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Parrot Bonding as a Behavioral Problem: Parrot Notes


Bonding with people is usually seen as desirable among pets of any kind…in parrots such often results in a friendly, affectionate bird that readily learns to mimic speech.  However, parrots can become extremely protective of the person to whom they have bonded, to the point of screeching at, biting or even launching full scale attacks upon others.  Also, as an extension of natural nesting behavior, bonded parrots are also very likely to become territorial, protecting their cage or larger area from intrusions by all except their favorite person.

Natural Parrot Instincts

It is important to bear in mind that bonding in parrots is a deeply ingrained instinct – one that you may be able to manage but which cannot be eliminated.  Wild parrots of nearly all species form long term, usually life-long, pair bonds.  Pairs spend the vast majority of their time in close contact with one another…even within large flocks, pairs are very evident by their proximity and physical interactions.  Most even fly side by side when moving about within a flock.  Captive parrots, no matter how many generations removed from the wild, are “hard-wired” to behave in the same manner.

Avoiding Problems

Bonding-related aggression can best be avoided by socializing your parrot, while young if possible, to all members of your household, or to those who regularly visit.  The bird will still be “closer” to certain people than others, but may not develop overly-protective behaviors.




An interesting article on the interplay of natural and captive behaviors in parrots is posted at:


About Frank Indiviglio

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I believe that I was born with an intense interest in animals, as neither I nor any of my family can recall a time when I was not fascinated by creatures large and small. One might imagine this to be an unfortunate set of circumstances for a person born and raised in the Bronx, but, in actuality, quite the opposite was true. Most importantly, my family encouraged both my interest and the extensive menagerie that sprung from it. My mother and grandmother somehow found ways to cope with the skunks, flying squirrels, octopus, caimans and countless other odd creatures that routinely arrived un-announced at our front door. Assisting in hand-feeding hatchling praying mantises and in eradicating hoards of mosquitoes (I once thought I had discovered “fresh-water brine shrimp” and stocked my tanks with thousands of mosquito larvae!) became second nature to them. My mother went on to become a serious naturalist, and has helped thousands learn about wildlife in her 16 years as a volunteer at the Bronx Zoo. My grandfather actively conspired in my zoo-buildings efforts, regularly appearing with chipmunks, boa constrictors, turtles rescued from the Fulton Fish Market and, especially, unusual marine creatures. It was his passion for seahorses that led me to write a book about them years later. Thank you very much, for a complete biography of my experience click here.
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