Sometimes, parrots go from being loving and affectionate toward their owners to acting inappropriately around them. This causes some to wonder whether their parrots are attracted to humans.
Parrots can become sexually attracted to their owners if they don’t have a mate. This usually happens in spring when the breeding season begins. Sexually frustrated parrots who want to mate pluck their feathers out, rub their vents against their owners, and become aggressive towards other humans and animals. They’ll also regurgitate their food, which signifies they see you as their sexual partner.
As you can expect, this behavior is troublesome and shouldn’t be encouraged. Thankfully, there are steps you can take to try and redirect your parrot’s sexual frustrations away from you.
Are Parrots Sexually Attracted To Their Owners?
There are reports of parrots being sexually attracted to humans. While this seems unlikely, it can happen, especially if the parrot is a lone pet. That’s because, in the wild, parrots mate whenever they want, forming pair bonds that allow them to breed whenever mating season comes around.
These bonds usually last for life. Even when the mated parrots aren’t breeding, they nest together, preen one another, vocalize, and forage for food in small groups. As a result, socialization is an essential factor for breeding birds.
In captivity, life is slightly different for breeding parrots. That’s because there are no other birds for them to interact with. Instead, they imprint on their owners during the breeding season, craving their attention more often than any other time.
As described by The Proceedings of the International Aviculturists Society Convention, over-dependent parrots who are allowed to over-bond with their owner are more likely to become sexually attracted to them. This is especially the case if the parrot adopts the dominant role in the relationship.
As a result, the parrot sees you as its mate, making life awkward for you both. If your parrot shows signs of sexual attraction towards you, you must discourage this behavior before it becomes a problem.
Do I Have A Sexually Frustrated Parrot?
Most parrots reach sexual maturity between the ages of one and four. When they do, some start displaying unwanted symptoms that make their owners uncomfortable.
However, sexual frustration is a human-made problem. We’ve already explained how wild parrots can breed whenever they like, so they don’t experience feelings of sexual frustration like captive parrots do.
According to the Australian National University, parrot mating season is around spring, just before the rainy season. This is when you’re most likely to experience your parrot’s hormonal behaviors. Signs of a sexually frustrated parrot include:
Parrots regurgitate their food for their mates. If your parrot does this to you, it sees you as its sexual partner. Regurgitation is a natural courting behavior that many birds use to show affection. However, during the breeding season, it also means your parrot’s too attached to you.
Whenever your parrot regurgitates for you, place it back into its cage and don’t reward the behavior. Over time, your bird will realize that regurgitation means that it won’t receive any attention or affection and should encourage it to stop.
That being said, be careful not to reject your parrot, as this can damage the trust between you. It may even become sad or depressed, so be sure to tread carefully.
Parrots have certain zones that they reserve for their mates. If you touch one of them during their breeding season, they get the signal that you’re looking to mate with them. Unfortunately, many owners do this without realizing it’s a problem.
For example, parrots experiencing a surge in sex hormones may attempt to initiate copulation by rubbing their vent on their hands and arms. They’re also highly sensitive under their wings, towards their tail, and down their back.
Try to discourage it by ignoring the behaviors altogether, placing your bird back in its cage whenever it becomes over-familiar.
Sexually frustrated parrots become aggressive towards humans that they don’t see as their owners. This is because they’re jealous and view them as a rival for your affection. Parrots will also display unhappiness towards other pets that are getting your attention instead of them.
Alongside this aggression, parrots squawk angrily and scream. These noises are usually unpleasant to listen to, but parrots, unfortunately, won’t quieten down until the breeding season ends.
This aggressive behavior is known as mate-guarding. According to Watchbird, parrots are most susceptible to it at the start of the mating season because they’re experiencing the largest surge of hormones.
Sexually frustrated parrots are prone to plucking out their feathers around their chest and legs. In the worst cases, they’ll also show signs of illness and lethargy as they struggle to cope with the intense hormonal surges.
What Should I Do If My Bird Thinks I’m Its Mate?
Allowing your parrot to see you as its mate isn’t something you should encourage. Otherwise, its sexual frustrations will worsen and it could affect your bond. According to Avian Medicine, parrots must understand their boundaries and realize that they are birds, not humans.
Luckily, there are steps you can take to deter your parrot from making sexual advances towards you, which include:
- Avoid touching it anywhere else except for the head, neck, and the skin around the feet and beak. This is to prevent it from becoming sexually stimulated.
- Minimize contact with your parrot until breeding season’s over.
- Decrease the amount of light your parrot’s allowed throughout the day, as this will reduce its hormone levels.
- Remove any toys the parrot attempts to mate with.
- Prevent it from shedding and nesting by removing materials from the cage it can tear to smaller pieces.
- Distract your parrot with games and exercise. This will also help curb its urges.
- Limit high-calorie, high-fat foods that can stimulate your parrot’s hormone production. This includes grapes, corn, and sweet potatoes.
Unfortunately, your parrot can’t control its hormone production, nor can it control its sexual urges. It’s not trying to upset you or make you feel uncomfortable, so proceed as delicately as you can until the hormones subside.
Do Male Parrots Prefer Female Owners?
Some male parrots are sweet and loving towards their female owners but aggressive towards the men in the household. There are several reasons for this: the bird is scared of a man’s deep voice, for example. This can also be affected by past traumas.
While parrots may seem to display gender bias tendencies, it’s more likely down to your handling and socialization of the parrot. For instance, if a male parrot has more fun or receives treats from its female owner more often, it will gravitate towards that person.
Male and female parrots are unlikely to prefer the opposite gender because they’re attracted to them. It’s doubtful that parrots can even recognize human genders.
But parrots are complex creatures who can create deep bonds, so both men and women need to spend time building that connection, regardless of the parrot’s gender.
Can Parrots Be Gay?
As described by Animal Behavior, homosexual behavior occurs in over 130 bird species. Similarly, there is an increasing number of male-male pair-bonding occurrences.
Male parrots are more likely to display homosexual behaviors when there’s a mating opportunity without the chance of reproductive success. In other words, the sex that has fewer parental duties mate more, regardless of which sex they do this with.
This means male parrots are more likely to be gay than females because female parrots are more likely to be busy raising their young.
Same-sex parrot pairings display the same mating rituals as male-female pairings. Similarly, some gay parrots carry out their parental duties by raising their young with their mate before returning to their same-sex partner.
However, this doesn’t always mean you should get two male or two female parrots in captivity. Parrots of the same sex may fight and become territorial, bullying their submissive mate.
Should I Get My Parrot A Mate?
If you’re worried about your parrot’s sexual behavior towards you, you might want to think about getting it a friend instead.
However, some parrots see their owners as their flock-mates and don’t respond well to other parrots being in the home. If they’ve been the only bird for a while, it’s even harder to integrate another pet parrot.
If your bird seems bored, lonely, or sad outside of the breeding season, your parrot might be pining for some feathered company. But if they seem to enjoy having you to themselves, adding a new parrot won’t help its sexual frustration.
Your parrot’s hormonal changes will eventually subside and return to normal levels once the breeding season is over. Then, you can get back to petting, playing, and bonding with your parrot as usual.