The best bird carrier

Megan Oster

If you’re a pet bird owner, at some point you’ll likely need a carrier for your feathered friend. Whether you need it once or twice per year for their annual wellness vet appointment or to travel with them to a new home, every bird parent should have a good bird carrier on hand. Choosing the right bird carrier is different from choosing one for a cat or a dog. Birds have different needs and some species have powerful beaks that can rip through many materials. 

The Colorday Lightweight Bird Carrier allows your bird to observe you and the world around them, which will reduce the stress level of many birds. They’ll have plenty of airflow courtesy of the side vents and the mesh material at the ends. You can tote the carrier by the handle or the shoulder strap, whichever way is easier for you. 

What to know before you buy a bird carrier

Food and water containers

Regardless of how long your bird will be in the carrier, they need access to fresh drinking water. This is non-negotiable. If they’ll be spending an extended amount of time in the carrier, they should have food as well. Make sure that the carrier you choose has built-in food and water dish holders. This feature will prevent their food and water from tipping over and spilling everywhere. 

Secure locks and zippers

Birds are clever and curious animals — and they’re armed with beaks that are designed to act as tools. This is a powerful combination when it comes to busting out of their carrier. Well-made locks, zippers and other closures will prevent them from escaping in transit. 

Time spent in the carrier

A carrier used exclusively to transport your bird back and forth to their local avian vet doesn’t have to be fancy, since they’ll only be in it for brief intervals. However, if you plan to travel long distances with your bird, you’ll want a carrier with enough space for several different perches and their favorite toys. However, don’t overstuff the cage with these items to the point where they don’t have any room to move around freely. 

Bird carrier features

Bird carrier size

Your bird’s carrier should always have an appropriate amount of space according to their size. While birds don’t need as much space in their carrier as they do in their permanent enclosure, they should still have enough to feel comfortable, not cramped. It’s best to look up the size specifications of bird carriers recommended for the species you have. 

Bird carrier bar space

If you purchase a bird carrier constructed with bars, it’s critical to choose bar spacing that’ll prevent your bird’s head from getting stuck. Birds are extremely inquisitive and it’s quite possible that they’ll attempt to stick their head through the bars. If they get stuck, they could suffer serious harm. 

Bird carrier material 

Some species of birds have very powerful beaks. Since their beaks are designed to crack food like nuts in the wild, they have the potential to slice through and crush many materials. Find out what kind of material will hold up against your particular bird’s beak strength and narrow your search to carriers constructed from it. Consulting with your bird’s avian vet about this matter is always a good idea. 

Bird carrier cost 

In general, a well-made, durable bird carrier will cost $40-$150. The bigger carrier you need, the more you can expect to pay. You should never skimp on the cost of a bird carrier if it means placing your bird in a dangerous situation. This is one scenario in which paying more is a worthwhile investment if it means keeping your feathered friend safe. 

Bird carrier FAQ

Do you really need a carrier specifically made for birds?

A. Your bird has different needs than a dog or a cat. First and foremost, their natural instinct is to perch. Therefore, in order for a carrier to be suitable for your bird, they need one designed to hold at least one perch. Secondly, some types of birds ― parrots in particular ― have powerful beaks that can reduce some materials to scraps. It’s imperative, for the health and safety of your bird, to purchase a carrier designed and constructed to meet their needs. 

What are the most important characteristics of a bird carrier?

A. Your bird must have adequate ventilation. If the carrier has bars, you can rest assured they’ll get plenty of airflow. If you choose one of the carriers that’s constructed from transparent slides and mesh, make sure there are at least a couple of vents on each side and mesh at the ends. Other essential attributes include secure locks on the doors and enough space for your bird to stretch their wings. 

Which bird carrier should I get?

Best of the best bird carrier

Colorday Lightweight Bird Carrier: available at Amazon

Our take: Your bird will get a 360-degree view of the sights when they travel in this lightweight bird carrier, which you can carry using the attached handle or shoulder sling. 

What we like: Free of bars, this carrier features transparent sides, allowing your feathered friend to see the world. This broader field of vision will reduce their stress level and will make it easy for you to check on your bird at any point in the journey. The carrier is also well-ventilated with the front door designed with an anti-grab mesh design. It’s sold with removable food and water bowls, a removable tray and a solid wood perch.

What we dislike: The most consistent complaint among the handful of unsatisfied buyers was that the protective film was hard to remove, creating a potential hazard for birds. 

Best bang for your buck bird carrier

AK KYC Portable Travel Bird Cage: available at Amazon

Our take: The quality and convenience you’ll get from this bird carrier constructed of anti-grab mesh, cotton and transparent material is an excellent value for the price. 

What we like: Those with little time will appreciate this bird carrier, which is fast and easy to assemble and clean. The carrier folds when not in use, conserving storage space. The mesh material and vents provide plenty of ventilation. You can carry this travel birdcage with the handle or the shoulder strap. 

What we dislike: A couple of buyers found the carrier flimsy and difficult to keep unrolled. At least one buyer reported that the plastic shell cracked. 

Honorable mention bird carrier

X-Zone Pet Portable Bird Carrier: available at Amazon

Our take: The shade feature of this bird carrier shields your feathered friend from intense sunlight, a critical function for fragile bird bodies. 

What we like: You can keep an eye on your bird and they can get a good look at their surroundings through the transparent sides. Four generous circular vents on each side along with mesh at the ends allow your feathered friend to breathe fully. Your bird will remain securely ensconced in the carrier thanks to the self-lock double zipper design. Polyethylene materials and hexagonal mesh make this carrier lightweight. 

What we dislike: Some buyers were unhappy with the quality of the carrier, with at least one buyer sharing that their parrot figured out how to chew through the material in a matter of minutes. 

Megan Oster is a writer for BestReviews. BestReviews is a product review company with a singular mission: to help simplify your purchasing decisions and save you time and money.

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