Selecting a CageNot only is the species of bird an important choice for you, selecting a safe, roomy and accessible cage is crucial. A feathered friend spends much of his life in a cage, so make sure your investment is a wise one. Bar spacing and inside cage dimensions will help prevent injury and escape. As long as bar spacing is the correct size for your bird, a bigger cage is always better. Basically, if you have the money, buy a large cage.For larger birds, get a cage in both height and width that’s at least 1-½ times your bird’s adult wingspan. Those inside measurements do not include the space between the floor grate and litter tray. Basically, cages need to be at least 24- 36″ wide and 36-60″ tall. All parrots should also have some kind of perch or play gym outside the cage.The classic metal wire cages are usually the least expensive but lack curb appeal for some. If you want your cage to complement the color scheme in your home, a durable powder-coated cage (where paint is adhered to metal via electrostatic charges), may be the way to go.These attractive cages come in a variety of colors.Although a bit pricier, stainless steel is growing in popularity with bird owners for the same reasons it has transformed kitchens and bathrooms. Stainless steel won’t rust and it won’t chip like a painted cage, and it’s also easy to clean and sanitize. Consider stainless steel a “birdproof” material.Choosing a SpeciesHere are some general descriptions about the larger species’ personalities:Parrots known for even dispositions: Conures, Meyer’s, some MacawsParrots known for being very playful: Jardines, Conures, Meyer’s, Budgerigars (“parakeets”), Cockatiels, CaiquesParrots known for being especially loud: Cockatoos, Macaws, Conures, AmazonsParrots known for being very intelligent and sensitive to their environment: African GreysParrots known for being aggressive (not mean necessarily, but rather, domineering): AmazonsBelow are specific details and personality traits of these more common species of larger-sized parrots available with accompanying information about large cage selection.African GreysThese smarties are famous for their intelligence and talking ability. Greys are the Einstein of parrots. They are about 13 inches in length and their feathers have a scalloped appearance. The two commonly available types are the smaller Timneh grey and the larger Congo grey. These birds have a distinguished manner about them and seem quite reserved. They have a reputation of being nervous, sensitive and high-strung. However, those with experience with African greys admit that not all of them fit this profile. If you are not familiar with this species, their body language may be difficult to understand. They also tend to bond more strongly to one person. They sometimes become nervous around small children, probably because kids are active with high energy. Some Greys are prone to feather-plucking in stressful situations. They tend to be most vocal in the morning and evening. What’s fun about Greys are their entertaining ability to perfectly mimic not only human speech but also the intonations of human voices, along with various sounds such as microwaves, phones, doorbells, motorcycles, squeaky doors, barking dogs, and meowing cats, just to name a few. Some people say that Greys are not the “cuddlers” that cockatoos are, but Grey owners can attest that isn’t always the case. Some Greys love to be petted and cuddled by their owners.Cages for African GreysEven with their short, scalloped tails, Greys need large cages with plenty of room for toys, perches and swings. Because they are so smart, they tend to get bored, which means they need plenty of room for stimulation. If they don’t have enough room, Greys may engage in feather-picking behavior. Greys are fearful by nature, constantly on high alert and looking for dangerous situations. But the key to happiness for them is confidence. They need to trust their environment to feel secure. A confident bird welcomes new toys in its cage.AmazonsThese parrots are smart and independent. They have relatively short wings, stocky bodies and strong beaks. They are mainly green in color with additional coloring around the forehead, wings and tail. The most commonly available species include the Yellow-naped, White-fronted, Tucuman, Lilac-crowned, Red-lored, Blue-fronted, Double-yellow headed, Panama yellow-front, Yellow-crowned, Orange-Winged and Mealy. Sizes range from 10-18 inches total length.Amazons are excellent talkers and quick learners. They can be slightly unpredictable at times, especially when they reach adulthood. Amazon owners should try to learn their bird’s body language, as well as educate themselves on the subject of ‘parrot psychology’. Amazons are stubborn at times and require a dedicated, educated owner who also possesses a strong personality.These birds can be feisty at times, but with proper taming and training can be one of the most lovable, obedient, fun birds out there. Amazons tend to bond with only one person. They can live anywhere from 75 to 100 years old with proper care. Your Amazon could quite possibly outlive you!Cages for AmazonsEnough space to accommodate a bird that’s prone to obesity is a must. Amazons are also active and need ample room for perches and toys. Since your parrot is on its feet every second of the day, the perches you select for inside of the cage are important. Dowel type perching for the average blue fronted amazon should be about 3/4″ to 1″ in diameter. You will know the perch is the right size for your bird when the foot wraps 3/4 of the way around it. However, your bird needs perches throughout the cage that vary in size, shape and texture to maintain good foot health.Small and Large CockatoosThese parrots, which come in two sizes, are very likable and touchable, making them a popular choice for a companion bird. They have great personalities and tend to go everywhere their owners go. They can also be considered high maintenance because they can be challenging. They need a healthy balance of human interaction and independent play, so they aren’t too needy. Their sparkly personalities give way to loud demands at times. Properly socialized cockatoos are friendly with a variety of people, but if their needs aren’t met, they can be prone to feather-plucking and mutilation. They can live to be 75 years or older. They can also be vocal.There are several different types of cockatoos, the most commonly owned being the Moluccan, Umbrella, Bare-Eyed, Goffin, Citron, Sulfer Crested, and Lesser Sulfer Crested. The medium-sized Goffin is approximately 12” and the larger Moluccan is approximately 26″. People tend to think cockatoos as being all-white birds, yet they come in a variety of colors. Moluccans are salmon colored, rose breasts are pink and gray, and sulphur crests have yellow crest feathers.Cages for CockatoosThey love to chew on wood, so be sure to splurge on toys they can destroy. They also need a spacious cage. It is recommended that large parrots spend at least 3 hours a day out of their bird cage to provide them with more exercise and social stimulation. Of all large parrots, cockatoos are the most prone to emotional disorders that lead to self destructive behaviors. It is imperative your cockatoo has a spacious bird cage with room for large bird toys and bird treats, and a routine that includes playing outside of his cage with his favorite people. There is a selection of cockatoo cages that have play stations on the top of them that you may want to consider for your pet. If space is limited this is a solution to provide your bird with a safe place to play and to call his own while spending time outside of his parrot cage.EclectusArguably, the Eclectus is the most beautiful of all parrots. These gorgeous birds come from the South Pacific islands and their popularity has soared in the United States in recent years. The males are an iridescent green, and look rather plain in comparison to the females, who sport shimmering hues of red, purple, blue. Their feather composition on the head, neck, breast and belly resembles fine hairs compared to the feathers of other parrots. They need frequent bathing in order for their unique feathers to remain in top condition. Compared to other parrots, the beak of the Eclectus is soft, and designed to penetrate the skins of fruits and green nuts, as opposed to cracking open hard nuts.These charming, gentle birds measure about 14″ in length, are usually quiet, even-tempered and slightly serious, while being blessed with sweet personalities. They are social and enjoy interacting with their human family. While the eclectus parrot plays vigorously with its toys and is a great talker and mimicker, they are generally known as calm birds. The upside of that mellowness is that, in captivity, they are not regarded as screamers. Experienced parrot owners consider this a plus. Then again, who wouldn’t? Eclectus are excellent parrots for apartment dwellers or condo owners. The downside is that their demeanor may not reveal their level of contentment in captivity. The eclectus parrot expresses their stress and fear completely differently from other parrot species. Where most parrots will issue a piercing warning call, fly off or bite when they are frightened, the eclectus resorts to opposite behavior – they become still. Without obvious signs of distress, owners unfamiliar with the eclectus will not be aware when their parrot is nervous or unhappy in their environment. They will be shocked when they discover a plucking problem or a stress related illness, or receive an unexpected bite one day. New owners in particular must pay attention to everything in the eclectus environment. It will be your job to spot potential problems since your bird will not point them out to you.Cages for EclectusEclectus parrots are very social and enjoy playing and hanging upside down. The bird cage you choose should be large enough to include bird toys, swings and bird perches that will stimulate and engage them, helping to avoid boredom, which can lead to behavioral issues. Eclectus need a peaceful home with very little noise, chaos and disturbances. You can’t leave an Eclectus in its birdcage all day long and expect a happy bird. These parrots need lots of love and attention to thrive. They also need an abundance of mental stimulation. If an Eclectus is bored, he will sit in his bird cage or aviary, dutifully plucking his beautiful feathers. Some Eclectus pluck their feathers so severely, they become completely bald. Make sure your Eclectus spends several hours a day outside his bird cage. It is a good idea to invest in a playstand, which allows your bird to interact and play outside of his parrot cage.MacawsMacaws are king of the jungle in size. They have a wide wingspan, very long tails and large, intimidating beaks. Their bright plumage and bold, inquisitive nature make them a favorite pet choice. However, they are not a good choice for beginners. They are smart and strong-willed. Don’t let them sit on your shoulder. One bite to the face could send you to the ER. Set boundaries early on with the larger species, because they will try to get their way. These birds are very intelligent and can learn to talk and perform tricks easily. You can teach them to wave, play dead, dance, and even somersault. They also love to chew, so you will need to provide them with a lot of toys. Mini macaws are a bit easier to handle but they still like to challenge you and keep you on your toes. Boasting the same attractiveness and bright plumage as the larger macaw species but with quieter vocalizations, it is no wonder so many owners have come to share their hearts and homes with the marvelous minis. Their popularity is due in large part to their many wonderful characteristics including a large vocabulary, as well as engaging and playful behaviors.Cages for MacawsBe sure to find an appropriately sized (HUGE) cage to accommodate their wingspan and long tails. Macaws also have strong beaks and toes, so the overall strength of the Macaw bird cage, bar gauge and spacing are also important considerations. For smaller Macaws like the Yellow-collared and Hahn’s, a minimum birdcage size of 34″ wide, 24″ deep, and 36″ tall, with bar spacing of 3/4 inch to 1 inch is recommended. For larger Macaws like Military Macaws, Blue & Gold Macaws and Green-winged Macaws, a minimum birdcage size of 36″ wide, 48” deep, and 60″ tall, with bar spacing of 1 inch to 1.5 inches.For large macaws, a dometop style bird cage is recommended over a playtop style cage for a couple reasons. Dome top bird cages offer more interior space. Play tops place large parrots above and put them them in a dominant position, which can cause issues with aggression. As a parrot who is used to having his run of the rainforest, your Macaw will appreciate the largest bird cage you can afford.Playtop and Dometop CagesPlaytop cages offer your bird a spacious living space inside and an entertaining play space on top. A playtop parrot cage will have at the very least a perch and food dishes on the top of the cage.Playtop cages usually have a tray under the play area, which would be the roof of the cage. Lined with newspaper, the top of the cage will remain clean as well as the interior. The tray will restrict light coming through the top of the cage so many parrot owners will choose to remove the top refuse tray and deal with the poop on the roof bars but allow the bird to enjoy natural light. Some playtops can be removed and used as a tabletop playstand. A litter catcher under the playtop keeps the cage interior free of droppings and can be removed for cleaning.Dometop cages have a curved or dome-shaped roof. Sometimes it’s fixed shut but often the domed roof opens up, providing another exit (other than the front door) for your bird.. Dometop cages provide more headroom. Their openness allows your bird to climb around easily on any inside surface and allows perches to be placed higher in the cage. If you choose a dometop cage, consider purchasing a separate playstand, so your bird has a place to play and exercise outside the cage.If a bird takes up residence on the top of a dometop cage, you’ll be cleaning bird poop off the top of the cage. With a bird spending time on top of a dometop, whether it be a large parrot cage or a small one, you risk “birdie boredom.” With playtop cages, the bird not only has a comfortable perch for their feet but food dishes to help with activities such as dunking their favorite foods in the water dishes. The tray (or roof area) below can also hold foot toys such as whiffle balls that they can throw on the floor for you to retrieve providing great entertainment for your bird. The biggest issue is where will your bird perch when not in the cage. If the cage is in a social area of your home, where all the activity is happening – TV, meals, etc. – a playtop cage is ideal. When the bird is out, he or she climbs to the top and enjoys human interaction.Promote PlaytimeI’m sure you can imagine what it would be like to be locked in a cage all day without any mental stimulation. You would go crazy! It would be like solitary confinement. As a human, you would either spiral into depression or, like I said, go crazy. It doesn’t take a parrot psychologist to know you can expect a similar decline in the mental health of your pet bird. Birds are smart, they need stimulus.Give your bird a variety of toys to play with in his cage. There are tons of toys and accessories out there to promote play and in many different forms. Some are there to satisfy a bird’s innate need to chew, while others provide foraging opportunities. Some present challenges to keep minds active. They all help pass the time as a certain feathery roommate awaits your arrival home from work. Check out the DIY ideas on Pinterest and YouTube, too.Allow plenty of room in the cage for wing flapping. Place perches high enough to allow your bird to hang upside down and flap. Some birds really like swings and the motion of a swing is very good for keeping the feet and ankles exercised. Place food and water dishes on opposite sides of the cage so that your bird needs to move back and forth to eat and drink. Many birds love to soak their food in their water so having the bowls farther apart gives them a decent amount of exercise going back and forth between the bowls. Hide food in the cage in different areas so that your bird can forage and search out food. This helps to prevent boredom and is excellent fun for the natural curiosity of a bird.There are many ways to ensure proper parrot exercise. These are just a few ideas to help you along the way. For those of you with flighted birds, many of these exercises can still be done as long as caution is taken. If your bird is flighted, do not be of the false opinion that they are getting plenty of exercise already. Many flighted birds do not fly very often, and when they do it is simply from point A to point B. Birds don’t give any more thought to how much aerobic exercise they get each day than most of us humans do.But as many of us promise ourselves healthier diets and more exercise this year, let’s extend that same promise for our birds, too. We’ll all be a lot better off for it.Bird cage coversHelp your bird get a good night’s sleep. If you don’t buy a cover, be sure to use a single layer of breathable fabric such as cotton bedsheets. It doesn’t matter if it’s a dark or light sheet. Don’t cover all sides of a large cage, but if you do, make sure there’s proper ventilation. Macaws are prone to respiratory issues so they especially need fresh air all night. Be sure to pull the cage out from against the wall at night. They need a solid 8 hours of sleep a night – just like we do.Don’t cover your bird in attempt to punish them for screeching. Punishment doesn’t work on birds and it doesn’t correct behavioral problems. Don’t leave your bird covered so that you can avoid interacting with him. Your bird’s cage cover should only be used during sleeping hours. A cage cover is not a light switch that turns your relationship with your bird off and on at your convenience.Cage Placement is KeyMany behavior problems can be attributed to the bird’s improper surroundings. A parrot’s cage should be a safe haven for them with plenty of things to keep them busy. A good bird cage should be easy to keep clean, and it should not be round. The bar spacing should be appropriate for the type of bird or parrot that is housed in it. Whether or not you have a playtop or a dometop is up to you. One of the best gifts you can give yourself and your parrot is a quality cage. When you skimp on a cage you just end up replacing it several times. Do your research and get a cage that will last the lifetime of your parrot.The bird cage should be placed in an area where you are sure your parrot will be able to view his surroundings safely without feeling threatened. You do not want to place a parrot directly in front of a window or in the center of a room. Our first response is to assume that they would enjoy the outside view or being right in the middle of a room so they can see everything. The truth is that this type of placement may be fine while your parrot is young. But once your parrot becomes sexually mature and aware that it is a prey animal, this type of placement will cause extreme stress upon him. Knowing this, a parrot should be placed against a solid wall, if this is not possible then the back half of the cage should be covered at all times. This will give him the sense of security that is needed.Parrots do not live in the open wild. They build nests inside of trees or in dense forests. Therefore we should try to mock this type of environment by placing the cage in a more indiscreet area of our homes. One where they can take pleasure in their surroundings and not feel threatened. You will need also to consider your parrot’s sleep requirements. Does the placement of the cage allow for the proper amounts of undisturbed quiet darkness? If not, do you have a sleeping cage in another room? Sleep deprivation can be a problem with many parrots.