Quakers parrots (monk parakeets) aren’t usually as noisy as other parrots. This makes them appealing pets but can give them a reputation for being difficult to read and understand. Consequently, it can be hard for their owners to tell when your quaker parrot is happy.
When happy, quaker parrots wag their tails, flap their wings, and fluff up their feathers. Check their tails and wings, as these are the most emotive parts of the monk parrot. Known as the clowns of the bird world, quakers express their joy by dancing, moving around, and attention-seeking.
Quaker parrots are good talkers but reserve most of their vocalizations for chattering and whistling. If you’re used to the loud calls and screams of a macaw, quakers will seem quiet in comparison. Most of their positive emotions are communicated through body language.
How Do I Know if My Quaker Parrot Is Happy?
Quakers don’t talk as much as other parrots and tend to keep to themselves. In fact, some believe that’s why quaker parrots have earned their second name: the monk parakeet.
Luckily, these docile birds are happy to come out of their shell with the right owner. They may not call at ear-splitting levels or fly busily around your home as a budgie might.
The signs of a happy quaker parrot are as follows:
- Displays calm or pleased body language
- Avoids destructive behavior
- Tries to catch your attention
- Interacts peacefully with other birds or pets
- Has a healthy appetite
- Makes happy sounds
These are all signs that you’ve been a good owner, and your quaker is happy. Of course, happy body language to a person is very different from a bird. Likewise, a quaker parrot’s happy sounds are not laughter or a brighter tone of voice. Let’s take a closer look at the unique indicators that your quaker is happy:
Quaker Parrot Body Language
Parrots are very expressive birds, and the quaker breed is no exception. Although they can mimic speech, parrots mainly rely on conveying their emotion with body language. Flicking their tail, puffing their feathers, or inclining their head speaks volumes in the parrot world.
In fact, calls and whistles are mainly used for entertainment or fitting in with a flock. Parrots don’t use it to have conversations. If you want to understand your quaker, you need to know what those little cues mean.
Parrots have full control over their tail feathers. They use them to convey excitement with a quick and decisive wag. If they dance and feel really into the music, they can wag their tail as they bob their heads.
Of course, by twitching its tail feathers, a parrot also has better control over the muscles around its cloaca. Many owners recognize this as a sign that the bird is about to poop. However, an excited wag is different from a quick twitch.
Your quaker will wag its tail in broader movements and for a longer period of time when it’s happy. Quakers do this when they’re pleased to see their owners, when they’re in an excitable mood, or when they’re looking for a fun activity.
If your parrot flaps its wings but never takes flight, this is a prominent kind of body language. It has several meanings.
- If your parrot is puffed up and screaming, it may be a sign of distress.
- If the parrot flaps its wings randomly, it may just be exercising the muscles.
- However, if the quaker parrot flaps its wings every time you enter the room or follows this up with a quick bit of chatter, it’s a good sign
Your parrot is happy. It’s so pleased, in fact, that it needs to express all that pent-up joy.
Other parrots know this gesture well. That’s why wing flapping is closely associated with mating behavior. If your quaker is housed with another of the opposite sex, it may be trying to get the attention of a potential mate. Flapping its wings shows its prowess, but also its interest.
If there is no mate present, and your quaker isn’t showing other signs of breeding behavior, it’s just pure happiness. It may be pleased with its meal, the fact that you’re nearby, or it may be excited about playtime.
Hanging Upside Down
Quakers are agile birds that enjoy getting into all kinds of strange positions. These parrots will sometimes hang upside down by clutching their perch or the top of their cage using their legs. This position actually leaves them vulnerable to predators or rival birds.
If you see your quaker assume this position, you can trust that it feels entirely safe and comfortable. In fact, it’s goofing off and having a good time.
Parrots are prey animals that are often hunted by other creatures. As such, they need to remain alert to protect themselves. If your quaker is taking the time to relax, you can be certain that it feels safe and happy.
Since monk parakeets are often seen as docile and aloof, this is actually one of their happiest states. After fun and games, they will take the time to wind down. Here, they will:
- Stand on a perch with one leg up
- Hold their feathers loosely around their body
- Occasionally tuck their head into their feathers
The latter is a sign of napping. However, a parrot that’s uncertain about its surroundings will sleep with its head up and alert. If your quaker is comfortable enough to lower its head and make itself vulnerable, you can be sure it’s content.
Quaker Parrot Happy Sounds
Although quakers aren’t noisy parrots, they are still vocal. Even they need to chatter, whistle, and sing to express themselves and feel whole. These parrots also have their own unique sounds. Here are a few that clearly signal if your parrot is feeling happy and content:
Quakers make chattering noises when they are happy. These “motor-mouth” noises sound like an endless stream of syllables. They will be punctuated with whistles and even words in some cases.
Some new owners may be distressed by these sounds and believe their parrot is trying to tell them something. However, it is just the parrot expressing joy.
Quakers are able to make “purring” noises, but these are different from those made by cats. In the case of quakers, this sound resembles a low growling noise.
You might believe that growling signals aggression, but it is a good sign the bird is feeling content and happy. If it was upset, the growling would be louder and more pronounced.
This is further evidenced by the fact that quaker “purring” is accompanied by non-aggressive body language. These include loose feathers and relaxed pupils.
Singing is another sign that your quaker feels happy. Parrots don’t sing when they’re upset or angry. The songs may resemble chattering at times, but they can be described as a collection of whistles, chatters, and trills put together.
Quakers are exceptionally good at mimicking human sounds. If you’ve owned your quaker for a while, it may have picked up words or syllables by listening to you. This “talking” indicates that your parrot is feeling happy or upbeat. It typically resembles the sound of radio chatter.
Parrots tend to learn words they find interesting, and they mimic as a way to sound like their flock. If the quaker picks up your words, and constantly reiterates a phrase you’ve taught, you can be sure it feels comfortable and happy around you.
Whistling is another distinct indicator that your quaker is in a good mood. Parrots often whistle to get the attention of their owners. It’s a pleasant sound that feels good on the tongue, so quakers also make it their go-to noise when pleased. With that in mind, if you hear your parrot whistle at you when you enter the room, odds are, it wants to spend some quality time with you.
How to Make a Quaker Parrot Happy
Of course, quaker parrots aren’t bundles of joy all on their own. They require the right environment, stimulation, and social activity to feel happy. If you provide all the right elements, your quaker will feel joyful – and be happy to share that feeling with you.
If any of these factors are lacking, however, you may find your quaker gets bored, annoyed, or anti-social. Luckily, it isn’t difficult to make a quaker happy.
This species has simple needs and mostly requires consistency. Because their intelligence is similar to that of a toddler, you need only remember that you have more than a pet – you have an intelligent companion. Be sure to:
Offer the Right Diet
Quakers need a nutritious and varied diet to remain healthy and happy. While this should mainly consist of a formulated diet of 50-70% pellets, you can also mix in fresh produce. Parrots need flavor, color, and variety, and will be very happy when they receive it. The best options include:
- Seeds, such as sunflower and pumpkin seeds
- Fruit, such as mango, bananas, oranges, and peaches.
- Vegetables, such as chilis, carrots, sweet potatoes, and cauliflower.
- Nuts, such as almonds, cashews, hazelnuts, and Brazil nuts.
House The Parrot in a Well-Sized Cage
All parrots need room to spread their wings and explore. Even if your quaker spends most of its time exploring your home, it still needs an appropriate amount of space to rest and relax in.
A quaker cage should be no smaller than 18 x 18 x 18 inches in size. If you intend to house two quakers, then 20 x 20 x 20 inches is the minimum. If the parrot spends a large part of the day inside its enclosure, the cage must be larger.
Provide Cage Activities
You should also decorate your quaker’s cage with different items that offer stimulating activities for it. These include:
- Perches: A perch offers your quaker a great area to rest and play. It may also use the perch to grind its beak on.
- Rope knots: Parrots love chewing on and climbing rope knots.
- Swings and ladders: Swings offer stimulation for your quaker and keep it from sitting still for too long.
- Chew toys: Quakers may chew on toys as a way to strengthen their beak.
Ensure The Quaker Is Getting Enough Sleep
Quakers require 10-12 hours of sleep each day. Quakers usually fall asleep a couple of hours after sundown, but any artificial lighting in the room may disrupt their sleep patterns.
According to Biological Sciences, artificial lighting at night disrupts avian reproductive patterns, leading to stress. Even if your parrot isn’t breeding, it will still rely on this time to recharge its brain and repair damaged cells. Parrots can get sleep-deprived and suffer the same ill effects as humans.
You should cover your quaker’s cage with a thin blanket at night. You can also move the cage to a separate room with the lights off to ensure that it’s getting enough sleep.
Quakers are most comfortable sleeping at temperatures between 65-80 degrees Fahrenheit. As such, be sure to keep yours in a room that matches this temperature range. According to Oecologia, Quakers can withstand temperatures as low as 46 degrees Fahrenheit. However, they will not be comfortable or relaxed at such temperatures.
Keep The Parrot in a Stimulating Environment
Like most parrot species, quakers are social animals that need attention from their owners to remain happy. You should take your parrot out of its cage and play with it a few times a day to keep its mood up. You can also place the cage in a room that many people frequent.
Some owners like keeping their parrot cage in the living room or kitchen. After all, it allows their parrots to see them going about their daily activities. However, you should also be careful not to keep the quaker in an environment with too much noise. This might disturb or scare the pet.
Bathe The Parrot Regularly
Parrots are clean animals that groom themselves regularly. You may observe your quaker nipping at its feathers a few times a day in an attempt to remove dirt or feather dust. However, these pets should still be bathed twice a month to remain happy. You can bathe your quaker yourself by:
- Misting it with a spray bottle
- Placing it in a sink with the faucet on
- Setting a bathing dish inside the parrot’s cage and allowing it to bathe itself as needed
The latter approach encourages better grooming practices and helps keep the quaker happy. It will even serve as enrichment, letting the quaker play in the water.
What If My Quaker Parrot Isn’t Happy?
Even with your best efforts, you may find that your quaker just isn’t happy. No parrot is naturally inclined to be sad, so you can’t write it off as a quirk of the parrot. Instead, you can investigate what is making your parrot unhappy. By changing these factors, you can get your quaker back into high spirits:
Like other types of pets, quakers may fall ill from time to time. These parrots may develop illnesses such as:
- Psittacosis (parrot fever)
- Giardia infection
- Polyomavirus infection
- Pacheco’s disease
Parrots are very good at hiding when they are ill. You can deduce if your parrot is feeling unwell when it’s:
- Displaying changes in appetite
- Got diarrhea
- Experiencing breathing problems
- Withdrawing from others
If you suspect your quaker is ill, you should take it to a vet immediately for treatment. When caught early, many of these illnesses are perfectly curable.
Parrots may also become unhappy if they are exposed to constant stress. Quakers, like most parrots, are easy to frighten and adjust slowly to change. Possible stressors around your home include:
- Too many people coming and going.
- Walls being painted in new colors or furniture being rearranged.
- Artificial light at all hours of the day and night.
- Noise from neighbors, TVs, or passing cars
- Other pets that are antagonizing or intimidating th.e parrot, even by staring at it, as cats are prone to doing.
- Shifting temperatures, such as the home getting too cold in the winter or too hot during the summer.
Of course, you may not be able to remove all the stressors. To make your quaker happy again, try to limit new changes and pace them out. If you can isolate it from other pets, expose it to more natural lighting, and keep its temperatures even, this is a good start.
Your quaker may also become unhappy if it’s housed with an unsuitable cage-mate. Parrots tend to be picky about their companions. It’s common for them to get into fights over territory or be bullied by other birds. If you suspect your pets are not getting along, you may need to house them in separate cages.
All in all, there are plenty of ways to identify when your quaker is happy. If well-cared for, your parrot will happily express itself and its joy. Just be sure to provide the right environment, diet, and socialization.