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Jealousy can be categorized as a type of territoriality in pet birds.

By Liz Wilson


Defined in the behavior world by the less anthropomorphic term of “resource guarding,” jealousy can be categorized as a type of territoriality. Like other animals (including people), pet birds can be territorial about places; objects, such as toys; and people of whom they are especially fond.


Resource guarding falls into the category of a survival instinct, since guarding one’s territory, nest and mate are necessary to successful reproduction. In the human habitat, such behaviors often manifest in pet parrots becoming aggressive when their favorite person pays attention to anyone but them. This is not healthy and should be avoided, and under no circumstances (no matter how flattering) should it be encouraged.


Aggression should never be tolerated. If a pet parrot jealously guards particular people, those people need to make it very clear to the bird that they disapprove of this behavior. Favorite people can accomplish this by turning their backs and moving away from the bird when its body language becomes aggressive. Consistent responses such as this can send a clear message that such hostility is unacceptable.

Disclaimer:’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.

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Reader Comments
My African grey talks all day when I'm alone with him , and a little around my kids , but refuses to talk around my husband . can anyone explain to me why he does that . and what can we do to. He does try to interact with our parrot.
missy, Harriman tn, TN
Posted: 2/23/2015 5:49:16 PM
Melissa, that's a funny story.

I had a bird that acted aggressive when one of my friends would come over. However, this friend was super annoying and would come over unannounced. She'd sit there and tell me boring stories I didn't care about for hours. That's when I'd let the bird out of the cage. It would squawk at my friend. If she tried to touch the bird, it would bite her. It was hilarious, but I acted like I was appalled. That friend would leave, and I'd have the rest of the evening to myself. This bird really saved me a ton of time with it's jealousy.
Melvin, Burgersburg
Posted: 1/26/2014 6:55:45 PM
My 13 year old female double yellow headed amazon becomes aggressive to me when kids are around( i have a 4 yr old daughter) She lunges at me and bites me if she can. She is perch trained so i have been doing that but i was wondering if you have any other ideas!
Melissa, Niagara Falls, ON
Posted: 4/29/2011 3:27:07 PM
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