It's not uncommon for young kids to become fascinated with certain types of animals. Often, children will develop an affinity for birds early on, and especially once they find out about the neat things that some of them can do, such as mimicking human speech! If you find that your little one is asking you for a pet parrot, then you must be very careful in doing the proper research to make sure that a bird is a good fit for your home and lifestyle before allowing your child to own one. Even if you deem your child responsible enough to care for a bird, you must them make sure not to choose a bird that could overwhelm or even injure them. To learn what types of birds you should generally avoid when selecting one as a pet for a child, check out the list below. While there are exceptions to every rule, this list offers a good guideline or starting point in your research, and will help you steer clear of more demanding bird species that your child may be unable to care for properly.
If your child comes to you asking for a pet macaw, then it would definitely be in your best interest to persuade them to think about adopting a different species. Macaws are large, powerful parrots who demand a lot from their caretakers in terms of time and attention. In addition, they are equipped with massive beaks that could severely injure a small child -- even if the bird was only trying to play. For the safety of both your family and any potential macaws that you might look at, please consider a smaller parrot species that is more likely to do well with a younger caretaker.
Cockatoos are another parrot species that may not be the best choice for a young child's pet. While Cockatoos are known to be very affectionate birds, they bond very strongly to their owners and require a great amount of socialization time from those who they choose as their favorite. A young child most likely has school and chores to worry about, and may not want to devote every second of their free time toward playing with their pet bird. Not to mention, a Cockatoo's beak is capable of producing a very powerful 3-way bite that could cause painful injuries to little fingers if the bird should become upset.
Another less than ideal choice for a child's pet would be any of the varieties of Amazon Parrot. These birds are quite large and need a lot of space to exercise and play, plus, like the other birds mentioned above, they need to spend a lot of time bonding with their owners so that they don't become depressed and develop unhealthy or destructive behavior problems. While they are great talkers, their demands often outweigh this novelty in the eyes of many young owners.
Strikingly beautiful with laid-back dispositions, the Eclectus Parrot is a joy to interact with, but may be too sensitive to handle rambunctious children. Eclectus parrots often bond very strongly with their owners and need to spend a lot of time with them in order to thrive. Additionally, they too can deliver a damaging bite if something upsets or startles them.
African Grey Parrots
Becoming more and more popular in recent years, African Grey Parrots have been lauded as the most intelligent of all the parrot species -- and for this very reason, they may not make the best pets for kids. These sensitive birds do best with gentle, patient adults as their caretakers, especially those who have a lot of free time to interact with their pets. If your child is asking for an African Grey, suggest a smaller parrot to start with such as a conure. This will ease the child into the world of bird ownership and prepare them for caring for a larger bird species once they are a little older and more experienced.