Understanding The Language and Behavior of a Pet Bird

Birds, just like other pets, have their own ways of
Communicating, or Bird Language.

Birds communicate to other birds and also communicate
to their owners, in a variety of ways. While all species
have their own unique methods of bird language, there
are many generalities.

Birds use their body, body parts and voices to express a
wide range of emotions.

Ways Birds Communicate:

Barking – Some birds give out a type of bark when excited or when
trying to prove their dominance.

Beak Clicking – When a bird is clicking it’s beak, it is trying to tell
others it is threatened or that it is protecting something.

Beak Grinding – When a bird grinds it’s beak the bird is trying to communicate
it is feeling secure and content.

Beak Wiping – When a bird wipes it’s beak the bird is trying to communicate
that he is aggravated or upset about something. Beak wiping
is also typically normal behavior for birds when they
are trying to clean the beak or dislodge something stuck
in it.

Chattering – Some birds just like to talk, talk about anything; their
environment, how they feel, the state of the union….
so to communicate their thoughts, they chatter, sometimes
incessantly, sometimes loud, sometimes soft.

Young birds chirp or chatter when they want fed. Birds in
the wild often chatter as a warning sign to other birds that
something is not right in their environment, or as a call
to attract another bird’s attention.

Crouching – If the bird is crouching with it’s head toward the owner,
the birds wants to be petted or scratched.

If crouching with head down, relaxed body and raised wings,
the bird wants attention.

If crouching with head down, eyes pinning, flared tail feathers,
ruffled feathers, and a rigid body, the bird is giving
a warning to back off.

Flashing or Dilating Pupils – Flashing or dilating pupils the bird may be trying to communicate
aggression, excitement, nervousness, or pleasure.

Growling – Some birds communicate with a type of growl that means
back off mister and leave me alone.

Head Snaking – A bird that is shaking it’s head from side to side means it is

Panting – A panting bird is overheated, overexerted and uncomfortable.

Purring – A bird can give a type of purr communicating the bird is
relaxed and content.

Singing – A bird sings when it is communicating a message to another
bird, perhaps as a mating call, or when it is content and

Talking – A Bird talks when it is content and happy and wants to
send a message to the another bird or it’s owner.

Tail Bobbing – When a bird bobs it’s tail that may mean it’s sick, but also
some birds bob their tails when they are talking or singing.

Tail Fanning – Tail fanning by a bird indicates it’s unhappy about something
and may become aggressive

Tail Wagging – Just like dogs, tail wagging communicates that a bird is
content or happy.

Tongue Clicking – When a bird gives a rapid clicking of their tongue they
are trying to communicate friendliness or an invitation to be

Wing Drooping – A Bird will droop it’s wings for several reasons.
It may have just taken a bath and it’s holding the wings
down while drying. It may happen in young birds who have
not learned how to hold their wings. The bird may be
overheated and wanting to cool itself. The bird may be sick.

Wing Flipping – If a caged bird is flicking it’s wings sharply, it is
communicating annoyance or fear. It could also mean the
bird has lost it’s balance and is trying to correct itself,
if this is the case the wing flipping won’t last long.

Wing and Body Quivering – Quivering wings and body means the bird is fearful of
something in it’s immediate environment.

Wing Drumming – Birds drum their wings when they need exercise or out of
boredom. It may also communicate the bird is protecting it’s

Whistling – When a bird whistles it is communicating that the bird feels
content, safe and is at ease in it’s world.


Tippy, Alfred & Dave
Copyright © 2005

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