Parrots communicate in different ways, including tapping their beaks. It’s not something that all parrots do, but some bang their beaks against their owners and hard objects to convey various feelings.
Parrots tap their beaks to communicate with you. If they need food, water, or out-of-cage time, they may tap their beaks against a hard object for attention. Beak tapping can signify stress or boredom. Also, some parrots enjoy the sound produced and may be fascinated by the reverberations.
Beak tapping can be confused with beak rubbing, as they’re used for similar things. Consequently, you’ll often see your parrot tapping and rubbing its beak at the same time.
Why Do Birds Tap Their Beaks On Things
Beak tapping isn’t common in birds, but parrots do it for several reasons. Most explanations are behavioral but can signify that a parrot needs something, like sustenance or mental stimulation.
The most likely reasons for beak tapping in parrots include:
If a parrot needs food, fresh water, or exercise, tapping its beak against its cage or another hard surface is an effective way to get your attention.
If you react to the sound, your parrot will learn that this behavior generates a response and, subsequently, the things it wants. It’ll continue to tap its beak once it realizes.
Parrots are complex, clever creatures. If your parrot attempts to alert you, find out what it wants.
Boredom or Stress
Parrots that repetitively and obsessively tap their beaks are likely to be bored or stressed.
These feelings can manifest for several reasons, but the most common is because parrots are sociable and friendly animals that enjoy the company of birds and humans.
Without them, they become claustrophobic inside their cage and crave companionship. Self-mutilation is common among stressed and bored parrots.
Besides beak tapping, parrots sometimes develop a range of destructive and neurotic behaviors. This includes plucking their feathers, scratching themselves, and bobbing their heads repeatedly.
Beak tapping against a perch or other surface is a territorial display or a sign of aggression. Scared or fearful parrots are most likely to become aggressive, as are those that struggle to acclimatize to captivity.
The main causes of parrot aggression are:
- Changes to the parrot’s environment
- Predator pets, like cats and dogs
- Lack of socialization
- Jealousy of other birds, animals, or people
- Hormone changes
- Protecting territory
- Lack of mental stimulation
You can prevent aggression and territorial behavior by doing the following:
- Move your parrot to a new place to stop it from becoming too territorial of its primary area.
- Make slow movements around your parrot to avoid stressing it out.
- Don’t force contact if your parrot wants to be left alone.
- Keep your voice soft and low whenever you speak to your parrot so it doesn’t see you as a threat.
- Use treats to reward your parrot when it behaves appropriately.
- Build trust with regular training.
Beaks are made of keratin and grow continuously throughout a parrot’s lifetime. Parrots grind their beaks down naturally by pecking and eating.
If a parrot suspects its beak is getting too long, it’ll tap it against a blunt object and rub it against rough surfaces to shorten it.
It’s easier for wild parrots to maintain their beaks’ length. However, pet parrots don’t have the same opportunities to do so and need to find other ways to grind their beaks down.
Parrots find it difficult to eat or open and close their beaks without regular maintenance. You can provide cuttlebones and wooden toys to keep their beaks trimmed down.
In rare cases, when parrots can’t maintain their beak length by tapping and rubbing, they’ll need a beak trim from a vet. You shouldn’t attempt this as you may hurt your parrot or cut its beak too short.
Parrots peck and tear their food using their pointy beaks. Soft foods, like fruits and vegetables, are messy.
When the food sticks to the beak, it can be irritating. Rubbing or tapping the beak against something hard loosens the excess, making the parrot feel more comfortable.
To prevent your parrot from becoming uncomfortable from the excess food sticking to its beak, provide pedicure perches that allow it to take care of things independently.
Enjoying The Sound
Some parrots enjoy the sound their beaks make when they tap them against hard surfaces.
These noises sometimes reverberate, creating an echo. Parrots love sounds and music and commonly dance along by bobbing their heads and legs.
Frontiers in Psychology suggest that some large parrot species perceive rhythmic structures, so they’re making their music.
Some parrots also enjoy the vibrations caused by their beaks hitting their cage, which is a new feeling they’re attempting to understand.
Why Does My Parrot Tap Its Beak on Me?
Parrots only get close to humans if they trust or fear them. It’s easy to tell the difference between the two by observing your parrot’s body language and demeanor.
If your parrot taps its beak on you, it’s for these reasons:
Territorial parrots may tap you with their beaks if they’re more bonded with another human and are jealous of you. If that person’s not you, you may be tapped to tell you to stay away.
Territorial behavior usually begins at the same time as sexual maturity. If it’s not stopped, the parrot will become braver and resort to more extreme measures, including biting.
If you’re dealing with a territorial parrot, do the following:
- Ensure that the cage is the right size and in good order.
- Provide toys and games for your parrot to play with.
- Introduce your parrot to other people so that it doesn’t become too attached to one person.
- When feeding, leave the parrot alone so that it doesn’t feel threatened.
- Cover your parrot’s cage at night so that it gets sufficient sleep.
Parrot Likes You
If the beak tapping is accompanied by rubbing, your parrot is fond of you. Parrots only get close to humans they trust, and tapping allows your parrot to get your attention and show that it cares.
Your parrot may preen you by prodding you with its beak and nibbling your ears and hair. When parrots don’t have other parrots to groom, they’ll turn their attention to bonded humans.
Should I Stop My Parrot From Beak Tapping?
You know your parrot better than anyone else. If your parrot seems to be enjoying beak tapping, there’s no need to intervene. Intervention is required if your parrot is in pain or distress.
If your parrot has behavioral issues, ensure it gets sufficient mental stimulation and exercise. Handle your parrot more often to get it more comfortable in your presence.