Most parrot owners take their feathered friends happiness very seriously and will do everything they can to make sure that they are living their lives to the fullest.
But there is something that many owners may not think of to take into consideration, and that is your parrots’ attraction to other parrots.
It may sound strange, but there is an assumption that parrots are only attracted to the opposite sex, because that is who they breed with, but that may not be the case.
Hearing this, you may be wondering, can parrots be gay?
The answer to this question is … yes, parrots can be gay. Parrots have proven to sometimes have attraction to their same sex. Because they are birds and therefore very different from us, they express homosexual attraction differently than humans, but they can actually be gay.
The idea of being gay or straight is often presented in human terms, which do not apply to parrots’ preferences, so this article will explore all topics relating to gay parrots.
It will discuss how to tell if a parrot is gay, if they can be same sex long term partners, if there are more gay or lesbian parrots and if a parrot can be raised to be gay.
How can we tell parrots can be gay?
Sexuality and sexual preference are not something many consider when thinking of parrots, and yet it has recently become a more common topic to discuss and try to understand.
It is very complicated, because gay or lesbian are human terms with meanings that don’t directly apply to how parrots behave, but nonetheless parrots do things that we can categorize as gay.
It was assumed that parrots could not be gay because evolutionarily homosexual behaviour does not produce offspring, yet it still exists.
Parrots are not the only birds who have been proven to show that they have same-sex attraction, in fact, more than 130 bird species are known to engage in something that could be categorized as homosexual behaviour.
Parrots have been observed engaging in homosexual behaviour in the wild, and researchers started to look into how frequently it happens, and in what forms.
Same-sex parrots conduct the same courtship, mounting and pair-bonding rituals that opposite sex parrots do.
Many same-sex parrots appear to do everything male-female pairs do except have sex, and even then, sometimes they do.
With parrots, it’s important to remember that homosexual activity could happen once, a few times, or frequently and so their behaviour is not comparable to our human ideas of being gay.
In most studies of parrots, any behaviour that could be categorized as gay only amounted to less than 5% of all sexual activity for parrots, but depending on the species, it was sometimes a much higher percentage.
How does mating play a role in parrots being gay?
The strongest correlation to homosexual activity was between how species mated, and how they raised their young.
Parrots have parental chores such as nest building, feeding and defending babies.
If the parrot species has one sex do most of the raising, rather than both bringing up the young, that species would see more homosexual behaviour.
This was basically because they could, as they didn’t have to worry about rearing their young or caring for them.
As well, which ever sex wasn’t raising the young, either the males or females, would be the ones who were more likely to engage in homosexual activities.
Because of this, male parrots are much more likely to be gay than female parrots.
Though, when both the males and females equally take part in raising the young, then females will explore homosexuality.
One of the starkest differences between the concept of parrot homosexuality and human, is that parrots have no qualms about doing their biological duty, and reproducing with the opposite sex, before returning to their same sex partner.
We may assume that gay parrots would only ever have that kind of contact with the same sex, but in fact, that is a human categorization that doesn’t exist for parrots.
Can gay parrots be long term partners?
Yes. In some species the same sex pairs of parrots actually raise young together, who were obviously conceived with opposite sex partners, and stay together for years.
For some parrots, a same sex partner is first explored as a way to adapt to certain environments, as they will help protect each other, defend their territories or help raise young.
Though parrots haven’t been proven to be lifelong partners, their relationships can last for years.
How can I tell if my parrot is gay?
If you only own one parrot, there is no way to tell.
The only indication if a parrot may be gay is in its behaviour towards other parrots of the same sex.
The best way to find out if your parrot may be attracted to other parrots of the same sex is to bring them around each other and see if they display any of the mating rituals we see in opposite sex parrots.
When mating, parrots will display some rituals including mounting and setting up house together.
Parrot courtship often involves dancing, spreading their wings to show off, singing, and building elaborate nests.
When mated, they will often sit belly to belly, arching their necks and nuzzling together.
If your parrot is gay, you may observe them doing some of these rituals, or at least something similar to attract a same-sex mate.
Are there more gay or lesbian parrots?
Because the females often raise the young, there are more gay parrots than lesbian parrots.
As discussed above, the number of gay or lesbian parrots is dictated by whoever isn’t spending their time rearing the offspring.
Both sexes tend to get involved in more homosexual activity as their role in parenting reduces.
As well, lesbian or female-female parrot relationships can be less obvious as they will occasionally join up to raise young together, without really being partners.
Often lesbian parrot activity is seen when two females try feeding each other, which is a sexually oriented behavior.
In some species the parrots only engage in male same-sex relationships and others only female.
Whether there are more gay or lesbian parrots really depends on the species and context.
Should you get two same-sex parrots or opposite sex?
This is a tricky question.
Two parrots of the same sex can get very territorial and fight one another, but this can happen with parrots of different sex as well.
Males parrots can be quite aggressive and are known bully more submissive males.
Male cockatoos are notorious for this behavior and have even gone so far as to kill the submissive one, including females.
None of this is to say that same sex parrots cannot get along and possibly even become mated as a same sex couple, but it is best to know the risks.
The endeavour is best approached with caution and patience.
One thing is for sure, there is no way to force two parrots to like each other.
Should my gay parrots be in the same cage?
If you have parrots that are truly bonded and mated, then you are most likely fine housing them together in the same cage.
However, it is important to remember that most parrots are territorial by nature and this can cause some issues, especially if they live in the same cage.
Unfortunately, a few things can go wrong when parrots are introduced or even begin living together after successful interactions.
Many parrots will squabble with each other, which is normal, but these disagreements can turn violent very quickly.
Parrot fighting can result in lost feathers, bites and scratches, but if the fighting is not interrupted it can end in serious injury or even death.
There are many exceptions to the rules of housing parrots together, and it’s quite often an individual case that dictates success, such as the personalities of the birds.
Can parrots be raised to be gay?
The answer may seem obvious, but in fact it is quite complicated.
Parrots sexual preference can be influenced by context, and by lack of choices.
This is mostly seen in captive situations where there are more males than females or the other way around.
There was a study where chicks were only exposed to their male parent after birth.
These birds were seen as 25% more likely to engage in homosexual relationships.
Certain parrots, including budgies, are more likely to form relationships, and become pairs with other males.
However, in this case it is more social relationships than sexual.
As well, cockatiels are known to pair off with same sex mates, even when they have their choice of opposite sex partners.
Cockatiels are often the species that will create long term same sex relationships.
It is unlikely that parrots can be raised to be gay, even if they are only exposed to one parent when being raised.
Many other things influence the likelihood of same sex relationships.
However, if you are interested in owning a gay parrot, or having a same sex pairing, you might try contacting your local parrot breeders or rescue to see if they have any birds that have paired off with same sex partners even when presented with opposite sex options.