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Normal Parrot Behavior

normal parrot behavior

Talking is a common and normal parrot behavior. What’s more, parroting or mimicking seems to be their specialty.

However, you might get confused about how many normal behaviors there are in the entire parrot verse.

Are parrots only known as birds that talk?

Well, you’ll be surprised there are way more parrot behaviors than most of us know (#23 is definitely weird!).

So, read on to learn more about:

  • 28 surprising parrot behaviors
  • Common parrot behavior problems
  • Normal parrot behaviors during mating
  • Vital tips for new (and aspiring) parrot owners
  • And so much more!

parrot body language

Normal Parrot Behavior: 28 Things Bird Owners Should Know

Parrot Body Behavior

1. Bouncing

Parrots aren’t only home companions. They’re loveable creatures, too.

Interestingly, parrots express their pleasure in cute little ways, like bouncing their bodies.

This behavior is their way of expressing their unfiltered excitement.

Tip: Be sure to give your bouncing parrots some positive reinforcements like gentle pats or treats as rewards.

2. Standing Upside Down

Parrots are great entertainers, and they like to do fun and weird things sometimes.

That said, you may notice your parrots standing or hanging upside down in their cage.

While not all parrots do this trick, it’s best to get your camera ready whenever they do show you this acrobatic move.

Relevant Read: 30 Ways to Entertain Your Pet Bird

3. Standing On One Leg

This parrot behavior occurs when they’re happy and contented.

Interestingly, some parrots even sleep in this position, too. You may notice them standing on one leg before they take a nap.

However, parrots are prone to bumblefoot.

Bumblefoot is a common illness in parrots due to bacteria and inflammation. This results in sores and bumps on their foot.

So, be sure to check your bird’s feet for any signs of infection or inflammation.

4. Drooping Wings

Parrots droop their wings to let the water runoff after taking a bath.

However, parrot wings that are drooping all the time can be a sign of overheating or illnesses.

So, be sure to seek vet help immediately.

5. Feather Fluffing

Parrots fluff their feathers due to the following reasons:

  • Post-preening session
  • Remove dander and dust
  • Dry their feathers after a bath

Feather fluffing can be a sign of happiness in parrots, too.

However, some parrots also show behavioral issues with fluffy feathers. So, take extra caution when dealing with them.

Relevant Read: How to Deal With Broken Blood Feathers in Birds?

Parrot Tail Behavior

6. Tail Wagging

Another happy behavior in parrots is seen in their tails when they see you.

Moreover, wagging them side by side could mean they’re about to poo.

So, if you’re potty training your parrots, tail wagging is one thing to take note of.

7. Tail Flaring

Amazon parrots flare their tail like a fan when they’re excited.

This often occurs with eye pinning, which we’ll talk about in the next few items.

8. Tail Shaking

Parrots shake their tail after preening or cleaning their feathers with their beak. You may notice this when they’re trying to release body tension, too.

Parrot Head Behavior

9. Biting or Nipping

Parrots are obedient pet birds. However, a few reasons might cause them to bite sometimes, such as:

  • Raging hormones
  • Afraid or threatened
  • Trying to take control
  • Communication means

Moreover, this aggressive behavior can be associated with changes in their environment, routine, or relationships with owners.

Parrot owners must establish a daily routine with their pet birds.

By doing consistent tricks and reinforcements, parrots will learn what to expect each day from you.

Thus, conditioning their mood and reducing grumpiness.

10. Headbobbing

Common in young parrots, headbobbing is a sign of happiness.

You may notice your parrots bob their heads when they:

  • See or greet you
  • Get your attention
  • Expect you to give them food
  • Try to show contentment or excitement

11. Eye Pinning

When you want to pick up your parrots and they pin their eyes, you might want to proceed with caution.

But why do parrots pin their eyes?

Parrots pin their eyes due to the following factors:

When parrots pin their eyes, you may notice them repeatedly dilating and contracting.

So, be sure to keep a distance for a while to avoid your parrots attacking you.

12. Head Tilting

Parrots tilting their heads might look weird, but it’s a common sign of happiness they try to tell you.

13. Neck Stretching

Neck stretching in parrots is usually associated with positive behavior and a sign of affection.

However, pay attention when your parrots do this.

They might’ve seen something unfamiliar and are acting cautiously.

14. Beak Grinding

Another happy behavior in parrots is beak grinding.

Parrots grind their beak when they feel:

  • Sleepy
  • Relaxed
  • Secured
  • Contented

15. Beak Wiping

Parrots wipe their beak to groom themselves. This is also seen in parrots cleaning off some food residue on their beak.

16. Beaking

Beaking is often confused with biting or nipping in parrots. But you might ask: “Why do parrots beak at you?”

Parrots use their beak to grasp things.

Interestingly, beaking is what parrots also do to test surface strength and texture of:

  • Toys
  • Cages
  • Bird perches
  • Climbing structures

With these factors in mind, parrots sometimes beak at your arms to allow themselves to balance.

Parrots use their beak just like their feet. So, it’s important to give the appropriate response or reward whenever parrots are simply beaking (not biting!).

17. Beak Clicking

Often associated with happiness and pleasure, this parrot behavior can also mean a warning.

Other Normal Parrot Behavior

18. Chewing

Most birds love to chew. Parrots do, too!

In fact, chewing is an activity that helps stimulate your parrot’s mood.

Tip: You can give your parrots chewing toys to help reduce stress or their bad mood.

19. Digging or Scratching

A normal parrot behavior is digging or scratching, especially wild species like African Greys.

When you notice your parrots digging or scratching, you can give them enrichment objects like:

20. Growling

When parrots are in a bad mood, they sometimes growl at you.

Nevertheless, growling is a normal parrot behavior and can occur at any time. So, it’s best to avoid going near them while in this state.

21. Purring

Parrots purr as a sign of happiness and contentment, especially when you pet them. So, give them positive reinforcements and rewards when they do.

22. Shaking

Parrots shake their bodies when they feel contented and happy.

However, shaking may be confused with shivering sometimes, which could be attributed to the following conditions:

  • Illnesses
  • Distress
  • Excitement
  • Behavioral issues
  • High or low body temperature

Tip: Keep an eye on your pet parrots from time to time whenever they shake their bodies constantly.

23. Regurgitating

It’s simply called meal sharing. When parrots share their food with you, take it as a compliment.

That’s because meal sharing is a sign that your parrots see you as part of the flock, which is seen in mother birds feeding their young.

Note: Regurgitation is often accompanied by head bobbing in parrots. Also, meal-sharing in parrots can indicate mating.

Relevant Read: 7 Common Breeding Problems in Birds

24. Talking or Parroting

Most parrots love to talk.

By parroting or mimicking sounds around them, parrots can sometimes convey a message humans can understand.

Giving positive reinforcements to them will encourage them to repeat the same behavior.

25. Screaming

While screaming is a common behavior in parrots, it sometimes can lead to or cause behavioral problems.

Dealing with screaming birds needs lots of patience and understanding.

That’s because some parrot noises are linked to their wild roots. It might be pretty tricky to tell if your parrots are having fun or trying to show aggression.

27. Freezing

Parrots freeze as a defense response against predators and threats.

In the wild, predators are quick to pick up movements. So, don’t be surprised whenever your parrots freeze in place at times.

28. Running

Running is a normal parrot behavior that’s great for their bodies as physical exercise and mood stimulation.

When your parrots are running around their cage, they’re trying to release or burn their energy off.

Important: Physical activities like running are vital in parrots the longer they’re caged. This is to help reduce stress and aggression tendencies.

Relevant Read: Bird’s Playtime Outside Of The Cage— Its Importance and Benefits

parrot behavior problems

Common Parrot Behavior Problems

Open Beak Breathing

Parrots normally breathe with their beaks closed.

If you notice your pet parrots breathe with open beaks, it could be a sign of the following:

  • Bacterial infection
  • Respiratory illness
  • Egg-binding in female parrots

Important: Seek your avian vet immediately when this behavior arises.

Feather Plucking

Common in parrots, feather plucking is associated with both medical and non-medical causes, such as:

  • Allergies
  • Metabolic diseases
  • Inadequate housing
  • Behavioral disorders
  • Bacterial and viral infections

According to a study, parrots with feather-damaging behavior (FDB) have abnormalities in blood composition, specifically:

  • Higher heterophil count
  • Lower lymphocyte count

Moreover, FDB in parrots needs medical attention as well as appropriate rearing at home.


Parrots love to socialize, especially with their owners.

However, parrots hide due to the following factors:

  • Sexually active
  • Relieve from stress
  • Trying to build a nest

Moreover, hiding in parrots could be because of neophobia. But what is neophobia?

Neophobia in parrots is the fear of anything new or unfamiliar in their environment.

According to a study, parrots hide or shy away the newer or more unfamiliar the objects are.

To treat this condition, it’s best to seek professional advice from your vet.

parrot mating behavior

Normal Parrot Behavior During Mating

A parrot’s normal behavior during mating consists of regurgitation and vent rubbing.

Regurgitation is the act of offering food to another parrot as a form of courtship.

On the other hand, you may notice your bird rubbing its cloaca or vent under the tail to an object.

Moreover, parrots during the mating season may develop behavior issues like:

  • Screaming
  • Feather picking
  • Territorial aggression

While mating is normal, parrot owners shouldn’t ignore this behavior.

So, how do you stop or reduce excessive mating behaviors in parrots?

When your parrots get aggressive towards you, refrain from giving them attention.

The more you give them attention, the more they’ll repeat the same manners.

For regurgitating parrots, you can do the following ways to reduce it:

  • Providing enrichment objects
  • Shortening indoor daylight hours
  • Transfer them to another location
  • Keeping nest boxes away from them

5 Vital Tips For New (and Aspiring) Parrot Owners

1. Choose the Best Parrot for You (and Your Family)

Choose the right parrot bird that matches your goals and limitations, such as:

  • Lifestyle
  • Family size
  • Time and availability
  • Work or business setup

It’s important to note that owners should be able to adjust to the needs of their pet parrots.

2. Choose the Best Vet in Your Location

It’s even recommended to get to know the best avian vets in your area before owning a pet parrot.

You can ask for suggestions on which parrot specie suits you and your family’s lifestyle.

Moreover, you can seek advice on the appropriate housing and diet for your birds.

3. Prepare All the Materials

Getting all the bird essentials beforehand will emotionally help your parrot deal with neophobia or fear of new things.

Parrots are afraid to see new or unfamiliar stuff in their cage or surroundings. So, it’s best to expose new toys or enrichment objects the earliest possible.

That said, here’s a list of supplies you need for your pet parrot:

Relevant Read: How to Choose the Right Bird Cage Size and Bar Spacing

4. Know Your Parrot’s Diet

Parrots can be picky eaters sometimes. So, here’s a list of food types and alternatives for your bird:

In general, it’s important to note that your parrot’s diet should consist of the following criteria:

  • 80% – bird pellets
  • 20% – fruits, vegetables
  • Fewer treats as much as possible

Note: Parrot diet also depends on the specie type.

5. Get To Know Your Parrot

It’s vital to constantly learn new things about your parrot, such as:

  • Behavior
  • Physical traits
  • Tricks and training ideas
  • Appropriate living conditions

Normal Parrot Behavior: In A Nutshell

Dealing with parrots can be tricky and difficult.

However, it’s important to note that parrot behavior depends on and varies from factors, such as:

  • Diet
  • Housing
  • Family size
  • Specie type
  • Owner lifestyle
  • Living condition

Moreover, one of the best ways to determine behavior is through parrot body language.

Knowing the meaning behind their chirping, body freezing, or neck stretching will help you assess what your parrot is trying to convey.

Here at The Happy Chicken Coop, you’ll get all the essential information you need as a bird owner. Subscribe and be in the know of the latest articles about your pet parrots.

READ NEXT: Dealing With Screaming in Birds

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