Thanks to a childhood packed with cowboy movies, many people equate hissing noises as being aggressive, like the hiss of a rattlesnake. This assessment is not necessarily accurate when carried across various parrot species.
Depending on the type of parrot, this sound can mean very different things. Macaws often make whispering noises that are friendly and happy, though people might misunderstand. Cockatiels and some cockatoos often use hissing sounds as a warning.
As always, analyze the situation and the pet bird’s body language to better judge what the hissing parrot is trying to convey. If owners are unsure, it never hurts to move away and return for further interaction later. Until more information is gathered, owners should avoid imitating this sound. This can lead to serious communication problems if the bird perceives the person’s behavior as a challenge.
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.