Perches are important for your bird. They don't just provide standing room; your bird will also use its perch for playing and cleaning food off its beak. If you have more than one bird, perches are also a place for them to socialize.
There are a wide variety of perches that offer variations of a number of characteristics to choose from. Providing your bird with an assortment of quality perches can help ensure it remains happy and healthy.
For starters, you'll want to make sure your bird has a rigid perch with a surface that's coarse enough to easily grip where he or she can sleep. Also, make sure there are perches that allow your bird to easily reach food and water. Don't place perches in locations where the bird's tail would hit the side of the cage or that might lead to droppings getting into water or food.
With regards to health, it's important you select perches that are made from safe materials. Wood and stainless steel are safe for any bird, and other materials can provide entertaining options as long as your bird isn't ingesting the materials. If you make your own natural perch, you need to be sure the wood hasn't been sprayed with anything and that it's from an acceptable species of tree. Wood from some trees, such as oak, cherry and pine, can be toxic to your bird if ingested.
There should be a range of differently-shaped perches to choose from. Birds prefer to split their time between rigid and non-rigid perches, and some birds, such as lovebirds, parrots, parakeets and cockatiels, prefer perches with soft surfaces. A nail and beak conditioning perch is nice to include to help keep your bird's nails at an acceptable length, but they aren't comfortable for the bird to sit on for long periods.