Why do parrots tap their beaks

Why Do Parrots Tap Their Beaks? (Beak Banging)

Parrots have a slightly different way of communicating, and most of us may find their habits strange at times. If you’re a parrot owner like me, you’ve probably noticed some of these weird habits with your own parrot. 

You may see them engage in all kinds of odd behaviors, but one where they bang their beak against objects can surely be a little concerning.

Parrots may tap their beaks because of their exploratory nature. Beak banging can be their way to simulate foraging behaviors, or playing with their food. Other reasons might include seeking attention from the owner, playful behavior, boredom, or excitement. This is usually normal behavior, but you should make sure they don’t overdo it.

Why Do Parrots Bang Their Beaks On Things? 

The first time I saw my parrot bang its beak, I got extremely worried. It looked like it was attacking its own reflection in the mirror.

This got me thinking if maybe I should just remove the mirror from its surroundings. 

However, since then I have learned a whole lot about their strange behavior and found that they exhibit this behavior in a few different scenarios:


A parrot may tap its beak on different items including its toys, cage bars, or even its food bowl. I have observed that they are more likely to bang their beak against objects when there’s a potential mate present in their surroundings.

Beak banging is often a show of strength used to attract female birds. So they may use it as a form of courting. Female parrots typically look for mates with characteristics like vibrant plumage and healthy appearance, which are indicative of virility. 

Boredom Or Stress

Parrots are playful creatures that are always full of energy. They require attention from their owners to play and interact with them.

Without enough stimulation, they can become bored and may choose to expel all that energy by going around banging their beak on things. 

This kind of behavior can also be a response to stress and anxiety, which can make parrots engage in destructive behaviors. 

My Indian ringneck's beak

Beak Trimming

A parrot’s beak is made of the same substance that makes up our hair and fingernails – keratin. 

As such, it continues to grow throughout their lives. For the most part, parrots take care of this issue by maintaining their beak on their own.

They do this by rubbing their beaks on objects, grinding their beaks, and also banging them against objects. Beak grinding is a common way parrots like to trim their beaks and also soothe themselves. 

In the wild, parrots keep their beaks trimmed using tree branches and rocks. They have the opportunity to hone their beak on branches of trees and sharp stones.

This is why it is generally recommended to provide your bird with a cuttlebone and some wooden objects in their cage to simulate their natural environment. You would also have to worry less about beak problems for your parrot. 


Parrots are not particularly aggressive but they can become agitated when they are confronted with a threat. A parrot may sometimes show its disapproval or anger by hitting its beak on the floor or its cage or its perch. But it is not always easy to determine what a parrot may consider to be its enemy. 

If you’re having difficulty finding out what could be stressing your parrot, here are some of the things to look for:

  • Sudden or loud sounds (construction work, noisy neighborhood, etc.)
  • Flashing lights
  • Other pets
  • New toys
  • New bird
  • Unfamiliar people

Removing Stuck Food

The upper part of the beak is a narrow area, easy for gooey foods to get stuck. You may see your parrot occasionally picking out food from its beak using its claw nails. They would open their beak and scratch the tip of the upper beak to get rid of anything that might be stuck. 

However, sometimes the food may not easily come out which may cause them to use force. The parrot may tap their beak to shake off the food and get rid of it. 

Mostly they are quite self-sufficient at this job and you do not have to intervene but if you feel that it is going on for too long or if they’re doing it more frequently, you should check on your parrot’s beak. You can take a look at their beak and see if there’s anything stuck inside.  

Why Does My Parrot Tap Its Beak On Me

If your parrot taps its beak on you, consider yourself lucky. It means that your parrot likes your company and trusts you. However, through this loving behavior, they may also want to communicate some things 

They Want You To Play 

Parrots don’t peck like some of the other birds but they do have strong beaks. However, when a parrot taps its beak on you, it is not to hurt you. They do this in a gentle way using the top part of their beak. It shows that they’re in a playful mood and would like your attention. It means that your parrot nudging you to get off your ass and play with it. 

Territorial Behavior 

As I said before, beak banging can be a way for parrots to assert dominance and claim ownership of their territory. Whenever your parrot feels threatened, whether it is by another pet, a human being, or may a new toy in their surroundings, they may start to hit their beaks to scare their enemies. And at times, it could be you. 

If a parrot is close to its owner, and you’re near them, the parrot may feel jealous and consequently bang its beak on you. It does so to tell you to move out of the way. It is really not healthy behavior and you should take steps to make the bird more independent to make it less attached to just one person. 

Is Beak Banging Normal?

It is often difficult to understand our parrot’s idiosyncrasies. I have learned that a particular behavior can mean different things depending on the situation. So it’s important to realize the context in which your parrot is tapping its beak.

Is it a form of aggression? Or is it just to show you some love? It all depends on the context of the situation. But don’t worry, It often gets easier as you bond with your feathered companion and pick up on its behavioral tendencies.

Beak banging is a normal behavior but you do need to pay close attention to your parrot’s body language when they do it. And make sure it does not get excessive.

I normally advise people to not react to this behavior in a negative way. It is not something that you have to stop them from doing. Beak tapping is good for them in many. Just make sure, you know exactly why they’re doing it.

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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