Bird Body Language: Understand the Habitual Attitudes of Your Avian Friends

bird body language

Animals solely depend on their body language to communicate. Birds also have their approaches to exchange their feelings. However, bird body language is something that needs a bit of research to understand properly. Their distinctive verbal sounds and unique body parts’ expressions often convey their views and emotions strongly. 

Moreover, learning your pet bird’s body language will help you to understand their needs. Additionally, it will also help you to have and maintain a good relationship with your pet bird. In this article, we will try to explain various body languages of birds so you can deal with your pet’s different needs properly. 

Bird body language according to their body parts

Bird body language can be more interesting than your imagination. For example, they use their body parts for different expressions. From head to toe, there remains a full collection of language terms of birds. 

However, here are some major bird body languages using which they express various feelings. 


Nodding of tail 

  • Usually, moving the tail up and down is nothing special. Sometimes, birds do it after doing exhausting activities to handle their breath. 
  • However, the simultaneous occurrence of tail bobbing and trouble breathing may be the reason for lung disease. So, it may require a veterinarian consultation.

Spinning of tail

The pet birds express their joys through the flipping of their tails. However, they flip their tails whenever

  • they see their owner
  • get their playtime or
  • have their favorite meal

Shaking the tailback and forth

It is another sign of saying, ‘I am happy to see you.’ 

Also, if you train your bird properly, it can be a sign of his pooping time.  

Fanning of tail

  • If your bird wants to show anger, it mostly starts fanning the tail feathers.
  • Besides, birds stretch out the feathers of their tails to exhibit a strong personality.



Screaming is not a big deal for birds. However, we can divide their screaming nature into two categories.

  • Birds with the highest voice range often merge in a mixed group of their mates. For example, the South American breeds of parrots.
  • On the other hand, the single breed gatherings are comparatively less noisy, as the African parrots meeting. 


Hissing voice of birds is certainly not normal. Moreover, if they howl and growl, that means they are trying to protect themselves from potential threats. Some certain bird species like African greys and cockatiels mainly use this tactic. 


Talking birds are one of the amazing pets. Here are some facts about talking birds.

  • Your pet bird can duplicate both your words and voice. 
  • Moreover, in some cases, they even realize the meaning. Thus, they apply it in almost suitable situations. 
  • However, many parrot breeds like Amazon parrot, True parrot, and Grey parrot can talk like a human. 
  • Additionally, Macaws and Cockatoos are also able to copy human voice in a few days. 


One can ever imagine the sweetest bird body language, which is chirping. Birds, especially small birds, continue their tweets throughout the day due to many causes. 

  • When the birds go outside in search of food, their chirping increases. And, their voice becomes loud, especially in the morning and evening.
  • Sometimes, they chatter in a group to alert others for dangers.
  • Moreover, if they need to protect their foods or children from the attacks of other animals, they chatter at full volume. 


Beak clicking

Parrots, cockatiels, and cockatoos often click their beaks. However, beak clicking can express the following terms.

  • One-click of the beak with eye pinning can be the indication of a welcoming mood.  
  • Otherwise, if the bird is in an attacking mood, he will click the beak aggressively in a row.

Beak cleaning

  • Normally, birds clean their beaks after a meal. 
  • However, sometimes it wipes its beak on the branch of trees or cage walls to get rid of dirt. 
  • Also, it is a certain bird body language to announce domination over their area. 


Beak grinding is an indication of their satisfaction.


Birds chew things to lessen their boredom. In some cases, it reflects their happy mood. However, it will be a wise decision to supply some soft chewing toys. Otherwise, over chewing habit and chewing random things may harm your bird.

Body postures 

Warning pose

If your bird poses in a stiff body with its bright feathers, it is his warning sign. So, you better leave him alone whenever you see him posing in an attention stance.

Besides, some other full-body postures describe its warning mode.

  • Pinning of eyes
  • Tangled and flamed feathers
  • Rise of the head crust
  • Sudden walk in an aggressive way
  • Body crouching with the head bow down

Attention seeking body postures

Whenever a bird’s body language expresses the seeking of attention from its companion or owner, it lifts the wings. Moreover, it bends down its head with a calming state of the body. 

Defecating pose

At times of pooping, birds follow these body postures – 

  • They take some back steps.
  • Then, they keep their body in a squat position.
  • Lastly, they raise the tail and defecate.

Some other frequent bird body language

Besides the above body language in pet birds, there are some random avian behaviors. 

Shaking of head

If somehow water enters into the bird’s ears, they shake their head. Thus, they try to remove excess water. However, African greys are mostly known parrot breed with this feature. It is one of their habitual traits. Moreover, frequent head shaking may be the cause of ear or nose inflammation.  

Drooping the wings

Droopy wings can indicate tiredness or sickness in birds. Moreover, a depressed bird also hangs down its wings slightly to express sadness. However, there may be some simple reasons behind this. Some birds leave their feathers in a droopy state to dry them out after finishing a bath.

Stretching the body joints

Normally parrots do the stretching posture by twisting the wing and leg of one side. However, there is not anything abnormal about this traditional stretching pose of birds. So, it may be considered as a way of relaxing their muscles.  


Everyone is acquainted with this special bird body language. However, singing as well as whistling charmingly is an affirmative response of your bird. Moreover, it is the sign of its pleased mental and physical health. 


Isn’t it an amazing view to see your parrot or pet bird in a dancing pose? Well, it is proved from research that parrots react positively to good music. Surprisingly, they can also fine-tune the moves by following the beats.

Balancing postures

Birds usually try hard to maintain some stability in their bodies if they feel uncomfortable. For example, resting on two feet may be the cause of weakness if they normally stand on one foot to relax. Moreover, it may also happen if they are injured or ill. 


Regurgitation is the pressurized emitting process of undigested food leftovers. It is a common behavior in older birds. Normally, they regurgitate to feed their child or mates. However, vomiting and regurgitating are not the same.  

How to deal with problematic bird body language

bird body language

Sometimes, it is important to handle the problematic behaviors of your pet birds, especially parrots. However, among these characteristics, biting, screaming, or plucking feathers may create issues. 


The body language of your pet bird can sometimes turn into offensive events like biting. However, birds tend to grow the habit of biting in captive places where the boundaries are fixed. 


Panic: A startled or frightened bird may apply the process of biting. Moreover, a common tendency in animals is to fight the opponent through biting. So, being protective may be the cause also. 

Seasonal change: Some seasonal changes affect the birds’ mode. In summer or spring, the long day times can cause hormonal imbalance. As a result of mood swings, they can try to bite the owner. 

Common baby parrot attitude: Mostly, the baby birds find it attractive to discover something using their beaks. Thus, it can bite if you try to hold it too tightly. 

Showing authority: Birds often bite if anyone wants to take over their area. However, it does not matter whether it is a pet bird or a wild one.

Avoidance: Your pet friend can bite you if you force him to do something against his wish.

Illness: If your pet avian has a rare biting habit, then sudden behavior change may happen due to illness. 


The following points will help you to get rid of birds biting.

  • Decreasing the causes of fears will limit the biting habit of your bird. Moreover, it is important to watch it closely. Thus, you will get ideas about the events that make it panicked. 
  • To avoid the effect of long days, limit the supply of the lighting system of your bird’s house.
  • Do not let him bite you. Consequently, his biting habit will be in control in a short while.
  • If you notice any symptoms of sickness, consult your vet for further procedures.


Not all vocalizations can be considered as screaming. Nevertheless, their constant shouting can make you get rid of your pets. Moreover, if the tendency of screaming continues for a long time, resolving the issue becomes tough. 


Unhappy mental condition: If your avian friend suffers from a miserable mental state, he will try to express it through screaming. Also, due to loneliness or irritation, birds make relentless noise.

Medical situation: Pain or deteriorated physical condition sometimes leads to a loud vocalization of birds.

Change of owner: Though it is unusual, it can also be the reason behind the bird’s screaming. Moreover, they search for their owner with a screaming attitude in case of long-term absence.  

Loss of companion: When a bird goes through the loss of their mates or parents, they normally cry and scream. 

Fear and stress: Fear is the most common cause of awkward bird body language. Similarly, birds may scream due to their stress. It includes – change in daily routine or failure to adjust in new surroundings. Besides, improper sleep due to noise or light can make them stressed.


First, you need to remember that you aim to bring the noisiness to an acceptable stage. Since eliminating the natural screaming habit of your parrot is not practical, it is wise to follow systematic ways.  

  • Identify the reason for your bird’s screaming. Also, you can keep track of the daily activities of your bird. Thus, the records of screaming will also be noted. As a result, you will be able to find the reason and avoid it. 
  • Revitalize your bird’s needs in every possible way. Moreover, ensure proper nutrition to make him satisfied. 
  • Creating a positive vibe can develop your pet’s manners greatly. So, give him rewards for each of the proper attitude. However, do not overdo it. Otherwise, excess foods and toys will make your bird greedy. 
  • If you find your pet in a lonely state, search for alternatives to solve the problem. However, increasing the playtime or providing some time-consuming activities will help. Also, according to your affordability, you can think about adding another buddy for your pet bird. 
  • Train your bird from the beginning. Normally, birds, especially parrots, are responsive to the owner’s oral instructions. Moreover, try to make them familiar with your particular facial reactions. Thus, they will know the essential do’s and don’ts.  
  • Any kind of physical or mental abuse should be avoided. Otherwise, their behavioral issues or screaming will just get worse. 
  • In case of any medical problems, it is crucial to take help from the veterinarian. Once your bird becomes well, he will stop screaming. 


Bird body language can also express habitual disorders like feather plucking. Somehow, if you cannot discover the underlying causes of plucking, it will be difficult to fix it afterward. 


Distress: Veterinarians often mark your bird’s unstable mental condition as one of its main causes.

Physical pain: Due to soreness or inflammation of the skin, birds chew their feathers. Thus, they end up plucking the feathers. Moreover, some bacterial and viral diseases or infections can cause feather plucking in birds.

Habitual: Loneliness and lack of potential activities can be the cause of plucking the feathers.

Skin problem: If your bird has allergies in any kind of food, skin irritation can happen. Thus, your pet bird may try to resolve the discomfort by showing destructive body language.

Malnutrition: Improper diet plan affects your avian pet’s health to a great extent. Additionally, malnutrition or vitamin insufficiency can lead to feather plucking in birds.

Uncomfortable living place: When the habitat of your bird does not support him with sufficient natural factors, it affects his behaviors. However, the most important natural influencers are sunlight, ventilation system, air moisture, etc. Thus, it can lead to problematic behaviors like feather plucking. 


Treatment of feather plucking generally involves the fixation of the root cause. Here are some tips for your help. 

  • If your vet diagnoses any specific disease as the cause, complete the treatment. It will solve the feather plucking issues gradually. 
  • Consult with your vet to identify the possibility of food allergies. Then, observe his mealtime to prevent further complications. Furthermore, give your bird sufficient healthy foods as per the vet’s instructions. 
  • Moreover, avoid providing any types of metal playthings. It may cause metal poisoning and lead to abnormal behavior like feather plucking. 
  • Lastly, ensure spacious and comfortable territory around your bird. 

Bird body language: Varieties of emotions according to their breeds

bird body language

Like any other animal, avian creatures also display a variety of mental states. And, it differs according to their breeds. 


Whenever the birds become frightened, they show the following gestures:

  • Their eyes become bigger. 
  • Sometimes, they bend down to fly away immediately.
  • Moreover, their feathers cling to their body tightly.
  • However, at times of fear, cockatiels and cockatoos start hissing. Also, their head crests change due to fear.
  • The African Greys howls whenever they are afraid.

Pleasure and happiness

  • If your bird is happy to see you, it will swiftly shake its feathers. To clarify, it is a signal of showing its affection towards you. 
  • Moreover, it will move its tails in a waving mode. And, this trait includes the feather shaking also. 
  • Most of the time, cockatoos make sound with their tongues to express their happiness.
  • Besides, cockatiels show similar feelings like cockatoos when they become happy.
  • If your bird wants you to scratch or pet him, you will see his fluffy head in a lowering position. 

Feeling at ease

  • Whenever the birds feel relaxed, they normally broaden their wings. 
  • Interestingly, they take a break by standing on one foot. Mainly, flamingos, cranes, Canada geese, and cockatiels rest in this special yoga pose.
  • Cockatoos with sulfur crest will have their crest lower at times of relaxation. On the other hand, palm cockatoos put their crest higher while resting.  
  • On top, they try to clean their tails uniquely at their relaxed times.

Anger issues or excitement 

  • Mostly, birds fan their tails at times of aggressive moods.
  • Also, they smoothly arrange their feathers.
  • Moreover, they tighten their eyeball or iris to show anger or excitement.
  • They bend down their neck when angry.
  • Cockatoos make heavy noise with their foot to show anger. Cockatoos and cockatiels hold their crest up in some cases. 
  • Macaws become in a state of flaring up the wings when they are angry. 


  • Normally, birds playfully shake their wings to express enjoyment.
  • They bow and spread their wings.
  • Sometimes, they nod their head.
  • Also, they move excitedly on the branch of trees. The pet birds hang themselves from the upper part of the cage to show a playful gesture.


Some bird owners do not have much time to study the bird body language. Even so, to maintain the responsibility as a pet owner, sparing some effort and attention for them is highly recommended.

Realizing the hidden meaning of your bird’s body language will help you to interpret their feelings. Moreover, it will be beneficial for you to nurture your pet more sincerely. Also, there could be multiple meanings behind the bird’s single act. So, it is normal to be confused. That is why some research is necessary to admire its different moods.