If you've ever dreamed of having a larger-than-life pet bird, here's some good news: you can! These big pet bird options certainly keep you company, interact with you, and might even sing a few tunes.
That said, big birds can mean big housing requirements. From enclosures the size of bedrooms to access to lakes and ponds, these birds have diverse needs. And while certain exotic options can be super tempting, they aren't for the faint of heart — and may be best left to enjoy in the wild.
9. Buff Orpington Chicken: Coming in Around 1.5 Feet
A chicken that acts like a golden retriever? Sign me up. Orpingtons enjoy being handled and petted, which is why so many people compare them to this happy-go-lucky dog breed. Plus, they’re the exact same buff-golden color. These chickens stand about 16 inches tall and are notably hardy, so they’re often a good choice for beginners or families with kids.
Bonus — many cities have ordinances that allow for up to 6 chickens, so is anyone up for free-range, organic eggs for breakfast?
8. Moluccan Cockatoo: Coming in Around 1.75 Feet
With a length of up to 20 inches, this cockatoo is nothing short of large. Moluccan cockatoos form deep bonds with their favorite people, but can be territorial of them as well. Like most cockatoos, the Moluccan needs a lot of attention from their owners, otherwise, they’ll become stressed and act out.
Cockatoos aren't great for beginners and need specialized veterinary care, plus they live around 80 years and have a screech that can go louder than 129 decibels! Unless you're living far away from neighbors and seriously committed to being this bird's one and only, they may not be the best choice.
7. Jersey Giant Chicken: Coming in Around 2 Feet
As their name implies, these birds are pretty massive and stand about 26 inches tall. But their size isn’t the only thing we love about them. They’re docile, sweet, and get along great with people. Some owners even say their Jersey giants act like dogs!
Chickens can be great starter birds, but aren't as hardy as ducks. Like all birds, they need specialized veterinary care, but — bonus — you might just get some eggs!
These chickens live around six to 10 years, which is a big contrast to some parrots that can live to be as old as 75! Lifespans vary greatly among birds.
6. Muscovy Duck: Coming in Around 2.5 Feet
Several duck breeds make great pets, but the Muscovy is one of the biggest and sweetest. These waterfowl reach around 30 inches long, although the females are a lot smaller than the males. Along with being super affectionate, they’re also quieter than most ducks.
Muscovy can become lonely, so it’s best to keep them in pairs. Likewise, they'll need water deep enough to dunk their heads and clean out their necks which can be pretty messy. On the upside, they're some of the hardiest big pet birds you can keep as pets, so good for beginners who have the space and water access.
5. Toulouse Goose: Coming in Around 2.75 Feet
Domesticated geese often get a bad rap, but they can make good pets in the right environment. These big birds need a swimming area to survive, so you’ll want to make sure you have the right setup and resources for a pet goose before considering one. Their giant size can also mean serious damage if they feel threatened or scared, so it's always best to supervise them around children.
The Toulouse breed is one of the most docile types of geese, and they’re pretty darn large at 34 inches long and an average 22 pounds!
Wild geese are not legal to keep as pets. Make sure to go to a reputable farm or goose rescue if you are interested in owning a goose.
4. Red-and-Green Macaw: Coming in Around 3 Feet
The red-and-green macaw, sometimes called the green-winged macaw, isn’t as big as their hyacinth cousin, but almost. These large pet birds can be upwards of 35 to 37 inches long. A lot of people refer to them as the “gentle giants” of the bird world because they’re so big and calm. Even though they’re easier to find than a lot of other macaw types and legal to own in most places, they’re expensive birds. You also may need a special license to keep them.
Like other parrots, even these macaws require serious dedication and specialized care to avoid health and behavior issues. If you're considering a pet parrot, reach out to one of the many parrot rescue groups that specialize in their care to discuss what kind of home these birds really need and (perhaps, if they don't dissuade you) find an adoptable parrot that's right for you.
Many rescues and shelters exist to help birds in need of a loving home. Consider adopting a big bird from a rescue. You'd be saving a life!
3. Hyacinth Macaw: Coming in at 3.3 Feet
The hyacinth macaw isn't the biggest pet bird you can own, but it is the largest parrot in the world, reaching a whopping 40 inches from their head to the tip of their tail. Before you get too excited, know that conservation laws protect these macaws, so it might not be legal to own one where you live. And even if it is, you might need a permit to keep one.
"Parrots are mischievous and territorial. They sometimes view others — even family members — as intruders and can display jealousy towards them. When they mature sexually, they often resort to aggression to keep intruders away from their mate or chosen human or to protect their territory." — Avian Welfare Coalition
2. Bourbon Red Turkey: Coming in at 4 Feet
Um, a turkey as a pet? You bet! Bourbon red turkeys are one of the friendliest turkey breeds out there and are equally beautiful. They earned their name from the deep red color of their feathers. Bourbon reds are kept as pets because they can be very affectionate with people, but most of the males will become aggressive toward other male turkeys.
This type of turkey isn't enormous, but they can weigh up to 32 pounds, which is about the size of a beagle, and domesticated turkeys can be about 39-49" long. You can expect this giant pet bird to live between seven and 10 years or more.
1. Indian Peacock: Coming in at 7.5 Feet
One of the largest birds you can own as a pet is none other than the peacock, and they're not for the faint of heart. You may be surprised that they're legal in all 50 states, though many municipalities ban them or require special licenses. Peafowl only weigh about eight to 13 pounds, but their total length can be as much as 90 inches (that’s seven and a half feet!!!). These stunners need plenty of space, can be aggressive and do best with experienced bird owners who have the know-how and money to care for them. They can also live 40 to 50 years or more, so unless you're looking for a lifetime commitment, it may be best to leave these beauties in the wild.
If you have your heart set on getting a large pet bird, it’s important to research the local laws in your city or municipality. Some areas have ordinances about what types of birds can be kept, plus, several of these species, like peacocks and macaws, require permits.
Large and in Charge — Usually
With great size comes great responsibility, even when it comes to birds. Large pet birds need more space than their tiny counterparts, and they often demand a lot more time and attention. In general, domesticated pet birds are far easier and less expensive than their large exotic counterparts, so it may be best to leave the exotics to the wild and enjoy a bird bred to be with people. That way, you can both enjoy a happy future together.