Seasonal Hormonal Changes in Parrots Behaviors |

Hormonal Changes in Parrots

Mature parrots are like any other pet with a desire to procreate. Parrots generally experience a hormonal surge in the spring months when days are becoming longer resulting in behavioral and temperament changes. Most of our customers have noticed the behavioral changes coincide with Daylight Savings time.

How do Hormone surges affect Parrots?

As a parrots body is preparing to procreate, you’ll notice your pet bird becoming increasingly territorial of its cage and even the person in the family that it has bonded most deeply with.  During the spring months, a parrot may engage in more screaming and may become more aggressive often without provocation.  Other parrots become much more affectionate. Female parrots may display nesting behavior such as tearing up cage lining, stringy bird toys and pulling out its down feathers.  If your bird has timed out on a bird stand, it may continuously fly off of it to look for nesting material.  Some birds may engage in feather plucking behavior.

At What Age Do Parrots Reach Sexual Maturity?

There is quite a range of when parrots reach sexual maturity, depending on the species of the parrot and its size.  Smaller birds like Cockatiels and Parakeets reach sexual maturity at about one year of age while medium-sized birds such as African Grey Parrots and Amazons reach it between 3-5 years of age.  Large parrots such as Cockatoo’s and macaws may not reach full sexual maturity until after age 7.

What Does A Parrot Mating Ritual Look Like

Flat backing – This is a bird specific term that refers to an unusual looking posture in which a female parrot lowers its head, flattens its back, displays trembling wings and makes an unfamiliar clucking sound.   It is not unusual for a parrot to beg to be hand fed or act like a baby chick with its favorite person.

Strutting with fanned tail, puffed up neck feathers and flashing eyes – Male parrot’s court their mate with strutting, accompanied with a feather display.  You’ll notice its pinning or flashing eyes.  This refers to rapidly expanding and contracting pupils. Please when a male parrot is displaying strutting behavior, it may be much more aggressive than usual.

Regurgitation of food – While a well-bonded parrot may regurgitate its food on you, you’ll notice the frequency of this behavior increases during the spring in mature parrots.  Parrots regurgitate both as a sign of affection and to feed their young.  You may notice increased affection in general when your parrot is “in the mood for love.”

How Should I Manage Parrot Seasonal Behavior?

  • It is important to learn how to read your parrot’s body language before it experiences hormonal surges.  Knowing what your parrot’s body language is communicating to you will help you know how much to interact with the parrot at any given time and minimize the number of bites you experience during the mating season.
  • If your bird bites you, don’t take it personally.  It’s just PMS (Parrot Mating Syndrome)
  • Plan to groom your bird prior to early spring when hormones begin to surge.
  • Remember to watch for mating or hormonal behavior in the early spring when days are starting to get longer.
  • Keep your bird in the birdcage when you have company at your home or if it is displaying a lot of mating ritual behavior.
  • Refrain from petting your birds back, under its wing or its tail area as this will stimulate hormones.  Your bird still needs attention and socialization, so pet it on its head, play a radio, keep it near the family and provide toys.
  • Remove bird toys or cage accessories that contribute to overly aggressive behavior.

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