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Ground Feeding

Ground feeding is a wild behavior that some pet parrots might want to exhibit in the home.


Some avian species naturally feed at least partially on the ground. In our back yards, birds such as mourning doves and North American cardinals are considered ground feeders. In the parrot world, African grey parrots and many cockatoo species are ground feeders as well, at least some of the time.


Allowing access to the floor is not generally recommended with any pet parrot species, as the chance for accidents is exponentially increased. Stepping on a bird or closing it in a door are common when pet birds are allowed on the floor. Many pet cockatoos can also become quite aggressive on the floor, putting their owners’ tender toes at risk. With ground feeding species like African grey parrots and cockatoos, owners can allow horizontal play on flat surfaces like tabletops. Some birds also enjoy having two playgyms that are connected by boards.

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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Ground Feeding

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Reader Comments
So, this friend of mine, you cannot even see his floor. He is a hoarder, and his floor is basically piles of clothes and other junk. So if his birds walk on the clothes and junk, is that considered being on the floor? I don't want the birds to be unsafe.

Also, one time he couldn't find his cell phone for 2 months. Turns out it was in layer 3 of his floor underneath a pile of empty oreo cookie sleeves and above a pile of keebler cookie sleeves. The funniest part is he would continue to get calls for about 2 weeks after it went missing, and even hearing the ring, he could not find it. I think my friend has a problem.
Melvin, Burgersburg
Posted: 1/26/2014 7:17:25 PM
i let my parakeet eat millet sprays from the bottom of the cage
Brittany, Bozrah, CT
Posted: 8/18/2010 5:51:23 AM
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