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6 simple tips: How to pick a great name for your new bird

“Does Polly want a cracker” might have a nice traditional ring to it, but we know when to leave behind a label that’s over. Names for pet birds should reflect their personality and yours. Whether you’re into history or books, music or pop culture, we have a name that will capture the essence of your bird with a little piece of his owner thrown in. Here are a few guidelines and suggestions to use when deciding what to call your bird.

Two affectionate birds on a branch
Jondolar Schnurr/

Try a literary name

While Iago may be a classic, we think Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy would make an excellent set of names for a pair of lovebirds. Make sure to have some nicknames ready as calling those out each time you come home will turn into quite the mouthful. Liz and Fitz work great, too, if you want to skip straight to the shortened versions. Or give Romeo and Juliet a shot to christen your star-crossed lovers.

Use historical influence

For the history buff, think of the memorable mononymous figures like Napoleon, an excellent name for a bird whose personality doesn’t match his size. Charlemagne or Rasputin work if your bird seems like the ruler of the household. For a lady, test out Cleopatra or Boudicca, especially if she knows that she’s the boss.

Cockatiel sits in human hand

Listen to their favorite song

Your bird probably loves to sing, and choosing a name based on his or her favorite artist can bring an extra thrill. If you aren’t quite sure what he’ll like, or she seems to sing along to everything, try a few of the classics like Van Halen. On the flip side, go really modern with your Queen Bey or Taylor. Take it far back to Mozart or Beethoven, especially if he seems to dig the classical. Don’t be afraid to hone in on icons of the last century as well like Elvis or Marlon, which really work fine for either gender.

Stick with a popular name

Feel free to steal from movies or pop culture; we think Ripley and Captain Marvel make great names for your colorful pet. Sisters might become Elsa and Anna or Thor and Loki for brothers. But if you’re traditional at heart, you can look to the more common bird names such as Tweety, Woodstock, or Blu. After all, your bird thinks his name has never been used before.

Bird looks quizzically at stone

Have fun with it

We love a good pun and can’t help but throw out a few suggestions that play on words. Maybe you’re a bookworm with a sense of humor? Then you should try Excalibird or Birdicus to start. If you envision your pet to be quite the detective, stick with Hercule Parrot or Edgar Allan Crow. Does your budgie like to communicate? They’re probably writing a hit song or a salty column, so call them Carrie Bradcaw or Paul Macawtney. Extra points if you can teach your bird to say his humorous name. We want him in on the joke, too.

Find something easy

Still not satisfied? Name your pet after a state or city, including Dallas, Montana, or Jersey. Ponder a few jobs as well. A bird who’s always looking out for his friends becomes Doc. One who leads the group (even in bad behavior) can be Admiral or Colonel. Your pet’s favorite snack makes a suitable moniker, too — play with Apple, Turnip, Pepper, and Blossom. It’s okay to change his name a few times a day while you’re still working on it. He won’t mind.

Choosing your pet bird names might rank low on the list of necessities when acquiring an animal, but his or her handle may end up sticking around a long time — remember, some birds live over 50 years. Start with a long list of your favorites based on popular bird names and a few to reflect your interests. It’s best to begin this brainstorm before you even bring a bird home. Then narrow it down and experiment with a few different ones when you have your bird. You never know when something might stick, or he may decide to respond to one over the others. Once your pet learns to recognize or repeat a name, you know you’ve come across the right one. 

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Rebekkah Adams
Rebekkah’s been a writer and editor for more than 10 years, both in print and digital. In addition to writing about pets…
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