Housing Two Different Species In One Cage

Housing Two Different Species In One Cage

 March 14th, 2011
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Q: I am thinking of getting a quaker parrot. Can I put him in the same cage with my cockatiel?
–Linda L., Minot, ND

A: This is just not a good idea. I have both species of birds and find that I have to watch the interaction between both closely even when they are in a common play area. Although they appear to be similar in size, the body type of the quaker is stockier, the beak larger and the personality more aggressive. The quaker is a more powerful bird than the cockatiel.

Even in cases where the birds seem to get along well, you have to consider the possibility that one day there might be an altercation between the two. The more delicate of the two birds, the cockatiel, would be the likely loser.  And being confined in a cage, where there is no possibility of escape, things could get ugly, or worse.

It is inadvisable to put two birds of different sizes together in close proximity at all. Never make the assumption that you know your birds well enough to feel certain that neither would cause an incident. I promise you that you do not know your bird that well. None of us do. A bird regards and responds to its environment differently than we do as humans. We don’t now, and perhaps never will, fully understand their nature.


When I first came to Orlando, I introduced my goffins cockatoo, Theo, to the Womach’s rosebreasted cockatoos and african grey. Theo is smaller than than the other birds and is a bit timid in personality. Sweet and gentle Theo has never bitten anyone, ever – she’s a total marshmallow, and I expected her to come running to me for protection. Imagine my surprise when SHE was the aggressor with the larger birds and had no issues with telling THEM how things were going to be. The Womach birds just rolled their eyes and went about their business.

Parrots of the same species sometimes squabble, just like humans do, and often will simply opt to move away from each other. Different species have different levels of aggression and territorialism and might always regard another species in its cage as an invader. Just as wild birds run off other species that come too close to their nesting site, so might a captive bird.  It isn’t worth the risk.

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65 Comments on “Housing Two Different Species In One Cage”

Suzette  03/16/2011 12:44 pm

I know a woman who had a yellow fronted amazon and a ALexandrine together in an aviary and the amazon (though living together for years) Killed the alexandrine, ripped his jugular its sad. You have to be very careful.

Daisy Brambletoes  03/16/2011 1:00 pm

Let’s face it, birds are racists, plain and simple. An ugly word when applied to humans, but a fact of life with birds. Different species really don’t like each other and treat each other at best with suspicion and at the worst with murderous intent. My flock of lovebirds ganged up on my cockatiels so badly that I could never let him out when they have freedom. Budgies will get into equally ugly fights with other species. I know some people have had luck with letting individual birds socialize on a playground, but that’s very unusual. Such truces never last for more than a few minutes. And cockatiels always seem to get the short end of the stick.

Mickael Bruce  03/16/2011 1:50 pm

I would have to disagree with this, as we have a Jenday Conure and four Cockatiels ( a White Faced Pearl – female, two Grey males, and a Grey that was hatched before the end of January) housed in a large flight cage. We have the gang together for some years now, and have had only minor problems due to Jazz, I think the alpha male cockatiel and father of of hatchling, being bossy. Actually I would say it has been more comical than anything else. Gizmo, our Jenday, preens Pearly, our White Faced, and has also begun preening Angel, our hatchling.
When we were waiting for the egg to hatch, Gizmo would also stand guard over the nesting box during feeding times. And when the egg had hatched he was looking at the new baby with amazement like he was trying to figure out what this was.
Now Jazz, the alpha male, sort of rules the cage, because of his cockiness. Rembrandt, our other male was given to us with a badly damaged right wing – the damage exposing the bone and nerves on the tip of his wing but with some careful doctoring he is doing just fine, has taught Jazz how to sing. In the beginning, after getting Remmie, as we sometimes call him, he would sing up a storm and Jazz was trying to figure it out. Now, we have a jam session when they both sing with each giving his own expression and melodies.
So, again, I have to disagree with not putting the two sizes together. I think it all depends on our own human interaction and not over crowding the cage.

Joy  03/16/2011 1:53 pm

A not so funny tail. I have a cage with a pair of cockatiels and a cage next to them with my Blue Front Amazon Parrot. One of my cockatiels kept ending up bleeding from the foot and would get blood all over his cage. At first i thought this bird was nuts and biting his own foot, as I have never seen him fight with his partner. This kept happening. So I thought it must be his partner. Kept watching and I have never heard any yelling or fighting not even heard anything out of my parrot. UNTILL one night I caught my parrot with his head stretched WAY out to the Cockatiels cage. Couldnt believe he could even reach. My Cockatiel would get in front of the parrot and yell at him as he the parrot was biting off his toes. OH MY! So the cages are moved apart now all the birds are OK now. Just missing a few toes… If I didnt see it with my own eyes I would never of figured it out.

Mary  03/16/2011 1:56 pm

I bought 2 little green cheek conures last fall. My plan was to house them with my 2 cockatiels, but decided that they would be better off in their own cages. So each pair has a cage side by side. And I am glad I did as the little conures are a bit more aggressive than the cockatiels. They play nicely together during out time. But I feel better when I am at work, knowing each pair has their own house.

Gary  03/16/2011 3:14 pm

Had a cockatiel since 1989.In 1996 ,was given a goffins .It took the cockatoo13 years(it has a broken wing and can’t fly , But it finnaly caught and killed Dali)the smaller bird did not have a chance.(clipped wings).We still have the goffins. B is now 35(dali died just before her 20th birthday…RIP

vabr  03/16/2011 3:17 pm

We have five birds, two quakers caged together, a grey, an Eclectus and a cockatiel in four cages . The quakers share a cage and are normally inseperable however one is much more aggressive than the other. We assumed from the beginning this one is female being smaller but she tolerates no one but her companion on the same cage as them. Quite often she is on the outside and he on the inside. I would not think to put another bird with them. I have often thought of separating the two. All the birds are out during the day and free to climb about their own cages. The Eclectus seems to rule the roost of the others going from cage to cage eating everything in sight. I had to move the cockatiels cage, which is much, much smaller ,to another area because he would chase the ‘tiel out and get in the cage himself. The grey and him are often seen sitting on the same cage but not by each other. He sits inside, the grey outside or the other way around. They all seem to work this out on their own. I very rarely have to intervene. To put them intentionally and permanently together I think is a bad idea. You would be looking for injuries to one of them.

Phil keyes  03/16/2011 3:20 pm

At one time I had a Blue and Gold and a Scarlet Macaw. I left the cages open and they could travel from cage to cage. Only Max the Scarlett took advantage of this mobility.

One day I heard some noise and went into the birds room. There was Max cornering my Blue and Gold who by this time was quite upset. I got Max to back down and moved him to his own cage. I shut the door and all the while was telling the Blue and Gold, “it’s ok”. She was allowed to roam but not Max. There were no further problems.
However, about three months later I got some bad news. It must have shown in my face because my Blue and Gold took one look and said ” it’s OK ” That is her good night to me now every night. .. ” It’s OK ” Although that’s wonderful, I also don’t recommend birds of differing breeds in the same cage or even within reach. There has also been some study on new world and old world birds being housed near one and other. The study did not recommend it.

Hope this helps.

sadman  03/16/2011 3:27 pm

Same thing happened to me! Have to lovebirds and two budgies. They all got along fine until one day just recently, they were eating out of the same bowl and my lovebird literally attacked my budgie! Unfortunately, the budgie lost his beak and can’t even climb around the cage anymore unless he flies to where he wants to go!

It was and still is very sad and I won’t ever put the two different species together again. What is to happen to him? He seems to be okay now but he is still missing his beak. I saw him attempt to eat food after but have no idea if we is able to.

Bob Eichenberger  03/16/2011 3:28 pm

We have a Blue and Gold Macaw and a Lesser Sulpher Cockatoo who were nest mates and hand fed in a great bird store where we bought them and have used for the last 8 years. They are 5 now and have lived together on the same perch or in the same cage their whole lives. On rare occasions, like siblings, we have to separate them, but for the most part they are together 24/7. I am told these two would not get along in most cases, but I think the fact that they were nest mates and both have sweet dispositions made it possible.

Steve  03/16/2011 3:30 pm

I have 2 Green-cheek Conures, a Senegal, A Bourke’s Parakeet and two common ‘keets. Short of raiding each others food and occasional posturing, they’ve all tolerated each other without incident for about three years. The Senegal is clipped, has her own cage and “play deck” and keeps to it, unless she’s on my girlfriend’s shoulder. The Conures are clipped and have their own cage and are very social, roaming throughout the den. The ‘keets/Bourke have their own cage and are fully flighted-roaming everywhere-the Bourke is very social. They are all out of their cages more than in them. When I give them their fruit and veggie bowls, I keep the Conures and ‘keets in their cages, because they’ll all congregate in the Senegal’s cage and chow all of her food (the Senegal is the most passive of the group). We also have two dogs and live in an apartment. I don’t doubt the advice here- just relating experience.

Lisa Lansden  03/16/2011 3:32 pm

I have an Umbrella Cockatoo, “Snow White” and a Severe Macaw, “Captain Morgan.” Snowy is 13 and Captain is 3. The two of the were in cages side by side for two years and seemed to want to climb in each other’s cages to be together. They play and eat together as well as goom each other. At night when they go to sleep they cuddle up to each other. It is very sweet. They have been in the same cage together for the last year…. although I did buy a larger cage for them. :)

Donna Torres  03/16/2011 3:50 pm

My Quaker was out of his cage, the parakeets inside of theirs. He actually ate the toenails off of one of the keets. Same could happen to a Tiel. I have caught my Quaker inside the parakeet cage, and inside the Cockatiel cage. He’s an escape (enter?) artist. I had to clip all feed doors and entry doors to all the cages to keep him out. I have moved the keet’s cage to a different room, as well as the Tiel’s cage. He absolutely loves to let them all out.

Barbara DelGiudice  03/16/2011 3:51 pm

Thank you Patty for this post because I had to learn the hard way. And the 2 birds were not even in the same cage together. I took in a canary some time ago because the lady who owned him did not spend any important time on him and the canary was starving to death. She didn’t do it on purpose, she had too much going on in her home. So I took him in. I took him to the avian vet and got him medicine and better food and he was doing well, then my cockatiel was out of the cage and decided to climb on the canaries cage. He was extremely jealous and angry at him and bit very hard on the canary’s foot. It was difficult for me to get my cockatiel to let go of the canary’s foot. The poor canary nearly bled to death! I rushed him to the vet and she did pull him through with a heat lamp and oxygen. Unfortunately I used Arm and Hammer Baking Soda with a sent on my rug and the canary died that night. I didn’t know about how toxic that rug deodorizer was.

Another thing is I cannot keep the same species together in the same cage either. I have 2 cockatiels, Baby who is 14 in April and Beenie who is 8 years old now. When Beenie was a baby at 4 months old my older cockatiel Baby pushed him off of the top of the cage quiet often. And now that Beenie is older and stronger he pushes Baby around all of the time and eats his food up! This caused Baby to get sick and weak. At first I didn’t know why Baby was getting so weak and had hardly any energy. I was sided tracked with problems and failed to pay good attention. So I began to pay much better attention to what was going on with Baby and Beenie. They were not even in the same cage. They were both on top of the cage, with both doors open to their cages. And Beenie would run over to Baby’s cage and eat all of his food up eating some of Baby’s favorite foods! Poor Baby went on like this for a few years and I finally figured it out. I felt so terrible that I did not notice sooner. I have to keep the 2 separated at times and keep Beenie from bullying Baby. Beenie feels like the dominate male and he also gets really upset when Baby will not let Beenie preen him. Then Beenie gets really upset and starts to beat up Baby. I have to keep close watch at all times when they are on top of the cage together.

Cassandra  03/16/2011 3:58 pm

I have a cockatiel and a conure in the same cage.
They are both handreared by me with a month distance of age.
they get a long super ! and they are still tame but picky about whom they´d like to talk to..

ReRow  03/16/2011 3:59 pm

Now i personally cannot fully agree with this post. I think it is a good rule of thumb! I have An African Grey “Congo” and a Ducorps cockatoo “Julie” . ( who are climbing all over me as i type this) any way i got Congo About 6 years ago from a pet store Julie was at the same pet store when i got him. Julie liked me and cried for me every time i went in there and would play with congo from time to time. if you’ve never heard a baby ducorps they sound like the movie the grudge so i started saving up for her and one day she was gone i was sad but for whatever reason a few weeks later she was back at the store and while i was there doing my normal shopping one day i set congo down to play with her and they were thrilled so i went about my business buying stuff and when i was done shopping i picked up Congo & Julie run up my arm right after him the store employees tryed to remove her from me but she bit and screamed so i told them to leave her there and i’d pay for her took her home to one cage with My male grey and they have been happy together ever since yes they have disagreements now and again but it never lasts long he enjoys feeding her and they groom each other and Julie always feels safer to be close to congo when we are out and about. i have a small cage on the front of my tricycle and we go for rides around town they love being together ok so maybe congo can do with out Julies clinginess from time to time but she follows him everywhere around the house and stuff now my cage door is never locked and they are rarely inside it only to play with toys and maybe it’s because they grew up together but they defiantly dislike being housed separately! so as to say you should never do it is wrong. i do think it matters on the personality of the individual parrots involved! I also have a friend that has an umbrella cockatoo and a green quaker they have separate cages and are even across the room from each other she’s like me and never locks the parrot doors the quaker always flys to the umbrella’s cage ans spends the majority of time with him and talk about size difference! so i say do not force them to live together or apart allow them to decide for themselves but if one or more of your parrots are ornery, territorial, or just plain Antisocial HEAD THE WARNING OF THE POST! but to say it is impossible is just not a whole truth

Julia  03/16/2011 4:11 pm

My five birds have free range during the day and caged by two’s at nite except my Blue and Gold Macaw is by herself. Two Tiels together and my Quaker and Cherry Headed Conure share the same cage. Everybody gets along but can also escape if there is any aggression. So far so good…
I agree, you NEVER know an animal but people can be just as mysterious, LOL.

renee  03/16/2011 4:14 pm

by accident we had 2 different kinds of birds in the same cage it was a very big cage minutes was all it took. The more aggressive one ended up DEAD. Now the other 2 are not even housed in the same room EVER

J.Sidles  03/16/2011 4:16 pm

I have a Senegal Parrot, 6 cockatiels, 4 finches and 2 lovebirds in the same aviary. They have different foods, lots of perches, suitable nest boxes, swings and toys. Both the cockatiels and finches have had numerous babies. They have been together for over 4 years and all seem to get along just fine. I put the parrot in her own cage at night, but she prefers the aviary during the days. Likes socializing with her feathered friends.

Ramkishore  03/16/2011 4:18 pm

Thank you very much Chet…..I have been wondering if I should put my Alexandrine and African Grey together in a cage, considering that they get along so well……….good I read this post first.

Andrew Pitman  03/16/2011 4:22 pm

As always, YMMV. I’ve been housing a female green cheeked conure with a male blue crown for about four years now with no problems. My blue crown is quite a bit bigger than the green cheek, yet he’s never hurt her. To be safe, I do have a unique cage setup. I have two cages attached side-by-side with a small slot between them, so it is only possible for the green cheek to pass back and forth. So there is a shared cage, and one in which she can get away and be by herself if she needs to. Every night, she chooses to sleep in the shared cage with her pal, though.

Jo Anne  03/16/2011 4:33 pm

i have 2 diferent species of birds… both about the same size but one can do more damage with his beek than the other, Ever since day 1 when i got the second bird I have ALWAYS had them in their individual cages wich is the best idea because as much as they talk to each other when they are both in their cages, when they are loose my sun conure will fight my indian ringneck off my shoulder for attention even if my boyfriend is presently giving him all the attention in the world they both seem to prefer me,

Jo Anne

Debbie Foote  03/16/2011 4:41 pm

I had a parakeet and a Cockatiel. They had been in my home together for over a year. One day I put them together in the same cage. The cockatiel killed the parakeet over night. There were no marks, blood or missing feathers on the keet. I think the cockatiel frightened the keet to death.

I have a Sun Conure and five keets. My Sun Conure hates the keets and tries to get to them every chance he gets. He is very hostel towards the keets. I think he would kill them if he could.

I do not trust putting different kinds of birds together because they too have temperments. You never know what would bring on an attack and cause one to kill another.

Sissy Beach  03/16/2011 4:50 pm

I think it really depends on what age they were introduced, age span and available space. I know of an Afrian Grey, umbrella cockatoo and macaw who all share a large enclosure and do just fine, with the cockatoo being the last addition. I also know of three cockatiels who were purchased together and cannot share the same cage. You just don’t know, but definately letting them be together in a large space outside of their cages for a long while before you trap themin a cage would be the route I would go.

Marianne S.  03/16/2011 5:28 pm

I have a Sun Conure, a Cockatiel and a Parrotlet. I never put them together, and never let them out of their cages at the same time. Believe it or not, the Parrotlet, tiny thing that she is, is the most aggressive of the three. She flew to the side of the Conure’s cage a few years ago, and he bit the tip of one of her toes off – she has no claw there now. And even though the Cockatiel and Conure have never been in the same cage together, when the Cockatiel is out and on top of the Conure’s cage, the Conure avoids him. I would never try to house my birds in the same cage, unless they were the same species, and even then, they must be watched. The Cockatiel had two cage mates who have since died, and there was occasional squabbling amongst them.

Barbara DelGiudice  03/16/2011 5:37 pm

I do need to stress that Baby and Beenie love each other very much even though Beenie is very rough on Baby and Beenie never ceases to stop trying to preen Baby. If I take one bird to the vet they start calling out to each other and get very upset that one bird is leaving.

Liz  03/16/2011 5:45 pm

I had a male cockatiel and female eastern rosella parakeet sharing a cage for 12 years without incident. This was after observing them for nearly two years beforehand though and keeping a close eye on them for a good while after they started sharing a cage. The rosella adored the tiel – he seemed quite indifferent, prefering my company to hers!

We also had a female parrotlet sharing with two male budgies. She fell in love with one of the budgies and the two of them ignored the other budgie so I housed him with another single male budgie. All went well. Again, these birds were housed together after a lot of observation to ensure everyone’s safety.

Vicki  03/16/2011 5:53 pm

I have a Sun Conure and a Quaker that have mated. From the day I got the Sun Conure my Quaker Fell in love and now will not come to me except to bite. The Sun Conure comes to me and the Quaker is soo jeloise that he bites.

Jeff Gunn  03/16/2011 6:03 pm

As I write this my white faced cocatiel is healing from a head wound presumably from my blue and gold macaw. I leave the cages open but 10 feet apart and apparently when I went outside for a few minutes dusty the cocatiel flew into the macaw’s cage as we found her on the macaw’s perch and bleeding from the top of her head. I am as careful as anyone but it can happen so don’t intensionally cage two different species of birds together!

Mike  03/16/2011 6:48 pm

I have a Kakariki family and I can’t put any other male bird of any other species, because the cock is TOO territorial. I had to sell their first offspring, (a male), because the Kakariki cock, kept fight him and chasing him away.

Anyways, before I got Kiki a mate, he shared a cage with a female budgie, with no problem. So I think that it may be possible to mix breeds but, make sure of the gender ratio.

Meesam  03/16/2011 7:01 pm

NO do you know that they will kill each other

Stephanie Hanson  03/16/2011 7:39 pm

You should consider the type of birds…finches, canaries can be injured by birds with larger beaks. I put two Pacific parrolets together after sitting next to each other for 3 weeks. Big mistake. The older one nearly bit the other’s leg off. Terrible and I felt so badly about it. My Grey and my mini-macaw have separate cages and though the macaw will climb up the Grey’s cage and go inside and visit his “nest”(he’s always on top!), I am afraid blood will fly – so I separate them asap.

Gene  03/16/2011 7:45 pm

As a caretaker of multiple species I would like to add some thoughts. I have 2 quackers and I would never house the 2 girls together, since they always seem to fussy at each other. As time goes on they get along better. On the other hand the 2 sun conures hit it off from the day the meet. The golfin cockatoo seems to like all of them and just wants to play all the time.

My birds are currently full flighted and I run an open cage home. At bed time all the birds find where ever they prefer to sleep and settle in for the night. Each has a cage they call home and for the most part sleep and stay in their homes most of the time.

Quakers are fiercely territorial by nature. Yet, given the chance the calmest of my green quaker girls moved into the big cage with the golfin, and apparently with Daisy’s blessing and they get along great. The other quaker girls is more aggressive and as a result spends more time alone.

The answer to caging birds together is really “it all depends”. Each bird is different, and uncaged birds act differently than caged birds. After the spring wing trim Daisy the golfin gets a whole new attitude and much more subdued and ladylike. The quakers dont seem to change much at all, and they sun conures will get their first trim and dna test soon. So part of the equation also depends on each bird regardless of species.

Sandy Turner  03/16/2011 8:09 pm

I have the same senerio here at home with a Cockatiel and a Quaker. They seem to like each other but I can say that I think the Quaker would kill the Cockatiel if they were caged together. I have had one incident where the Quaker bit off the toe of the Cockatiel. Things happen so quickly, they have to be watched constantly when they are out together. I would never cage them together! Hope this helps someone..

Patty  03/16/2011 8:55 pm


Not only is having one’s beak pulled off VERY painful, but it prevents this bird from eating. This bird MUST see a vet immediately. A vet can reconstruct a beak using dental bonding techniques so that it will not starve to death or die from infection. This should be considered an emergency. A bird cannot survive for long without food.


Patty  03/16/2011 9:13 pm

I am sorry to have to disagree with you. The fact that your birds have not had an incident has NOTHING to do with human interaction or overcrowding (although, that will surely up the odds), it has everything to do with luck. No matter how you interact with your birds, or feel that they are not inclined towards violence, you can NEVER train out an innate behavior. One such example of that is spring hormones. Should your Jenday get a huge blast of hormones one season, and it varies wildly from year to year, you might find that he is no longer willing to patiently co-habitate with another species. Your bird’s wild instincts and other circumstances in your bird’s environment that are beyond your control could end up in tragedy. You have been lucky so far, but your luck could change at any time.

Devorah  03/16/2011 11:16 pm

I had two quakers in the same cage. . thought it was ok because they were still babies and seemed like they getting along fine. Then one day, they got into a horrible fight and I thought they were going to kill each other. They were separated from that day on. I still would let them have supervised preening and playing/flying time together, but learned when enough was enough for one of the birds – the female. Then i would separate them. Even their travel cages must be separate.

Kathleen  03/16/2011 11:47 pm

I have a brown-headed parrot, Pepper, and a Timneh, Muffy. Both are young with Pepper 3 years old and Muffy just turned 2. When both are out of their cages in the play area, they are very closely supervised. Pepper is the leader since he’s older, and I got him first and he’s pretty much fully matured at 3. Muffy is just a little kid since African Greys take 5 years to mature. One day I had each bird on a separate shoulder. They normally stay put, but for some reason Pepper scrabbled around my neck to where Muffy was and attacked him. Imagine my panic! I immediately stuck my hand between them, (rather that I get bit than either one of them, and I did from both of them) then shook them off my shoulder where they landed on the sofa seat in a ball of feathers. They immediately separated with Pepper making a beeline for the top of the sofa and Muffy in hot pursuit. (Both of my birds have their wings clipped.) Muffy, who unti then had been very passive, and giving toward Pepper was mad! I had to throw a towel over him to stop the chase. Since then the dynamics between the two of them have subtly changed and Pepper has been very careful around Muffy, I think he knows that he was no match against the bigger bird. So in answer to your question, I would never put two birds in one cage. You never know what’s going to happen. Better to be safe than sorry.

Rose Hindman  03/17/2011 12:27 am

I have an Indian ringneck(Tsi) which is nearly a year old. WE recently got a baby to be a mate for it(Peep). Tsi wants nothin to do with it. Whenever it comes near or gets in his cage or play area he bites it. Mostly its tail. It chases it all over the house. Is it because he is jealous? Tsi is avery spoilt bird as it has been our baby and it pretty much went everywhere with me and has the run of the house. Is there a way to get him to like the baby Peep?

Mike  03/17/2011 1:22 am

We have two male Macaws at home in separate individual cages. The first is a Blue & Gold Macaw that is 7 years old now. The other is a Scarlet Macaw that is almost 2 years old and was hand raised from 1 month old by my wife and I. These two birds have always been together and the B&G has always been a real love and is very gentle and tame, He just about raised the Scarlet Macaw from before he even had any feathers. The Scarlet, even says the same things and makes the same noises and calls “in the same voice” as the B&G.

They were BUDDIES and would play all day together. I would even let them swap cages with each other and would even put them together in the B&G’s cage for short periods while I watched them very closely.

Never had any problems at all.

Then a few times I noticed that the Scarlet Baby (who is very large for a scarlet macaw) Would take over the TOP PERCH in the B&G’s cage when ever they were in there together. and the B&G macaw would just let him do it.

When the Scarlet was about 1-1/2years old they were both out of their cages and playing as they had always done together…no problems!
All of a sudden the Baby Scarlet Macaw flew off of his play gym swing and chased the B&G macaw right back into his cage and really went after him aggressively , seemingly for NO REASON!

Now these two macaws that were raised together have to be watched constantly when they are out and sometimes one locked back up in their own cage just to keep them separate and safe from one another.

I have clipped the Scarlet Macaw’s wings (3 primaries on each side SO HE CAN STILL FLY) just to slow him down and give the advantage to the B&G MACAW.
I put him back into his cage every time he attacks his Blue & Gold Macaw brother for about 10-15 minutes each time.
I keep a water filled squirt bottle “with a 20 foot range” close at hand at all times and use it on him every time he starts to chase or attack the other bird.

Even so, it’s been well over a month now and his bad behavior has not stopped!
It seems to have slowed down some to the point where I can usually yell at him and he stops going after the submissive 7 year old Blue and Gold macaw.

This is still a mystery as to why all of a sudden these two birds decided to not get along any more.
But there is one thing that is for sure.
Had they been housed in the same cage the day the Scarlet macaw decided to go after the blue and gold macaw, there would have been very serious injuries and or death of two other wise lovable and hand tame macaws that mean the world to my wife and I.


It’s not worth the risk!

Yvonne (Star) Rasul  03/17/2011 4:44 am

I have a one yr old male cockatiel, and have been thinking about getting him a friend mainly because I have an internet business and my little Peppy has got to always have my full attention, he wont even let me use my keyboard or mouse and God forbid if he ever finds the mouse or key board unattended any thing that takes my attention from him is his enemy.
I would like to buy a six month handfed female cockatiel but the pet shop we have can not tell me the sex
with out taking a blood test. The store does not allow returns. I was thinking about getting a bungie do cockatiels get along with bungies? I’m thinking bungie cause they are not that expensive and they also can not mate. I dont need more than two birds. Please help my business is a stake. Yours Truley, Yvonne (Star)

Robyn Little  03/17/2011 7:04 am

I have a ringneck and sun conure in one cage, alexandrine and Quaker in another and a ringneck and two budgies share a cage together. I believe it depends on the individual birds how they will go together. I have a small flock of different birds that fly around together in the house but like any species, they have their pecking order as well. There are times when my galah (and I call her a galah rather than a rose breasted cockatoo because she acts like one) will be loving with the ringneck and at others she will lunge with her beak open (no prize for guessing what she has planned) but Saffy (ringneck no. 1) knows that she has to watch for Rosey’s moods and they get along well most of the time but there is no way I would house them together. I agee that Quakers are very dominant, bossy little birds with attitude and would not put them with the more gentle species like the cockatiel. Once again it depends on the individual bird. I have two baby ringnecks that live together and sometimes they get really narky with each other and I think that I am going to have to separate them but then I think that they would be really upset if they weren’t in together. It is always a hard decision. Anyway I love my birds and drive my family and co- workers crazy with my constant talk about them. It’s hard not to as people don’t realize what truly amazing creatures they are. I can’t help thinking that if people could understand that even these little creatures have feelings and personalities that people would be more inclined to treat them with more respect and compassion.

Dennis  03/17/2011 10:08 am

Hi Patty,
Thanks for the advise on the food size last week. I was wondering if anyone has suggestions on how I can get my 2 Macaws to get along. One is almost 2 and the other is almost 1. They are close in size and during the day I have them in the same room, 2 different perches. They are about 6-8 feet apart. They are at work so I caan’t move the perches closer. When I put them together the younger one is intimidated and they seem to strike at each other. Any help would be greatly appreciated. My ultimate goal is to put them on the same perch (big tree display in front window so they will have plenty of room for each other). Thanks!!

Valerie  03/17/2011 12:57 pm

I have 2 parrots. Both are conures but different kinds and different sizes so does that count as being different breeds? I have a Sun Conure (age 4) & a Blue Crown Conure (age 2). Both are Males. The Blue Crown is younger but bigger. I was very afraid to put them together at first because I had no idea what to expect! I already had the Sun Conure for about a year before I got the Blue Crown- I got him as a baby once he was weaned. I didn’t know if they’d be friends or total enemies… I started off just giving them individual time and attention and keeping them in separate cages. But they really got along well; preening each other, playing, etc. so I started to experiment with putting them in one cage together while I supervised during the day. Now mind you, the Blue Crown is VERY ornary and playful all of the time (I dont know if this is typical for BC’s or if it’s just his young age) but the Sun is more relaxed and prefers to ride around on my shoulder, fly around the house & preen… The Blue Crown tends to try and bully the Sun ocasionally and they have a little tif here & there but 98% of the time they just hang out together, preen each other alot, and they’ve been sleeping in the same cage all night for over a year with no problems. Now I wonder if I too should worry about them eventually ‘turning’ on each other?!?!

Taddy Kalas  03/17/2011 1:45 pm

I think this is really individual. I have lots of multiple-species combinations that have lived together for years: for example, a Quaker and a Kakariki, an Amazon and a Green-Cheeked Conure (that’s really an odd one, but they are a bonded pair of older girls), a Nanday Conure and a Yellow-Collared Macaw, and most recently, a Lovebird who quite deliberately moved in with my Rose-Breasted Cockatoo! (The Cockatoo is afraid of birds her own size, but she likes the little lovebird.) On the other hand, I just had to separate two budgies who were clutchmates because one was bullying the other. You have to pay attention to individual personalities and the dynamics of each relationship. I hate generalizations like the ones in this article that pass as “information.”

Patty  03/18/2011 10:37 am

Hi Valerie,
There are many different species of conure – all conures, but still different species. There is a considerable weight difference between the two. These things, in addition to the birds’ wild natures as well as observable temperaments of the individual birds, need to be taken into account. Personally, I would cage them separately.

Patty  03/18/2011 10:41 am

Hi Dennis,
The only thing determining whether these birds will ever get along is the birds themselves. Just like people, they have their preferences. They may learn to tolerate each other if you put them together, but in those situations, tempers will sometimes flair. There is no law that says they may not grow to like each other, though. Be watchful!

pat  03/18/2011 12:57 pm

My peachfaced lovebird and dusky conure are happy together.
I had the lovebird for about 2 years and thought “she” should have some company to at least chirp to when I was not at home. I came across a dusky that needed rescuing so I bought him for her and brought him home. I tried to keep them separated for the first month.
The lovebird was accustomed to spending most of its time out of the cage so I didn’t really want to lock her up since I was always around to supervise. She was very attracted to the dusky and was all over his cage. He was not all that enamored with her in the beginning and would nip at her through the cage. She kept trying to make friends with him. I finally gave up and decided to see how they would interact. The lovebird began grooming and feeding the dusky and wanted to be next to him all the time. He gave up and just accepted all the attention and even reciprocates occasionally. The lovebird had her own routine of where she slept and where she spent her day and that changed eventually so that she wanted to sleep in the cage with the dusky. He didn’t seem to object so that is the way it has continued. They are free to roam when I am at home and are together in one cage when I am away and at night. Sometimes they squabble but mostly they are happy and the lovebird grooms the conure all the time. He never had it so good and she seems happy to have him to play with. I was told by one vet that the lovebird was a female. Then, another vet thought she was a male so I had her DNA’d and she is male. She has been called “a little girl” for so long that I dont want to confuse her by changing from “good girl.” He understands “good boy” so changing would just confuse them. They have been together for about 2 years and hopefully they will continue to be loving and compatible and one wont turn on the other as some writers have experienced. I could not bear to separate them at this point, it would break the heart of the little peachface.

Nikki  03/18/2011 1:11 pm

Many years ago one of my brothers and his Goffin’s cockatoo moved back into our parents’ home where my baby brother’s Quaker parrot was living, and without giving it much thought they were housed right next to each other in their own cages. There was CONSTANT screaming at each other right from the start, with the smaller Quaker as the aggressor. Even tried to stretch between the bars to attack the Goffin, but the cages were immediately separated.

Historically, the Quaker was always “mean”…so much so that my brother had named it Brutus. We came to learn that where we lived in St. Petersburg, these birds had become momentarily popular as pets (~early 90s). However, due to their innately SUPER unenjoyable dispositions, the area was – and still is – inundated with these birds living wild, believed to be released from stressed out owners. They’re now thriving here and may be seen and heard regularly in large flocks…constantly fussing with each other. lol.

I wonder if these particular parrots’ (Quakers) natural aggression causes them to rarely do well in captivity? I know a few dozen other bird enthusiasts who would agree, but just an opinion.

@Daisy – ALL humans are of the same species (homo sapiens), the birds being discussed are not.

Shelley  03/18/2011 1:51 pm

I have had multiple birds of different species at some point…I would never house together!!! They
are not different than people, dogs or any other species…they will fight. Unfortunately they always
go for the feet. They can bleed out, or lose a toe…They can love, feed, and preen each other…fights
will break out. Litter mate dogs will fight at some point, kids fight and draw blood and then love each
other…You better have a good vet…and first aid kit handy if you choose to house together any birds.
I would NEVER put a small/large mix. Not even leave them unattended out of cage. Just saying…

Jo Anne  03/18/2011 2:56 pm

I have a cocatiel and a quaker together in a large flight cage – they are inseparable, and have been together for over 15 years. They came this way – so it is possible they were raised together (they are rescue birds) If we separate them, they pluck their feathers, and screetch. I realize that this is unusual, and I would not recommend it, even though it works for these 2 birds. I also have 2 African greys, a male and a female that I cannot house together, no matter how large the cage. They get along fine when out of the cage, but the male is very territorial in the cage.

Maureen tweddle  03/18/2011 8:06 pm

ThanK you, thank you, thank you Chet et al for the advice, pro & con about housing birds od different species in the same cage. Really opened my eyes. I currently have a Senegal, a Parrottlet and a Bourkes Parrot and though I would never think of putting another bird in with Pina, I had considered getting a new larger flight cage for the little birds Pip &Peaches. They are currently in separate cages, side by side, and seemed to get along so well, often sitting at the end of their cages and chatting away endlessly. Neither seems particularly aggressive so though I might free up some space by getting a new cage for both, but not now. I will happily live with the lack of space and know that my girls are safe and happy, each with their own home, but able to talk and see each other as they wish. No toes going missing here! Thanks again for the very timely article and to all who sent comments. I have learned so much here. I am very grateful.

Gin Cowen  03/18/2011 9:04 pm

I too recently adopted a goffin. My b/g macaw will go into his cage and close the door! My african grey congo will back off but, play tag and the timneh will agressively chase him! Does anyone else have a goffin who thinks he’s a kickboxer? My friends think I should put a little black silk ribbon on him cuz he thinks he’s karate’ kid! The advice is right on, make sure you want the jack russel terrier of parrots before getting a goffin! They definitely are high maintainence and high energy kids!! And mine all have their own cages and only have SUPERVISED out of cage play! You can’t be too careful!

Carol  03/19/2011 9:12 pm

We have a 5 year old Moustache Parrot (does a long tail really make him a parakeet?) who is flighted, and has the run of the house unless I’m gone. Then he goes back in his cage so he won’t get into trouble. Our avian vet offered us a young rescued budgie, smaller cage included. After a week of Henry’s beak being bent out of joint …with this small stranger in the house, he began to take interest. I began to let the budgie, Pip, out as well. Before I knew it, they were fast friends. Buddies! Henry even ventured into Pip’s little cage – he could hardly turn around, but he wanted to be with Pip. It’s been six months, and when one files, they both fly! When one lands on my head, they both do! When I put Herny in his big cage for the night, Pip follows him in. They sleep together, get into trouble together, like two little pilgrims seeing what they can explore next. They are so funny! Everything Henry does, Pip does, too! Henry chases Pip off his rope sometimes, and Pip pecks at Henry’s feet sometimes. They’re like brother and sister. They seem to have a quite balanced, agreeable understanding, and they love each other’s company! They keep us laughing most of the time. (And thanks Chet for your great training info! – I just potty-trained Henry in two days!)

m  03/21/2011 8:24 am

should u put any 2 birds in the same cage

Rommy  03/21/2011 1:19 pm

I have a rainbow lorikeet and a lovebird couple.
They live in two huge cages and one day I just opened the side doors of both cages,
So they could visit each other.
The lori even feeds and is being fed by the male lovebird.
Going great since more than a year.

direbs  03/21/2011 5:13 pm

I have a Senagal and a love bird that cohabit, and have done so for 2 years. They had their own cages, but refused to stay within them. There have been a couple of nips and they occasionaly squabble, but spend a lot of time out the cage too. I discussed it with my avian vet before accepting it. The lovebird is a flirt and is tolerated by my amazon, who is a sweetie, however the senagal is so jealous that it cannot be let out with the amazon, and will try to bite through the cage. The comments do concern me however and have given me fod for thought.

Georgia Anderson, Florida  03/30/2011 11:11 am

I have two parrots 1. Quaker named Coco 2. A Myers named Gidget. Body wise they are about the same size until it comes to the tail. Coco has a long tail Gidget does not. Temprament wise they couldn’t be more different. Coco doesn’t trust people except for me and my sister. Gidget trusts anyone but Hates me and Coco. Everytime she gets anywhere close to me or Coco she becomes agressive. She has climbed up the curtains behind Coco’s cage and almost bit off one of her toes. She wasn’t even aware that Gidget had stalked her. She was just playing in her nest. Oh by the way, they are only about 6 months apart in age. Gidget will go to anyone in the mobile home park except me. She loves to ride around the park on my husband’s mobility scooter. She becomes agressive when I change her water, food or clean her cage or am just talking to her. I’m okay with this. My husband can handle her but he does none of the chores. I have never done anything to acquire the status with her that I have but she sees me a threat I do not know why. So this demonstrates that even birds of the same size cannot be trusted together without supervision.

Mary Henderson  04/12/2011 12:55 pm

A few years ago, I owned a male cockatiel by the name of Kisser. Whenever anybody was feeling blue, he would attempt to cheer him or her. It did not matter if they were human or birds. I bought my husband a Senegal and he named him Sammy. We thought that it was funny when Sammy would chase Kisser around the room. We like so many other bird owners thought they were playing. Kisser’s cage was always open and Sammy’s was to remain closed. He liked to bite the other birds’ toes off and such. One morning, I looked for Kisser on top of his cage, and no Kisser. I looked over at Sammy’s cage and my husband did not lock the cage completely. I heard Kisser crying “Pretty Bird” but I could not find him. Finally, I found him under the bed. His beck was completely bitten off, his eyes were practically gone, his wings were bitten and he still was able to say “Pretty Bird”. Imagine my anguish! My husband and I took Kisser to the vet and he was put to sleep. I hope this helps just one person. Can we take the chance? Do we actually know what a bird is thinking and is it worth the possibility of this outcome? I still miss Kisser – he was my best pal!

monica  04/26/2011 5:27 am

i have a timney and a congo gray in one cage. It is a very big cage but occasionally the congo will chase the timney around. other than that they stay out of each others way. Seems like they have set their own boundaries

Rosie  05/12/2011 1:41 pm

I have a cockatoo, african grey, and macaw all in one very large cage and they love each. Always kissing each others beaks and scratching each others heads. They have been together since birth and in the same cage for 7 yrs. with no incidents. I think separating them would be a problem since they seem to all be in love with each other and take care of one another. Would appreciate any feed back.

Simonee  12/31/2011 12:18 pm

I agree with this article, but there have been a good amount of birds who got along in the same cage even though they were different speices. I used to have 4 Budgies & I housed them with my GCC, & they never got into fights, ever. However, this does not apply to my GCC & Moustached Parakeet. They are “sisters”, but like us humans, sisters sometimes don’t get along. The best thing I would suggest, is house different speices in different cages. If you are interested in housing 2 speices together, put their cages side by side, & carefully watch their behavior. This is a process that can’t be done in 1 day, you should observe their behavior for months. If they don’t try to attack each other & seem to like each other, you may let them out to play with each other. If they don’t get along, this is a sure sign that musn’t house them together. If they do get along, you may try to house them together for short periods of time, like play dates. You must watch their behavior though, if you see the slightest sign of aggression, take the other bird out. If they continue to be friendly, in & out of their cages, you may house them together, but at your own risk. Some birds may get along with each other one second, & want to kill each other the next second. Birds’ behaviors can change in an instant, despite their prior experiences. I strongly agree with the part of this article that says you must know your birds’ speices aggression & territorialism levels. Also, some speices of birds will get along well if they were raised together, which is in the same case of raising a puppy with a kitten. My overall advice to you is, house different speices in different cages. You just might save your birds’ lives & prevent your own heart breaking.

MJ kinnison  11/13/2013 7:27 am

I am looking for a suitable companion for my hand raised rainbow lorrikeet…. he gets along well with the dog and cat, he is very social i want to give him a freind for when i am at work so he isnt loneley. My husband loves cockatiels but i am worried he may hurt one being the larger bird.

Any thoughts or success storys?

[…] Housing Two Different Species In One Cage – A not so funny tail. I have a cage with a pair of cockatiels and a cage next to them with my Blue Front Amazon Parrot. One of my cockatiels kept ending up bleeding …… […]

katy haddy  02/23/2015 7:38 pm

I have two parakeets. each of them are in a different cage. if I put both of them together in the same cage would they kill or hurt each other? the cage isn’t that big though and I cant get another bigger cage until 2 weeks (long story) what should I do? I feel like they would be less lonely but idk help!