First, please understand the bird doesn’t know the difference in the tops of parrot cages. Birds like to be up high and will go to the top of the cage regardless. Play top bird cages are really more of a convenience for you than the bird.
Dome top , Victorian (or Napoleon) top bird cages fall under the category of dometop bird cages but may offer doors that open on the top of the cage providing birds with an exit other than the main front door. Some of these cages may simply have a curved roof that is fixed shut
Flat top birdcages, are just that, simply the roof of the cage is flat. This not to say they can’t morph into a play top with doors that swing open and upwards. Flat top cages are a good choice if you plan to erect a creative play area on top.
A playtop parrot cage will have at the very least a perch and food dishes on the top of the cage, some offer toy hooks.
It will also have a tray under the play area, which may be the roof of the cage. Lined with newspaper, the top of the cage will remain clean as well as the interior.
The tray will also restrict light coming through the top of the cage so many parrot owners will choose to remove the top refuse tray and deal with the poop on the roof bars but allow the bird to enjoy natural (or artificial) light.
If a bird takes up residence on the top of a dome top cage, you’ll be cleaning additional poop on the top of the cage and maybe perches and toys.
With a bird spending time on top of a dome top whether it be a large parrot cage or a small one, you risk “birdie boredom.” With play top cages, the bird not only has a comfortable perch for their feet but food dishes help with activities such as dunking their favorite foods in their water dishes.
The tray (or roof area) below can also hold foot toys such as whiffle balls that they can throw on the floor for you to retrieve providing great entertainment for your bird and exercise for you.
The biggest issue is where will your bird perch when not in the cage? If the cage is in a social area of your home, where all the activity is happening – TV, meals and so forth, a play top cage is ideal.
When the bird is out, he or she climbs to the top and enjoys human interaction. If the cage acts more as a place to sleep, you may want to consider a dome top giving the bird more “headroom” in the cage. Then introduce a parrot play stand so the bird has a place to perch when not on it’s cage.
Speaking of headroom, and here’s where things get a little murky, due to today’s advanced manufacturing techniques, many dome top parrot cages open at the top and may have a drop down landing door in front. Place an appropriate perch between the two open doors up to and you have a playtop as well.
Hanging bird toys from a top opening door is the downside to this arrangement. It can be done but may prove to be impractical with certain bird toys or accessories.
In conclusion, the choice between Play Top Cages, Dome Top Cages and flat top bird cages is a matter of aesthetics and practicality as it fits into your lifestyle and birds behavior.