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 their owners. If they need food, water, or a break from their cage, they may tap their beaks against a hard object to get your attention. Beak tapping can be a sign of stress or boredom. Also, some parrots enjoy the sound produced and may be fascinated by the reverberations.
Beak tapping is sometimes confused with beak rubbing. However, the two are used by parrots conjunctively 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 are known to do it for several reasons. Most explanations are behavioral but can signify that the 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 a very 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, you must find out what it wants.
Boredom or Stress
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 whenever you’re 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 that 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 out of keratin and grow continuously throughout a parrot’s lifetime. To keep their beaks at a comfortable length, parrots grind them down naturally by eating and chewing.
If a parrot feels 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 beak’s length. However, pet parrots don’t have the same opportunities to do so and need to find other ways to grind their beaks down.
Without regular maintenance, parrots find it difficult to eat or open and close their mouths. Even the simplest tasks can be uncomfortable. 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 rub their beaks on stationary objects to remove any excess food.
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 your parrot to take care of things naturally.
Enjoying The Sound
Some parrots enjoy the sound their beaks make when they tap them against hard surfaces. It fascinates them, so they will continue to tap to entertain themselves.
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. Parrots are essentially making their own music.
Some parrots also enjoy the vibrations that are caused by their beaks hitting their cage. This is a new feeling that they are 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 receive a beak tapping. This is a warning 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 to fight you off. These measures include biting and scratching.
If you’re dealing with a territorial parrot, do the following:
- Ensure that the cage is 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. Tapping is an effective way for your parrot to get your attention and show that it cares.
Your parrot may preen you. It will prod you with its beak and nibble your ears and hair. When parrots don’t have other parrots to groom, they’ll turn their attention to humans they’ve formed a close bond with instead.
Should I Stop My Parrot From Beak Tapping?
You know your parrot better than anyone else. If your parrot seems to be enjoying tapping, then leave it alone. Intervention is required if your parrot seems to be tapping its beak due to pain or distress.
If your parrot has behavioral issues, ensure that it has enough mental stimulation and exercise. Handle your parrot more often to get it more comfortable in your presence.