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Home > Birds > 17 Signs That Your Pet Bird Trusts You: Avian Behavior Explained

17 Signs That Your Pet Bird Trusts You: Avian Behavior Explained

lovebird on mans hand

Birds are sentient creatures and many of them, including but not limited to parrots, are highly intelligent. This gives them great potential as fun and caring pets, but it also means that it can take them some time to warm to you and to show affection and trust.

Some signs that your bird trusts you can be easy to spot: for example, if it cuddles in and nuzzles at your neck, this is quite an obvious sign of trust. Other signs can be difficult to spot and also need interpretation: the puffing up of feathers when you enter a room may mean that your parrot trusts you, but it is also a sign of aggression in birds, so context is vital.

Below are 17 signs that your bird might trust you.


The 17 Signs That Your Pet Bird Trusts You

1. Cuddling

Parrots, in particular, are considered affectionate birds and they are happy to show their affection. In the same way that a dog or cat buries its head into your neck and cuddles, a parrot might do the same thing. Not only does this action mean that your bird is comfortable around you, but it also means that it feels safe.

rosy faced lovebird
Image Credit: Ward Poppe, Shuttertock

2. Preening

Preening (or cleaning) is a natural behavior for birds. It helps them clean their feathers and it keeps dust and dirt away from their body. It also maintains feather structure and shape. It is an important action, but preening can also leave a bird prone to danger because it is paying attention to what it is doing and not what is going on around it. Birds will only clean themselves when they feel comfortable and safe.

3. Grooming

As well as cleaning themselves, birds groom one another. Most often, they will groom a mate. If they don’t have a mate or a closely bonded bird with them, they will preen you instead. As such, this action is more likely from a bird that does not have the company of another bird but it is a sign of trust and bonding.

4. Relaxed

Generally, if your bird shows any signs of being relaxed while seated on or near you, that is a good sign. A relaxed posture means that they do not think it necessary to prepare to fly away or fight predators.

macaw bird
Image Credit: TizzleBDizzle, Pixabay

5. Hanging

It might normally be associated with bats, but parrots also hang upside down. They will usually do this when they are eating, drinking, or sleeping, but they might also hang upside down when playing. Birds are vulnerable when upside down, which means that yours must trust you if it is comfortable enough to hang upside down in your company.

6. Communicating

Birds have a lot of ways to communicate with you. They may chirp or chirrup, click, and make other noises. They may also sing or whistle while parrots and other birds that are capable of mimicking speech may also do this. Squealing and screeching are alarming noises and are a sign of displeasure or pain, but singing and whistling and other pleasant-sounding noises are a sign of trust and contentment.

7. Flapping

Flapping is one of those actions that could be interpreted in different ways. It refers to the action of flapping their wings without moving and it could be used as a means of getting exercise or to get your attention.

8. Regurgitating Food

It may not feel like a compliment or a sign of trust, but a bird regurgitating its food for you is actually a sign of trust. Parrots not only regurgitate food for their young but also their mates, so if your parrot does this for you, it is not only a sign of trust but it shows that your bird cares for you.

lovebirds eating
Image Credit: ploypemuk, Shutterstock

9. Stretching

Stretching their wings at you can be viewed as a sign that they are happy to see you. It is essentially like beckoning to you, and it is a sign that you can approach and give the bird some attention.

10. Bowing

Bowing may not be a sign of reverence from a parrot but it is a good sign that they trust and like you. When they dip their heads, it means that they want you to scratch the back of their neck, which is something they would only let you do if they completely trust you.

11. Blushing

Macaws, and some other species of parrots, blush. It is unlikely to mean that they are embarrassed, but it can mean that they are frightened. It may also mean that they are happy, and context is everything. Consider the situation and the surroundings. If something could be scaring your parrot, they may be blushing out of fear. Alternatively, it could mean that they are happy to see you.

12. Purring

Cats aren’t the only animal to purr. A parrot’s purr can sound a lot like a low growl but while a growl may be a sign of aggression or fear, a purr means that the parrot is happy and content, so don’t get the two sounds confused.

13. Mimicking

Parrots are well known for mimicking speech, which they do as a replacement for being able to mimic the sounds of other parrots and birds in their community. When they mimic you, it means that they want to fit in and wish to be considered one of your community. Essentially, they want to be a member of your family.

a parrotlet bird perching on owner's finger
Image Credit: Ploychan Lompong, Shutterstock

14. Dilating Pupils

Parrots can control their pupils and do so to show how they feel, but there is some subconscious movement too. If, when you enter the vicinity of your parrot, their pupils dilate, it means that they are excited to see you.

15. Grinding

When a parrot is completely relaxed, most often just before they fall asleep, they may grind their beak, which is a clicking noise created by clicking their tongue against the inside of the beak. For a bird to be relaxed enough to fall asleep around you takes a lot of trust on their part.

16. Playing

There are several ways in which a parrot or other bird might try to play with you. Mouthing is a common sign a bird wants to play and is a good indication that they like you. Don’t mistake this action for biting, which is obviously quite different.

Conure Bird with Toy
Image Credit: Linda Bestwick, Shutterstock

17. Direct Eye Contact

You can tell a lot about how a parrot feels about you by looking at its eyes. As well as looking for signs of pupil dilation, look at whether they are looking at you. If a parrot looks at you with one eye, it means that they are showing some signs of interest. If they are happy to look you directly in the eyes and hold your gaze, they completely trust you and are happy in your company.

divider-birds Final Thoughts

Birds can make excellent pets. If they trust you, they can be attentive, caring, and playful, and they don’t have to be difficult to read. Look for signs of how the bird acts and reacts around you, and always take context into account because it plays a significant part.

Featured Image Credit: Choco’Love, Shutterstock

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