Parrots easily take one of the top spots when it comes to pet animals that you can bond and interact with. Incredibly intelligent and playful, parrots are sensitive creatures that tend to get deeply attached to their owners. And the best part is, there are plenty of parrots in all shapes, sizes, colors, and dispositions that can fit your unique pet preferences.
But in that same vein, do parrots know their owners?
The answer is yes. Parrots know their owners. Given proper time, love, and attention, parrots are brilliant birds that can recognize their owner’s voices and face when correctly domesticated. And as long as you are a responsible pet owner, you will be able to form a surprisingly profound relationship with your parrot.
That said, this recognition and bond has its limitations. For example, depending on the type of parrot, these birds can get confused if their owners drastically change their physical appearances, like clothes or hair. However, once that bird recognizes its owner, then the bond and trust will resume.
Keep reading to learn more about parrots, how they can recognize their owners, and how that can turn into a lifelong bond.
Do Parrots Know Their Owners?
As mentioned above, yes, parrots do know their owners, especially if that person spends a lot of time with them. Parrots are incredibly intelligent and highly sociable creatures, so them recognizing their owners and being able to bond with them shouldn’t be surprising.
But how are parrots capable of this?
Well, parrots tend to recognize their owners by pairing them with indicators, such as:
- Physical appearance (hair, clothes, etc.)
- Scent (perfume or fabric conditioner that you always use, etc.)
Pair that with a good memory that lasts longer than other birds, and it’s easy to see how parrots recognize their owners.
There’s even a phenomenon called “one-person bird,” when a parrot tends to bond and be affectionate with only a single person in the household. Usually, that person is the one that spends the most time with them.
When this happens, a parrot will usually only respond to “their” person and even show signs of jealousy or aggression when they see their owner play or bond with another bird. Furthermore, the same aggression can also be seen when someone they don’t deem as “their” person tries to handle or touch them.
However, this behavior is discouraged, as it usually means that the parrot sees you as their mate.
Additional reading: Do Birds Have Memory? (Here’s the Answer)
How Do Parrots Recognize Their Owners?
To understand how a parrot can recognize its human owner, it’s essential to know how the parrot evolved as a species throughout millions of years.
We’ve previously mentioned that parrots are sociable animals, which is true even in the wild, as these creatures live in flocks and rarely have solitary lives. However, because parrots aren’t exactly like people with different faces, mixing flocks can be easy.
So to help avoid any confusion, parrots develop unique flock-only sounds, which are used to identify with each other. This is the same behavior that parrots use to form close bonds not just with flock mates but also humans.
To recognize owners, parrots use these indicators:
As birds, parrots have scent glands that they can use to identify flock-mates, predators, and their owners. However, a parrot’s sense of smell isn’t particularly strong compared to other animals, making them rely more on their eyes and ears.
Still, their scent glands are strong enough that, with time, they can also be used to help them recognize their owner. However, when they do recognize you, it won’t be by scent alone.
Arguably the strongest sense they have, parrots have an exceptional vision to hunt and stay alert against predators in the wild. And even when domesticated, their vision remains the same.
As such, parrots tend to use their vision to recognize their owner’s faces, hair, and clothing. However, any drastic change you make in your appearance, such as wearing an item of clothing you don’t usually wear or cutting your hair, will confuse them. Most parrots also don’t see well in low lighting, so they can mistake you for a stranger in such conditions.
Lastly, parrots can use your voice to recognize you. This is because vocalization and bird song are essential to bird species, and parrots, in particular, use them to identify flock-mates in the wild. They can also use calls to warn others from predators or direct them to a nearby food source.
As such, they apply the same principle to their owners. Furthermore, parrots are well-known for mimicking human words, so they can use words you often say to help recognize you.
Additionally, male parrots also mimic the unique call of a female if they wish to mate with her. After pairing, they will use this unique call to find or communicate with each other.
Additional reading: How to Tell if Your Bird is Happy
How to Know if a Parrot Recognizes You
When it comes to parrots, each one often has a unique quirk that they do that lets you know they are bonded to you. However, whatever that quirk is, it’s usually apparent if a parrot already likes or recognizes you.
Such behavior includes:
- Calling to you
- Moving closer to your hand or a part of your body near to them
- Flying to your shoulder or head
- Mimicking phrases you either say often or have taught it, especially when you’re there
- Raising its chest and wings to you in a playful manner
How to Get a Parrot to Recognize You
No matter what bird it is, the best way to get it to recognize you is to always spend time with it. By nature, birds (especially commonly domesticated ones) thrive in attention, and they like getting it from people they recognize.
So if you want your parrot to be comfortable with you and start bonding with you, you can do the following:
- Hand-feed it
- Provide it with food
- Softly speak to it
- Once it bonds with you, talk to it in an excited voice
- Play with it regularly
- Avoid any yelling
- Avoid sudden behavior that can surprise it
- Sharing activities
- Providing it with a safe and secure home
- Out-of-cage activity
After some time, your parrot should be able to recognize that you like spending time with it. When this happens, it will form memories with you and build trust, and that’s how bird-bonding works in a nutshell.
Additional reading: 10 Best Talking Birds for Beginners
It’s no wonder that parrots are easily one of the most delightful when it comes to birds. Not only are they intelligent, but they’re complex enough to build lifelong bonds with you and tend to stay loyal.
And you have to admit, having a pet bird that perks up when it sees you, let alone recognize you, is something not everyone can say. So when you achieve that form of bond with your pet, make sure to take care of it, as you do your parrot.