Birds wiggle their body when they are happy or when they feel comfortable with something or someone. Wiggling in birds is a common behavior & is not concerning. But if the bird starts to regurgitate along with wiggling then it is a sign of courtship and it is best to discourage such activities at the initial stage.
Let’s take a deep dive into this topic…
What does it mean when a bird wiggles?
Wiggling is extremely common in younger birds and is considered a natural part of their overall development, so no it is not a bad thing to observe wiggling in birds.
Often bird owners think that it is their fault that their bird is wiggling. However, it is not the case. They may wiggle their head or body when they feel happy right after having a meal or when you play a game with them.
Birds like budgies, parrots, cockatiels, etc wiggle their body to show their affection towards something or at a time when they get excited.
That is why you often encounter your bird to wiggle when they listen to a song, play with a particular toy, play games with you, see you dancing around, or when they consume a tasty meal. It can start to become a problem if the bird starts to show signs of regurgitation.
Why do birds wiggle their heads?
Birds commonly wiggle their head when they are feeling excited, happy, or are feeling affectionate towards a person or other birds. Head wiggling is a classic sign that the bird is regurgitating towards you or its partner to better bond with them.
You may find them wiggling at a more frequent rate when they are young. Such head wiggling is sometimes more common in certain birds than others. For example, parrots are known for their head wiggling.
What is regurgitation in the first place?
Regurgitation is an instinctive behavior found in the birds where they show affection towards an individual by offering to feed them the food they have previously consumed.
In the wild, birds regurgitate for their loved ones, to show their affection, mainly for their mates and babies. However, pet birds can sometimes get affectionate with their toys or other birds and start thinking of them as their mates.
In such conditions, it will be wise to remove that particular toy from its cage.
It is also very important to differentiate regurgitation from vomiting.
Regurgitation is a very common behavior found during the development period in many birds and it is not a matter of tremendous concern. However, vomiting food is indeed a matter of serious concern and should be met with an immediate visit to the vet.
Why Do Birds Regurgitate?
This is the preliminary step of bird courtship in the wild whereby carrying out such a process of offering their consumed food, they let the other birds know that they are interested in them.
After the birds have started nesting, often the male bird will go out in search of food and will eat both the shares of itself and its mate who is currently protecting the eggs and after coming back will provide the other bird with the food.
- Also, adult birds feed their newly born offspring by using the same process of regurgitation.
- It is a very effective form of carrying food from one place to another without the need to physically carry them.
- The food that will be offered will be partially digested and warm, hence will be ideal for digestion by the baby birds.
Why signs of wiggling and regurgitation is bad for pet birds?
When the bird starts showing signs of regurgitation and wiggling it means that they have started seeing other birds or certain toys or the bird owner with deep affection, as a potential mate. This can lead to frustration which can make the bird depressed and pick up habits of feather plucking and biting.
Regurgitation is completely a natural behavior found in birds and it is not directly bad for their health. But, vomiting which closely resembles regurgitation, is a sign of serious worry.
Regurgitation is the bird”s way of showing ultimate affection, respect, and love towards someone. This will mean that the bird will try hard hereon to bond with them as it is seeing you or the other bird as its mate. If it’s regurgitating to you then it means, the bird trusts you and loves you.
However, if the bird sees you as its mate, it will only lead to frustration if such behaviors are not being discouraged in the earlier days. You want the bird to see you as its friend but not as a mate. In the future, the feelings of rejection can lead to frustration, depression, and behavioral problems in the bird.
P.S. It is important to remember that wiggling and regurgitation are bad in pet birds when they do it towards you or other inanimate objects from which they won’t get any positive mating signal.
However, it is completely normal to let them display such behavior towards the opposite gender birds of the same species that are living with them.
How to Stop Your Bird from Seeing You as their mate?
Never stroke or pat the bird in its back or wings as it is a sign of courtship and can get them intrigued
Birds are much more different than cats and dogs. Hence you need to be careful of your patting or cuddling habits. Only pat the bird in its neck or the head. Patting on their back can lead to the secretion of certain hormones that can get them excited.
Let them know that their behavior is not appropriate
If you notice them wiggling and regurgitating towards you, put them back in their cage. Never talk to them in a cute voice when they do that but dont shout something like” NO NO Bad Bird” as the bird may fail to understand the reason you are shouting and it can ultimately make them do it more.
Isolating them in their cage, the moment they regurgitate at you is a good way to let them know that such behavior leads to getting back into the cage.
Slowly the bird will connect the dots that regurgitation at you will lead to loss of playtime and getting back into the cage, which is something birds dont like.
Make sure the bird is getting an ample amount of suitable darkness during its sleep
Improper sleep can lead to hormonal changes in the bird that changes their behaviors.
So just ensure, that they are getting about 10 to 12 hours of absolute darkness, which is the only way to ensure that they can enjoy proper sleep. Avoid making any sound in that part of the house, the birds are kept as birds by default are very light sleepers.
Must Read: How To Ensure That Your Bird Gets Proper Sleep (& When You Should Use Cage Covers)
Regurgitation vs Vomiting in Birds
You must make sure that the bird is regurgitating and not vomiting. In case the bird is vomiting then it can be possible the bird is suffering from a certain illness and needs immediate medical attention. Whereas, regurgitation is not something that requires medical attention.
However, in both of the two scenarios, the bird may end up throwing up the food that they have previously consumed, hence it is important to differentiate between the two processes.
The main difference between regurgitation and vomiting is if the bird is regurgitating then the food spewed out of the body will be much more localized, compact, not scattered, and untidy. But if the bird is vomiting the food out of the body then it will be much messier and it will be scattered all across the cage bottom.
So is wiggling bad for birds?
Wiggling alone is not bad for the birds. Birds wiggle whenever they are happy, feel affectionate towards someone or something, and are in good spirits. However, wiggling coupled with regurgitation is a sign that the bird is displaying breeding and courtship-related behaviors. In the long run, it can cause behavioral and frustration issues in birds.
Wiggling or the “Wiggle neck dance” behavior in birds is a very natural bird behavior and is not considered as anything concerning. It is much more common to witness wiggling in younger birds than adult ones.
However, if you notice courtship or regurgitating behavior in your bird along with wiggling then it is a sign that the bird is looking at you or other birds as its mate.
This means the bird will start to grow much more attached to them. And sometimes they can feel this attachment towards toys or random other stuff in their cage as well.
Why is my parrotlet wiggling?
Parrotlets can wiggle whenever they are happy or when something makes them feel good. Bird wiggling is completely normal behavior and can be ignored. But if the bird starts regurgitating along with wiggling then it can lead to behavioral changes and depression.
If you liked this post then you must also like the following posts:
- “Why Is My Bird Losing Feathers?”(15 Must-Know Facts)
- Common Reasons Why Your Birds Arent Eating Fruits and Veggies(Their Easy Solutions)
If you have anything to add let me know in the comments!