In birds, regurgitation is the act of bringing up partially digested food from the crop, a digestive organ formed by the outpocketing of the esophagus. This is different from vomiting, which is defined as bringing up of food from the stomach, an act that is relatively rare in birds.
There can be various causes for regurgitation. 1. Reproductive: Many avian species regurgitate slightly digested food to feed their mates and/or their young. This is a normal courting behavior. 2. Medical: Crop problems, such as yeast infections like candida, can cause regurgitation, often producing contents that are characteristically slimy and odorous in nature; crop obstructions can also cause regurgitation, as the crop is unable to empty normally.
If pet bird’s regurgitation is reproductive in nature and directed toward a person, the person should ignore it and move away. Courting behaviors should not be punished, but they should not be encouraged. Some species of pet parrots can become obsessed with beloved objects, such as mirrors and/or certain toys, and regurgitate to them (often spackling mirrors over completely). Reproductive regurgitation should not be confused with regurgitation of medical origin, and if there is any question, the bird should be immediately seen by an experienced avian veterinarian.
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.