru and Ecuador.

They are colourful, charming and intelligent birds, also known as pocket parrots, as they are the smallest members of the parrot family. They are very small in size and is an ideal choice for apartment living.

These birds are perfectly affectionate and adorable pets with large parrot-like personality in a miniature size.

Parrotlet require a lot of attention and are often compared to love birds as they are sweet, tame and hand-fed companions.

If they are not correctly handled they may become unruly and may even behave aggressively with other birds and furry pets despite the small size.

They can be trained to perform few tricks and some can even talk few words.

They have an almost whisper-soft voice even when they are screeching or chirping and may not be bothersome to neighbours. They have tiny delicate tails, curved beaks and large heads like the larger parrots.

Parrotlets have the normal colouration of green but are also available in colour mutations like lutino, blue and albino. There are noticeable differences between males and females.

If the parrotlets are bored, they may become destructive and chew up things, nip people or begin self-mutilating behaviour.

Proper training, engaging toys and positive reinforcement will help in keeping them entertained.

These birds require socialization and handling daily to keep them tame and well behaved.

Bacteria, harmful fungus and viruses can cause avian diseases and require daily cleaning to be avoided and veterinary visits to be treated.

Parrotlets have a speedy metabolism with voracious appetites and like to have a varied diet.

Their diet must consist of fresh bird-safe vegetables and fruits, small seeds, high-quality commercial pellets, eggs and cuttlebone for calcium.

These birds are very active and require plenty of room to play with many toys for at least 2 hours a day to maintain their physical and mental health.

Canary

Canary bird

Canary is a small finch, native to Macaronesian Islands, Canary Islands and Madeira.

It was bred in captivity since the 17th century and arrived in Europe by way of Spanish sailors in 1478. However, the canaries available as pets in today’s times are different from their wild ancestors.

Canary are undemanding, charming, cheerful and great for anyone who is a novice pet bird owner.

This bird is a pleasant companion and communicates with a melodious voice. It has been bred to be available in a variety of colours, sizes and singing abilities.

The canaries are intelligent birds that can be trained to sit on the hand and perch or fly around the room.

They like being around people and can co-exist with other small birds but do not like heavy handling. They are relatively solitary birds and do not get lonely if left alone in the cage.

It is advised to not put two male canaries in one cage as they are likely to fight each other.

Wild canaries are greenish-yellow with yellow underparts but due to selective breeding, they are available in orange, white, red and yellow colours.

Poor diet or a dirty cage can affect the canary’s health and cause rare health issues.

If it develops baldness, scaly legs, diarrhoea or constipation it is important to get help from an avian veterinarian immediately. They are sensitive to air quality and susceptible to certain viruses, fungi and bacteria.

It must be offered daily supplements of vegetable greens such as kale, broccoli, spinach, celery, peas and small amounts of fruits.

They also require clean water every day and must be given good quality seed mixture specifically designed for canaries along with protein sources like eggs.

It is important to minimize the clutter in their cage and give ample space for flying, movements and exercise.

Is it legal to keep birds as pets in India?

In India, as per the Wildlife Protection Act (1972), exotic birds that are not native to India can be kept as pets while the local birds that are indiginous to India are categorized under wild animals and are illegal to keep as pets.

The Wildlife Protection Act states that it is illegal to keep wildbirds as pets. Any person taking care of such birds, should release them into the forests, parks, lakes or hand them to the Forest Department.

In India, we cannot keep local birds as pets but exotic birds like Cockatoos and Budgerigars can be kept as pets.

You may have seen people keeping parrots as pets, but this is illegal. Also, caging Indian birds is not allowed since they are categorized under wild animals in the Wildlife Protection Act.

As per this Act, if the bird is categorized under Schedule 1 then the accused is punished with 7 years of imprisonment or a penalty of up to Rs. 25,000 or both.

What are the best pet birds for beginners in India?

If you do not have a lot of time to spend with the pet bird, then you can consider finches or canaries.

If you can spend some more time with them and are fond of parrots (keeping parrots are pet birds is illegal), then you can consider keeping cockatiels or parakeets. These birds are quiet, friendly and easy to discipline when young.

As a first time bird owner, other members of the parrot family that you may want to consider are pionus parrots, parrotlets, Quaker parrots, grey-cheeked parakeets, and poicephalus parrots.

Doves are more often overlooked as pets, but they can make amazing companions for their sociable and quiet nature.

How to make a bird like you & form a bond with you?

Usually pet birds are easy to connect with their owners, some may take longer to like you. To form a bond with your pet bird, approach them slowly, use soft speech, comfort and offer their favorite treat.

The below mentioned tips will help you build a strong bond with your pet bird:

Keep your voice soft and inviting

It is important to keep your voice soft when you are meeting your new pet bird. This will keep the bird calm. Loud noises can scare them. If your voice is calm and inviting, the bird will listen intently to you while you speak.

Offer them their favourite treat 

Often, food does the trick. Offer your pet bird their favourite treat like vegetables, fruits, etc. They love tasty treats and if you give them treat often, they will be your friend. It is not bad to bribe your new friend to help him understand that you are friendly.

Make sure to treat them with healthy treats and do not give them treats too often.

Offer them comfort

When you are bonding with your bird it is important to take them out of their safe zone. Make sure this time is happy. While they are out of their cage, try to make another room away from their safe space so that they can take refuge in there.

For them, their cage is a safe space, but you should bring them comfort too. Make good connections with your pet bird.

Be patient 

Animals need time to get used to their new surroundings and the owner. Thus, make sure to be very patient with them while they get used to.

Take it slow 

Make slow movements and create a relaxing surrounding for your bird to feel safe. If you start off with a scare, it becomes harder to connect with your pet.

Play with your pet bird

Offer them toys and leave their cage unlocked so that they consider them safe. Play music for them at a low volume.

Some pet birds even like to dance on their favourite music. Create a bonding experience by carrying them on your shoulder. Also, spend quality time with your pet and be friends with them.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can we keep Peacock at home in India? No, since Peacock is included in the Schedule I species in the Wildlife (Protection) Act and is also the National bird of India, keeping peacock at home as a pet is illegal in India.

Is Love Birds legal in India? Lovebirds are originated in South Africa & Madagascar and are not native to India. They are not covered under the Indian Wildlife Act but are banned for trade in India.

We hope to have helped you know more about pet birds. Make sure to check the list of common pet birds in India because the local birds are illegal to keep.

If you are a first time owner, we have mentioned special guidelines for beginners that you can check to make sure that you have made an informed decision.