One of the most common questions bird lovers ask before they commit to taking a bird home from the pet shop is “Does this bird makes a lot of noise?”
Many people who love birds live in apartments, and cannot disturb their neighbors.
Or they may be sensitive to noise themselves.
In this article, we will identify 10 relatively quiet birds that can give you years of pleasure and companionship without making a big fuss.
But first, we want to make sure that you understand a few important facts about pet birds.
All Birds Make Some Noise (Some more than others)
There is no such thing as a completely quiet pet bird.
There are some birds that are almost always quiet in nature, but they are raptors, eagles, owls, falcons, kestrels, and hawks, not the sort of birds that most bird lovers would want to keep in captivity.
Quiet birds tend to be predator birds.
Pet birds, in their natural settings, are all prey birds (birds that other animals kill and eat).
The kinds of birds we take into our homes as pets mostly live in flocks to keep each other safe. To be able to communicate with each other when they are flying through the sky or sitting in different trees, they have learned to screech and howl and chirp loudly.
They use constant vocalization as a way to know that the rest of their flock is still there.
Birds also use their voices in courtship. They make one set of sounds to flirt, another to make romantic overtures, and yet another to set the boundaries of the territory where they build their love nest.
Even the quietest pet birds will make noise occasionally.
What is more important to most bird owners is the kind of noise their birds make.
Some parrots, for instance, only vocalize a few times a day, but at ear-piercing decibel levels.
Their budgie cousins, on the other hand, sing quietly all day long.
A flock of budgies, however, makes more noise than a group of mating cockatiels.
When you are choosing a bird, it helps to consider what kind of noise you are most sensitive to.
Choose birds that make low-volume sounds that you find pleasing.
10 Birds That Don’t Make Noise
Now, let’s take a closer look at 10 relatively quiet pet birds. As I mentioned, there are no pet birds that would be completely silent, but the ones I am listing here are relatively quiet.
Bourke’s parakeets are prized for their gentle disposition.
They get chatty in the early morning, so it is not a good idea to keep a Bourke’s parakeet in your bedroom if you like to sleep in.
These parakeets also like to vocalize when the sun is going down.
Below is an example of how these beautiful birds carry on conversations with their tweets.
Part of the attraction of these small parrots as pets is that they have a remarkable ability to learn how to talk, like the larger parrots.
If you repeat a phrase 10 or 20 times a day to your budgie, it will begin to repeat in about a week. (Some budgies learn faster or slower than others.)
Budgies also love to be social with their human caretakers. They will constantly communicate inside and outside their cages.
But unlike the larger parrots, budgies don’t scream. They cannot achieve the volume of a large bird.
If you keep your budgie busy, it will chatter all day, but not so loudly that you cannot easily escape the chatter by shutting the door to the room where you keep their cage.
Here is what one budgie sounds like.
Here is a video of what a group of budgies sounds like.
Button quail can be messy and smelly, but they make up for their poor grooming habits with adorable cooing and meeps.
Just be aware that if you keep equal numbers of males and females in the same cage, the sounds you hear will be fighting.
One male for every five females is preferable if you are breeding button quail.
Male canaries sometimes sing. Females are usually silent.
But, due to their diminutive size, canaries aren’t very loud.
You are most likely to hear your canary sing if it is:
- Male (you can identify a male by the bump on its cloaca),
- At least six months old (that is, sexually mature), and
- Looking for a mate
If you have a male and female caged together, the male won’t sing, because he will have already found a mate.
Male canaries only sing when they are seeking a mate and do not see one in the immediate vicinity.
A solitary male canary will sing its song to attract a non-existent mate.
In nature, canaries mate just before the summer solstice, when daylight lasts the longest.
If you turn off the lights and put your male canary’s cage under a cover at night, he will be less likely to sing. Female canaries will probably remain silent.
Want an idea of what a canary sounds like before you take one home?
Below is the video of a male canary that has been trained to sing.
Also read: Can Parakeets and Canaries Live Together?
Cockatiels can whistle and imitate household sounds, like the beeping sound of a microwave.
If you spend a lot of time, you can even reach the point that you understand what cockatiel sounds mean.
Cockatiels can produce some really loud screams, but they usually don’t, making them a quieter alternative to the larger parrots.
You may prefer a cockatiel if you want a bird that is bigger than a budgie or a finch, but not as obnoxiously loud as an African gray parrot.
Male cockatiels may not make a sound while they are young, but become very talkative when they reach sexual maturity, at the age of about six months.
Female cockatiels also sing when they become adults, but not as often as males.
When you let a female cockatiel out of her cage, she is likely to perch on your arm or your shoulder.
She will sit there quietly. When you let a male cockatiel out of his cage, he is likely to follow you around, “commenting” on everything you do.
Doves are curious, sweet, silly, and social. They can live as long as 20 years. The males will bow to you when you come into their presence.
And if you like cooing sounds, a dove, especially a male dove, makes a perfect pet.
The only downside to the noise made by this relatively quiet bird is that it is constant from sunrise to sundown. If you want your dove to be quiet, turn off the lights!
Here is what a dove sounds like.
Also read: Dove Symbolism and Meaning
Finches are tiny birds with tiny voices. They peep and chirp throughout the day, but even a flock of finches maintains a relatively low noise level.
Finches aren’t by any stretch of the imagination, cuddle birds. That is, they do not like physical contact with their owners.
Bird lovers keep finches because they are beautiful.
Weighing only about half an ounce (15 grams), four inches (10 cm) long, the male zebra finch catches the eye with its orange-red beak, orange cheek patches, and black and white throat bars.
The female is gray-colored all over and has a less vivid beak.
Finches are happier when they are caged with a companion. Make sure your finches have enough room to fly around in their cage, since it is not safe to let them outside.
Also read: How to Attract Finches to Your Yard
Lineolated parakeets are natives of the higher elevations of Central and South America.
They like to chatter, especially when they are kept in groups, but they don’t get loud.
Unlike most birds, lineolated parakeets enjoy walking as much as they enjoy flying.
They also make happy sounds when they get a chance to splash in the water. Even in a cage, they like to make calm, contented, quiet lineolated parrot sounds.
Parrotlets love to live in pairs. They are not noisy, but they need attention.
They seem to need toys almost as much as food. Most parrotlets prefer to interact with their humans for at least two hours a day.
Want to hear how parrotlet sounds before you look for one at the pet shop? Here is a link to a YouTube video of Pico the Parrotlet making chirping sounds.
Senegal parrots are affectionate birds that like to sit quietly with their humans to socialize.
They can learn how to talk, and they will let out a screech when they are injured, or when they are left alone too long, but they are not as noisy as larger parrots.
Their high-pitched chatter can be loud, but it isn’t constant. Here is what a Senegal parrot sounds like.
Loud Birds You May Want to Avoid
If noise bothers you, there are certain kinds of birds you definitely do not want to keep in your home.
Cockatoos are capable of generating 135 decibels of sound with their chirps.
For comparison, a cockatoo is louder than the loudest rock concert ever recorded. It is louder than a jet at takeoff. It is louder than a bullet fired next to your head.
The ability of cockatoos to call to each other is very helpful for protecting the flock in the wild, but they will sometimes make loud noises all day if they are not pacified.
Also read: Can You Keep Cockatoos As Pets?
The most colorful conures are capable of 120-decibel screeching.
Male green-cheeked male conures aren’t quite as loud as the sun conures. They use loud sounds to get attention when they feel lonely.
Macaws are big birds with big voices.
Their calls can reach 105 decibels, about the same as a snow blower. In the wild, macaws make noise for half an hour every morning to attract other members of their flock.
They will be happy to serve as your wake-up alarm on days you want to sleep late.
African Gray Parrots
African gray parrots can’t get ear-piercingly loud.
They can only reach 70 decibels. That is about as loud as a vacuum cleaner, or standing on the edge of a freeway.
However, once they start vocalizing, they don’t shut up. The noise they make is constant.
How to Get Birds to Quiet Down
Humans don’t like screaming or screeching birds, but for some birds, this is perfectly normal behavior. Even the quietest birds will occasionally be annoyingly loud.
Punishing your bird for being loud is never helpful. However, if you are patient, you can train your bird to be quieter with consistent positive reinforcement of the behaviors you want, ignoring the behaviors you don’t.
If you are holding your bird, or socializing with your bird, and it screams at you, the best thing you can do is to walk away. The worst thing you can do is to yell.
If you yell at your bird, it will think “I’m yelling, and the human is yelling, too. Yelling must be what humans do. Let’s all yell together!”
That is not an ideal solution.
A much better approach is to reach inside the cage, gently pick up your bird, and put it in the back of the cage.
When they are quiet, walk back in. Give your bird a treat. But never reward bad behavior by giving it attention.
Once you get to know your bird well enough to know when it is going to scream, you can prevent the behavior by giving it something to do with its mouth first.
Give your bird a toy. Or a food treat. Make it hard for your bird to make loud noises and enjoy itself at the same time.
But understand that every bird is occasionally going to be loud.
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