On 10/20/04, Jane C wrote:
I raise Red Bellies along with some other African species. I
will attempt to offer you some information that may or may
not help you?
> Our Parrot- Jack, is about 18 weeks old (pet store
> estimate, and we have introduced him to his new
> surroundings by placing him in a area that he can feel
> safe, we change food and water daily and provide frequent
> attention in the form of lots of speaking and hand feeding
> with bits of fruit etc. However he is displaying some odd
> behaviour that we don't understand:
> 1. He stoops low over his perch (almost lying down on his
> belly) and flutters his wings very quickly for 5-6 seconds
This behavior can often times indicate nervousness or
distrust. It's somewhat of a submissive posture and
indicates that the bird is unsure or feels threatened.
Patience and soft talking can aleviate fear.
> 2. He has started to screech REAL loud - the pet store say
> he was quiet when they had him. We read not to respond but
> he does it morning and evening (normal?) and during the day
> for extended period whether we are there or not - mostly
> while hanging upside down!.
Most Africans are quiet for the most part. However, ALL
birds have some vocalizations that are very normal. The fact
that you notice this both morning and evening indicates that
these are the calls that he would use to communicate with
other flock members, should he have them. You are the
new 'flock' so to speak, so these calls are intended for you.
Also, since he does this while hanging from his cage roof,
tells me that he is very happy and has a zest for life!
> 3. He appears to have no interest in the toys we have
> placed in the cage ( all designed for parrots)
Toys are something that a bird learns to accept and play
with. It may take time. Right now, his new family, new home
and environment are taking priority and playing will come
> 4.We really want him to be allowed out of his cage but he's
> not responding to our efforts to tame him - he doesn't
> panic if you slowly replace his food and water and will
> take grapes from your fingers (he throws them straight on
> the floor) but he looks terrified the whole time and for
> the most part shy's away and climbs to the top of his
> cage. On one occassion I placed my finger close and
> repeated UP UP but he bit me - presumably out of fear, and
> although it hurt a bit it didn't draw blood.
Again, another fear response. Going to the highest point that
he can find is his version of locating a safe place. Your
hand represents something that is foreign to him. Is there a
history with this bird? Did the pet store buy him from a
private breeder and was he hand fed? Keep in mind too, that
hand feeding doesn't always indicate a calm, tame bird. You
can hand feed, but if the hand feeder doesn't interact with
the baby, hand feeding is only slightly better than parent
raised. But don't despair, I have wild-caught birds that are
almost as tame as hand fed after being with me and being
treated with respect and kindness. Your bird is young and
has great potential for being tame.
> Can anyone advise us on what his odd behaviour means AND
> how should we go about training him. He's a lovely bird
> and we want him to be happy
Give him time, time, and then some more time. Let him get
used to his environment and routine. Always speak softly and
with positive tones to your voice. Read and learn how to do
this. One book I like is "Parrot Training," by Bonnie Munro
Doane. There are others and most have something to offer.
The Red Bellied is probably the most animated of the Africans
and will learn to talk and mimic. They, like most Africans,
can have their 'special' person, so exposure to many people
is advised. But this has to happen after you start to make
progress with your bird becoming used to you and family
Sorry for the length, but this is only a few suggestions that
I can offer. Others will have more information for you, too!
Be Patient and in time, you will see what a wonderful
companion your new bird can be.