Birdie Body Language

Most parrot owners are aware of some of the fundamental body language that our feathered friends utilize to communicate with us. However, it is generally the most unfavorable ones! Our friends, on the other hand, employ a variety of actions to show a wide range of emotions, both good and negative. So, here are a few examples:


Although most of these activities in our birds are associated with aggressive/defensive attitudes, they can also simply signify any excitement, good or bad – so you must know your bird and observe closely to differentiate between aggressive postures that mean “Stay away!” and those that simply mean “I’m over-excited!” even in a good way. (Of course, even with those, you must use caution since an overstimulated bird may still bite.)

Eye pinning occurs when the pupils quickly dilate and contract back and forth, showing enthusiasm and interest. That you must pay attention and keep an eye out.

Feather Puffing: The bird fluffs his feathers all over, particularly the head and neck, and the crest is upright in Cockatoos. In the wild, birds employ this to make themselves seem bigger and hence more terrifying to predators.

Tail Fanning: To seem enormous and “threatening,” the bird fanned his whole tail out (like a mini-horizontal peacock), especially in Amazons.

Blushing: Bare-faced birds, such as Macaws, enable you to see the facial redness that comes with enthusiasm. (Actually, ALL parrots do this; we simply can’t see it because of the feathers!) Some birds flush a pale pink, while others (like as mine Amber) become a deep crimson. Babies, I believe, blush more than adults because they are experiencing new things in the world.

Head Bowing: The bird lowers his head, extending out his neck, while puffed up, eye-pinning, tail fanning, and flushing. It is often accompanied by a “growling” sound, or, in the case of African Greys and Cockatiels, a “hissing” sound.

Stretching/Wing Spreading: The bird stands on tiptoes, feathers and crest erect, neck extended, wings eagle-spread – he’s attempting to seem enormous and frightening. A very disturbed bird will often sway back and forth. During this form of posturing, “flash” colors (bright color accents beneath wings, crest, or tail) are clearly apparent – it’s difficult to miss, since this type of show is QUITE evident!

Although hostility and enthusiasm actions are similar, a skilled observer with a trained eye may easily distinguish between them. Work on improving your observation abilities so you can decide how to continue. Of all, a bird coming at you with its head dropped and an open mouth is difficult for ANYONE to misread!


These are the more passive ways a parrot seeks attention. If we ignore them, they might escalate into more outlandish requests, such as yelling, or neurotic behaviors that become compulsive, almost ritualistic routines, such as repeated flipping or circling in the cage, or toe-tapping, beak wiping, and strange appearing head motions. The following are examples of fundamental solicitous behaviors:

Food Begging: Recently weaned infants often wail and “baby bob.” They sit low on the perch, heads tilted up, wings slightly quivering and heads bobbing quickly. This must be handled! When recently weaned newborns go to their new home, they often regress. It’s a good idea to keep frequent body weight checks going, since anything more than a 10% decrease is reason for alarm. I don’t believe in timed weaning and don’t think it’s wrong to prolong or restart hand feeding of young birds. Inquire about the best way to approach it.

Wing Quivering: The bird perches low, wings gently quivering, head outstretched, and stretched, quietly chirping to you. Even as adults, some people “bob.” Females are more prone to this. Simply put, it says “Please pick me up! I adore you!” I think it adorable and nothing to be concerned about.

Leaning forward/looking up at you with Big Eyes: This is also a really lovely technique for birds to request affection. They just lean in and give you huge, soft, goo-goo eyes! For the most part, most birds are safe!

Feather Puffing: Unlike the stiff and inflexible feather puffing of aggression/over-excitement, this is a “soft” rising of the feathers, particularly on the head and neck, and signifies “Please touch me and preen my pin feathers!” They require our assistance to get to those tricky areas, and preening his “pins” for him is a wonderful way to enhance your friendship!


These are my personal favorites! They are also the most subtle and sometimes overlooked messages that our parrots provide us. Learn to identify them, and your discussions will take on a whole new level of depth.

Tail Wagging: During one-on-one conversations, your bird’s tail will often “fan” and shake vigorously from side to side. This says “I’m content, having fun, and feeling extremely comfortable!” It’s always a cheerful sight!

When you go into the room or up to your parrot, he spreads out one wing in a wide stretch, which is typically followed by a complete extension to the rear of the leg on the same side (very graceful, martial-arts-looking). This is fantastic! They often do it at the most inconvenient times, such as when you’re in a rush to put him up and leave for the day. This, however, is the parrot equivalent of a bear hug! It denotes “I’m overjoyed to meet you! How are you doing?” Never hurry him while he’s being so kind and charming!

“Happy Beak”: It’s late, he’s eaten, played, snuggled, and is about ready for bed – when you hear a strange grinding, rasping sound coming from your bird. This is completely contented, comfortable, and cheerful conduct. I have met someone who claimed to “detest” the sound! It’s music to my ears because it signifies my kids have had a good day and are ready to go to bed for lovely dreams!

Regurgitation: You’re kissing on your partner when he begins to bob and suddenly dumps a warm gob of half digested food on you! You’ve just received the greatest praise your parrot can give you!! “I adore you fiercely, for ever and ever – you’re mine!!” say parrots. Please don’t act grossed out, make faces, laugh, or flee. Simply respond, “I love you, too!” and touch his back!

There are several more actions and postures that our companion birds utilize to communicate their moods, requirements, and sentiments to us. When you start paying attention to your friend’s numerous methods of communicating with you, you’ll undoubtedly uncover some exceptional and unique ones that will help the two of you get along better, improve your friendship, and give insight into his own distinct personality!

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