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can parrots bond with more than one person?

Do Parrots Only Bond with One Person?

(Last Updated On: June 30, 2023)

Wild parrots are social animals that live in large flocks, forming lasting friendships with many birds.

If you get a pet parrot, this doesn’t mean it’ll like everyone in the family equally. Many parrots form a special bond with just one person, ignoring or showing hostility toward all others.

A parrot’s favorite person will usually be the individual who meets its care needs (food, play, etc.) Sometimes, it’ll be the person who best understands the bird’s body language and vocalizations.

One-person birds can grow jealous when anyone goes near their favorite person.

Do Parrots Bond with Humans?

Parrots’ intelligence and emotional depth mean they can form lasting bonds with humans. It’s common for a pet parrot to form a deep and complex relationship with a human.

As parrots behave similarly to people in certain ways, such as showing affection, mimicking human speech, and solving problems, this is often anthropomorphized.

However, parrots have unique requirements. If their needs are understood, respected, and met, a parrot will place complete trust in a human, resulting in a harmonious shared life.

Do Parrots Imprint on Humans?

As explained by Frontiers in Psychology, young parrots imprint on humans.

Imprinting is a form of social dependence where the parrot considers the bird, human, or inanimate object it imprints upon essential to its survival.

If a parrot is separated from its mother too soon or associates a human with life-essential support like hand- or bottle-feeding while a chick, it may imprint upon the person who meets its care needs.

Many birds are already one-person parrot species that strongly prefer one person over all others. The attachment will be magnified if the bird has imprinted on that individual.

Imprinted parrots grow distressed when their favorite person leaves the room. According to the Proceedings of the International Aviculturists Society Convention, a bird can grow attracted to an owner.

How Do I Know If I Am My Parrot’s Favorite Person?

Parrots frequently take an all-or-nothing approach to human interaction. Preferred people will be approached for food, play, affection, and comfort, while others will be ignored.

Parrots can grow hostile toward and afraid of certain humans. This can result in screaming upon sight of a stranger and hissing or biting when that person approaches.

The parrot can be taught to accept others, even if it won’t bond with the same intensity.

Can Parrots Bond with More Than One Person?

This table shows which species ‘usually’ prefer one person or form attachments to several people:

One-person Parrot BreedsBond with Several People
African greysBudgies
Amazon parrotsCaique parrots
Blue and yellow macawsCockatiels
CockatoosEclectus parrots
Indian ringneck parrotsHyacinth macaws
Pyrrhura conuresLovebirds
Ringneck parakeetsPacific parrotlets
Scarlet macawsSun conures

The larger the parrot, the likelier it is to be a one-person bird. Larger parrots struggle more with life in captivity and are likelier to imprint upon a certain person to be their emotional anchor. 

How Do Parrots Choose Their Favorite Person?

If you live alone with a parrot, it’ll bond with you at the expense of others.

Wild parrots are social creatures, but as per Biology Letters, they choose a single mate and remain socially monogamous. In the absence of a second bird, you’ll fill this void.

If you live with several people, like a family home, the parrot may learn to tolerate everybody but will have a favorite person. Several factors can lead to a parrot’s choice of preferred human:


It would be an oversimplification to say that a parrot will bond with any human that feeds it, but being a food provider will improve the relationship between owner and bird.

This is even more likely when a human is present while a young parrot is weaning.

Applied Animal Behavior Science explains how hand-reared African grey parrots are likelier to display aggression toward unfamiliar humans than those raised by their biological parents.

parrots that are not one person birds

Playtime and Exercise

If a captive parrot is to become a good pet, it must be treated like a family member.

The quality of time spent with a parrot is more important than the quantity. Imagine this hypothetical scenario with 2 adults sharing a home with a parrot:

  • Person A is home with the parrot all day. This individual leaves the parrot in its cage while typing on a computer for 8 hours, occasionally offering petting and conversation for a few moments but mostly leaving the bird alone and concentrating on their work.
  • Person B pets the parrot in the morning and leaves for work. Upon returning, they pet the bird, provide food, let it out of the cage, and play an interactive game for 1-2 hours.

You won’t be surprised to learn that person B would be preferred in this instance. While parrots dislike being left alone for long periods, they dislike being ignored even more.

Temperament and Behavior

How humans behave will affect who the parrot bonds with most. The following behaviors make it unlikely that a parrot will choose somebody as their favorite person:

  • Making loud, unnecessary noise.
  • Approaching the parrot’s territory without invitation, especially if initiating unwanted handling.
  • Disciplining in a heavy-handed way.
  • Failing to acknowledge or understand body language cues.

A parrot’s choice of person will show an understanding of its wants and needs.

Memories of Earlier Life

Parrots have impressive memories and recall their earlier interactions with humans. This can be a factor when a bird chooses its favorite person, preferring somebody with positive associations.

If the parrot came to you when young, but its breeder was a female with long hair, it may gravitate toward female caregivers.

If it was purchased from a pet store and a male employee with a beard fed the parrot most often, it may look for a human with a similar physical appearance.

Be mindful if you get a rehomed parrot. If a previous owner died, the parrot would draw comfort from a human with similar characteristics.

Conversely, if the bird was mistreated, it may reject well-intentioned people who bear a resemblance.

one person bird breeds

Dominant Social Status

According to The Auk, wild parrots arrange themselves according to a social hierarchy. The same applies in the home, so a captive parrot will want to know its place in the structure.

If one human appears to be the patriarch or matriarch of the house, the parrot will likely pick up on this and fall into line. Many parrots are more responsive to strong human personalities.

Can Parrots Fall Out with Humans?

If you have earned the love and admiration of a parrot, don’t assume you’ll remain its favorite person for life. Parrots can switch their affections if you no longer meet their care needs.

Parrots have a sense of time and will notice if you don’t adhere to an established schedule.

Parrots relish a reliable routine, so maintaining this is the easiest way to retain your bond. Feed a bird twice daily (sunrise and sunset), and engage in interactive play at set times.

Wild parrot flocks convene in the morning and again in the evening. If a parrot doesn’t return at sunset, the other birds will believe it has fallen victim to a predator.

If you fail to turn up when expected, the parrot may assume you’re not returning. This will upset them, so if you eventually arrive, your parrot may withhold affection.

Teaching A Parrot To Accept Other Humans

Learning “Why does my parrot only like me?” is vital to understanding its behavior.

If you bring a parrot into a home occupied by several people or rely on friends, neighbors, and family members to care for them while you’re away, it must learn to accept other humans.

While the parrot will always retain a strong preference for one person over another, others must learn how to bond with a one-person bird if you spend time with it.

Ways to convince a parrot to tolerate other humans include:

  • Spend time with the parrot outside the cage, taking turns to handle and interact with them.
  • Letting others do things the parrot enjoys, like playing a game, to form a positive association.
  • Refusing to tolerate aggression toward other humans through discipline.

Some parrots can take a seemingly irrational dislike to certain humans and refuse to accept their company. If so, don’t force the parrot to share space with this person because it’ll cause stress for everyone involved. Instead, focus on the people the parrot will accept.