15 Signs of a Happy African Grey ( Expert Opinion)

Last Updated on April 14, 2023 by Ali Shahid

When you adopt or purchase an African Grey Parrot, it becomes an important member of your family. You will do everything in your power to make your grey parrot happy. However, how will you know if your efforts are effective?

For this, you have to understand the signs of a happy African grey. A happy African grey sings, has a relaxed body with ruffled feathers, follows you around, regurgitates, preens, flaps his wings, and wags his tail. 

According to parrot behavior experts and trainers, African Grey’s body language and vocalizations say a lot about their mood.

Having a thorough understanding of these behaviors will help you determine your African Grey’s mood. Continue reading to learn more about these signs and what they mean.

15 Signs that Your Grey Parrot Is Happy

1. Making body contact

It is very positive if your African Grey enjoys cuddling with you. Clearly, it is attempting to establish a close emotional relationship with you. Observe if it tries to climb on you, rubs against you, or rests on the back of your neck.

Your gray parrot is showing you these signs of affection to show that he is happy and likes you.

2. Playful behavior

You can tell if your African Grey is happy if he or she plays with toys or climbs on the cage. When they are feeling content, they will often engage in these activities to keep their minds and bodies active.

3. Singing and whistling

Singing and whistling are two of their favorite activities, and they often imitate music and sounds heard on the radio and television. Even though these sounds are not shrill, they are enjoyable to listen to and demonstrate this intelligent parrot’s ability to mimic.

Whistling is also regarded as a happy sound. They perform this task when they are relaxed and comfortable.

4. Beak Grinding 

African grays grind their beaks as they clench their bills, using their tongue and lower beak for balance.

This usually occurs when the parrot settles down for the evening, which indicates satisfaction. Most grinding sounds are soft and peaceful, leaving little to be concerned about.

5. Regurgitation 

It is a sign of love and appreciation to regurgitate. The African grey holds down its eyes and snuffs out its long neck before expelling its food.

It is believed that this behavior is intended to establish a connection with their companion and to provide food to their young. Regurgitating for you is a sign of trust and adoration between you and your parrot.

6. Hanging upside down

The sight of an African Grey hanging upside down may alarm its owner. However, you should rest assured that this behavior is completely normal.

The grey parrot is capable of hanging upside down for a variety of reasons, including playing, eating, drinking, and even sleeping.

If you observe a parrot hanging upside down before you, this is a good indication. It indicates that they are comfortable with you.

7. Flapping Wings

It is true that a bird’s wings are primarily used for flying, yet they are also capable of conveying emotions.

You can tell your gray parrot is happy when you see it flapping its wings when you approach it. In fact, a bird flapping its wings and not flying away is a sign of happiness.

8. Wagging Tail

As with wings, the tail movements of your bird convey emotions. Grey parrots usually wag their tails when they are happy to be around humans (much like dogs).

However, this can also be an indication of forthcoming feces. In most cases, a bird moving its tail rapidly (or vice versa) is a sign that it is pleased to be with you.

9. They take interest in you

It is likely that your parrot is trying to play when it mouths you. If a parrot is playing with you, it probably indicates that he or she has taken an interest in you.

Nevertheless, it is important to note that mouthing is different from biting. A parrot that bites you may be acting aggressively, but it may also be attempting to communicate with you.

The act of mouthing appears similar to biting, but it is not accompanied by an actual bite.

10. They bite others

This isn’t the most pleasant way for a parrot to show that they like you and definitely shouldn’t be a behavior that is encouraged.

With that being said, if your parrot attempts to bite or attack other people when they are in your presence, it probably means that they are being territorial of you.

Parrots bond intensely with one person and sometimes they don’t like when other people take that person’s attention away. Sometimes, the result can be aggressive behavior toward other people.

While this is not a good way for your parrot to display their affection, it is a sign that they consider you its territory and that they like you.

11. Purring

Although gray parrots do not generally purr as a form of communication, when they do, it is generally a sign of happiness.

It is important to note that grey parrots may purr more or less than other species, but a purr should not be confused with a low growl. In many cases, the two words sound similar but have entirely different meanings.

When a parrot purrs, it signifies happiness and pleasure, but when it growls, it indicates dissatisfaction or fear. Growling parrots should never be approached; this is a warning sign that you should avoid them.

12. Pinning

The African grey has the ability to control the size of its irises, expanding and contracting rapidly. It is a response to stimuli, which can be an expression of excitement, curiosity, fear, or happiness.

Typically, grey parrots pin their eyes in response to their environment. This will be evident by its relaxed posture.

However, if an African gray puffs its feathers while pinning its eyes, it may be feeling angry or afraid. It is likely that it will bite or become aggressive at this point.

13. Standing on One Foot

An African gray parrot feels relaxed and comfortable when it stands on one foot. This can be observed through loose feathers that are not tightly attached to the body.

In addition, parrots stand on one leg in order to reduce the loss of heat from their bare bodies.

14. Ruffled Feathers

African grays ruffle and fluff their feathers in order to ease tension. The parrot will feel more comfortable after such a short stretch.

Additionally, ruffles are used to remove loose dirt and debris after preening. There is nothing to worry about with the dust falling from African grey feathers.

An African grey that maintains its fluffiness for several hours is likely to be ill or cold.

15. Enjoy your company

It is a sure sign that your gray parrot likes you when it follows and competes with you.

In fact, it might mean they’ve picked you as their “forever mate.” You now have a lifelong friend, so you should feel truly blessed!

How do I know if my African Grey Parrot is happy?

African Gray Parrots’ happiness varies according to their personalities and needs. Yet, if you provide plenty of toys, playtime, fresh food, and affection, you may be able to make your bird happy.


When your grey parrot is around you, its movements can provide you with a great deal of information. You can learn a lot about the emotions of a gray parrot by observing its movements, including its body, wings, and tail.

You can usually tell that the bird is comfortable around you if you observe that it is relaxed and calm around you.

If it moves its head back and forth in your direction, it means it is comfortable with you and is looking for affection and love.

In cases of discomfort, birds may yawn and puff up their feathers while moving from side to side.

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