Many parrots, especially larger species, can produce ear-piercing screams. Veterinary Clinics of North America: Exotic Animal Practice stated that screaming is an oft-reported problem in pet parrots.
Attention-seeking is a common explanation for screaming, especially if you react. Parrots are highly intelligent and soon realize that screaming garners a reaction from their favorite person.
Parrots vocalize to warn unfamiliar people not to approach their cages. Other forms of stress that lead to screaming include sudden loud noises, unsuitable living conditions, and predatory threats.
Parrots grow attached to their owners, so they commonly scream when you leave the room, which is a form of separation anxiety. The parrot fears that you’ll leave and won’t return.
Many exotic birds are rehomed because their owners can’t cope with parrots’ constant loud noise, but a bird behaviorist can train them out of this unwanted behavior.
Do All Parrots Scream?
If you bring a parrot into your home, expect the bird to make noise. A parrot will likely scream for various reasons, with some maintaining this behavior for up to 20 minutes.
Some breeds of parrots scream more than others and at louder volumes. This table documents how loud a parrot’s scream can be compared to everyday human encounters:
|Parrot Species||Highest Decibel Level||Comparable Noise|
|African gray||70 decibels||Loud human conversation|
|Cockatoo or Alexandrine||135 decibels||An airplane within 100 feet|
|Conure||125 decibels||A pneumatic drill|
|Eclectus||115 decibels||A rock concert|
|Macaw||105 decibels||A lawnmower|
|Parakeet||65 decibels||Typical human conversation|
|Quaker||113 decibels||A motorcycle engine|
Happy and contented parrots usually reserve screaming for when it’s essential, preferring to chatter and chirp at a lower, steadier volume to communicate.
Parrots that scream the most are larger breeds, like macaws, who are also the loudest.
Why Is My Parrot Screaming?
Parrots rarely scream for no reason. If you were to ask, “why does my parrot always scream?” something is likely amiss in the bird’s life, and it’s acting out to gain your attention.
Screaming is a habit that can be trained out of a bird if you show patience and understanding. The first step to undertaking this rehabilitation is learning why the parrot vocalizes so loudly.
Parrots can create a lot of noise, and they know that such din is impossible for humans to ignore. A parrot may be verbalizing because it knows this will garner a response.
Parrots need near-constant physical and mental stimulation, so if you allow them to grow bored, you’ll soon know about it. Avoid leaving a parrot alone for too long, and provide toys while you’re away.
When you return, a parrot will expect to spend time socializing with you.
Provide some time at least twice a day to actively engage and play with the parrot, and ensure it spends at least 3 hours a day out of its cage.
If you fail to do so, the parrot will grow increasingly verbal as it announces its frustration.
A parrot may scream for attention because it thinks you’ve missed its mealtime. This is particularly common in bird owners that ask, “why do parrots scream in the morning?”
When wild parrots wake up, they gather in flocks and eat together.
By screaming, parrots communicate to each other that it’s time to eat and a food source has been located. A captive parrot will replicate this behavior at dawn.
Most parrots like to eat their final meal of the day about 1 hour before bed. If a parrot is getting sleepy and is yet to be fed, it’ll scream to get your attention to remind you to provide food.
Sometimes, a parrot’s scream is a message to a human to stay away from the cage, not attempt handling, or a wish to alert other birds that a threat is at hand.
If a parrot shares a home with other pets, ensure other animals aren’t causing distress. For example, a predatory cat or dog that regularly circles a cage may frighten the parrot, resulting in screaming.
If you notice the following body language in a screaming parrot, it’s a warning:
- Crouching low.
- Pinning the eyes while staring.
- Spreading the wings.
- Puffing the feathers.
These signs, accompanied by screaming and hissing, indicate that a parrot is preparing to lunge and bite. If a parrot is agitated enough to scream, physical aggression is possible.
If you wonder, “why does my parrot scream when I leave the room?” it suggests that the parrot has developed separation anxiety.
Parrots are social creatures and are rarely comfortable alone. If a parrot is lost in the wild, it’ll scream to notify its flock until found and reunited. A parrot is replicating this scenario with you.
Separation anxiety isn’t just related to a fear of being alone. If a parrot screams when you leave a room, it has imprinted upon you.
The parrot considers you essential to its survival and fears for its safety when you’re not around.
Parrots cope poorly with stress and anxiety, and screaming could result from something making the parrot feel increasingly worried and skittish.
Is the cage large enough to allow the parrot to stretch its wings and fly, and is it sufficiently clean? Parrots dislike living in unsanitary conditions because they’re at risk of illness and disease.
Monitor the ambient temperatures, as parrots don’t feel comfortable in a climate much cooler than 65OF or warmer than 85OF. Also, sudden, loud noises can unsettle or distress a parrot.
If you live in a noisy area with lots of street noise, consider moving the cage to another room.
Lack of Sleep
Sleep is a vital part of a parrot’s life. If you’re asking, “why does my parrot scream at night?” it could be because you’re not covering the cage when it’s time to sleep.
Parrots don’t have the same thought processes surrounding sleep as humans. They won’t stay up late on Friday night and sleep in on Saturday morning to compensate.
So, following an established sleeping and waking routine will benefit a parrot’s long-term health.
While parrots are curious birds, as per Ethology, but frequently struggle with neophobia – a seemingly irrational fear of new and unfamiliar objects or surroundings.
If you introduce a new toy to the cage without introducing the bird to the object, the parrot may scream in terror until you remove it. Remove the anxiety trigger and work to calm the parrot down.
Constant screaming from a parrot could be a cry for help. The symptoms of illness are becoming increasingly uncomfortable, and the parrot is asking you for assistance.
Check the parrot for injuries missed during exercise, and ensure the eyes, feet, and beak are in good physical condition. Listen to how the parrot breathes in case of a respiratory infection.
Parrots often grow more vocal at the onset of spring because this is the start of the mating season. A pet parrot will experience a hormonal surge and grow frustrated if it’s unable to breed.
Manage hormonal surges by tricking the parrot into thinking it’s still winter. Cover the parrot’s cage earlier, so it doesn’t notice the longer days. Also, maintain an average temperature.
How To Stop Parrots Screaming
Expecting a parrot to remain silent at all times is unrealistic. However, a parrot mustn’t consider screaming an appropriate reaction to any stimulus or desire for attention.
You can limit screaming in parrots by following these simple steps:
- Ensure the parrot is healthy and mentally stimulated.
- Establish a reliable routine for feeding, play and exercise, and sleep-wake cycles.
- Keep the parrot’s cage clean and sanitary.
- Help the parrot to adjust to everyday sights and sounds.
- Attempt to delay the onset of mating hormones.
Ignore unwanted parrot behavior and praise it for doing what you consider desirable.
If a parrot screams and you yell back, telling it to quieten down, it’ll consider this attention. If you give a parrot a snack, you’ll teach it that screaming is a behavior that gets it a reward.
If these steps don’t lead to a cessation of screaming, consult a veterinarian or bird behaviorist.