Parrots and touch


Active member
Aug 15, 2014
A very generous FB acquaintance shared this with me.....

You may be new to sharing your life with parrots or you may be an old pro. Or perhaps you have never even considered a parrot. Either way you may be surprised to learn a few facts about parrot behavior that make them a bit different from your average companion animal. Here are a few of my favorites.

1. Parrots prefer to have their head feathers stroked towards their beak. While your dog, cat or rabbit may appreciate being stroked from head to tail, this is often merely tolerated or it can be sexually stimulating to companion parrots. Look at your bird’s body language to clue you in as to whether your parrot is just taking it or can’t get enough. If your parrot is squatting, trembling or panting it is a good idea to reconsider this practice. A bird that is tolerating it isn’t really the goal either. I prefer to see a parrot who fluffs his head feathers up in a big ball in anticipation of a few head scritches. Touch on the head is definitely a great way to foster your relationship. Allopreening (grooming each other’s feathers) is an important part of parrot social relationships. Parrots can’t reach those pin feathers (new feathers growing in) on their head, having their human companion remove the keratin casing on newly grown feathers is usually quite welcomed. Check out this video clip on how to pet a parrot to see what touch should look like.



Supporting Member
Jul 10, 2015
Western, Michigan
DYH Amazon
Great video of a Yellow-Nape Amazon!
Yes, Parrots enjoy head scratches and it can be a strong bonding tool. But it is important to understanding that until there is a trust bond in place it can be a great way to get bit, as well.
I hope that this video helps individuals understand Parrot wants a bit better. With Amazons, I always recommend the two high lighted Threads as the top of the Amazon Forum and especially the understanding Amazon Body Language Thread first.
Thanks for the great video!!


Staff member
Super Moderator
Apr 24, 2018
Maine, USA
Tucker the Red Sided Eclectus
Baxter the YNA
Patches the Grand Eclectus, my best friend. RIP
Cuckoo the BFA RIP
I agree with above, but consider a few exceptions. Yup, my YNA... scratch her head, neck, cheeks back to front and help with those newly growing feather, and life is GOOD! As said above, the bond is critical in knowing/trusting that you'll in fact keep your fingers, so not something anyone should ever expect to do with any parrot they meet. My girl actively seeks me out for scritches, and occasionally my son. Anyone else is a hard NO. Know thy parrot!

Those of us with ekkies will tell a different story. Ekkie feathers are very different, almost hair like, and it's a rare ekkie that will tolerate anyone messing up "the doo." EVER. Many don't care to be pet or touched at all, and those that do are pretty strict about front to back only. It's an ekkie thing. πŸ™„


Active member
Aug 15, 2014
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Hello everyone! @saxguy64 @SailBoat Thanks for appreciating the post! I am a beginner doing my research and I discover new things everyday so I just decided to share information I find interesting during my quest for knowledge, knowing that there must be other newcomers out here looking for basics. Thanks for the appreciation and the warnings!


Supporting Member
Parrot of the Month πŸ†
Oct 23, 2015
1 YNA (Bingo)
1 OWA (Plumas R.I.P.)
1 RLA (Pacho R.I.P.)
2 GCA(Luna,Merlin) The Twins
1 Congo AG (Bella)
5 Cockatiels
Video looks like a scratching session with my Yellow nape Bingo.
I usually end each session with smoothing his feathers down by petting his head front to back.
You are right, he toloearats it from me but doesn’t like it.
It sort of let’s him know I am done but he usually coaxes me into more if he isn’t finished.

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