One minute your parrot is a sweet, loving companion pet, and the next they turn into a raging, aggressive lunatic.
What is going on?
Well, unless they are feeling extremely stressed out or sick, chances are they are going through hormonal changes related to mating season.
Like moody teenagers who go through hormonal changes during puberty, parrots go through similar hormonal changes with the seasons.
But what are the signs that it’s mating time for your parrot?
There’s actually several different signs that you can look for that can tell you it’s time for your parrot to mate which we will discuss a little later. But if your parrot is acting abnormally aggressive or out of character, there’s a good chance it’s that time. But when do parrots typically go through this phase? And how long does it last?
Today we will answer all of these questions and more including:
Signs of hormonal changes in parrots
How parrots mate
Whether or not parrots can mate with other birds
And so much more – so let’s not waste another minute.
What are signs that my parrot wants to mate?
During mating season parrots go through hormonal changes that can completely change their temperament and personality.
Here are some signs to watch for that may suggest that your parrot is looking to mate:
Also referred to as “bluffing”, biting is a common behavior of parrots that are going through mating hormonal changes.
If your parrot always bites, it may just be aggressive and have nothing to do with mating.
If your parrot suddenly starts biting or nipping out of nowhere, it could be their way of releasing their sexual frustrations.
The best way to deal with a nipping parrot is to not deal with it at all.
Simply ignore the behavior and walk away until your parrot has calmed down.
Upon mating season you may notice that your parrot becomes extremely territorial.
They may start to become possessive over multiple things including their room, their cage, their food, their toys, or even you (their owner).
If your parrot is behaving territorially, give them their space until the behavior has passed.
During mating season, your parrot may begin to put on physical displays of affection.
These can include things like wing flipping, tail fanning, eye pinning, or even regurgitation of their food.
These are all things that parrots do to woo a potential mate.
If your parrot starts trying to woo you, don’t be disgusted or offended.
This is their way of showing their trust and comfort with you as their lifelong partner.
Parrots are naturally noisy birds but during mating season their vocalizations increase even more.
For parrot owners, screaming can become overwhelming and annoying, but do your best not to scold your parrot.
Scolding them will just increase negative behaviors and damage your bond with them.
Instead, invest in a good pair of earplugs and wait for the behavior to pass.
During mating season you may notice your parrot plucking at their feathers.
This behavior can be quite shocking for first time parrot owners, but is completely natural during mating season.
Heed warning, however, that plucking can also be a sign of illness.
If you are unsure whether your parrot is undergoing hormonal changes, it may be best to rule out the possibility of sickness by making an appointment with your veterinarian.
When is mating season? How long does it last?
For parrots, mating season generally happens every year at the beginning of spring.
If you notice that the snow is starting to melt and the rain is more frequent, there’s a good chance that mating season is upon you.
During this time it becomes easier for parrots in the wild to raise their young because the warmer temperatures bring upon a broader food supply.
Aside from spring, other signs of mating season include the bloom of spring plants and flowers, and the song of birds when you walk outside.
In your parrot you might notice behavioral changes, as well as changes in the coloring of their plumage (usually brighter).
Breeding season and the behaviors that accompany it typically only last 1-2 weeks.
How do Parrots Mate?
Before we continue, I want to warn you that this portion of the article contains sexual content – parental discretion is advised before reading on.
Like any other species, birds mate to reproduce young.
But unlike many other species, male parrots do not have a penis.
Rather, the male has internal organs and a small opening that is similar to a female.
In order to get the female pregnant, these openings are pressed together as the male climbs on the back of the female.
You may see the male swaying their tail back and forth, or flapping their wings up and down.
In some cases this may look aggressive, though no aggression is actually involved.
It’s also worth noting that most parrots are monogamous.
This means that they choose one breeding partner with whom they mate for life.
When they do not have a mating partner, the owner may become the object of their affection.
Though the attraction to the owner will not be sexual, they may see you as their partner for life and display acts of affection towards you (wing flapping, etc) during mating season.
Can Parrots mate with other birds?
The answer to this question is no.
Parrots cannot mate with other birds.
With that being said, some parrots can mate across species.
Cross-breeding parrots is called hybridization, and generally occurs across genus’.
For example, the Scarlet Macaw may be bred with the Blue-and-Gold Macaw.
While it is possible for birds of different genus to mate, it is extremely rare.
If the gap between the genetics of two parrots is too distant, breeding will not be a possibility.
What can I do to help my parrot during this time?
While there isn’t really anything that you can do to prevent hormonal changes and mating behaviors from occurring, there are some things that you can do to help your parrot (and yourself) through this time:
Understand when mating season begins and what to expect during mating season.
Being prepared will help you to better handle behaviors that may arise.
Avoid leaving your parrot unsupervised around others.
During this time your parrot may act in ways that it wouldn’t normally act.
An otherwise friendly and outgoing parrot can turn moody and aggressive during mating season.
In return, you should do your best to keep them away from other people during this time, and should never leave them with other people or pets unsupervised.
Avoid petting your parrot on the back, wings, or tail.
This can further stimulate your parrot and can encourage sexual behaviors.
If you are going to pet your parrot during this time, keep it to the top of their head.
Avoid punishing your parrot.
Even though their behaviors may become annoying or aggressive, it’s important that you don’t punish your parrot.
Remember, this behavior is not your parrot acting out.
Rather, it’s a completely normal reaction to their hormonal changes.
Be patient, wait it out, and the behavior will soon pass.
In conclusion, every parrot will go through hormonal changes during mating season which typically happens in the beginning of spring.
The degree to which these behaviors present themselves will differ from parrot to parrot but may display themselves in the form of biting, territorial behaviors, physical displays, screaming, or feather plucking.
While there is nothing that you can do to prevent this behavior from occurring, there are some small things that you can do to help both your parrot and yourself to get through the week or two of mating season.
Always remember that these behaviors are completely normal, and give your parrot the patience and space that it needs.