Parrot unhappy in its cage

6 Reasons Why Your Parrot Is Hissing

Parrots sometimes exhibit unusual behaviors, which can be both confusing and amusing to their owners. 

While their ability to mimic human speech eloquently is well-known, their tendency to make snake-like hissing sounds is a lot less talked about. 

Sometimes, you may hear your parrot hissing inside the cage or oddly fly towards you to hiss in your ear. 

As a new parrot owner, it can be quite surprising and even alarming to see such behavior. But don’t worry, with patience and understanding, you can learn to decode your parrot’s hissing and respond appropriately.

Parrots have an inherent desire to express themselves vocally. When a parrot hisses, it is typically a sign of annoyance, anger, or fear. This vocalization is often accompanied by physical cues, such as stern expressions or a cold look. If your parrot is hissing at you, it’s best to give it space and respect its boundaries. 

What Does Parrot Hissing Sound Like? 

If you’re already seeing this behavior with your parrot you know the kind of hissing noise they make. It is not like the hissing sounds snakes produce or even the intense breathing sound that cats make when they hiss. Parrot hissing sounds like someone is blowing air from a narrow opening. It can also be looked at as a bad imitation of the typical snake hissing sound.   

Reasons Why Parrots Hiss 

Parrots are naturally pretty vocal about their feelings and the unpleasant hissing sound is certainly one that confuses new owners the most. A hissing parrot can be quite alarming but it is nothing to worry about as it is just one of their ways to express emotions. Here are some of the common reasons why parrots may hiss:

Territorial Behavior 

Your pet parrot’s cage is its personal space and it deserves to feel secure in it. Often times parrots become defensive when they feel their home or personal space is being threatened. This territorial behavior can manifest in various ways, including hissing.

If you approach a parrot’s cage or perch too quickly or without caution, the bird may feel scared or threatened and respond by hissing. The hissing serves as a warning signal, letting you know that the parrot is feeling uncomfortable and needs some space.

Guardian The Offspring 

Parrots may also hiss when they have laid an egg. The hissing may serve to deter potential threats or predators and to signal to their mate or flock that they are guarding their nest. In essence, a hissing parrot during egg-laying is a clear demonstration of its maternal instincts and its determination to ensure the safety and well-being of its offspring.


Parrots may hiss out of aggression as a means of defense or to assert their dominance over a perceived threat. This behavior can be seen in various situations, such as when a parrot wants to protect its food or mate. 

Parrots may also get angry if they feel, they aren’t treated well or if they don’t like the food you serve them. Hissing due to anger is often accompanied by body language signs, such as puffing up their feathers or spreading their wings, which serves to intimidate and deter any potential threats.

Hormonal Behaviour 

Parrots can experience hormonal changes during different stages of their life, such as puberty. During these times, they can become more territorial, and aggressive, and display other behavioral changes including hissing. These hormonal changes can also be triggered by changes in their environment or stress.

It’s important for parrot owners to be aware of these changes and adjust their care and handling accordingly to ensure the well-being of their feathered pet. Additionally, providing a stable and supportive environment can help minimize stress and minimize the impact of hormonal changes on the parrot’s behavior.

Illness Or Discomfort 

Parrots are typically very active birds and want to make their voices heard. They do not sit calmly for a long time and speak quite a lot. But when they are feeling under the weather, parrots can become lethargic. In some cases, a parrot may hiss if it is in pain or feels threatened. 

Hissing can also be a symptom of a more serious underlying health problem, such as respiratory distress or infection. If you suspect that your parrot’s hissing is due to illness, it is important to take it to a veterinarian for a thorough examination. The veterinarian can help diagnose and treat the underlying health problem and provide you with guidance on how to best care for your bird. 


As prey animals, parrots tend to feel most comfortable with familiar surroundings and can be apprehensive towards unfamiliar changes. If an unfamiliar person or object approaches their cage, a parrot may exhibit hissing behavior as a warning signal to keep their distance. The unfamiliar entity does not necessarily have to be a threat.

Sometimes even the placing of a new toy or a strange object can put them off and make them feel anxious. To avoid causing anxiety in your pet, it’s important to introduce new things gradually and allow your parrot to adjust to their changing environment over time.

How Can I Stop My Parrot From Hissing?

Parrots are intelligent and social birds that have their own unique way of showing discontent. And while hissing is a normal behavior among them, it is not socially desirable. As there are a number of reasons for such behavior, the solution to this problem lies in Identifying the cause of the hissing. 

  • Firstly, you should try to observe your parrot’s behavior and see if there is a specific trigger for the hissing, such as a new person in the room, a change in its routine, or the presence of another bird.
  • Then you should try to minimize the stressor and provide your parrot with a comfortable and stable environment. If the hissing is due to fear or discomfort, try to gradually expose the parrot to the trigger in a controlled and positive way. For example, if the parrot hisses when a new person is in the room, have the person approach slowly and offer the bird treats or praise.
  • Be consistent in your handling and interactions with the bird. Avoid sudden movements or loud noises, and always approach the bird in a calm and relaxed manner.
  • If the hissing persists or the bird seems to be in distress, consider seeking the help of a veterinarian or a bird behavior specialist.


It’s important to remember that hissing does not necessarily mean your parrot is aggressive or dangerous. Instead, think of it as your pet parrot’s way of saying “I need some space” or “I’m not happy about this”. By understanding and interpreting your pet parrot’s body language, including hissing, you can build a stronger and more meaningful relationship with your feathery friend.

Dorson Joseph
Dorson Joseph

I'm Dorson, a bird enthusiast who's had a lifelong fascination for the avian world. I am a parent to my beloved Senegal parrot and budgie, which has deepened my love for avian creatures and taught me a lot over the years. I co-run a bird store and care center with my friends, where we work with experienced professionals to care for our flock. Now, I find great joy in sharing my knowledge with others, hoping to assist fellow bird keepers and enthusiasts in understanding birds and helping them live happy lives.

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