Home » Do Parrots Get Bored? [How To Tell + What To Do About It]
how to tell if your bird is bored

Do Parrots Get Bored? [How To Tell + What To Do About It]

(Last Updated On: December 19, 2022)

Parrots become bored without toys, enrichment, cage space, attention, and companionship.

Boredom leads to stress, depression, low appetite, vocalizations, and destructive behaviors. Because parrots are such intelligent creatures, owners must keep them mentally stimulated.

If you have a bonded pair of parrots, they’ll mostly keep themselves occupied. However, if there’s just one parrot, it’s more likely to become lonely and crave company.

You’ll need to provide one-on-one time and boredom breakers if you don’t want to get a second parrot.

How To Tell If Your Parrot Is Bored

Wild parrots spend up to 6 hours a day foraging. They also seek out cavity nests, escape predators, enjoy the companionship of their flock, and fly freely for miles.

Unfortunately, captive parrots don’t have the same opportunities to keep themselves busy. If owners don’t provide enough fun things to do, their parrots are vulnerable to boredom.

The signs of parrot boredom include:

Feather Plucking

While feather plucking can signify various things, parrots pull out their feathers in response to boredom.

According to Avian Biology Research, captive parrots engage in feather-damaging behavior when they live uninteresting and unfulfilling lives.

Interestingly, feather plucking is only seen in captive birds; wild birds don’t display this behavior because they’re not subjected to the same phycological stresses.

Reasons for feather plucking behavior include:

  • Lack of exercise
  • Sexual frustration
  • Isolation
  • Insufficient playtime
  • Not leaving their cages

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

However, feather plucking involves pulling out the feather from the skin. Providing your parrot with mental stimulation will reduce its desire to pull out feathers and other destructive behaviors.

what do parrots like to do for fun?

Self-Mutilation

Self-mutilation occurs when parrots don’t have anything else to entertain them.

Not only do parrots pluck 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 stereotypical behavior, which means the parrot is driven to stereotypy with no obvious objective or purpose. In this instance, self-destruction is caused by boredom.

Vocalizations

Bored parrots vocalize in various ways, and most sounds are unpleasant, such as ear-piercing screams and high-pitched squawking. Many parrots scream because they crave attention.

Your parrot may also repeatedly click its tongue to entertain itself, which signifies that it wants to be picked up or petted to alleviate boredom.

Biting

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

However, biting isn’t just a sign of aggression. It happens if your parrot’s cooped up in its cage for too long or never gets to interact with its owner.

Decreased Appetite

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

Parrots enjoy their food, so this is a worrying sign. After prolonged periods of not eating, parrots may lose weight, which you must address before they become severely malnourished.

Parrots get mental stimulation through their food, so making mealtimes fun can prevent boredom. For example, you let them crack open seeds and nuts with their beaks.

Stereotypical Behaviors

Some parrots display obsessive tendencies to cope with boredom, such as constant toe-tapping, pacing, body swinging, and head bobbing, which they do to stimulate themselves.

According to Exotic Bird Hospital, boredom is a frequent cause of obsessive behavior. As a result, every effort should be made to provide a mentally enriching environment.

Stress Bars

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

Bored parrots can develop stress bars due to a loss of appetite because they can’t get enough nutrients. However, stress bars aren’t an indication of a specific illness, just a sign something’s wrong.

Can Birds 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, which raises their blood pressure and dilates the muscles’ blood vessels.

If the parrot becomes highly stressed due to boredom, the adrenal glands become exhausted, which can result in sudden death.

Similarly, boredom can worsen underlying health conditions and diseases, so they don’t live as long.

What To Do When Your Parrot Is Bored

Parrots are good at letting their owners know they need stimulation. If you’re looking for ways to keep your parrot entertained, use these enrichment techniques:

Interaction

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

Hold your 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 your parrot affection.

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

Toy Rotation

Providing your parrot with toys is among the best ways to keep parrots entertained. However, parrots get bored of playing with the same toys eventually.

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

If you play with your parrot with its toys outside its cage, that’s even better because it gets to interact with you directly while benefitting from enrichment.

Learn Tricks

If you have time, teach your parrot how to do some fun tricks. Training is a good way to socialize your parrot and can lead to them adopting good 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. Parrots get mental stimulation from interacting with food.

Radio And Television

Parrots are naturally curious creatures that enjoy listening to new sounds.

Leave the radio on whenever you’re away from home and your parrot’s left alone. If you’re training your parrot to talk, this can improve its talking skills.

Parrots, like African greys, have good mimicry skills and will spend hours copying any sounds they hear.

Watching TV can also keep parrots occupied. Ensure the TV’s not too loud, or your parrot might become afraid. Aim for background noise, as this will provide mental stimulation when on its own.

Foraging Behavior

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

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

While captive parrots don’t need to forage, these activities keep their instincts sharp and their minds active. Many parrots also enjoy foraging, which will keep them entertained for hours.

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 your parrot’s cage is too small for its size, upgrade it to a bigger one.

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

What Do Parrots Like To Do For Fun?

Parrots do different things for fun. Some enjoy roaming outside their cage, while shyer birds prefer playing with their toys in the safety of their enclosure.

The types of toys that parrots enjoy include the following:

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

Parrots grow bored, so your parrot’s living environment should be changed frequently to prevent it from developing behavioral problems and becoming depressed.

By watching your parrot, you’ll be able to determine the toys and activities it enjoys.