Why does my parrot lick me

Why Does My Parrot Lick Me? 

While not all parrot licks their human companions, most of you would be familiar with the experience of getting licked by your parrot.

Parrots lick their owners for many reasons. Being licked by your parrot can be a sign of affection, but it can mean other things too.

It can serve various purposes for parrots. Parrots usually lick people that they have bonded to very closely. It is used to show affection or to seek attention. They may also lick you because of how you taste. Some people believe that parrots lick human skin because it tastes similar to salt licks, which are commonly available in the wild.

What Does It Mean When A Parrot Licks You?

There isn’t just one reason why parrots lick. Most people believe licking has multiple reasons from their exploratory nature, preening habits, and sometimes because of the salty taste of the human skin. It is generally not considered a behavior problem or socially undesirable unless the parrot starts to use their beak or bite you. These are the following reasons why parrots may lick people:

Showing Affection 

I’m sure most of you have wondered if those licks your parrot gives are their version of a kiss. Well, sometimes they are. Parrots show us love in many ways and wet licks could be one of them. It can be a sign that your bird adores you. 

It is not a common behavior in parrots as it is in dogs. Some parrots may lick while others may never do it. But that does not mean that your parrot does not love you. There are several other ways parrots show affection to humans, it just so happens that your parrot wants to lick to show its love. 

Parrots can lick almost any part of your body. If they are perched on your hand, they may lick your fingers or hands. However, sometimes I see my parrot just walk up to me to lick my feet. 

To Taste You

One reason parrots may lick humans is because of their curious nature and survival instincts. In the wild, parrots have a variety of mineral sources like salt licks that provide them with nutrients to supplement their diet. 

The human skin which has a salty taste due to the composition of the skin’s sweat, can be taste familiar to parrots and might be attempting to get their nutrition from you. 

The similarity of human skin’s salty taste to that of salt licks they find in their natural habitats can be one possible reason for this behavior.


Preening is an important social behavior in parrots. It is how they show love to one another in the wild. If a parrot preens you, it may run its tongue on areas such as your face, hair lips, and sometimes ears. This is their way of showing they care for you. 

Just as they preen their feathers to keep them clean, they may be trying to help you remove dirt from you by licking you. However, parrots don’t preen everyone. They only groom the ones closest to them.

Seeking Attention

Parrots often vocalize to get their owner’s attention. But sometimes they will also lick you to get you to notice them. This may especially be the case if you pet them or encourage them in any way after they lick you. 

When a parrot is seeking attention, it may think that licking is probably the right way since you seem to reward them every time they do it. And while there isn’t necessarily anything wrong with licking, you should ignore this behavior if you find it undesirable. Otherwise, your parrot may continue to do so.

They’re Hungry 

Sometimes, licking can be associated with hunger, or simply boredom. If your parrot is hungry or needs some treats in its cage, it will let you know by licking you. When a parrot is hungry it may also make loud vocalizations along with licking to ask for food. 

Exploratory Nature

Parrots use their beaks and tongues to understand their surroundings. They may not only lick people but other objects around them such as their cage, toys, and food bowl. Licking is a way for them to get familiar with things, kind of life how we touch things with our hands.


Why Does My Parrot Lick The Cage?

Parrots usually lick their cages to explore their surroundings, which is okay to a certain extent. Cage bars are usually coated with heavy metals which can be toxic to parrots if ingested.

If you see your parrot licking its cage too often, you should discourage them by separating them from the cage bars.

While you can not always control what your parrot puts its mouth on, you should make an attempt to clear its living quarter of any harmful substances and metal objects.

Parrots may lick on other things in their cages too. And while it is okay if they lick some plastic toys, you should certainly not let this get out of hand. 

Why Does My Parrot Lick My Face?

If your parrot is licking your face, it is probably displaying affection. It is not a common behavior, but licking usually means your parrot loves you. You should also look at their body language while they do it. If they seem excited and happy, these cute little licks may just be their kisses to you.

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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