Why Do Parrots Hide Their Illness?

There are two answers to that, the ‘real’ answer and the other ‘real’ answer!

People know parrots are flock animals, and yet they don’t always treat them as such. By definition a flock animal needs it’s flock. Parrots are accustomed to being with their flock all the time, which is why I always advocate for having two parrots. It means twice the fun for you, if you spend time with them, and that your parrot will still have a flock when you aren’t around.

What does being a flock animal have to do with hiding illness?

In the wild when an animal is sick they are often killed either by predators or their flock. This may be an act of benevolence or unforgiving, it probably depends on how you think of it. Given that any animal in the wild can’t go into an animal hospital to get well or have a comfortable end, this leaves a sick bird with one option: hide the illness and hope to recuperate.

If a parrot in a flock was obviously ill, they would make their flock an easy target for prey. If predators were stalking them for this prey, the whole flock would be at risk. So the flock minimizes it’s risk.

On the other hand, when a parrot is feeling well, their [[well-being]] depends on the flock. Even in a flock as small as two in our homes, Parrotlets enjoy the company and comfort of another Parrotlet. This, of course, is true for most species of parrot. The other parrot can preen new pin feathers on the head, which a parrot can’t reach on his or her own head. The other parrot’s signs of companionship, such as beak touching, feeding or snuggling, all provide mental, emotional and physical health.

This means that it can be argued that your Parrotlet (and many other species of parrots, such as Green-cheeked Conures, Cockatiels, Budgies and more) hides their signs of illness AND will be healthier when their flock includes you and another parrot!

Have a questions about parrots?
As the author of “The Parrot Bliss Bond,” I love and welcome questions about having a parrot and creating one of the best experiences of your life!
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