Quails, most of all, are fun little birds to own (as long as you have the time and effort to attend towards them, of course!), whether you're hungry for quail meat, quail eggs, or just for the sake of them as pets! Personally (in my opinion), quails are better than parrots when it comes to pet birds. And, I'll list the 3 most important reasons why. You've got to see it to believe it!
Quails are gamebirds; they're in the same order as pheasants and their kin; Galliformes (gamebirds), plump-bodied birds that spend most of their time on the ground. They can fly (normally in quick, short bursts), but they prefer to walk and run as their main means of locomotion, and typically take flight usually to roost or escape a predator.
Parrots, on the other wing (LOL!), are placed in the order Psittaciformes; an order of tropical or sub-tropical birds, often colorful, characterized by a hooked bill and zygodactyl feet. These kind of birds are some of the most commonly-kept kind of bird, alongside pigeons/doves and finches.
Quails are my favorite birds to keep as household pets; they're small gamebirds (excluding the button quail; they are too small for me!) that appear cute and plump, but more importantly (in addition to their small size), they lack spurs (and spurs are usually found in most gamebirds, especially large ones) and are prized for their euphonic, musical sounds and calls, each with its own, unique melody varying with each individual and kind of quail.
Now here's when we stumble upon the big question: Why are gamebirds (like quails) better pets than parrots?
Here are the 3 most important reasons I'll point out why:
Beak/bill: Compare the beak of a gamebird to the beak of a parrot's. What shape is a parrot's beak (or bill)? You guessed it, hooked! The beak of a gamebird? Straighter than a parrot's, of course! Imagine, if a gamebird bites you, it wouldn't do as much damage as a parrot bite (which can do far more damage)! So, gamebirds have a straight bill, so that it hurts less when they bite. Parrots, on the other hand, because their bills are hooked (hence their alternative term "hookbill"), it'll hurt more (and far more in a large parrot) when they bite! Now let me tell you this: I got bitten on my left arm by one of our Rhode Island Red hens we used to have and the bite itself felt like a hard pinch and left minor bruising due to its straight beak. It would have done far more damage if that chicken were to be a parrot instead, say, a large one like a cockatoo!
Type of young (precocial vs altricial): You know that hand-feeding a baby bird is very time-consuming and difficult, right? Well first off, it depends on the bird! Another reason why I pick gamebirds is because they're precocial, like waterfowl. What precocial and altricial means:
Precocial indicates an animal that's born in an advanced state after birth and is able to walk, run, and eat by itself. The only precocial birds I could think of as house pets are gamebirds and waterfowl, with gamebirds (particularly quails) being my sole choice.
Altricial, on the other hand, is not the way to go; after birth, the animal is defined as helpless (and sometimes naked) and will heavily depend on the caretaker for its survival by being fed constantly and attended to throughout the day and night. This is an extremely time-consuming process (unless you really know how to do this precisely!). Altricial birds include parrots, songbirds, pigeons, etc.
Flight: Remember what I told you about that quails, like many gamebirds, prefer to walk and run rather than fly (and when they do, it's normally done so in short, quick bursts); they don't fly very often? Most other birds as pets tend to fly a lot (like songbirds, parrots, pigeons, and waterfowl), and I get really uncomfortable when a bird flies frequently. I found this out on my own by letting wild-caught songbirds loose in the house, and it was chaotic! I had a gut feeling to get rid of them! Gamebirds don't fly very often and choose to walk and run, while parrots fly a lot and rarely spend time on foot!
In conclusion, I simply wanted a bird that doesn't fly so often, but prefers to walk and run, and will resort to flight only if necessary (like as a last resort). In addition, their bills are straight like a pigeon or songbird. Gamebirds, like waterfowl, are precocial, so there's no need to worry about the time-consuming process of hand-feeding them day and night like you would with an altricial bird.
Therefore, I wanted a bird that has a straight beak, is precocial, and doesn't fly very often (and when they do, it should just be a short, quick burst of flight.) = Gamebirds! They're the kind of birds I highly recommend as pets when it comes to getting a bird. In addition, certain gamebirds are more of a 'hands-on' kind of bird, while birds like parrots and finches are more 'hands-off'.
As a bonus, I would also like to point out that while parrots usually don't talk, some do, and when they talk, they can curse and swear! And that's no good! An extra bonus for gamebirds! Plus, gamebirds aren't as temperamental as parrots, especially large ones like cockatoos, so therefore, you can come in contact with gamebirds while rarely getting bitten by them.
One last thing I want to say: The sound and calls a gamebird makes can be melodic and pleasant compared to most parrots like cockatoos and macaws, with their raucous screeching and scream-like calls.
And, many gamebirds cost cheaper than most parrots, which are generally more expensive when it comes to price.
I hope you folks enjoy this discussion! Feel free to PM (private message) and/or reply to me if there's anything else you'd like me to know.
Edited by Quails1 - 4/3/16 at 10:56am