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Birds USA: See How They Play

Not all parrot play is the same

By Mattie Sue Athan

Whether we’re talking hopping, bopping, tossing, juggling, weaving or tail pulling, different species of parrots are naturally inclined to develop different types of interactive as well as self-rewarding activities. These behaviors might be remnants of wild ways that somehow support survival, or they might simply be fun. From the caique parrot’s piggy squeal to the quaker parrot’s “hehe” dance; from African greys scratching in corners to Goffin’s cockatoos flipping objects over their shoulders, behaviors that might be considered unusual in one species of parrot might be expected in another. Experienced breeders, parrot behavior consultants or anyone who has lived with multiple species of parrots can probably relate numerous stories of behaviors common to a species and describe particular behaviors in individual birds that may be uncommon in their species.

The Need To Play
While juvenile members of many domesticated and wild animals play, very few species  — humans and birds — enjoy sufficient free time from the stresses of survival to retain play behaviors as adults.

**For the full article, pick up the 2008 issue of Birds USA or click here to buy the issue.**


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