Parakeet vs. lovebird is a question people deciding to get a small bird should ask themselves. It is a good question because, while similar, they do have some crucial differences.
What is a Parakeet?
According to LafeberVet, parakeets are a type of small long-tailed parrot. Most pet parakeets are from the budgerigar parakeet species. These birds, also called budgies, can be popular pets but also live in wild flocks in Australia and Tasmania. The next type of parakeet species favored as a pet is the Bourke’s parakeet, which also originates from Australia.
Pet parakeets, no matter the origin of the birds, is called the “American Budgie” or the “English Budgie.” These are the two main kinds of parakeets for pet birds. Parakeets are playful birds and love attention. They need time with their humans daily, especially if they are your only bird. By spending this time, they become socialized, chirping and whistling happily. Like larger parrots, parakeets can also be taught a few words.
What is a Lovebird?
A lovebird is another smaller kind of African parrot. The Spruce Pet states that there are nine types of lovebirds. The name comes from choosing one mate to “love” for life. Throughout history, lovebirds have been popular with human romantic partners giving them as gifts to one another. They are very busy, intelligent birds that thrive on being active. Letting them out of the cage routinely to fly around the room is required for happier lovebirds. Keep in mind they can be slightly aggressive, so socialization is essential. They do better in pairs but multiply quickly, so unless you want a whole flock of lovebirds, it’s best not to keep them paired constantly. They won’t die away from each other. That is a myth.
What are the Differences between a Parakeet and a Lovebird?
While similar in appearance and in some care requirements, such as socializing, there are a few differences. Some of these differences involve noise levels, food requirements, colors, intelligence, and temperament, to name a few. You may consider these differences as cons or pros depending on your needs or outlook. Hutch and Cage state, “When looking at which type of parrot is to be your pet, it is important to take these differences into account to make the right choice.”
What are the Pros of a Parakeet vs. a Lovebird?
Parakeets are not as noisy as lovebirds. Even when a parakeet screeches when upset or scared, it is more of a muted sound—as for sounds, my parakeet, Belvedere, always made these low, breathy little chirps. He chattered away sometimes using this sound, yet never got loud with it. The parakeet is probably the better choice if you have thin walls and want to keep neighbors happy. Even with a mate, they tend to chat softly. Alternately, lovebirds screech loudly to the extreme. A lot of their screaming screeching is over being territorial. If another bird is around the toys, food, mate, or anything, lovebirds, send out the “That’s mine!” cry. Parakeets are like, ” Oh, you want to use that? OK, cool,” then screech just a bit when they want it back. Don’t misunderstand; a parakeet will definitely have its “let me sing you the song of my people.” moments. But lovebirds can turn their song into a full loud, and extended production.
If you like a bird you can socialize with every day, that would be the parakeet. Forming an enduring bond with your parakeet requires one-on-one time daily at some socializing or training. Skipping time with your bird results in having to start over because parakeets, although bright, don’t have the best memory for a start-and-stop type of socializing. Besides, once bonded, they will look for you and miss you if socialization activities stop. Even paired-up parakeets will still look forward to the interaction with their humans. So, if you enjoy daily interaction, choose a parakeet. Lovebirds, however, can skip a few days and still retain what you have taught them, but they won’t need you as much.
Birdsphere points out parakeets get along with other small birds as cagemates. They play, eat, and generally are OK with sharing space. Occasionally, parakeets squabble with their bird siblings over food or a toy they want simultaneously. Distracting one bird with something else works in that situation. For lovebirds who are more aggressive, the fight is on! You won’t want to put the two together in one cage. The lovebird will attack other birds. The only way to introduce a lovebird and a potential cagemate is by placing the cages side by side so the lovebird can get used to the other bird before putting in the same cage. When I had my parakeet, I brought him a friend. Being new to owning birds since Belvedere was my first bird, I just put the new parakeet in his cage with him. They got along right away, chipping and talking. They even started taking daily flights around the house together.
What are the Cons of a Parakeet vs. a Lovebird?
Parakeets have a shorter lifespan. Parakeets live 5-10 years, while a lovebird’s lifespan is 10 -15. Of course, this is a general rule of thumb since both species can live a bit longer depending on care and being in a stress-free environment. If they get proper nutritional, medical, and social care, their lives will be good for them, no matter how many years they have.
Parakeets don’t have as many color options available. Most domestic parakeets are a primary green or blue color with yellow heads. Parakeets are smaller birds as well, with much smaller beaks. Lovebirds exist in many vibrant, beautiful colors and brilliant plumage. True, there are other parakeet colors, but most pet stores have green or blue ones, so most parakeet owners have this color version. It is yellow with markings around the neck. Parakeets are rarely present in any other color.
Parakeets tend to become ill quickly. They don’t do well with slight temperature changes. They are prone to liver disease. Additionally, they suffer more than lovebirds from tumors. As a result, costs for vet care may be higher than for lovebirds because parakeets require a higher maintenance level.
How Much do Parakeets and Lovebirds Cost?
When considering a parakeet vs. lovebird, consider the financial aspect. Think about the big picture. Since parakeets need daily social interaction, will toys and supplies cost more because you will need more of them? Are medical costs different for each or the same? What about food costs?
A primary consideration is the original cost of the bird and the home. No, I’m not talking about splitting the rent with your bird. Although wouldn’t that be nice? Instead, what about the cost of the cage? Bird cages are found in all styles, from the basic to huge fancy models, with prices depending on materials, size, and brand name. For one bird or even two, a basic-sized cage is acceptable. Keep in mind both the parakeet and the lovebird like to fly, which means you’ll want a cage that accommodates their wingspan. It doesn’t need to be extremely tall, but it does need to be wide enough that it won’t crush their wings against the bars even as they flutter up or down to a perch. It’s better to spend a little more on a safe cage if a bargain one would harm your pet.
The same can be said for the cost of the bird. Prices vary, so work within your budget, but also make sure a very cheap cost isn’t because they are selling sickly birds. It is always OK to ask many questions about the health or origin of the parakeet or lovebird you are going to purchase. A reputable seller wouldn’t mind showing proof of a clean bill of health.
Do Parakeets and Lovebirds Bite?
In a word, yes. Parakeets do not have a lot of beak strength, so their bite won’t hurt much if any. It probably won’t even break the skin. A lovebird has more power and flexibility in the beak. The resulting small wound will probably bleed. You may even need to play it safe with antibiotics. Lovebirds don’t like sharing food or toys with their humans. Female lovebirds become even more aggressive as they reach sexual maturity. Some bird owners thwart painful bites by wearing birding gloves when handling the bird. Both breeds can also be trained not to bite. “BirdSphere” also suggests the “Earthquake” method of training. From their website, this quote, “Immediately after you are bitten (don’t wait even five seconds), shake the misbehaving bird’s perch so it can’t stand up.” They go on to say birds hate this, will come to associate the shaking with the bite, and will stop biting.
Can you Breed a Parakeet and Lovebird Together?
While parakeets and lovebirds are both technically small parrots, they can not be bred together. In fact, according to “Bird News Blog” (https://birdsnews.com/can-parakeet-breed-with-other-birds/), parakeets can’t breed with any other type of bird. This is because parakeets are the only bird in their biological classification. Since no other bird species, including lovebirds, share this classification or genus, breeding would result in deformities. That is if the male parakeet can even fertilize the eggs of another bird species. In most cases, it doesn’t happen, and no embryos develop in the unfertilized egg. Additionally, it is unlikely even if they could breed together since lovebirds generally choose one mate for life.
What are the Similar Basic Needs of Lovebirds and Parakeets?
Both require food in the form of seeds, vegetables, and fruit. The parakeet uses its beak to break down these foods. The lovebird needs the food prepared in advance; for example, fruit cut into tiny pieces since they cannot use their beaks in this way as much as the parakeet does. Beaks also need to be sharpened to eat appropriately or preen feathers. Attach a piece of cuttlebone to the cage so your birds can accomplish this. Provide both water to drink and water to splash about. Birds like splashing and bathing in water. Replace worn toys routinely. A bird without toys and interaction becomes bored. A bored bird will pull out his feathers to cope.
For me, my choice was a parakeet in my answer to the question of parakeet vs. lovebird. I so enjoyed my pet parakeet. I got another. I found my birds to be funny and fun to be around. I taught them a few words. One learned how to whistle. I loved watching them fly around the house together or feeding them treats as they perched on my shoulder. The winning point in favor of parakeets was that they seemed so happy to be here living their best bird life, sharing it with me. Had it been lovebirds, I might have felt the same way! Both breeds are remarkable birds that love interacting with each other and their owners, who each think their birds are the best! Either way, if a bird owner chooses parakeet vs. lovebird, they aren’t wrong! Which bird do you like?