Keeping Parrots Together

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.


Sulphur-crested Cockatoo likes to be alone
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
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.

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Comments

Michael, 26 April 2021

I am going to get a african gray parrot what is the best bird that can live with it.


Mah, 30 May 2020

Can we make pair of female corrella cockatoo with amazon male ?


Ash, 24 March 2020

Wow :) This is an incredible collection of ideas! Waiting for more helpful pieces. You would amazing to read a similar one here- petcareio


Stacy, 29 January 2020

To Chase: Galahs and Sulphur-Crested Cockatoos flock together in Australia. Even if not the same species, I can see how the sulphur-crested would accept a bird she would normally flock with in the wild. Adding an African Grey is another matter. A Grey is the most intelligent parrot and demands a lot of attention. The Cockatoos are very social, and your sulphur-crested will likely hate the interloper. Might be worth it to expose your bird to a Grey at a bird shop to see the reaction.


Wendy, 26 January 2020

I have a male & a female Princess Parrot in a large cage, but although they have been together from a young age, they have developed animosity. The female has started to over preen her tail & is destroying it. She does have a beating box & swing to escape from dominating male, do you suggest I try them in separate cages??

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