A Guide to Parrot Behavior
Parrots are not like the average pet bird, so if you are considering getting a parrot as a pet then you might want to take a moment to learn a bit about parrot behavior. It is no secret that the parrot is a very intelligent species of bird. Not only are they capable of learning and repeating words, but they also strive to convey their feelings and intentions through body language. A parrot can make a wonderful pet and companion who can be loving and sensitive to his owner’s mood. The key to harnessing this affection is to be willing and able to pick up on the subtle (and sometimes not-so-subtle) vocalizations and mannerisms that the bird will use to convey himself.
Parrots are very vocalized birds, meaning they love to chatter and make all kinds of noises. This is just one of the ways that they convey their emotions. Figuring out the difference between each type of noise that the parrot makes is the key to learning his mood and what he is trying to convey. Squawking and singing are natural sounds that parrots, and indeed most birds, will partake of whenever they are happy, such as around sunrise. Bear in mind that parrots are flock animals and are never truly independent. If a parrot were to make a few short squawks with pauses in between, he may simply be asking for acknowledgement, as this is his way of asking where everybody went off to. He may also produce a very loud or repetitive squawk. This is likely to indicate that the parrot is upset and should definitely be seen to. Parrots can also produce a sound that can only be compared to a scream. This is usually a sound they would make when ill, under stress, scared, jealous, or upset. Recent changes in the environment or family situation may cause the bird to become upset, hence scream his displeasure at the change in his normal life.
Body language is definitely something to pay attention to. There are a number of everyday movements that are quite normal for a parrot to practice. The idea of a bird grinding its beak together may appear alarming at first, but in truth this is very common among birds who are about to fall asleep. It means they are content and happy. Biting or nipping is a familiar form of parrot behavior that most of us have seen before. This is a parrot’s last-ditch attempt at getting your attention for something. The problem with this is that his wishes may not always be apparent. He could be jealous, mad, hungry, scared, tired of being held, or even sleepy. Some parrots bounce around in the cage or bob their body up and down. This looks funny to us but the parrot is actually very happy and is trying to express how joyful he is. At this point he is probably trying to entice someone to let him out of his cage so that he can spend this “happy time” with his family.
The parrot may also exhibit actions that may be a little more difficult to figure out. For instance, hiding in his cage could be either a nesting instinct, a comfy spot to sleep, or a sign that he is terribly afraid of something. Strutting is another one type of body language which may appear funny, with the fluffed-out tail, ruffled neck feathers, and low body stance, however this is actually the parrot’s way of telling someone to back away or to attract a mate. A bird that displays this type of behavior should be left alone until it passes.
Owning a parrot can be a lot of work, especially for someone who believes that a parrot can be happy if left cooped up in a cage. In truth, parrots are very sociable and curious birds that cannot possibly be happy without a little freedom to wander around and mingle openly with their family.