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Growling describes a defensive noise that some pet parrots make when frightened or threatened.


As the name implies, this is a growling noise made by some species of parrots, especially African greys. The noise can be so loud that veterinarians who are inexperienced with birds often think the African grey parrot is in serious respiratory distress.


Considered a defensive behavior, African greys will growl in response to a perceived threat.


The easiest remedy is to remove said frightening object from a pet parrot’s sight. If this is not possible, owners can slowly and carefully desensitize the bird to that object so the bird is no longer frightened by it.

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 Blue Fronted Amazon growls for play.....she is so funny.She also loves to hang upside down in her cage and swing back and forth by one foot.....silly bird :)
Kimberley, International
Posted: 2/8/2013 3:50:21 PM
My African grey, Scout, growls at everything! He growls at the other bird (a green cheek conure). He growls at the cats (and they run!). But most of the time he growls at me when he and I are cuddling. He could be in the middle of snuggling against my chin and growl. Even when he is happy! So I have learned to take the growl as more of a Scout noise. Of course, I have gotten the very occasional growl when he is not getting his way (bedtime, when he is playing with something he shouldn't be, etc.) so it's really about watching the bird for other behaviors besides just the noises. Good article.
Jenni, Lincoln, NE
Posted: 6/29/2010 1:33:01 PM
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