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

(Last Updated On: May 28, 2023)

Pet birds quickly become bored without toys, territory to explore, attention, and companionship.

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

If you have a bonded pair of parrots, they’ll mostly keep themselves occupied. However, if you have one parrot, it’s likely to grow lonely, especially if you don’t engage with them for 2-3 hours a day.

How To Tell If A Parrot Is Bored

Wild parrots spend hours foraging for food, avoiding predators, flying in wide expanses of land, and enjoying the companionship of 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 problems.

The signs of boredom in parrots include the following:

Feather Plucking

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

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

Common reasons for feather plucking behavior include:

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

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

However, feather plucking involves pulling the feather from the skin to cope with an unhappy life.

what do parrots like to do for fun?


Self-mutilation occurs when parrots have little 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 ‘stereotypy,’ which means the parrot is driven to do so with no obvious objective.


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, which signifies that it wants to be picked up, petted, or played with to alleviate its boredom and frustration.


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 can become depressed. Some parrots respond to these negative feelings and emotions by refusing to eat.

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

Parrots get mental stimulation through their food, so making mealtimes fun can offset boredom. For example, letting the parrot crack open nuts with its strong beak.


Some parrots display obsessive tendencies to cope with boredom, like toe-tapping, pacing, body swinging, and head bobbing, which they do 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 a loss of appetite because they can’t get enough nutrients. However, stress bars don’t indicate a specific illness, just that 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, the adrenal glands become exhausted, resulting in sudden death.

Also, boredom can exacerbate health conditions and diseases, so they won’t live as long.

What To Do When A Parrot Is Bored

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


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 how to do some fun tricks. Training is a good way to socialize the parrot and can lead to them adopting 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.

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

Parrots like African greys 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 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 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 parrot’s 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 Do Parrots Like To Do For Fun?

Some parrots 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 their living environment should be partially changed frequently to prevent them from developing behavioral problems and becoming depressed.