You got a real purty neck, boy.
May 12, 2010 9:48 PM Subscribe
What is this parrot behavior?: they slowly arch their neck backward and hold the pose, then repeat. I've seen it in other birds as well.
posted by Nattie to Pets & Animals (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
My Congo African Grey will sometimes arch his neck backward gracefully and put his beak in the air -- in other words, the back of his head is touching his back, or near to it. He'll hold this pose for a second or two, then he usually repeats it several times in a row. It's very purposeful and ritualistic -- it looks like bird yoga -- so I wonder if there has been any research into what it means. He seems very calm when he does it. He likes it if I kiss him on the head if I'm nearby, but sometimes he'll be in his own little world in his cage and start doing it.
My cockatiel does something similar, their necks just aren't as pronounced so it has less shape to it.
I have seen other birds do this, including grackles, crows, and flamingos, so it's not just a parrot thing. They seem to do it in groups; clusters of them will just start arching their necks backwards and repeat it a few times. It looks peaceful. I am curious why it is common to so many birds.
What it's not:
- It's not the same as head bobbing, which my grey also does.
- It's not the same as their regurgitating "dance," which my grey also does.
- It's not part of their mating dance, which my grey also tries from time to time. I do wonder if it's somehow seasonal or hormonal, or some kind of display, though. My cockatiel tends to do it after he knocks his beak on things, which I've read is a kind of mate-attracting display.
- It's not any kind of preening or scratching; their beak is away from their feathers and they tend not to do it while preening, and they don't tend to follow it up by preening.
- He's not reaching for anything.
Is there a name for this behavior or movement? Do we know its purpose?