Parrots Preen Humans

Why Do Parrots Preen Humans?

We will find out in this article why do parrots preen humans? We pet animals and birds in our homes in order to show love and affection towards them. Birds are delicate and cute and they like us preening and loving them. Birds develop trust in the humans they live with. But building trust takes time, attention, and effort. 

Birds observe the surroundings and act accordingly. If they find danger around them, they hide and protect themselves. There are various ways to make birds trust and show empathy towards you. And it also takes a short time for the birds to lose trust in you if they find you a threat to them.

Reasons & Ways Of Parrot Showing Affection

Preening is the process that birds do to show affection, care, and love for you. Birds preen at their fellow humans if they trust them. Why and how birds preen humans, we will look at it in this article.

Do birds try to preen humans? 

Yes, Birds preen their owners or who they love and trust. As we know, birds take time to develop trust in you. In order to win their trust, you must practice some techniques that show your love towards them. In this section, we will look at how birds preen on humans. 

  • Parrots cuddle you

Parrots love cuddling you when you are close to them. They try to intimate you to show their trust. Parrots love cuddling because they want the heat generated from your body, and that flux stimulates their sensory organs, which leads them to love and care for you. 

  • Parrots kiss you

While you are lying or the bird is at your shoulder, they touch your beaks with your skin and kiss you. Preening themselves enables them to look attractive and shining. They also want you to look attractive and bright, so they rub your skin with their tongue. Doing this strengthens your bond with them, which is also a reward for you.

  • Parrots clean your hair and nails

Parrots clean themselves with their beak and tongue in order to maintain themselves. Preening is a healthy habit and a regular activity. The way they want to clean themselves, they also love doing the same with the person they love. As they clean their hair and nails with tongue and beak, they also clean you the same way.

  • Parrots sleep on you

Parrots sometimes sleep on you when they feel comfortable and receive the heat from your body continuously. They sleep on your chest, abdomen, and thighs when you are in a sitting posture. You should not wake them randomly. Doing so can give them shock and they can bite you. 

Why does it preen on you? Reasons!  

There are various reasons birds preen their owners. We are listing down some ‌reasons in order to make you understand why your bird is so much into you. This is the nature and behavior of the parrots, that is why they follow these traits.

  • To show affection: Birds cuddle you and preen your skin, hairs, and nails. They give minor strokes to your hairs to align them in order as they do to themselves. They fly by your side and sleep on you to show you affection and love. Parrots repeat this pattern when they receive continuous affection from their owner.
  • To maintain its feathers: The only way to maintain its features is preening. They give minor strokes to their feathers to align and shine them. This is how they open their tight feathers to lighten them. 
  • A sign of trust with you: Preening is a reward that you have maintained your trust in them. They come close to you and prevent themselves from biting you. It is a sign of trust and it takes time to maintain.
  • Trying to bond with you: When your bird is coming close to you is a sign that it wants to strengthen the bond with you or it expects something in return from you. It preens you and shows affection and in return, you do the same. This is how your bond with your parrot tightens and it builds more trust between you and the parrot. 
  • Shows happiness: Preening, kissing, and cuddling are how parrots show empathy and happiness. Parrots are happy with you when they take complete sleep and food at the right time. They are happy with you when you preen and feed them. 

Is this a way of showing affection? 

Affection is the feeling of love and cares that one possesses for an object or a person. It is not true that only humans show affection towards inanimate objects and other people. But animals do also share love and they also care for their fellow companions. As humans caress and love the birds and other animals, they also show affection and love ‌. Or if you threaten them, they move away or bite you. 

The way you treat your birds, you receive back. As you spend more time with the birds, increase the connectivity with them, and take care of their sleep cycles, food, and temperature. They trust you and have an affectionate feeling for you. If your enthusiasm towards birds remains alive, parrots will be more connected and comfortable with you. To develop the affection and love in birds, first, you need to win their trust. 

Is it healthy behavior? 

Preening is a natural process that evolves in birds as they grow. Birds are born with a preening gland at their back and towards the tail. The Preen gland is a source of preening oil that parrots and most of the birds collect in their beak and apply to their feathers with their beak. In a bird’s anatomy, the preening gland is called the Uropygial. 

This oil makes their feathers shiny and strong. While preening birds separate the joined feathers and lighten them to make an easy and fast flight. Birds without the preening gland are most likely to collect dust on their feathers. 

Lack of preening oil makes the feathers fragile, which disrupts them while flying. Preening is a healthy habit that keeps the bird’s feathers strong and light. The Preen gland works as an anti-bacterial remedy for the parrots which keeps them protected from bacterial attack. The preen gland because of the Vitamin A deficiency can be enlarged, which becomes a health risk for the parrots. You can treat it by maintaining a healthy diet for your parrot. 


Now let us conclude the topic of why do parrots preen humans. Maintaining a healthy diet for your parrots will keep them away from many discomforts, such as bacterial infection and diarrhea. A healthy diet can keep you and your parrot at ease. Feeding them oranges periodically can be beneficial as it contains enormous vitamins and nutrients. Vitamin A, Vitamin B, and Vitamin C present in the oranges will balance the diet and the health. 

But bear in mind that excessive usage of oranges can disturb the pH level in the body, as they are more acidic. As we have seen, the preening gland can be enlarged because of the deficiency of Vitamin A in the parrot’s body. Oranges can provide you Vitamin A to the parrot’s body. Feed 1 or 2 slices of oranges to your parrot in 2 days. We have seen in this article why parrots preen and how they show affection to their owner and we hope it will be helpful to you. 

Parrot Showing Affection

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