As a grooming behavior, this involves a parrot manicuring its feet by removing dead skin. As an abnormal behavior, a parrot can actually wound its feet by chewing and digging at the skin, creating wounds and causing bleeding.
As a grooming behavior, this is a routine technique for a parrot to clean its feet, and likely to remove parasites in the wild. In captivity, veterinary medicine often considers a viral infection to be the cause of the abnormal, wound-producing behavior, which appears to cause serious itching.
Examination of the feet is required to differentiate between these normal and abnormal behaviors. If there is no sign of a wound or abnormal pinkness, there is unlikely a problem. An avian veterinarian should be consulted if any abnormalities are seen, or owners have any question regarding the health of their pet bird’s feet.
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.