An Introduction to Softbills: what they are, and before you get one.

When most people think of pet birds a number of parrot species, canaries, and a few finch species are what come to mind, and all the common pet birds have something in common; a diet that is primarily seed (though these birds should certainly not only be fed seed, they too need a diverse diet). Indeed many people are unaware that such a huge variety of other bird species are kept, including toucans, starlings, and hornbills among many others.

The birds I mentioned above all fall into the category of softbill, which is not a scientific classification but as Werner Steinigeweg says in his book The New Softbill Handbook:

It is a term that applies to various birds that belong to different genera and families but that all share one characteristic. Softbills unlike most other cage birds, don’t live on seeds.

Softbills are often broken down into categories based on their diet. These categories include:

insectivores; birds that primarily eat insects
frugivores; these birds primarily eat fruit
nectarivores; these birds which primarily feed on nectar
carnivores; which primarily eat meat. Insectivores technically also fall into this category
omnivores; birds which eat both plant and animal matter

You’ll find that many birds don’t really strictly fall into just one category.

Before you get a softbill

Before you get a softbill you should make sure you have completed this list of things

Research the species of bird that you are interested in, so you know all about its diet and other requirements for the bird’s well-being.

Make sure that you have the necessary time to care for the bird. Birds all need fresh food and water every day a clean cage, and many birds need a lot of interaction. All those things take time.

Find a trustworthy person or store to get your bird from. If the individual or store keeps their birds in filthy conditions or their birds look unhealthy, do not buy birds from them. If a person doesn’t want to let you visit their premises to see how they keep their animals be skeptical.

Of course once you figure out where you are going to get your bird from you need to actually arrange to get the bird. Make sure that the person you are getting your bird from knows exactly what you want, and that you know exactly how much you are going to end up paying for the bird, and when you can actually get the bird.

This next step can be done before or after you find the right place to get your bird from. Make sure you have everything the bird will need once you pick it up. This means bird food, a cage, toys, and bowls for their food and water.

And finally, get your bird, bring it home, and get the bird situated in its new home.

2 responses to “An Introduction to Softbills: what they are, and before you get one.”

  1. Pet Haven says:

    I did not know what different foods that they need. Thanks.

  2. Cara says:

    This is nice information. People really need to learn more about their type of bird before getting it (sadly many ignore that and just buy one)

    I’m currently an owner to the sweetest little European Starling and boy does she require more attention and “flock” time than my hookbill. Love her to pieces though! Can’t wait till she starts alking (yes starlings can learn to talk!) Feel free to email me if you need info on starlings or some pictures