Captive parrots sometimes form special bonds with just one person.
All parrots are different, and factors such as species and early life experiences determine if a parrot is a one-person bird. Its desire to bond with a single person stems from a lack of diversity in its social life.
Parrots are social creatures that form lasting relationships with the birds in their flock. So, it’s natural for them to socialize with other birds, so the problem can usually be resolved.
Can Parrots Bond with More Than One Person?
It’s more natural for parrots to form bonds with several people instead of just one person. Parrots in flocks form long-lasting relationships with the members of their community.
According to the National Academy of Sciences, we know they’re capable of this because they have a similar number of neurons as primates in the forebrain. This means that they have the cognitive ability to socialize like other group animals.
So, if your parrot seems fond of just one person, it’s capable of learning how to love others. It’s healthier for the bird to bond with other household members.
Parrots are, after all, made to belong in such a large social circle.
Why Do Parrots Only Bond with One Person?
The main reason captive parrots bond with one person is they imprint on their human owner. Imprinting is when the bird has confused another creature for its mother.
According to Applied Behavior Science, the care given to a baby parrot influences how it behaves as an adult. Since birth, hand-reared parrots (fed and cared for by adults) tend to be more selective toward humans than parrots that were cared for by their parents.
When a parrot imprints on a human that watches over it for the rest of its life, it never learns independence. It only ever clings to its parental figure, heavily relying on the bond between the bird and its owner.
Wild parrots rely on their parents but eventually become independent as they grow up. They learn to forage for themselves, form bonds with other parrots, fly where they want, mate, and have offspring.
As pets, parrots don’t follow that timeline. They continue to rely on you for sustenance into adulthood, and the parrot has trouble learning how to form bonds that don’t involve juvenile-like dependency.
Do Parrots Have a Favorite Person?
Parrots do have people they prefer over others. Even among themselves, parrots have best friends whose company they prefer over anyone else.
However, a parrot can change its mind about a person as quickly as humans do. Parrots can have a favorite person for years and then suddenly warm up to another person.
They can meet someone new and completely ignore the person who used to be their favorite. Although this doesn’t happen often, it happens with friendly species, like budgies and cockatiels.
If it seems like you’re no longer your parrot’s favorite person, it doesn’t mean your parrot no longer loves you. Its priorities have shifted, so it focuses on another person, but the bond you have remains.
If this happens, try not to force your parrot into spending time with you. Respect the newfound adoration it has for the other person. After all, it’s a sign that your parrot is expanding its social circle and making new friends.
Do Parrots Only Like One Person?
Captive parrots tend to like only one person, but this isn’t the case for all parrots. They have different personalities, so there will always be some birds that have an easier time binding with multiple people.
All parrots are just as capable of bonding with many people as they’re one-person birds. Many parrots seem to only like one person because they can’t expand their social circle.
Wild parrots have a lot of flock members to make friends with, but as pets, one or two members of the household spend a significant amount of time caring for the bird. If only one person plays, talks to, and feeds the parrot, it’s obvious it would prefer that person over any other human.
Parrots can bond with multiple people, but they still have favorites. Between two carers, the parrot’s preferences become a lot clearer.
However, if the parrot has many friends to direct its love toward, it can spread its affection more evenly. Energetic, friendly parrot species, like lovebirds, are especially good at being affectionate with multiple people.
One-Person Parrot Breeds
Some parrot breeds are more likely to be one-person birds than others.
This should be a factor to consider when deciding what kind of parrot you would like to care for. After all, one-person birds tend to be aggressively jealous.
Depending on your lifestyle and the kind of pet you want for your family, you’ll want to avoid a potentially problematic bird.
Check out the table below to see which breeds are more likely to favor one person:
|Multi-Person Parrot Breeds||One-Person Parrot Breeds|
|Pacific Parrotlets||African Grey Parrots|
|Conures||Blue and Yellow Macaws|
|Eclectus Parrots||Ringneck Parakeets|
|Hyacinth Macaws||Pyrrhura Conures|
As you may have noticed from the table above, the birds that tend to do well with people are the smaller ones. All parrots are as capable of being one-person birds as they are bonding with multiple people.
Bigger birds tend to be less friendly because they’re the least likely to adjust to life in captivity. Even if they were born into captivity, they’re intelligent and emotional birds, and being outside their natural habitat greatly affects them.
These bigger species become jealous, destructive, and frustrated easily. They only tolerate being handled by their primary carer, so they don’t do well in households with many people.
How a parrot was raised, handled, and trained affects its friendliness more than its species. When looking to adopt a friendly bird, you should look at its history first.
Birds neglected by previous owners or have a history of being moved around are more likely to have behavior problems. This will make it difficult for them to bond with multiple people.
Can You Be Too Bonded to Your Parrot?
There is such a thing as being too bonded to your parrot. Parrots that are too dependent on their owners tend to become jealous, which can be a problem if you live with other people in the house.
A jealous parrot gets stressed when watching its owner interact with others, leading to:
- Destructive behavior
This also becomes a problem when you leave the parrot with someone since it can develop separation anxiety.
The healthiest thing to do for your parrot is to train it properly and involve other household members in its daily routine. Have other people feed it and play with it to teach the parrot that making new friends is okay.
How to Tell If Your Parrot is Bonded to You
You can tell if your parrot is bonded to you by its behavior.
If your parrot loves you, it’ll do the following:
- Call for you
- Seek out physical contact
- Copy you
- Try to feed you
- Sing and talk around you
- Groom you
The way parrots show affection sometimes depends on the species. Some parrot species are hands-off, so they won’t show affection by snuggling against you. Other species are quiet, so they may not be that talkative, even while you’re around.
Still, you’ll know when a parrot is bonded to you because it will make it quite obvious. Parrots are expressive and emotional creatures, so you’ll slowly learn how your bird likes to show affection.