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Bird Relationships: BFFs Or Disasters Waiting To Happen?

Birds can form relationships with each other, but if they have major size or temperament differences, they should be monitored to make sure fights don't break out.

Sally Blanchard

Some birds can become the best of friends.

Q) Last night, I had my blue-and-gold macaw and my red-fronted macaw on the couch with me. They started bobbing their heads to each other. My blue & gold tried to peck the red front on the head. I have seen them do this to each other before (head bobbing and eyes dilating). I don't know the sex of either bird. Is this something they do to make friends or is it a sign of aggressiveness?

A) There is no doubt that your macaws are forming their own relationship. My guess is that they are initiating play with each other and this could actually involve some play biting so that they can establish limits with each other. Head bobbing and eye dilation are not always aggression, they can also signify excitement. Many parrots become buddies if they are introduced in a nonthreatening manner.

My advice would be to supervise them and let them establish their own relationship. Make sure each macaw gets lot of individual attention and attention from you when the three of you are together. Watch for overload behavior because, if they get too excited, you may get bitten, not from aggression but from overexcitement.

Meyer's parrot and African grey

If there's a size and temperament difference between your birds, you might want to keep them separate.

Q) Can a blue-fronted Amazon (2 years old) and a cockatiel (2 months old) live in the same cage if it was big enough? How big, wide and tall would it have to be?

A) I would not keep an Amazon and a cockatiel in the same cage, especially if the Amazon is used to having the cage all to himself. Cockatiels are generally fairly mild-mannered around other parrot-family birds.

Amazons, on the other hand, can become quite protective of their cages. I have even seen situations where cockatiels have been injured living in the same cage with a budgie, so even small birds can pose risks to each other

Want to know more about bird relationships?

Avoid Bird Jealousy
Prevent Bird Altercations 

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Posted: April 21, 2014, 12:00 a.m. PDT

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