My wife and I had a cockatiel for a few years. Unfortunatley, we decided to return him to the breeded when we were trying for a baby. The dust was an issue.
He was awesome. I agree with the above statements that people do not give pet birds the respect they deserve. Our guy, Scooter, would whistle a variety of songs and even said a few words. He even let us know when it was time for bed by repeating "good night!"
If the cage is an issue, you might want to consider a budgy (parakeet). They are not throw away birds and can learn tricks and can be very personable. Some can ever learn a few words. (albeit they speak in a very high pitch, and rather quickly) Another reason a larger cage is important is that they will have more sturdy bars. Conures will have a very strong beak and will make short work of thinner bars.
All in all, I cannot wait until my son is older and we decide to bring a bird back into our lives. We have been thinking about a female eclectus for a little while now!