Foot or toe tapping is the common name given to a condition characterized by repetitive muscular twitching of the toes of a bird. This condition is most commonly seen in the Eclectus parrot and some species of cockatoos.
Anecdotal experience and educated observation indicates that this behavior can be a response to chemicals and/or additives in a pet Eclectus parrot’s diet. With pet cockatoos, nutritional deficiencies have been implicated.
Regarding Eclectus parrots, after a full medical workup to access health, avian veterinarian Dr. Brian Speer and Eclectus breeder Laurella Desborough recommend the removal of “pellets, vitamin powders, vitaminized seed mixes, vitaminized treats, spirulina and other herbal mixtures, processed people foods such as commercial bread mixes, pasta, processed cheese, pizza, TV dinners, and any food item that contains man-made vitamins, preservatives or chemicals of any kind.” Instead, pet Eclectus parrots should be fed only organic and well-washed fresh foods. The diet of pet cockatoos should also be carefully analyzed with necessary nutrients properly balanced.
Disclaimer: BirdChannel.com’s Bird Behavior Index is intended for educational purposes only. It is not meant to replace the expertise and experience of a professional veterinarian. Do not use the information presented here to make decisions about your bird’s health if you suspect your pet is sick. If your pet is showing signs of illness or you notice changes in your bird’s behavior, take your pet to the nearest veterinarian or an emergency pet clinic as soon as possible.