Parrots are loud birds that produce a variety of different calls and cries.
Their chatter might sound the same to a new owner, but there’s no mistaking the difference between general parrot noise and a parrot’s scream.
A parrot’s screaming can mean it feels bored, lonely, or wants attention. Sometimes, your parrot may be sick or injured.
So, learning the difference between inappropriately screaming for attention and screaming due to fear and discomfort (Illness or injury) is key to stopping this unwelcome behavior.
Parrots can be trained to be quieter if you teach them that screaming is inappropriate.
Why Do Parrots Scream So Loud?
Parrots are talkative birds, so chattering and singing are expected. Even occasional screams aren’t overly problematic.
It can indicate that your parrot is excited or trying to get your attention. If there are other loud noises, your parrot may try to outdo those sounds by screaming louder.
There are times when screaming indicates fear, behavioral problems, and aggression. These should be dealt with carefully to ensure your parrot doesn’t continue screaming.
According to Iowa State University, parrots are most active in the morning, specifically at dawn when the sun rises. If your parrot is going to scream, it’ll likely do so now.
Wild parrots tend to call to others in their flock when returning to their preferred roosting site.
Why is My Parrot Screaming?
Wild parrots chatter, squawk, and scream to communicate or play with others in their flock. You should expect to hear the occasional scream if you own more than one parrot.
Once the sun has set, your pet parrot should settle down. If your parrot is screaming at night, it’s possible that it has been startled and wants your reassurance. This can include anything from:
- Headlights from cars passing by.
- Appliances that hum at night.
- Other household pets.
- Unfamiliar creaks or shifts in your home.
You can calm your parrot by placing a sheet over its cage for the night. You can also move its cage to a quieter room, isolated from too much background noise.
Parrot Screaming for Attention
Your parrot might be bored or lonely and is screaming for your attention. This is especially true if you ask, “Why does my parrot scream when I leave the room?”
You need to be careful how you react to its screaming. If you constantly rush in to check on your parrot every time it screams, it’ll learn that this behavior gets attention. You don’t want to reward bad behavior, so ignore its screaming until it stops being positively reinforced by your presence.
A new owner might feed a pet parrot at dawn to stop them from screaming, but this can teach them that it earns food. Up to 65% of owners feed their parrots after they scream, which reinforces this behavior.
Additionally, your parrot might have separation anxiety, particularly after changing owners or losing a mate. In that case, it’ll want to spend extra time with you to process its grief and call out for you to be nearby.
Is My Parrot Screaming for Help?
If you have trained your parrot not to scream for attention or food, it might be sick or hurt. Even if there’s no visible injury or sign of illness, your parrot may display the following symptoms:
- Excessively ruffled feathers
- A sudden increase in aggression toward you or other birds
- Weight loss or lack of appetite
- Restless behavior, particularly at night
- Discharge around its eyes or nose
- Coughing or wheezing
If you’re still uncertain, inspect its body for signs of illness or injury.
Why Won’t My Parrot Stop Screaming?
Create a calming environment around your parrot. Setting a sheet over its cage and having everyone in your household remain quiet is a good first step.
If the problem isn’t its environment, you need to check if you’re taking care of its other needs, such as:
- Providing fresh food and water
- Allowing daily exercise outside its cage
- Giving your parrot toys to chew
- Spending time bonding with your parrot
If you believe your parrot’s needs are being met, then it may be acting out.
How to Quiet a Screaming Parrot
Quietening a screaming parrot requires patience. Screaming is often a sign of stress, and you don’t want to exacerbate the problem by reinforcing this behavior or yelling back at it. Instead, find out the cause of its screaming.
Many owners will be tempted to yell back at their parrots or lightly spray them with water. However, punishment is ineffective in curbing unwanted behavior.
Instead, the Journal of Exotic Pet Medicine suggests that positive reinforcement is better at creating desired behavior. Screaming is a natural behavior for parrots, so they won’t understand why you’re punishing them.
If your parrot is especially loud in the morning, you can cover its cage with a sheet to block any light. Parrots’ sleeping schedules are cued in by sunlight.
You can isolate your parrot to teach it to be quiet instead of screaming. Placing its cage in a dark room for 5-10 minutes tends to be effective in quelling this behavior.
Companionship or Toys
You might want to look into getting a second parrot if yours doesn’t stop screaming.
Parrots are social animals that thrive when they can interact with other birds. A study conducted by Applied Animal Behaviour Science found that paired parrots were less likely to scream, sit around, or over-preen themselves.
Paired parrots were less likely to display aggressive behavior toward new handlers. When you pair a parrot with a friend, you can expect them to be more docile and scream less.
You can provide toys for it to chew. Parrots enjoy tougher toys that they can grind their beak down on, such as:
- Natural rope toys
- Foraging toys
Replace these toys every so often so that your parrot always has something to keep itself entertained. Without a variety of tough toys, it’ll likely grow bored and start to scream out for you to entertain it.
Parrots often scream for attention and entertainment, when stressed or scared, and if injured. By narrowing down why your parrot is screaming, you can resolve the cause of the problem or train it to become quieter.