Why Is My Parrot Purring? (Explained!)

My parrot comes into the living room with me when I’m home and I tend to take him out of his cage so he can move freely.

Although typically, he just mingles around me.

I was sitting on the armchair and he flew onto the corner of it.

I was petting him like normal and all of a sudden, he was purring at me like a cat.

This was a new sound, which I haven’t heard him do before.

We haven’t got a cat, so I was wondering why is my parrot purring?

It comes to show that when a parrot purr’s it can be a sign of irritation or fulfillment, this depends on the other body language that your parrot is showing. For example, if your parrot is purring and tapping its feet it could be a sign of irritation and if your parrot is purring and wagging its tail, it could be a sign of fulfillment.

In this article, we’ll look at why parrots purr and how you can tell which mood your parrot is in through their body language.

It’s important to study this, as it can tell you a lot about your bird which you may not know otherwise.

Through certain movements and behavior traits, you are able to tell if your bird is happy, sad, or ill.

Do All Parrots Purr?

All parrots have the ability to purr but it’s considered a rarity.

Some owners will never hear their parrots purr and others will hear them purr daily.

This is why you have to study your parrot’s “signs” or body language.

It can vary from parrot to parrot, but they all share similarities in the body language they show.

If your parrot doesn’t purr it may show different signs of irritation or happiness.

You can tell which mood your parrot is in through their eyes, vocals, body posture, and lastly feathers.

More about reading parrot’s body language can be found below.

It hasn’t been proven but people suggest that the African grey parrot can purr more than other parrot breeds.

African grey parrots are considered the smartest parrots in the world and are often referred to as being the best “talking” bird.

Being the best “talking” parrot, people believe that they are more likely to replicate the purring sound.

However, technically speaking if the African grey parrot hears a cat purring, they could just be copying the sound like they do with most words they learn.

Just like when a parrot copies words, if it copies a purring noise it doesn’t necessarily mean it knows what the sound represents.

What does it mean when a parrot purrs?

A parrot’s purr doesn’t necessarily mean one exact feeling. it can have multiple different feelings and the only way to find out why your parrot is purring, is by looking at the other body language it’s showing.

First, let’s talk about happiness.

If your parrot is purring you need to look out for the following signs which can show happiness.

These could be singing, small chatter, tongue clicking, and wing flapping.

Typically, if your parrot is purring and performing these other actions it’s in a happy state.

Next is irritation.

Normally if your parrot is feeling annoyed or threatened, they’ll go into a crouching position and start hissing.

It could also show signs of this by tapping its feet and almost not being able to stop moving.

When your bird is depressed or sad it could also purr.

Other signs to look out for while it’s purring, is that the feathers are fluffed up or your parrot has lost its appetite.

If your bird is purring and sharing similarities to the suggested sadness types of body language then your parrot may be feeling sad.

Lastly is sickness.

When your parrot feels sick it may purr and also share other characteristics of sad parrots.

These include poor visual appearance like feathers aren’t looking as good as they once did, weakness, or drooping wings.

If your parrot is showing these signs when purring it may mean they are sick and need help.

As you can tell there isn’t a solid definition of why your parrot is purring.

However, there are other suggestions on how your bird is feeling through its bodily or vocal appearance.

Knowing this will be able to suggest what mood your parrot is in, this is highly important for the wellbeing of the bird.

Understanding a Parrot’s purr and Body Language

Knowing your parrot is just like finding out what a human is like.

Each shares different appearances and behavior, but they all share similar characteristics within one another.


One of the first body languages you can recognize behavior traits is in their face and in particular their eyes.

Parrots can perform something called “pinning” when a parrot is pinning this suggests it’s intrigued about the environment or something intriguing is happening.

However, like most body language readings it doesn’t necessarily mean that they are intrigued.

Although it’s a sign of showing interest it must show another body language to prove that it’s either intrigued or not interested.

Typically, you would match this up with vocals, if a bird is singing loud and proud while it’s pinning its eyes it means they are happy and excited.

On the other side of the spectrum, if a parrot is pinning its eyes and has poor posture or is showing signs of bad feathers then it may be sad or sick.

These are typical signs of unhappiness or sickness, if you believe your parrot is sick you should seek veterinary help as soon as you can.


Next on the list is posture, posture plays an important role in understanding your parrot’s mental state.

There are various ways that you can tell how a parrot is feeling through its visual appearance.

These include the body, tail, and head of the bird.

Let’s start with the body, if a parrot is bowing their body into a crouching position it normally means that they feel threatened or feel like they don’t own the territory that they are in.

Now alternatively, if their body is relaxed and they’re not disturbed state then this can mean they are very happy.

Next is the tail. Tails are an easy way to indicate which mood your parrot is in.

Normally when a parrot wags its tail it shares similarities to when a dog does this.

It means that they are happy and fulfilled with their current environment.

Now if they are tail bobbing this could be a different situation.

Tail bobbing is normally associated with rapid heavy breathing and can suggest that the bird is stressed or unhealthy.

If they are showing these signs without doing any significant activity, then I would seek veterinary help.

Lastly on posture is the head.

A parrot’s head can suggest either of their moods.

Normally you can find a parrot head bobbing, If it’s head bobbing It can suggest that they want attention.

Parrots don’t necessarily show any head characteristics that suggest they’re sad, but you can certainly see if they are tired.

If a parrot is tired they may grind their beak which is often a process before they fall asleep.

They grind their beak by moving the top beak over the bottom one continuously.

It is also believed that parrots grind their beaks to keep them in good condition.


Next on the list is feet.

It is commonly known that these aren’t body parts that can suggest which mood your bird is in, but it can certainly be interesting on what it can show.

Typically, if a parrot is tapping its feet it can show happiness or dominance over its territory.

Other signs that suggest they’re happy is that they’ll hang upside down and tend to stay there for minutes at a time.

To see if a parrot is sick, they can show signs of weak legs.

This can show you that they aren’t feeling too good and you may want to give them some fruits and vegetables which are natural remedies to them.


Lastly, is vocals.

Vocals can play an important part in reading your parrot’s mood.

Normally when your parrot is happy it can start singing or become very chattery.

Combined with purring it will suggest that your parrot is fulfilled and happy.

To find out if your parrot is unhappy or annoyed, it may purr and growl.

Gowling isn’t commonly heard from all parrot types.

When you do and it’s mixed with purring it can tell you that your parrot is unhappy.


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