Trying to decide whether to buy a parakeet (aka budgerigar or budgie) or a lovebird as a pet?
Well, you won’t have to wonder anymore after you consider the information we have for you about these two terrific pets in this article.
In this article, we will go over the pros and cons of both parakeets and lovebirds, so you can make an informed decision.
What’s the Difference Between Parakeets and Lovebirds?
Parakeets and lovebirds are both birds in the Parrot Family. They are both relatively small birds in the parrot family.
They are nowhere nearly as large, aggressive, and loud as their larger cousins, the cockatiels, macaws, and gray parrots.
Parakeets and lovebirds have beautiful plumage that you can admire from a distance, but they both come into their own when they interact with people.
Both species are easy to tame and long-lived, so you can achieve a long, happy relationship with your pet.
Parakeet vs Lovebird: Appearance
Parakeets are thin, slight birds with long tail feathers.
In the wild in Australia, where they originate, parakeets are known as budgerigars or budgies, and they are recognizable by their green and yellow feathers.
Over the 180 years that breeders have been raising parakeets there have been a number of color mutations.
Now there are budgies with feathers of every shade of blue, gray, canary yellow, red, pink, and all the colors of the rainbow.
Lovebirds catch your eye when they snuggle up together on their perch, giving them their name, lovebirds.
They are tubby birds with shorter tails than parakeets, They have the green and yellow feathers of their cousins the parakeets, but they may have peach, red, or orange faces.
A relatively rare form of a lovebird known as a lutino will have yellow feathers.
Lovebirds don’t come in as many colors as parakeets. Some parakeets have dappled coats and feathers that come in patterns.
But beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Both parakeets and lovebirds are beautiful birds.
Parakeet vs Lovebird: Noise Levels
If your previous experience with pets has been with silent animals like hamsters and gerbils, you may be in for a shock when you get a caged bird.
Parakeets and lovebirds are noisy. Lovebirds tend to be even noisier than parakeets.
Budgies make two main sounds when they aren’t performing.
They can announce their presence to the world with a harsh call when they, for instance, see a cat.
They have a loud squawk that tells you that they are surprised or afraid.
Budgies also make a soothing chirping, chattering sound when they are happy.
They love to chirp along when they hear music they like, Parakeets are more likely to prefer New Age music over, say, Led Zeppelin.
But if you raise the volume to drown out your budgie, the bird will raise its volume to continue to disturb your listening just as much as before.
Lovebirds are even louder when they listen to music. In general, lovebirds can be the kind of bird that elicits noise complaints from the neighbors.
Lovebirds don’t chirp when they want to sing along. They screech. This harsh, unpleasant sound can be deafening in a small room.
Both parakeets and lovebirds vocalize on a regular basis. But parakeets aren’t as loud as their lovebird cousins.
Parakeet vs Lovebird: Sociability
Parakeets generally play well with others.
They may occasionally have a spat with another parakeet in their cage over the last piece of particularly delectable food, or a new toy, nesting space, or a mate.
But they generally get along with other parakeets in the same cage, as well as other small birds like finches.
Larger parrots, like cockatiels, macaws, and African gray parrots will play too hard to be caged with budgies (although your budgie might be OK with a particularly docile cockatiel).
Lovebirds aren’t particularly lovey-dovey with other species of birds.
They will be aggressive about food, water, bathing dishes, perches, toys, ladders, nesting space, and who gets to sleep where at night with smaller birds.
Lovebirds will harass smaller birds all day long if they are kept in the same cage. The smaller bird may lose its feathers and lose weight due to constant stress.
There will be occasions that every owner has to handle a bird. Birds that haven’t been hand-raised from infancy generally don’t like this.
Both parakeets and lovebirds can bite.
A parakeet’s bite is a lot less painful than a lovebird’s bite. The parakeet’s beak isn’t strong enough to draw blood or cause a lot of pain.
A lovebird’s bite is like getting your finger caught in pincers.
You will probably need a bandage and maybe a shot of antibiotics if you get bitten by a lovebird.
It’s possible to train both parakeets and lovebirds not to bite by the “earthquake method.” Immediately after you are bitten (don’t wait even five seconds), shake the misbehaving bird’s perch so it can’t stand up.
This won’t hurt the bird, but it will send the message that biting has consequences.
Birds won’t understand scolding, lectures, painful punishments, or any id of reaction to the bite that doesn’t occur immediately.
Parakeets seem to learn not to bite faster than lovebirds.
Parakeet vs Lovebird: Longevity
Many factors come into play with the longevity of individual birds. Broadly speaking, parakeets typically live to the age of seven or eight, with a range of five to ten years, while lovebirds usually live to be 15.
The desirability of a relatively short-lived or a relatively long-lived pet is a personal preference.
Once you have built a strong bond with your bird, and they are bringing you pleasure every day, you want them to live as long as possible.
On the other hand, a long-lived pet is a long-lived responsibility. When you adopt a pet, it should be for its lifetime.
Parents may prefer parakeets as pets for children because of their shorter lifespan.
They will have fewer years to take care of a budgie than a lovebird after the child has moved out or moved on to another interest.
Parakeet vs Lovebird: Maintenance
Parakeets and lovebirds need similar care and feeding.
Both parakeets and lovebirds prefer taking their daily bath in a light mist of warm (not hot) water or in a flat earthenware dish.
If you use a bathing dish, both parakeets and lovebirds will perch on the edge.
They will dip their beaks, then their heads, and then their whole upper bodies in the warm water in the dish. Then they’ll beat their wings.
Both parakeets and lovebirds trim their beaks and nails by chewing and climbing.
You should consult your vet about whether to trim their nails manually, but if you do, avoid cutting too deep.
Both parakeets and lovebirds can be constrained by the careful cutting of their wing feathers.
Owners should never trim the feathers on their wings. They may give the feathers that extend out from the wings a uniform trim (that is, clipping the same amount of each feather) so the birds can’t fly out the window.
But it’s important to leave feathers long enough that the bird can fly horizontally away from an obstacle or an indoor predator, like the family cat.
It’s best to learn how and when to clip a bird’s wings from a vet. One never ever draws blood when clipping a bird’s wings.
Parakeet vs Lovebird: Breeding
Some owners will want to raise baby parakeets or lovebirds.
No matter which bird you choose, your first hurdle is making you have a male and a female caged together.
Male and female parakeets don’t look different until after they mature, but by the time they are ready, you can tell them apart.
Distinguishing the sex of lovebirds isn’t as easy. Only three varieties of lovebirds are dimorphic, that is, their males and females don’t look alike.
These are Abyssinian (black-winged) lovebirds, Madagascar (gray-headed) lovebirds, and red-faced (aka rosy-faced) lovebirds.
Otherwise, you will need to get the vet to do a DNA test to confirm that you have a male and a female caged together. (That is, unless, you have two females and they both decide to lay unfertilized eggs.)
In the wild, both parakeets and lovebirds lay eggs as winter passes to spring. Females are stimulated to build nests and lay eggs by days longer than 12 hours — or by having an overhead light left on all night.
Laying eggs takes a lot out of a female’s body, so you don’t want to stimulate either parakeets or lovebirds to lay eggs until they are at least a year old.
And when the chicks hatch, you have a daily task ahead: Handfeeding them every day to make them identify with you like mama and daddy.
Breeding your own parakeets and lovebirds is a great way to get them to treat you like part of the flock, but it’s a lot of work with either species.
Parakeet vs Lovebird: Diet
Parakeets and lovebirds need similar diets. They won’t thrive on seeds alone. Even seed pellets with their added minerals and vitamins aren’t really enough.
Most of a parakeet’s or lovebird’s diet can be a variety of seeds, but they also need dark green leafy vegetables and orange, yellow, red, or purple vegetables and fruits.
Colorful plant foods provide them with beta-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin, and lycopene, which their bodies turn into vitamin A.
In turn, vitamin A regulates healthy skin and feather growth. It also gives some parakeets and lovebirds extra red and orange pigments for their feathers.
Parakeet vs Lovebird: Health Issues
Both parakeets and lovebirds get many of the same infections.
Both species can suffer stress that makes them pull out their feathers, although this is more of an issue with parakeets.
Both species can be injured in fights with larger birds or other pets.
Parakeets and lovebirds can catch mites, ticks, Psittacine Beak and Feather Disease, Polyomavirus infections, yeast infections, avian influenza, avian poxviruses, Valley Fever (coccidiosis), respiratory infections, and diarrhea.
Females may suffer egg binding, and the inability to lay an egg that gets caught in the passage. You can recognize serious health issues by symptoms like these:
- Watery eyes
- Inability to look at you
- Runny nose
- Sleeping a lot
- Losing interest in toys and ladders
- Change in color of droppings or watery diarrhea
- Bobbing the tail
- Sneezing repeatedly
- Coughing repeatedly
- Sores and bleeding from the skin
- Loss of feathers
- Cracked beak
- Changes in the color of the legs and feet
All of these conditions require treatment from a veterinarian who is trained in avian diseases.
Vets who work with birds aren’t everywhere, and they aren’t inexpensive.
Office calls usually cost $30 to $100, and procedures cost $200 to $1000 or more. You may be able to save a great deal of money by purchasing pet insurance for your bird.
Pet insurance costs $15 to $25 per month. But you will need to get a veterinary exam for your bird within the first few days you are covered by your insurance policy.
You will usually have to pay for this yourself. And you can’t get pet insurance after an illness or injury occurs.
Parakeet vs Lovebird: Cost to Get Started
Parakeets cost as little as $10 and run about $50 in most pet shops. Rare breeds of parakeets that have been hand-raised to make them tame may cost as much as $600.
Lovebirds cost $40 to $150 in pet shops. Breeders may charge as much as $225 to $300 for a hand-raised bird.
You will also need a cage, perches, toys, dishes, feeding cups, toys, and a bird-cage cover.
Expect to spend $300 to $500 on these essentials. Then you will also need to spend about $25 to $35 a month for food for each bird,
Don’t forget pet health insurance.
Parakeet vs. Lovebird, Which Is Better?
We can’t tell anyone that a parakeet or a lovebird is the better bird for them. Both are beautiful birds.
Both are trainable birds. Both can bring their humans years of pleasure.
Visit your local pet shop or breeder and get to know both kinds of birds personally. That you will truly know which pet is best for you.
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