Top 5 Popular Large Parrots

These pretty birds bond closely with their human owners

Large parrots are well-established as popular, beloved pets. While they're very fun to play with and have around the home, there are a few things to know before taking on a large parrot as a pet.

Perhaps the most important and little-known fact about these birds, which are extremely intelligent, is that they get bored easily if not offered enough mental stimulation. A lack of social interaction can lead to behavior problems and even physical illness in large birds.

It's imperative that...MORE owners of large birds realize the bird needs to feel like part of a flock. Without a high level of social interaction and plenty of play time outside of their cages, large birds will have a hard time thriving in captivity.

For those people who can commit to caring for them properly, however, a large parrot can offer unmatched companionship and a unique pet ownership experience. 

  • 01 of 05

    Blue and Gold Macaws

    Blue and yellow macaw, (Ara ararauna), South America, adult couple on branch.
    Tier Und Naturfotografie J und C Sohns/Photographer's Choice RF/Getty Images

    The Blue and Gold Macaw is a highly recognizable species that has enjoyed immense popularity as a pet for many years. They are extremely intelligent and often take well to learning tricks as well as learning to talk.

    Blue and Gold Macaws have strong personalities and are happiest in homes with experienced parrot owners who are well-versed in hookbill behavior. Expect to spend a significant amount of out-of-cage time socializing with a Blue and Gold Macaw if you take it on as a pet. 

  • 02 of 05

    African Grey Parrots

    lose-up of an African Grey Parrot.
    By Soggydan Dan Bennett [ CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

    The work of world-renowned scientist Dr. Irene Pepperberg and her famous parrot "Alex," drew attention to the African Grey Parrot, another of the most popular large parrot species.

    The intelligence and emotional capacity of the Grey Parrot are often compared to those of a 5-year-old human (as charming as that may sound, however, bear in mind that they don't move past the maturity of 5-year-old human). These birds are so smart that many African Grey owners constantly have to think of...MORE new ways to keep their pets occupied.

    A bored, unattended African Grey can quickly become a destructive escape artist; consider that in the wild, parrots need to chew wood from trees to form their habitats. If left to their own devices in captivity, African Grey Parrots will revert to this innate behavior and chew on whatever wood is available. 

  • 03 of 05

    Yellow Naped Amazon Parrots

    Yellow-napped parrot (Amazona auropalliata), Costa Rica
    Jim Cumming / Getty Images

    The Yellow Naped Amazon Parrot, one of the best talkers in the parrot family, has far more tricks in its repertoire besides speech. These sweet birds have sunny dispositions and make fine companions, bonding closely with their human owners. 

    Anyone thinking of adopting a Yellow-Naped Amazon should be aware that these birds can live more than 70 years if properly cared for. Clearly, this isn't a commitment to be taken lightly.

  • 04 of 05

    Sulphur Crested Cockatoos

    Sulphur Crested Cockatoo
    By Cacatua_galerita_-perching_on_branch_-crest-8a.jpg: Duncan RawlinsonThis image is a derivative work cropped from the original image: Snowmanradio [ CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

    The beautiful and unique Sulphur Crested Cockatoo is a large parrot, that comes in two different sizes. The Greater Sulphur Crested Cockatoo measures around 20 inches in length, while the Lesser Sulphur Crested Cockatoo comes in at about 15 inches from beak to tail feathers. Aside from their sizes, however, the two are very similar.

    Like all birds of the cockatoo family, Sulphur Crested Cockatoos have a reputation for being very affectionate. They need to spend ample time interacting with their...MORE owners (who they think of as their flock mates) every day to avoid becoming emotionally distraught. These charming birds aren't exactly prima donnas, but they are very high-maintenance when it comes to their emotional needs. 

    Continue to 5 of 5 below.
  • 05 of 05

    Eclectus Parrots

    Eclectus Parrot Female
    " Eclectus Parrot Female" ( CC BY-SA 2.0) by  Eric Kilby

    The beautiful and highly prized Eclectus Parrot is another large bird that offers bird lovers a couple of options. Being a sexually dimorphic species, the male and female Eclectus each have very distinct plumage. Males are a bright, vivid green color, while females are a beautiful deep red with bluish-purple on their breasts and bellies.

    There are also three distinct subspecies of Eclectus Parrots, offering even greater variety. Like many other types of large parrots, the Eclectus has a very long...MORE lifespan; many have been known to live well over 50 years in captivity with proper care.