Have you ever heard of the term “softbill” in the bird-keeping community? If you’re a beginner in this field, this word may sound unfamiliar to you. Softbills are a group of birds that have different care requirements compared to other avian species. They are fascinating creatures that make excellent pets, but it’s essential to understand what they are before deciding to take care of them.

In this post, we will discuss what softbills are, what makes them different from other birds, popular softbill species, care requirements, and tips for keeping them healthy and happy.

What Are Softbills?

Softbills are a group of birds that feed on things aside from insects and seeds. They eat a variety of foods like fruits, soft vegetables, insects, and small animals. They don’t have a strong beak designed for cracking shells, as in the case of parrots, and their diet doesn’t consist of nuts, seeds and pellets typically. Softbills come from different orders of birds, including passerines, pittas, and toucans, but they have one thing in common – a unique diet.

What Makes Softbills Different from Other Birds?

Aside from their diet, softbills differ from other birds in many ways. Many softbills are not capable of cracking nuts or tough seeds, as stated earlier, and several of them will not drink from water dishes and prefer misting and getting their water from their food. Softbills are prone to foot problems, including bumblefoot, due to their perching habits and the possibility of alkalinization from their feces. Some softbills are highly susceptible to stress in captivity, making them shy and skittish if not given enough personal space and privacy. Many softbills also have distinct vocalizations and habits that transcend what we see in other bird species.

Popular Softbill Species

Some softbill species that are frequently kept as pets in the United States include toucans, canaries, mynas, fairy bluebirds, and turacos. Toucans have distinctive beaks that make them popular among bird enthusiasts. Canaries are well-known for their melodious songs. Mynas, found in Southeast Asia, have a unique speaking ability. Fairy bluebirds and turacos have stunning bright colors, making them attractive pets.

Softbill Care Requirements

Softbills need proper care, such as well-ventilated cages, regular antibacterial feeders, and daily cleaning of their droppings. They also need plenty of space to fly, hop, and perch as many softbills are active birds compared to other bird species. Their diet should be rich in fruits, vegetables, and insect protein. Other essential things to consider are lighting, humidity levels, temperature consistency, and ventilation.

Tips for Keeping Softbills Happy and Healthy

Giving your softbill plenty of space to fly and offering a healthy and varied diet would make them happy. Misting your birds several times a day will help prevent any foot problems, and providing plenty of hiding spots and personal space will go a long way to reduce stress levels. Additionally, engage in light training with your birds to promote health and to build trust with your pet. Verbal interaction and providing toys can also promote mental stimulation, recreational behavior, proper exercise, and reduce boredom.


Softbills are fantastic and fascinating creatures that make excellent pets for bird enthusiasts. They have unique dietary, vocalization and physical traits that make them stand out from other species. Proper care, ample space, a healthy diet, cleanliness, and nurturing relationships are needed to take care of these feathered friends.

Now you know what softbills are and what to expect if you decide to add them to your pet collection or aviary. Be prepared, and happy bird-keeping!