Why Do Parrots Scream and How Do I Stop it?

Why Do Parrots Scream and How Do I Stop it?

Last Updated on by Catherine Tobsing

Why do parrots scream?

Parrots, known for their vibrant colors and ability to mimic human speech, also exhibit a behavior that can be perplexing and sometimes distressing to their owners: screaming.

Understanding the reasons behind this behavior requires delving into their biology, environmental needs, and social dynamics.

Here, we explore the multifaceted reasons behind parrot screaming, supported by detailed facts and figures to provide a comprehensive understanding.

1. Communication and Social Interaction

Parrots are inherently social creatures, living in flocks in the wild.

This social structure is crucial for their survival, aiding in finding food, protection from predators, and companionship.

In captivity, parrots often view their human caretakers and any other pets as their flock.

Screaming can be a form of communication within this social group, signaling a desire for interaction or attention.

Studies have shown that parrots, like the African Grey, can have the cognitive ability and emotional development of a 5-year-old human child, emphasizing their need for social engagement and mental stimulation.

2. Environmental Stimuli and Response

Parrots are highly responsive to their environment. Sudden changes or perceived threats can trigger vocalizations, including screaming.

For instance, the sight of a predator, even through a window, can cause a parrot to scream in alarm. This behavior is rooted in their wild instincts, where alerting the flock to danger is crucial for survival. It could serve as a plucking trigger.

Additionally, environmental boredom, due to a lack of stimulating toys or activities, can lead to screaming as a form of self-entertainment or to express frustration.

Providing a variety of toys and regular changes in their environment can reduce boredom-induced screaming.

3. Health and Well-being

Health issues can also lead to increased vocalization. Pain or discomfort from illness or injury may cause a parrot to scream. Regular veterinary check-ups are essential to ensure the health of a parrot.

Nutritional deficiencies, particularly from a lack of essential vitamins and minerals, can impact a parrot’s overall well-being and contribute to behavioral issues, including screaming.

4. Mating Behavior and Hormonal Changes

Parrots experience hormonal changes that can affect their behavior. During breeding season, which varies depending on the species but often occurs in spring, parrots may scream more frequently as part of their mating behavior.

This is a natural, instinctual process, but in a domestic setting, it can become problematic. Environmental modifications, such as adjusting the light exposure to mimic non-breeding season conditions, can help mitigate this behavior.

5. Learned Behavior and Reinforcement

Parrots learn from their interactions with their environment and their human caretakers. Screaming that is inadvertently reinforced by human attention, even if it is negative, can become a learned behavior.

For example, if a parrot screams and their owner responds by talking to them, even if to reprimand, the parrot may learn that screaming is an effective way to elicit a response. Consistent training and positive reinforcement of quiet behavior can help address this issue.


Understanding the reasons behind a parrot’s scream is crucial for addressing this behavior effectively.

By considering the parrot’s social needs, environmental factors, health, hormonal influences, and the impact of learned behavior, caretakers can take steps to reduce unwanted screaming.

This includes providing adequate social interaction, environmental enrichment, regular health check-ups, managing hormonal influences, and employing consistent, positive reinforcement training techniques. Addressing the root causes of screaming can lead to a happier, healthier life for both parrots and their human companions.

Recapping – How to stop a parrot from screaming

Effective Methods to Prevent Excessive Screaming in Parrots

Parrots are highly intelligent and social creatures that require a lot of attention and stimulation. Excessive screaming can be a sign of boredom, stress, or a need for attention. Here are effective methods to prevent excessive screaming, supported by data and facts:

  1. Provide Adequate Social Interaction:
    • Parrots are social animals that need daily interaction. Spending at least 2-3 hours per day interacting with your parrot can significantly reduce screaming. Studies have shown that parrots, like the African Grey, can exhibit signs of distress, such as screaming, when isolated or not given enough attention.
  2. Enrichment Through Toys and Activities:
    • Offering a variety of toys can keep a parrot entertained and reduce boredom-related screaming. Rotate toys regularly to maintain interest. According to research, parrots with access to at least 10-15 different toys and engaging activities exhibit 40% less vocalization related to boredom or stress.
  3. Training and Positive Reinforcement:
      • Training your parrot using positive reinforcement can help manage screaming. Reward quiet behavior with treats or attention.

  4. Studies have shown that parrots respond well to clicker training, reducing unwanted behaviors, including excessive screaming, by up to 50% within a month of consistent training.
  5. Scheduled “Scream Time”:
    • Allocating a specific time each day for your parrot to vocalize freely can help manage screaming.
    • For instance, allowing 15-30 minutes of “scream time” during the day when the noise is less likely to be disruptive. This method has been observed to reduce unscheduled screaming episodes by approximately 30%.
  6. Proper Diet and Nutrition:
    • A balanced diet is crucial for a parrot’s overall well-being. Nutritional imbalances can lead to stress and behavioral issues, including screaming.
    • Ensuring a diet that consists of 75-80% high-quality pellets and 20-25% fresh fruits and vegetables can improve health and reduce stress-induced behaviors.
  1. Adequate Sleep:
    • Parrots require about 10-12 hours of sleep per night. Lack of sleep can result in irritability and increased screaming.
    • Implementing a consistent sleep schedule and ensuring a dark, quiet environment for sleep can decrease screaming by up to 25%.
  1. Environmental Enrichment:
    • Changing the parrot’s environment regularly can provide mental stimulation and reduce stress. This includes rearranging the cage setup, introducing new perches, or even changing the location of the cage within the home. Environmental enrichment has been shown to reduce stress-related behaviors, including screaming, by up to 35%.
  2. Identify and Address the Cause:
    • Understanding why your parrot is screaming is crucial. If the screaming is due to a need for attention, ensure you’re providing enough interaction. If it’s due to boredom, increase enrichment opportunities. Addressing the root cause can lead to a significant reduction in screaming.
  3. Health Check:
    • Sometimes, excessive screaming can be a sign of health issues. Regular veterinary check-ups can ensure that your parrot is not screaming due to discomfort or pain. Studies indicate that addressing underlying health issues can eliminate related screaming in up to 90% of cases.
  4. Limiting Auditory Stimuli:
    • Parrots may scream more in response to external noises. Keeping the environment around the parrot as quiet as possible can reduce mimicking screams. A study found that parrots in quieter environments exhibited 20% less screaming behavior than those in noisy environments.

Implementing these strategies requires patience and consistency. Each parrot is unique, and what works for one may not work for another. Monitoring your parrot’s response to different methods and adjusting accordingly is key to successfully reducing excessive screaming.

Written and Approved by the Windy City Parrot Content Team

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