Do Parrots Get Jealous? Parrot Jealousy Unraveled

Do Parrots Get Jealous? Parrot Jealousy Unraveled

Parrots are very emotional animals that get jealous, especially as mature adults.  Adult birds are inclined to be very possessive of their perceived mate or preferred person.  Jealous parrots can be trained. Let's brush up on what makes a parrot jealous and how to keep everyone safe if you have a jealous, possessive bird.
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Have you wondered, do parrots get jealous? 

The short answer is yes!  Parrots are highly emotional animals, both in the wild and in a domestic situations.  Birds are not like dogs, that easily warm up to any person.  In fact, it is often advised, that when choosing a new pet bird, you should let the parrot pick you! 

What Parrot Jealousy Looks Like

The Avian Welfare Coalition informs us that parrots can become jealous especially with visitors and other pets. An overly jealous parrot isn’t fun to be around.  It will be important to learn how to socialize and train your parrot to accept other people and pets. 

A jealous parrot may feel that another person or animal is vying or their preferred "mates" attention.  In order to thwart off the competition, the bird may  engage in aggressive behavior toward the perceived threat.  This can look like screaming at, chasing, lunging or biting at the perceived threat.  The perceived threat can be another family member or pet.  It can also take the form of attacking company.

Let's unravel pet parrot jealousy.  What often happens with pet parrots is that often, just one person in the family cares for the bird. This one person may feed the bird, pet it and love on it and even carry it about on their shoulder. The pet bird attaches to that one person as though it were a mate. It's not the birds fault. But as the bird matures, it begins to perceive this individual in a mate-like manner.

Do parrots get jealousPhoto Credits: Shutterstock

Warning signs that your bird is jealous

Learn to read your parrots body language to tell when it is becoming jealous and study the what situations induce territorial and aggressive behavior.  Aggressive posturing is when your bird is standing erect, it's eyes are pinned with small pupils and it's tail is flared.  Some cockatoo's may crouch to the perch and flair out their wings to make themselves look bigger.  Other birds strut around like they own the place!

Some reasons for jealousy may be:

  • New pets in the home
  • Not being played with enough
  • A baby in the home
  • A stranger coming into the home
  • Being teased by a child or other pet
  • Having been "sexulaized" by a family member

Take Precautions


When you bring your new parrot home, make sure that everyone in the family participates in its care. It’s very important to teach each person in the family the proper way to pet a bird. Make sure that everyone handles the bird or better yet, that everyone is teaching the bird behavioral skills and tricks.

a flock mentality in your home and make sure that everyone interacts with your pet from an early age.  Encourage all family members to pet the bird and offer it treats.  Refrain from getting into the habit of just one person taking care of your family pet.  

If allowed, some parrots can and will form strong bonds one member of the family and this can include other pets, children and adults in the home as well.

To prevent parrot jealousy, make sure that everyone in the household talks and interacts with the bird and that everyone knows how to correctly pet a bird. Incorrect petting makes your parrot think it is your mate and that brings on a whole slew of problems.

Socialization prevents parrot jealousy

Photo Credits: Shutterstock

Minimize Hormonal Flair Ups

Be aware of parrot husbandry practices that that induce hormonal behavior in a parrot. Insure that your pet gets plenty of sleep, eats a healthy diet and that it doesn't have access to nesting sites or nesting materials.  You'll find detailed information about this in various blogs on our site. While a number of issues can induce hormonal behavior, it is currently thought that the two biggest culprits are having access to nesting sites and nesting materials. 

Get into the habit of training your bird to stay on it's play stand rather than wander around the house looking for small, dark cavities to nest in.  This might include removing the Snuggly from the cage. Remove anything that your bird compulsively shreds such as tray liners or soft, stringy toys. 

Learn how to properly pet a parrot.  If you pet your bird like one would a dog or a cat, by massaging it's back and under its wings, your adult bird interprets this as foreplay. Contain your parrot petting to the head and feet areas.


If you notice that your pet gets worked up with jealousy with pets or other people, take precautions. Cage your pet up when company comes over and supervise interactions with other pets.

At the same time, your going to want to encourage and reinforce safe, loving behaviors with verbal praise, loving scritches to the head and preferred treats.  Behaviors that I like to promote include staying on the play stand, playing with toys, healthy preening chewing on wood, whistling and talking. 

Prevention Is Best Practice

When you bring your new parrot home, make sure that everyone in the family participates in its care. It’s very important to teach each person in the family the proper way to pet a bird. Make sure that everyone handles the bird or better yet, that everyone is teaching the bird behavioral skills and tricks.

If your parrot is showing jealousy there are some things that you can do. According to Beauty of Birds, you should do your best to find out why your parrot is showing jealousy. 

The parrot has been “sexualized” by one or more members of the family with improper petting.

What To Do If You Have A Jealous Bird

Once you realize that your bird is jealous, it's time to nip these behaviors in the bud. Yes, jealous behavior can be modified, but YOU are the one that needs to change your ways. It is NEVER acceptable to punish a hormonal or jealous parrot, after all, it is simply being a parrot. Your parrot must feel safe, secure, and healthy and loved by all in order to modify its behavior. It also must have exercise and mental stimulation in the form of enriching bird toys.

First, figure out how and where to set boundaries with your bird. Concentrate on limiting the areas your bird can be when it is outside of the cage until it tolerates all members of the family equally. The most obvious place is on the bird stand or on a perch. But, you'll also want to start teaching your bird that it has perimeters of where it is allowed to be and how it is allowed to behave.

Needed Supplies
  1. Blanket
  2. Doll
  3. Clicker and Treats for Training
  4. An understanding of how to read parrot body language.

Let The Training Begin

Get a sheet or a baby blanket depending on the size of your bird. Place it on your bed , on the floor or on a sofa. Put some of your bird’s favorite toys on the sheet and teach your bird to stay on the blanket. Your bird will begin to realize that it is on your territory - and that it is expected to follow your expectations. 

Help your bird to learn your expectations with a generous amount of praise. Your bird will appreciate and respond to cheerful voice tones, eye contact, and exaggerated praise, just like a little kid does. Clicker training methods with favorite treats speed up the process considerably. Make sure everyone in the family is on board in this training. As your bird slowly learns that it gets praise from everyone in the family by staying in its expected place and engaging in safe behaviors, introduce a doll that looks like a human.

Place the doll on the blanket and allow your bird to get used to it. Up the ante by talking to the doll as your bird can tolerate it. Consider using Clicker Training to reward your bird for tolerating “someone else” in its territory. Work your way up to picking up the doll and playing with it all the while rewarding your bird when it is not jealous. Keep all training sessions short and learn to read your bird’s body language so that you can tell when it is getting overloaded with jealousy. Always stop the training on a positive note.

Once your bird has learned to control its jealousy, introduce family members or a pet. Since you've learned to read your bird’s body language, keep your eyes open to understand when your bird is becoming overwhelmed with jealousy. Stop training on a positive note rather than allowing your bird to become overwhelmed and territorial. Work up to introducing all family members and even strangers until your bird learns to tolerate others and gets the message that you are not its mate.

In summary, make sure that everyone is truly committed to teaching your bird to enjoy all family members. Take every step possible to reduce hormonal behavior in your bird and to insure that it is healthy, and keep all training sessions very short, building on success. Understand that training your bird to love everyone equally will take some time, maybe a few months of daily 5 minute training sessions. In the end, your family will be rewarded with a wonderful pet that is fun to be around.