Most parrots (but not all) are sociable with members of their own species, as long as they have enough personal space, and somewhere to retreat to if arguments turn nasty. Bickering is part of parrot life, as with humans.
Things get trickier once you start to mix and match different parrot species. In general, Budgies, Cockatiels, Hanging Parrots and Conures are said to be the most peaceable and socially liberal of the family.
Unless it's a mating pair, Cockatoos do not enjoy the company of other Cockatoos!
At the other end of the scale, Cockatoos, Caiques, Lories, Lovebirds and Macaws are renowned for their aggression – especially towards newly introduced members of a different species. A mild bout of bad-spirited parrot fighting can result in lost feathers; a violent bout can end in serious injury or even death.
The rule of thumb is to check with your seller whether your intended mix of birds is suitable. Never introduce a new bird – even one of the same species to your existing birds – without asking advice.
Keeping More Than One Parrot
Smaller parrots can mix with their own kind in an aviary, but will need lots of space. A large-ish cage transplanted outside is not an aviary! Some species will not enjoy each other’s company, however (with the exception of breeding pairs), including African Greys and most Cockatoos. Acquiring the birds at the same time while they are still young is a good way of keeping the peace. Otherwise, the animosity can even make life difficult when the birds are in separate cages. Keeping parrots in different rooms may be the only option. In aviaries, some owners install partitions to prevent birds from physically squabbling – although they can still squawk and scream at each other of course!
Further problems arise with hand-reared birds. A male Cockatoo that has bonded with its human owner, for example, has no idea how to behave when confronted with a female Cockatoo. In most cases the male will attack and kill the female. So, any bird that has been brought up alone by a human must always remain alone. That sounds a little sad, but the point is that you are their beloved companion, and they need no other.
Sun Conures need space if they are to mix successfully
Paired parrots will not usually tolerate a newly introduced third bird, and will readily kill it. A similar problem occurs with same-sex pairs (sometimes the result of a mistaken sexing of the chicks) – they will enjoy a happy first few months, but will become instant enemies once the adult hormones kick in. This can happen with both male and female pairs.
It is not the case with all parrot species, however. The Conures and Amazon parrots tend to get along happily in same-sex groups. Again, always ask an expert before mixing and matching, even within the same species.
One thing is for sure – you can’t force two parrots to like each other.