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Do Parrots Get Bored? (How To Tell + What To Do About It)

Last Updated on January 28, 2024 by Carrie Stephens

Pet parrots become bored without cage space, territory, toys, attention, and companionship.

Boredom in parrots leads to stress, depression, inappetence, unhappy vocalizations, and destructive behaviors. As parrots are intelligent animals, they must be kept mentally stimulated.

If you have a bonded pair of parrots, they’ll mostly keep each other occupied. If you have a lone parrot, it’s likely to grow lonely, especially if you don’t regularly engage with them.

How To Tell If A Parrot Is Bored

Wild parrots spend countless hours foraging for food, avoiding predators, flying over vast expanses of land, and spending time with their flock before the sun sets.

Captive parrots lack the same opportunities to keep themselves occupied. If owners don’t provide their parrots with fun things to do, they’ll become bored and develop behavioral problems.

The signs of boredom in parrots include the following:

Feather Plucking

According to Avian Biology Research, pet parrots engage in feather-damaging behavior when they live uninteresting and unfulfilling lives. Feather destructive behavior is only observed in captive birds.

Wild birds don’t display this behavior because they’re not subjected to the same psychological stresses.

Common reasons for feather plucking include:

  • Lack of exercise.
  • Sexual frustration.
  • Isolation.
  • Not enough playtime.
  • Never leaving their cages.

Feather picking is entirely different from preening. When a parrot preens, it removes dirt and debris while spreading natural oils from its preen glands across its feathers.

Feather plucking involves pulling the feather from the skin to self-soothe.

what do parrots like to do for fun?

Self-Mutilation

Self-mutilation occurs when parrots have little else to entertain them.

Not only do parrots pull out their feathers, but they chew their skin and muscles, going as deep as the bone. This can cause long-term nerve and tissue damage, preventing feather regrowth.

Self-mutilation is a ‘stereotypy,’ meaning the parrot is driven to do so with no objective.

Vocalizations

Bored parrots vocalize in many ways, and most sounds are unpleasant, like ear-piercing screams and high-pitched squawking. Many parrots scream because they crave attention from neglectful owners.

The parrot may also repeatedly click its tongue to entertain itself. This signifies that it wants to be picked up, petted, or played with to alleviate boredom and frustration.

Biting

Some bored parrots grow aggressive because they’re fed up and frustrated. At the same time as screaming and screeching, they may lunge at their owner’s hands.

Decreased Appetite

When parrots feel bored and stressed, they may become depressed. Some parrots respond to these negative feelings and emotions by refusing to eat.

Parrots enjoy their food, so this is a warning sign. Parrots lose weight after prolonged periods of not eating, which you must address before they become malnourished.

Parrots get mental stimulation through their food, meaning that mealtime fun can offset boredom.

Stereotypies

Some parrots display obsessive tendencies to cope with boredom, like toe-tapping, pacing, body swinging, and head bobbing. They do these things to stimulate themselves.

According to Exotic Bird Hospital, boredom is a common cause of obsessive behaviors.

Stress Bars

Stress bars are thin, horizontal lines along the feathers and perpendicular to the shaft. Some stress bars appear discolored, while others are gray.

Bored parrots can develop stress bars due to appetite loss because they can’t get enough nutrients. Stress bars don’t indicate a specific illness, just that something’s amiss.

Parrots Can’t Die of Boredom

While parrots won’t die from boredom, they can die from stress due to a lack of stimulation.

When parrots get stressed, adrenaline is released into the bloodstream. This raises their blood pressure and dilates the muscles’ blood vessels.

If the parrot becomes highly stressed, the adrenal glands become exhausted, resulting in sudden death.

Also, boredom can exacerbate health conditions and diseases, shortening their life expectancy.

What To Do When A Parrot Is Bored

Parrots are good at letting their owners know they need stimulation. If you need ways to keep a parrot entertained, introduce these enrichment techniques:

Interaction

Parrots with deep connections with their owners enjoy one-on-one interaction. Handling the parrot is an effective way to improve your bond and provide mental stimulation.

Hold the parrot, talk to it, and engage directly. Parrots love being petted around their beaks, the back of their heads, and around their neck. Focus on these areas to show the parrot love and affection.

Once the room’s secure, allow the parrot some out-of-cage time to explore its surroundings.

Toy Rotation

Providing a parrot with toys is among the best ways to entertain parrots.

Keep a large selection and rotate them weekly to prevent the parrot from getting fed up with its toys. You can even use certain old baby toys if you have any stored in the basement or attic.

Playing with the parrot’s toys outside its cage is even better because it interacts with you directly.

Learn Tricks

If you have time, teach the parrot some tricks. Training is an excellent way to socialize a parrot and can lead to its adoption of positive behaviors.

Depending on the parrot’s intelligence and willingness to learn, you could start small, teaching them the “step-up” command. This is where you get the parrot to jump or step onto your fingers.

When teaching a parrot new tricks, have some treats on hand to reward its successes.

Radio And Television

Parrots are naturally curious creatures that enjoy listening to new sounds. If you’re training the parrot to talk, leaving the radio on whenever it’s left alone can enhance its talking skills.

Parrots have good mimicry skills and will spend hours copying the sounds they hear.

Watching TV can also keep parrots occupied. Ensure the TV isn’t too loud, or the parrot may become afraid. Aim for background noise, as this provides mental stimulation when alone.

Foraging Behavior

Foraging toys means that parrots must think about how to get food, so they must problem-solve.

Another fun game is to hide treats, like nuts and seeds, in the corners of a parrot-safe room and encourage the bird to seek them out.

how to keep parrots entertained

Larger Cage

Parrots get bored quickly if their cages are too small because there’s insufficient space to walk, hop, fly, or play with toys. If the cage is too small for its size, upgrade it to a bigger one.

When creating the optimal environment for the parrot, provide perches of various lengths and widths. Aim for 3 perches in the cage – one at the top, one in the middle, and one at the bottom.

What Parrots Like To Do For Fun

Some parrots enjoy roaming outside their cage, while shyer birds prefer playing with their toys in their enclosure. The types of toys that parrots enjoy include:

  • Climbing frames.
  • Rope perches.
  • Foraging toys.
  • Swings.
  • Ladders.
  • Chew toys.
  • Cuttlebones.
  • Pedi perches.

Parrots grow bored, so their living environment should be partially changed to prevent them from developing behavioral problems and feeling low.