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11 Signs Your African Gray Parrot is Happy

African Gray Parrots are known for their high intelligence and sometimes quirky personalities. These charming birds can form strong bonds with their human companions and thrive in an enriched environment. As a responsible parrot owner, understanding your pet’s emotions is crucial to ensure their well-being. In this article we will look at 11 signs that your African Gray Parrot is happy and content in its home.

Each African Gray Parrot is unique and will form personalities of their very own, and may exhibit different signs of affection, fulfillment, and importantly – happiness! But, there are some common behaviors to be on the lookout for that usually mean your feathery friend is happy.

11 Signs your African Gray Parrot is happy

1.They are playful

African Gray Parrots are highly intelligent birds, and they thrive on mental stimulation. A happy African Gray will exhibit playful behavior as a way to entertain themselves and interact with their environment. You might observe them hanging upside down from their perch, swinging on toys, or even tossing objects around. 

2. They are chatty!

African Gray Parrots are renowned for their exceptional ability to mimic various sounds, including human speech. A happy African Gray will be more inclined to vocalize or speak in a cheerful and enthusiastic manner. You may hear them whistling tunes, chirping, or even laughing.

These birds are also known to imitate sounds they hear around them, such as doorbells, telephone rings, or the sound of other pets in the house. Vocalization is a crucial aspect of a parrot’s communication, and when your African Gray actively engages in “conversations” with you or the environment, it signifies their happiness and sense of security.

3. They engage in proper preening and grooming

Grooming is an essential part of a parrot’s daily routine. When your African Gray spends time preening its feathers, it serves multiple purposes. Firstly, it helps to keep their plumage clean and in good condition, ensuring proper insulation and flight capabilities. Secondly, preening is a form of self-care that helps birds relax and maintain their overall well-being. Observing your African Gray indulging in feather preening is a positive sign that they are content and feel safe in their environment. 

african grey parrot eating
African Gray Parrot snacking

4. They have relaxed body language

By looking closely, you can probably read your parrot’s body language to see if it is feeling content. A content and happy African Gray will appear relaxed. When they feel comfortable and at ease, their feathers will appear smooth and slightly puffed. Additionally, their stance will be balanced, with one leg tucked under their body while the other is used for stability. A stressed African Gray may pace or sway back and forth.

5. They have a healthy appetite

A healthy appetite is an excellent indicator of a happy parrot. When an African Gray is content, they will readily show enthusiasm during mealtimes. You might notice them eagerly inspecting and chowing down on their favorite foods. An increased curiosity about exploring new food items is also common, showing a sense of adventure and well-being.

6. They will play with toys and explore their surroundings

African Gray Parrots are inquisitive birds that enjoy exploring their environment and surroundings. A happy African Gray will actively interact with toys, puzzles, and enrichment activities. Providing a variety of toys, including puzzle feeders, foraging toys, and chewable items, will help keep them mentally stimulated and content. When an African Gray eagerly engages with these toys and activities, it is an indicator that it is feeling happy and healthy!

7. They will show you some love

African Gray Parrots are social creatures that can form deep emotional bonds with their caregivers. A happy parrot may seek physical contact and affection. They might lean towards you, cuddle, or even request head scratches by lowering their head towards you. If your African Gray is showing these behaviors, it most definitely feels safe and happy around you.

african grey play ball
African Gray playing with a ball toy

8. They are active and energetic

A happy African Gray will be active, energetic, and curious. These birds have a high need for mental and physical stimulation. Providing them with opportunities for exercise, such as supervised flight somewhere safe, or climbing on play gyms, will keep them engaged and content. When an African Gray is active and lively, it is a pretty good sign that it is happy. 

9. They don’t show signs of stress

Perhaps one of the clearest signs of a happy African Gray is the absence of stress-related behaviors. A content parrot will not excessively pluck its feathers, bite, or show signs of fear or aggression. Instead, they will exhibit relaxed behavior and a seemingly positive attitude towards their surroundings. A stress-free environment and a strong bond with their caregiver are very important for an African Gray’s happiness.

10. They are more responsive to training

Happy African Grays are quick learners and enjoy mental challenges. When they are content and feel safe, they are more open to training and eager to please. Positive reinforcement training techniques, such as using treats, praise, and clicker training, work effectively with African Grays, and they respond well to the rewards they receive for exhibiting desired behaviors. Training is a great way to stimulate your African Gray while also creating a stronger bond between you and your parrot.

11. They may be relaxed around visitors

A content African Gray feels at ease in its environment, and this comfort extends to interactions with visitors. While some parrots may be naturally more reserved or shy, a happy African Gray will display relaxed body language and may even engage in playful banter with familiar guests. They might greet visitors with sounds, head bobs, or by spreading their wings slightly, all signs of a bird feeling comfortable and secure in its surroundings.


The more time you spend observing and interacting with your parrot, the better you will understand their typical behaviors. This list should give you a good idea of how they will behave when feeling happy and safe. Conversely, lack of interest in food, aggression, lethargy, disinterest in toys and not engaging with their environment could be signs that they are unhappy, stressed, or feeling ill.