Pet Bird Body Language

Pet Bird Body Language

By Wyld’s Wingdom

As a complex species, the many ways birds communicate can be fascinating to observe. When it comes to pet birds, learning how to interpret body language is a key path to getting closer with your pet. Much like people, different moods and emotions accompany different movements that can deliver interesting insight into the world of your bird. Several key areas to pay attention to include:


Like cats and dogs, a bird’s tail is a great tool for expression. Whether to communicate happiness, aggression, or something else, watch your bird’s tail for movement. Tail wagging is an indicator of contentedness and tail bobbing, especially after exercise is a form of recovery for your bird.


Unique to birds, different flips and flaps of wings are ways that birds communicate with each other and with you. This category takes time to understand your individual bird’s movements but wing flapping can indicate pain, anger, or trying to get your attention. 


After an extremely interactive period of play, your bird may feign a weakness in the foot or leg region as a way to resist the end of a play session. Other specific breeds, like cockatoos are also known to use feet tapping as a way to establish dominance.


As a tool for preening and eating, your bird’s beak is integral to survival. From foraging to grooming and play, this part of your bird is also a way for them to communicate. Single beak clicks indicate happiness or may be a way to greet you as you enter their space while a rapid series of clicks may warn you to stay away. 


One interesting fact about birds is that they can control the dilation of their pupils depending on their mood. Observing this body characteristic may deliver valuable information about what state your bird is in. For example, pupil flashing, that is the growing and shrinking of the pupil may indicate a state of agitation or excitement.

Although far from comprehensive, this list details several great areas for you to focus on to gain insight into your bird’s world. Likewise your bird can also learn to read your intentions by observing your postures. Just one of the many reasons why pet bird ownership is such a rich and rewarding experience.


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