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Hookbills are an informally defined as being in the parrot family. Generally referring to the shape of their beaks, most people think of parrots, macaws, cockatoos, greys as hookbills. Anything in size from a parakeet through a macaw, the one thing they have in common is the hooked like beak. These beaks are capable of tremendous strength, in order to crush the thick shells of nuts and seeds. (Also hurts much more to be bitten by a hookbill then a softbill.)

Most people who visit this site are "bird people" and have their own bird stories, if you are one of those people, please go to the contact section and e-mail us anything bird related. You can send us pictures, stories, how to make your own bird toys, behavioral problems or anything else related to birds that you would like to share.

Also make sure to go to the softbills site

Colorful feathers, lifting songs and low-maintenance routines are just a few of the reasons a bird can be an ideal pet. Birds are pretty easy to take care for, you don’t need to walk them or scoop their poop. However, to succeed as a bird owner, you need to keep certain things in mind.

Choosing the Right Bird

Choosing a bird as a pet can be very rewarding. Owning a bird can be an amazing experience but not all birds are good for everyone. There are many different types to choose from. It’s therefore very important that you choose the right bird to fit your own lifestyle. Hand raised birds make the best pets. Here are some popular birds you can chose from.

Canaries
They are among the most popular types of birds in the world. They are well known for their vocal talents and vibrant colors. They can be green or yellow, brown or even bright orange. If you want a singer, get a male canary, female canaries don’t sing. This type of bird is ideal for beginners who are not sure they want too much interaction with the birds. The canary loves to hang out in its cage and entertain you with its beauty and songs. Actually, they’d rather not be handled.

Budgies (parakeets)
They are easily available. They can be timid at first, but can easily be tamed by gentle handling and can bond easily with humans. For a very gentle child, parakeets are the ideal pets. However, they are more prone to life-threatening diseases.

Finches
This is another hands-off bird. This bird is flashy, fast moving and extremely fun to watch. They do better in a social situation, so try to get more than one. They also require plenty of space to exercise their wings; they get around by flying. However, when they are too crowded, territorial cage battles between them will erupt.

Cockatiels
These small parrots are exceptionally popular. Cockatiels are very loving and they live to snuggle and be petted. They are available in many different colors from gray to orange. Some can learn how to talk, but most of them are just good whistlers.

Cockatoos
Cockatoos consist of 21 species. The two most common species are the greater and lesser sulphur-crested, which are all white with yellow crest feathers on head and a black beak. They differ in appearance from other pet-parrot like birds because of their head crests. They have long feathers. Cockatoos have surprisingly loud voices for their medium-sized bodies. They need constant attention and hate being alone.

Macaws
Macaws make nice companions and are capable of learning a few words and tricks. There are several macaw species and numerous other hybrid varieties; all have different personality traits. Macaws are known for their intelligence and highly-colored plumage. However they can be expensive and too big for some households.

Other types of birds you can choose as pets include quaker parekeets, poicephalus parrots, Amazon parrots, pyrrhura conures and peach-faced lovebirds.

Housing

Pet birds are housed in bird cages or aviaries. However, it’s cruel to lock up a bird all day long. Birds are intelligent and need to be let out each day, especially larger parrots. Certain types of smaller birds are less demanding, but larger birds must be let out several times a day. The birds’ cage should be large enough to allow the bird to easily stretch out its wings; ample height should be provided for long-tailed birds. The ideal width should be at least twice the bird’s wingspan when the wings are fully extended.

Make sure the pet cannot slip his head between the bars of its cage. This cage should be non-toxic and easy to clean. It should be strong enough to resist bending or even dismantling by the pet. Natural sunlight is good for your bird but make sure he has access to shade.

At least one perch should be provided inside the cage. Some birds may require more than one perch. The perch should be placed high enough such that the bird’s tail does not hang down into its own food. Food and water should be placed below the perch as the pet droppings will contaminate them.

Toys should be provided for entertainment. Select your toys with the bird’s safety in mind. Toys should be rotated to keep the bird stimulated. A bored bird is an unhappy bird; when deprived of attention, they may become destructive to their surrounding and sometimes even to themselves. Many birds chew anything they can get their beaks on. For this reason, keep the house clear of dangerous items when the bird is flying free. Avoid anything made of lead such as metal toys, stained glass and jewelry.

Grooming

Cage
Birds are quite messy. Food and water bowls must be cleaned each day. The cage should be cleaned at least once a week. When outside the cage, they will poop and so be prepared to clean the bird’s droppings.

Bathe
Use plain water to bathe your pet; frequent bathing can help remove oil buildup from petting and handling. Spraying birds down with water will also help with air born dust and allergens caused from the birds.

Feathers
Trim the bird’s wing to prevent the bird from being able to fly around non-stop. The wings can be trimmed by your vet. Never cut new feathers; blood feathers will bleed if cut. After cutting wing feathers, hold the bird close to the ground and let them gradually discover thry cannot fly.

A plucking bird will pull and pluck the feathers out completely. Regular bathing can help cure feather-plucking in some birds.

Nails
Nails must be trimmed frequently. If there is a sharp nail, trim it immediately.

Beaks
Birds with overgrown tips or cracks may need smoothing. Since the beak has a blood and nerve supply, take caution when trimming. You can also provide blocks for the bird to wear down their beaks naturally, as they would in the wild.

Exercise


Birds should be allowed out of their cages to fly around the house or walk and play around your house. When allowing the bird out, make sure all windows are closed. Decals or curtains should be placed on windows to avoid the bird crashing into them. Keep all ceiling fans off while the pet is out. Avoid cooking on the oven or stove while the bird is out. Take caution with tall skinny glasses of water and hot liquids; birds can drawn even in small amounts of water. Toilet lids must also be kept closed.

Feeding

Birds require nutritionally balanced diet for a long and healthy life. The food should be placed in a wide bowl as opposed to a deep cup. Spread out the food to encourage the bird to eat. A good diet should include seeds, nuts, leafy greens, fruits, vegetables, lean cooked meats, spaghetti, yogurt, small amounts of cheese and boiled eggs. A powdered vitamin supplement can be added to the diet. Water should be changed daily. Research what types of foods are best for your species of bird.

How long can a bird live?

The life expectancy can be anywhere from 8 to 80 years, depending on the species. Canaries have an average life expectancy of 10 years, macaws 60-80 years, cockatoos 50 -70 years, cockatiel 15 -20 years and finches 5-15 years.

Health

When choosing a bird, make sure it’s healthy; a sick bird is no bargain no matter the price. Do not choose a bird that makes clicking sounds when they breathe. In most cases, birds show symptoms of sickness when the disease is quite advanced. Sick birds appear tired, ruffled or droopy and hide their heads under their wings. Droppings stuck to a bird’s tail feathers is not a good sign. If your bird has any of the above symptoms, take her to a vet immediately. Take caution when introducing new birds to your bird. May birds harbor contagious disease-causing organisms. Place the new bird in an isolated room for a certain period of time.