I never knew that there can be serious reasons behind a bird shaking its body or head. But when I brought home an African Grey Parrot, one of the most popular and loved pet bird species, I learned what their body language means and why sometimes they shake.
Yes, I was confused and clueless when I first saw my African Grey Parrot shaking. But now that I have raised my Grey for the last seven years, I know the exact reasons that might lead to its shaking.
So, is there any reason behind the shaking of African Grey Parrots? Yes, there can be a number of reasons your African Grey is shaking. And you’ll be amazed to know that every single type of shaking, such as excessive head bobbing or body shaking, is a way of the Greys to tell something to its owner. In most cases, those shaking behaviors aren’t any cause of alarm.
Owning an African Grey Parrot can be a pure delight to any avian pet lover. After all, African Greys are not only smart and intelligent but they are loved for their jovial temperaments.
But, shaking is something, particularly head-shaking, that is extremely typical of this particular bird species. Read on to find out the reasons behind African Greys shaking.
A detailed insight into the reasons why your African Grey is shaking
Is shaking common and natural in African Greys?
Shaking is something that’s typically normal with African Grey Parrots. Greys do this for various reasons. A Grey Parrot shaking isn’t always due to an alarming reason.
Sometimes, it’s just their way of showing their feeling or expressing their comforts and discomforts. Some of the most common reasons why your African Grey is shaking are:
- Your African Grey Parrot is very excited
- Your African Grey is simply airing its feathers
- The Grey is afraid or nervous due to some reasons (This is important and needs immediate action. If you need help – Here is our article on 10 possible reasons why your parrot is scared)
- Your African Grey has a piece of food stuck somehow in its esophagus
- The African Grey is content and happy with its surroundings
- It is anxious to go somewhere or do something
- Feeling itchy or discomfort due to parasites
When to consider shaking as an alarming issue
Though shaking is very common and nothing to be worried of in African Greys, in case your African Grey Parrot is abnormally shaking i.e. shaking excessively, make it a point to take it immediately to your nearest avian veterinarian as it might signify some kind of ailment in the bird.
In the majority of the cases, when an African Grey shakes his head or body or chest or tail or feathers, it’s because they are feeling certain emotions. However, at any moment if you’re in doubt consult with an avian vet.
Understanding the meaning of your African Grey’s shaking
Let’s take a closer look at some of the most common reasons behind an African Grey shaking depending on its way of shaking its head and other body parts.
- Shaking its head
Compared to any other parrot species, African Greys tend to shake their heads most and more frequently. Yes, it’s not completely clear why they do this and there can be various reasons behind your African Grey to shake its head.
Sometimes, when it doesn’t like something that you offer to it, it may shake its head.
Shaking head can also be due to the reason that your Grey likes to put things at places such as its feathers and is trying to keep a pesky feather out of its ear. Or perhaps, it heard some sound or saw someone enter the room or simply is tired of doing nothing.
Most parrots bob their heads for various reasons. For example, in this article we tell you about 5 common reasons why parrots bob their heads.
- Shaking its entire body
In case you see your Grey shaking its entire body instead of just the head, know that the reasons responsible for it can be just its preening action. When African Greys preen or tidy up and clean themselves with their beaks they tend to quiver or shake their body.
Usually, after having a bath, greys tend to shake their body to dry up and fluff their feathers.
Apart from that, being happy or feeling content and joyous can also make African Greys shake their body. Sometimes, it’s simply their way of showing how happy they are when they see you. They also shake their body when changing their resting position.
- Shaking its head excessively
A little head shaking is not at all a problem in African Greys as it is very normal for them to do so. However, if your Grey is shaking its head excessively or you see it shake its head at a degree that seems too much, know that it might point at some health issues, such as infection in their ears or nares.
In that case, look for medical attention and professional guidance immediately.
- Shaking its chest
Vibrating chest or shaking chest or quivering feathers in the chest area in Greys usually indicates that they are nervous. It is nothing to be alarmed about.
- Shaking its tail
Tail shake in African Greys means either they are ready or excited to try or do something new or they are just happy seeing their owner or someone they love and enjoy the company.
Shaking their tail enthusiastically denotes good mood. However, sometimes, they also indicate frustration or nervousness or fear.
- Shaking its foot
When African Greys usually shake their foot it’s because they wish to shake off anything that’s there on their foot or just to attend to itchiness. Sometimes, when they shake one foot while standing on the other, it also means that they are asking you to pick them up right then.
Remember, seeing your African Grey shaking doesn’t mean always that there’s something wrong with the bird. Rather, make it a point to thoroughly analyze the surroundings and environment you’re keeping your Grey in to identify if there’s anything wrong.
For example, analyze whether the room temperature is okay or not, or whether your Grey is otherwise eating and active, or whether there’s any discharge out of its ears or beak or nares.
If your Grey is perfectly healthy, having proper sleep, eating its food and following a healthy diet and living in a good environment, shaking its body or feathers or head might be just a way of showing its feelings and nothing else.
In case you have any doubt regarding the routine you follow to take care of your African Grey, consult with an avian vet without delay.
Need more info on shaking in parrots?
As the African Grey is such a special breed, we wanted to create an article that shows the most common reasons why this breed shakes. However, there are more reasons. If you want to learn more, read our article on 11 reasons why most parrots shake.
Do African Greys bite their owners? African Greys may bite their owner. While biting is one of their natural behaviors, sometimes, when greys become irritated or aggressive towards the owner due to some reasons, they may nip the owners’ fingers. As a bird owner, one needs to identify whether anything’s wrong with the birds’ routine.
Are African Grey Parrots intelligent? African Grey Parrots are considered to be the most intelligent among birds. Along with being one of the widely favored and popular species of pet birds, they have emotional and mental capacities of a five years old human kid. They are also known for their strong ability to talk and mimic a human voice.
Also, we explain the differences in terms of intelligence between Macaws and African Greys in this article.
What are the common illnesses in African Grey Parrots? African Greys are one of those birds that are easily susceptible to particular behavioral issues and illnesses. Hypocalcemia and Vitamin D deficiency, feather issues like damaged feather follicles, liver disease and weight loss due to PDD are some the common illnesses Greys may suffer from.