Parrot Behavior Guide: Who’s the Boss?
Who’s the boss here?
Parrot behavior at the beginning of your relationship is strongly linked to that question. Parrot behavior in a new home may be quiet and withdrawn or loud and aggressive. It is, however, an attempt to find out who will be the boss.
Jousting for Position
When a parrot enters a new home, things change for all concerned.
⟹ The parrot, transplanted from the place where it hatched, will make an effort to adjust its surroundings. Its natural instinct will be to make the new home conform to the one it left. It will try to make everyone in the new home conform to what it knows to be normal human behavior.
⟹ The humans will make as strong an effort to make the parrot conform to their home. They will want it to exhibit what they consider normal parrot behavior.
The problem is that each wants to be king or queen, but only one can wear the crown. The parrot behavior and human behavior that result are both geared toward victory. Both may try to cajole or punish to train the other.
How to Win
Your parrot needs time to adjust. Don’t force companionship or training. Natural parrot behavior in the wild would be to take flight if it is uncomfortable in its surroundings. A caged parrot does not have that option. As humans, it knows only one option other than flight – fight. It resorts to biting to convince you to leave it alone.
To overcome such parrot behavior, take action to make it as comfortable as possible in its new surroundings.
⟹ Place the cage in a corner, or drape half of it with a cloth to reduce exposure to only 2 sides. Keep the cage room relatively quiet for now.
⟹ Move slowly when approaching the cage. If the parrot tenses or flutters, back off a few steps to calm the bird. Then approach even more slowly. If the bird has all its needs met, wait until the next day to approach it again.
⟹ Be sure the parrot has enough food, water, and toys at all times.
⟹ Talk to the parrot in a kind voice. Reassure it.
⟹ Accept the fact that, once your parrot has adjusted, negative parrot behavior will gradually fade.
From Adjustment to Enjoyment
Your goal will be to change the parrot’s behavior from adjustment behavior to enjoyment behavior. Once it relaxes, you will see parrot behavior that invites you to approach the cage. You will be able to take the bird from the cage and show it to other parts of the house. You will be able to introduce it to strangers.
Parrot behavior modification may be necessary if the bird remains hostile or withdrawn. Our article, “How to Train an African Grey Parrot – Part 1″ gives an introduction to parrot behavior modification. Click here to read it.
CASE STUDY: The Non-Phobic "Phobic"
Parrot Behavior Consultant
Taking a Behavioral History
Back Home Again
Call the Vet!
Idiopathic Condition = We Dunno
"I didn’t realize that Haldol was a pain killer," I said when I got him on the line."It’s not," the vet said."But why would it cause any improvement in this case?"