Water Behavior

Water behavior describes a number of reactions in pet birds to water offered in their cage.

Water behavior describes a number of reactions in pet birds to water offered in their cage.

When offered water as a chance to bathe, companion birds react to it in a variety of ways – hence the label, “water behavior.”


Prior to actively bathing, many birds will present what could be described as a ritualized “pre-bathing” behavior. With most species, this involves puffing up all body and wing contour feathers, accompanied with lots of swaying and happy sounds. Bathing itself can be wonderful to watch, especially if the bird is enthusiastic. Lovebirds and budgies might bathe in cupped hands under gently running water; larger birds, like African greys and macaws, often like showers or pool bathing, showing their joy through enthusiastic wing flapping and squeals. Amazon parrots are among the most enthusiastic, often cupping their wings around their bodies like Dracula, then flapping wildly. If owners are using a regular plant sprayer, be forewarned that carpal tunnel problems can result, as one full bottle is often not enough for an Amazon parrot! Pump misters are much easier on the human hand.


Enjoy the show, then mop up the walls, ceiling and floors afterward.

Disclaimer: BirdChannel.com’s Bird Behavior Index is intended for educational purposes only. It is not meant to replace the expertise and experience of a professional veterinarian. Do not use the information presented here to make decisions about your bird’s health if you suspect your pet is sick. If your pet is showing signs of illness or you notice changes in your bird’s behavior, take your pet to the nearest veterinarian or an emergency pet clinic as soon as possible.

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