Parrot flapping its wings

Why Is My Parrot Flapping Its Wings?

You may have seen your parrot flap its wings on more than one occasion. And each time it may have looked like a different gesture.

Sometimes your parrot may seem happy doing it, other times it may look like an expression of stern disapproval.

So it is normal to wonder what actually does it mean when your parrot is flapping its wings.

Depending on the situation, it can have a number of different meanings. When a parrot is flapping its wings, it could be to express emotions like excitement, anger, or fear, or in some cases, it may be a response to hot temperatures inside the house. 

If your parrot is flapping its wings, it is usually nothing to worry about, but you should know what it is trying to communicate. 

Why Do Parrots Flap Their Wings?

Parrots may flap their wings for several reasons. They use wing flapping to communicate with us, but it can have multiple meanings, so in order to fully understand what your parrot is trying to communicate, parrot owners need to pay attention to the context and the bird’s non-verbal cues. Here are some reasons why parrots may flap their wings:


Flapping wings is a parrot’s own way of expressing excitement, whether it’s with each other or with its owners. When a parrot flaps its wings gently in front of you, it is usually trying to convey happiness and wants to play. 

Stretching Muscles

Just like how we instinctively stretch our muscles after waking up, parrots also need to stretch their bodies. After taking a nap, parrots might flap their wings to get blood flow going in their bodies.

When your parrot flaps its wings rapidly after waking up, it is exercising its muscles to get started for the day. 

Parrot with its wings held out

To Cool Down

Since parrots do not have sweat glands and most of their skin is covered in a thick coat of feathers, hot weather can sometimes become a problem for them. 

When a parrot is getting overheated, it may hold its wings out to let air inside and help them cool down. Parrot may also flap their wings simultaneously to let cool breeze regulate their body temperature and avoid overheating.

When parrots stroke their wings, it creates thrust for flight, but in this situation, it can be used as a way to get more air to the skin and feathers.  

This should be your signal that the temperatures in their environment are too hot and you need to help them cool.

Showing Aggression 

Wing flapping can also be a show of aggression at times. When your parrot is angry or jealous, it may flap its wings aggressively toward the person it dislikes. 

This type of aggression is quite common in jealous parrots. If your parrot sees someone they don’t like, they may flap their wings to signal their distress. 

While it may be endearing at first that your parrot is so close to you, it can be very stressful for your parrot. 

If you feel that something is bothering your parrot, try to address the situation as quickly as possible.

Seeking Attention

When a parrot wants to get your attention, it may flap its wings at you. The parrot may flap its wings in small bursts with pauses between them.

If it is their playtime, they may be asking you to interact with them or give them a treat.

In this situation, they may seem calm but energetic. However, if they look agitated, this type of wing flapping could also be due to jealousy. 

You shouldn’t necessarily encourage this behavior as it is not healthy for your parrot to engage in attention-seeking every time they want a treat or interaction from you. So it is better to address what is bothering them and teach them appropriate social behaviors.


A parrot may also flap its wings to maintain its feathers. If you notice your parrot flapping its wings right after a bath, it is probably to dry up more quickly. 

It might flap its wings and shake its body to get rid of excess water. Usually, after a bath parrots also have to preen their feather to make sure they’re aligned. Wing flapping helps to get rid of any dirt or debris on the feathers while preening.


A parrot may start flapping its wings to warn its flock or the people around of potential danger. This behavior is often accompanied by loud screaming and can be a parrot’s way of trying to alert everyone about something it perceives as a threat. 

Flapping wings and loud screaming are signs that the parrot is trying to communicate something that it is fearful of. 

However, sometimes a parrot may do it when it is startled. If it sees or senses something it will flap its wings as a fear response. Parrots are prey animals, so they can get scared easily and respond by trying to escape from the situation.


If you hear your parrot flapping its wings frantically in the night, it could be because of night fright. You may also see fallen feathers around the cage. Make sure to check if your parrot is okay as they may have brushed their feathers against the cage bars while it was scared.


Why Is My Bird Flapping Its Wings And Screaming?

If your parrot is flapping its wings and screaming, it usually means that your bird is startled. It may be because your has sensed danger and wants to alert you or it could be sudden sounds with an undetectable source. 

You should help your parrot calm down in this situation as it is most likely nervous and agitated. Usually, this problem goes away when the stressor is no longer there, but other times you may have to actively look for the root problem.  

Why Is My Bird Flapping Its Wings At Night?

Oftentimes we hear sounds of abrupt wing flapping coming from the bird’s cage at night. This usually means that your parrot is having an episode of night fright. If your parrot is flapping its wings at night it’s probably because it got scared, either by distorted shadows or had a bad dream.

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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