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Parrotlet v. Lovebird

BirdLady13

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In the near future I intend on getting a parrotlet and/or a peach-faced lovebird. I worked with birds for a living at one time, and I've done extensive research on both pocket parrots, but rather than look at "facts" it would be helpful to get some opinions. This is the information I have gathered:

Lovebirds
-Tend to be nippy, and won't remain tame without daily handling.
-Males are less aggressive than females.
-Unable to speak/mimic, but will chirp all day long, and can become loud and high-pitched (especially at dawn & dusk).
-Extremely active and intelligent, so they require an immense amount of attention and training.
-Prone to PBFD (fatal viral infection), and have a lifespan of 15-20 years.
-Ideal cage bar spacing is 1/2"-5/8".

Parrotlets
-Capable of speech, and produce quiet vocalizations.
-Affectionate, but can be temperamental.
-Very active and intelligent, so with regular training they are capable of learning tricks.
-Lifespan of up to 30 years.
-Ideal cage bar spacing is 1/4".
 

Ali

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Capable of speech, and produce quiet vocalizations.
Tell, that to mine. They can be LOUDDDD!!! :roflmao:


Ideal cage bar spacing is 1/4".
I would say half an inch/1.3cm


Very active and intelligent, so with regular training they are capable of learning tricks.
Yes, but mine don't do tricks as I haven't taught them


Affectionate, but can be temperamental.
Mine are very good and will give warning before planning to bite. Mine are not tame.

I would say parrotlet because I am biased :lol: but I am sure @Zara @fluffypoptarts and all the other lovie owners will disagree with me!

@fashionfobie has a beautiful parrotlet, so she can offer some more on that side of things.

Ali
 

fashionfobie

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I haven't kept lovebirds so not sure how they compare other than similar size.

With parrotlets you need to be prepared to adapt to their emotional state. They are clingy when babies (not always), but quickly grow into adult parrots. They will not be "pocket parrots" all the time everyday. Also the pocket behaviour is not a good thing to encourage as it is nesting behaviour. It is better to encourage your bird to express behaviour such as foraging, toy destruction and other independent play activities.
I love my parrotlets. Neptune is my little guy and can be amazingly sweet. I have another parrotlet Picard and he is my partner's bird. These two parrotlets aren't brothers genetically but we're raised together from a few weeks of age. Now as adults almost 2 they do not tolerate each other. So we have to negotiate the household. Picard has a playstand on my partner's desk in another room. But if the two birds are out together they will fight, knocking each other out of the air, pulling feathers. It is a war zone. Also Neptune has swooped my partner and Picard has bitten me to the point of bleeding.

The reason I am sharing this with you is because parrotlets really are special birds but they are territorial. They can be fiesty. If you want a family pet or a bird that is easy and outgoing parrotlets aren't that. They are very shy and sensitive to new people. They are amazingly outgoing with their trusted group. Neptune and my Plumhead parrot are friends they can adventure and play all day without drama. Totally different the moment Picard comes through the play area.

All my birds live in a bird room so no one is ever alone, those two just can't be out at the same time.

Parrotlets can get noisy but it doesn't carry as far as other birds. I wouldn't call them quiet. But not as loud as other parrots.

I think I have 1.2 mm bar spacing.

30 years, can happen but that is an exceptional parrotlet. It is more likely to be 12 years give or take. It you are lucky 16+ is definitely possible :)

Parrotlets can definitely learn tricks. They are amazing fliers. So beautiful and acrobatic!

I hope some of the realities are things you think of. I can't imagine my life without parrotlets. I love their spunk and attitude :) I just think it is important to get a big picture. 16+ years with an adult parrot much more important than the first year of their baby phase. They will not be babies long :)
 
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Zara

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They are clingy when babies (not always), but quickly grow into adult parrots. They will not be "pocket parrots" all the time everyday. Also the pocket behaviour is not a good thing to encourage as it is nesting behaviour. It is better to encourage your bird to express behaviour such as foraging, toy destruction and other independent play activities.
This can certainly be said about Lovebirds too. Teaching them independence as they mature is very important.

-Unable to speak/mimic,
Lovebirds can mimic sounds. @DoubleTake ´s Loki will copy his kissy sounds. They copy whistles too and some people have reported their bird speaks.

To add, I don´t ¨train¨ my lovebirds, not in way of tricks etc. Just recall.
and can become loud and high-pitched (especially at dawn & dusk).
Hmmm, I find my birds are quieter at those times. But yes when they want to be loud, they are. However, I do remember the time when I had one lovebird and he was quiet most of the time. Just occassional cute peeps and chirps :)
 

sunnysmom

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I think the life span averages for both are lower than what you stated. I think with lovies it's more like 10-15 and with parrotlets, it's probably about the same. Of course, that's average, so there are some that live quite a bit longer. I have fostered both, never actually had one long term, but I can share my observations.

The lovie I had didn't come from the best situation. I now suspect she was a "she" although at the time I thought she was a boy. She was pretty cage territorial but again, I think in part that's because of her background, and I got some good nips from her when moving things around in her cage. That said, she was adorable. Had the sweetest little chirps. Loved fruits and vegetables. Loved to forage. And had just started coming out of the cage and sitting with me when she got adopted.

The parrotlet I fostered was definitely feisty and a little ball of energy. He loved to fly around the room and he was fast. And so tiny. It actually made me nervous that I would lose him somewhere. Seriously. Even though we were in an enclosed room, he would fly off and I'd be afraid to move because I didn't want to some how step on him. He really wasn't very vocal. He loved to play in his cage too and would toss around this little ball and chase it around the floor of his cage. He loved to sit on me and be hand fed treats but we hadn't progressed to scratches yet when he got adopted. He was very fearful of hands being inside his cage but I suspect that came from people just grabbing him because he was so little. We have another parrotlet at the rescue right now that's a complete clown but is also very clingy.

I really enjoyed both birds. Neither species thinks they're little. LOL. Big personalities in little birds. I think though to have a parrotlet he/she either needs to be super well trained or you have to have an extremely safe environment. Like I said, the parrotlet I had was fast- and obviously, they're all tiny. I kept him upstairs and my cockatoo was downstairs. So they never met, but I don't think I would have ever let him around my 'too at all, even with Elvis in his cage.
 
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fluffypoptarts

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I have limited parrotlet experience - way more with lovebirds. My mom has a parrotlet that we birdy-sit sometimes, and he is quite fierce and angrily vocal! He will bite anyone he can reach, and bites her as well, but she’s the only one who can handle him at all. But I’ve met a parrotlet (spectacled, I think?) that was friendly and sweet even to strangers. But generally they’re pretty darned feisty and territorial. His speaking and mimicry is pretty minimal, but I wouldn’t let that dissuade you if you are really drawn to parrotlets.

The lovebirds can be very feisty and territorial as well, especially the females. Two of our girls are bitey little devils that only we can handle, but the third is super sweet and never bites anyone. I had one really affectionate girl that wasn’t even originally my bird that passed away a few years back. :sad3: She loved to give kisses and cuddle up to me. They definitely do some mimicry, both of us and each other. I’ve seen videos of talking lovies, and the girls seem a lot more inclined to chat, lol.

Boys mimic too, sometimes both noises and movements. The boys are far more tolerant, more affectionate, and less aggressive. I have two boys that cuddle up to my face and sleep on my chest every chance they get. Then there are two boys that love to sit on me - one far more comfortable about being handled than the other (who was rescued from a terrible home). But even the little rescue boy has become much more okay with being picked up. My last boy only wants love on his terms and will flit around the room like a little nutter until he is ready. Then he comes to lean against my face and give kisses (but no touchy or he’s off like a shot again). All of my boys have been loving, just some of them liking hands less. Of the boys, I’d say half have made friends with the wife, and the others have mixed feelings or are undecided.

Once lovebirds love you, they’re pretty committed in their regard. Yes, you need to give them time with you every day, but all birds need that. They are not suddenly going to stop being tame if you go away for a few days, though they might get upset at you! My ex’s first lovebird chose me right away (before I was even a lovebird person), and he was determined that I would love him and be his person. He would staaare at me from his cage. Every chance he got, he would fly to me and stick like a little burr. He’s still with me and is 13 now.

I’ve never been loved by any bird the way the lovebirds have loved me! :heart:

P.S. While both lovies and parrotlets have big personalities, I think lovies tend to be bolder and less fearful, though my boys will be scared of the silliest things sometimes. Female lovies seem braver and more resilient than the boys.
 
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fluffypoptarts

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Oh and we have 8 lovies. Sometimes you don’t even know we have birds because they’re so quiet. They’re at their loudest when we’re trying to talk to someone else, lol. If they hear another person or some other unusual noise, it’s squeak-squeak-squeak! Not bad or too loud though. Not to us anyway.
 

Zara

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They’re at their loudest when we’re trying to talk to someone else,
That´s interesting :)
My birds are loud if I try to talk to my partner - we´ve essentially given up talking to each other in our living room most of the time... or we whisper!
I think it is my voice because I am quiet Most of the time, my boyfriend speaks more, one the phone, on his computer mic etc whereas I don´t, but when I speak to my family on the phone, or worse when they hear my family, the noise picks up.
And the classic, when one starts they all join in :rolleyes:
 

BirdLady13

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After reading the comments I'm surprised by how much contradicting and/or erroneous information there is for these two species. I'm glad I decided to ask for opinions rather than solely base whatever decision I make on the "facts". To clarify, when I referred to them as 'pocket parrots' I was generalizing small birds.
 

fashionfobie

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After reading the comments I'm surprised by how much contradicting and/or erroneous information there is for these two species. I'm glad I decided to ask for opinions rather than solely base whatever decision I make on the "facts". To clarify, when I referred to them as 'pocket parrots' I was generalizing small birds.
Well in that sense they are def tiny little parrots :) Definitely pocket dimension in terms of their bodies. ;)



There is a lot of mixed info out there about parrots and you are right some of it is misleading or wrong. I think sometimes it comes from a good place. An exaggeration in age seems to be an example of this. Even if a parrotlet will rarely live to that incredibly age, 30!, I think some people bloat numbers because what if the bird did live to an exceptional age? The misinformation I am more dubious of relates to behaviour. First it is hard to generalise too heavily since each bird is different and second species generalisations sometimes forget the big picture stuff and only focus on the marketable positive traits.

If those two macaws in your avatar are your birds, I reckon you have some idea of how parrot behaviour can be. Parrotlets will def be a little different, but they are always clear in their body language and intention. Respect that and you can go far! :) I love my little blueberries! They are so much fun and their spunk and attitude are what makes them unique.
 

laracroft

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Good on you for doing your research! I've never had a lovebird, so take my opinions with a grain of salt, but I think a big part of your experience is going to depend both on the individual bird and you as an individual. For instance, the issue of noise--I've never really been bothered by the amount of noise Micah (my parrotlet) makes, but when I was living with my parents it bothered them a good amount. I think that would depend on what you're accustomed to. Both parrotlets and lovebirds are significantly quieter than their larger cousins, but that doesn't mean they're actually QUIET, especially if you're not used to birds.

As far as age ranges, my vet told me that for parrotlets it's 10-20 years in captivity, but that it's such a wide range because so many parrotlets die in accidents rather than of old age. Tiny bird + super fearless = lots of dangers you might not think of. I know lovebirds are a bit bigger, but I think this would apply to them as well?

In my experience, "affectionate but temperamental" is definitely accurate for parrotlets. Micah loves me to pieces, but it's on his terms. If he doesn't want me close or touching him at the moment, he'll for sure let me know. If he DOES want my attention and I'm not providing enough, he'll let me know that too. He doesn't always want to be right with me, but he wants to know where I am (this has gotten worse since quarantine tbh, he's pretty spoiled nowadays). He loves scritches!

Parrotlets are definitely smart enough to learn tricks, if that's something you're interested in. Maybe too smart? A problem I've had is that Micah will consider how likely he is to get an immediate reward out of something before doing it. So if I don't show him the treat before asking him to do something, he'll just shout it back at me. (Me: "spin!" Micah: *doesn't see the treat I definitely do have ready* "spin!"). It's adorable but frustrating. Mimicry was another point you brought up--some parrotlets definitely do that! I've heard the females are much less likely though. Micah tend to only say things that have a rhythm he likes, and he definitely understands a lot more words than he actually uses.

So that's my take on the points you brought up. Really, I think what kind of bird (or pet in general) to get is a super personal choice, so I don't feel right advising you one way or the other without more information about what you would like from a bird friend. Parrotlets are awesome but not the best fit for everyone, and (I assume) it's the same for lovebirds.
 

NorthernGannet

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I have an adult, single female parrotlet. When she's happy, she is either silent or does very quiet little chirps. But when she is upset about anything at all, she is LOUD. Her angry chirps are peircing and carry throughout the entire house. What makes her upset? Who the heck knows. Sometimes she just wakes up on the wrong side of the bed and she's mad at everything. She is very territorial and some days she's just angry at the world. Other days she's sweet and happy. She has never talked or mimiced any whistles in the year+ I've had her.

When she's out of her cage she usually likes to be on or around me, she flies to me often, but she won't allow me to touch her (not sure why). She is extremely inquisitive and likes to watch what I'm doing and ride around on my shoulder. She and I are a bit of a mismatch, two stubborn females LOL But we mostly get along ok as long as we each remember to respect each other. I suspect the lifespan is shorter because of accidents, as @laracroft mentioned. She is good at chilling out in her cage, but she has bursts of high energy and needs space to get her ya-yas out.

Her cage is 1/2" bar spacing and it's definitely adequate.

Back when I was a teenager I had a peach faced love bird. This was before I knew anything about birds, and I actually bought it from Walmart! Oh my, ages ago. Anyway, I don't know if it was a female or a male, but the bird was low key, easy to hand train, and very people friendly. I remember he/she had very loud, high pitched chirps.

I think the experiences we each have highly depend upon the personality of the individual bird you have. They are all so unique and different.
 

Jisoo

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never in my life have i owned parrotlets but here's some info on lovebirds, i have two right now;)
lovebirds LOVE to shred. give then a sheet of paper and they'll be shredding for twenty mins until the paper is gone.
lovies are not too loud, at first they are but then you get used to the noise. my lovies wake me up at 7 am chirping, and have medium loud chatters when i eat breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
lovebirds have a lot of sass and are feisty, at the same time they can be cuddly and sweet, just depends on the individual bird.
lovies bites, hurt... they have made me bleed several times before.
sometimes lovies mimic speech but they're not known for it and there talking sounds more like mumbling.
it depends what type of bird you want. lovies and parrotlets are similar because there personality is some what the same.
lifespan for lovies- 15-20 yrs
lovie are also capable of doing tricks, mine can do 5, he's still learning.
 
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NorthernGannet

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lovies bites, hurt... they have made me bleed several times before.
Right! Parrotlet bites are the same: they hurt, and they can easily draw blood. This comes to the forefront mostly when trying to get them out of their cages since they are so territorial. Even the friendly ones. Of course there are exceptions, but it's a repeating story heard over and over with them.
 

fluffypoptarts

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Right! Parrotlet bites are the same: they hurt, and they can easily draw blood. This comes to the forefront mostly when trying to get them out of their cages since they are so territorial. Even the friendly ones. Of course there are exceptions, but it's a repeating story heard over and over with them.
So tiny, yet so ferocious! :hilarious: My mom’s parrotlet bites so hard it’s like he thinks he’s crunching into an apple when he bites me! I swear I can hear it. I’d rather be bitten by my wife’s female lovie, the most savage creature in our house!
 

NorthernGannet

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So tiny, yet so ferocious! :hilarious: My mom’s parrotlet bites so hard it’s like he thinks he’s crunching into an apple when he bites me! I swear I can hear it. I’d rather be bitten by my wife’s female lovie, the most savage creature in our house!
Yes, my p'let is definitely going for the kill when she bites me! She is not "feisty", she's just plain old mean when she's in a mood :lol:
 

birdbird

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I've had a parrotlet for about 3 and a half years, and I briefly had a lovebird (~6 months) and ended up re-homing the lovebird for various reasons. Here are my thoughts based on my experience:

Lovebirds are LOUD. So, so, SO LOUD. I live in an apartment and his occasional PIERCING SCREAMS made me afraid of upsetting my neighbors. No one ever complained, but it caused me a lot of anxiety. My parrotlet, on the other hand, can scream all day long and it doesn't bother me. He just doesn't get anywhere near the volume of a lovebird. My budgie is louder than my parrotlet.

As far as nippy, my parrotlet has bitten me on a handful of occasions but I honestly don't think it's a big deal. It hurts, and it might bleed, but he's so small he can't do any serious damage. He likes to use his beak to balance himself when he sits on my hand, so he sometimes gives me a little nip for that reason, but it's fine because I know he's not trying to hurt me. If he's feeling territorial about his cage, I just use a rope perch to pick him up and take him in and out of the cage. Problem solved. I would much, MUCH rather get bitten by a parrotlet than a lovebird.

My parrotlet is definitely temperamental too, but he's so tiny and he puffs up his feathers so cute when he's mad, that I just laugh and tell him he's adorable. I honestly think it's hilarious when he gets mad at random things (random bird toys can set him off) so I don't mind his temper tantrums at all.

My parrotlet learned how to make kissing sounds, and now he does it anytime I'm not paying enough attention to him. He starts with normal parrotlet chirps, but if I don't respond he switches to kiss sounds because he KNOWS I'll pay attention then :) It's so ridiculously cute!!!

I love my parrotlet SO MUCH and I hope to have many more years with him. The lovebird was beautiful but I just could not handle his eardrum-shattering SHRIEKS.

Tldr I am team PARROTLET :)
 

Zara

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The lovebird was beautiful but I just could not handle his eardrum-shattering SHRIEKS.
I feel like the bigger the space, the nicer the lovebird call is.
In a small room/bedroom/living room it is a hellish shreik.... outside it is a cute sound.
 

fluffypoptarts

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I feel like the bigger the space, the nicer the lovebird call is.
In a small room/bedroom/living room it is a hellish shreik.... outside it is a cute sound.
This description made me laugh! :roflmao: I’ve never understood why people have issues with their squeaks, though, and I’ve lived in all kinds of spaces with them. :shrug3: They’re really not that loud to me - definitely not louder than my Mom’s parrotlet, especially when he gets going! Right now I have complete silence in my house with 8 lovebirds. With the TV on. They squeak occasionally, but I hardly even notice unless it’s a contact call or an alarm call. Maybe I’m part lovebird, lol.

Some have more shrill voices than others. My sweet little dapper gentleman Beni had quite the sharp squeak (still well within tolerance), but I think he’s the only one I’ve really experienced that with.
 
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