Birds engage in all sorts of unusual mating rituals, from dances and feathery shows to songs and sometimes rubbing up on potential mates with their backside. Although the display varies from one species to the next, they all show their intent through physical displays.
Why does my bird rub his bum? I will share several tips to help you figure out whether your bird is courting, venting, or scratching an itch that could be parasites.
The main reason your bird rubs his bum on you is because there is irritation around his vent area from poor hygiene. It is vital to make sure your bird is bathing regularly, and his bottom is clean. If so, it could also be a sign to mate if your bird is a certain age and experiencing hormonal reactions.
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Your bird is rubbing his bum on you to get your attention. Though there are several possible reasons, if he’s at a certain age, puberty hormones probably make him act on his instincts.
Older male birds may also practice courtship with humans if they don’t have a mate they prefer.
The courting rubs are often more common with opposite gendered pet owners, but they aren’t exclusive. When your bird likes you in a more than ‘just friends’ way, he doesn’t care about human gender hangups.
According to Lafeber, “Small parrots like the budgerigar parakeet, cockatiel, and lovebird reach puberty between 6 months to 1 year of age. Conures achieve sexual maturity between 1 to 2 years, while lories and lorikeets are 2 to 3 years old. Larger psittacines reach puberty between 3 to 6 years of age.”
If the bird seeks you out for the rubbing, it’s hormonal. However, there are other reasons and types of bottom rubbing.
However, I regret to inform you that, if getting chatted up by your pet (who you might have unknowingly been encouraging) bothers you, the other reasons they frequently rub their bums aren’t likely to make you any happier.
Bird Vent Rubbing
Bird vent rubbing can indicate other problems, but the term is often used as a discreet way of explaining that birds masturbate.
Since bird biology is very different from mammals, the rubbing feels nice to your hormonal, horny bird. If you see them rubbing on toys, or your pet takes a sudden and fervent interest in rubbing on your hands, arms, and shoulders, or anything else that holds still, they are really enjoying it.
You may have noticed I used a gender-neutral ‘they’ rather than saying ‘he’ will rub on you. It was intentional because male and female birds both engage in this behavior.
It is slightly more common in pubescent males, but all birds can engage in vent rubbing. Moreover, smaller species like parakeets (budgies) and cockatiels tend to experience these hormones more often.
As Live Science points out, “Unlike mammals, most male birds don’t have penises. Instead, both male and female birds have what’s known as a cloaca. The cloaca is an internal chamber that ends in an opening, and through this opening, a bird’s sex organs — testes or ovaries — discharge sperm or eggs. This same opening also serves a less-sexy purpose: the expulsion of urinary and digestive waste.”
To stop your pet from rubbing on you, gently remove the bird from your person and put them back in their enclosure.
Even brilliant domestic bird companions are still animals and have no concept of making you uncomfortable with their natural urges.
Why Does My Cockatiel Rub His Bottom
Cockatiels often start vent rubbing around puberty. You may notice your pet rubbing its ‘butt’ (also known as a cloaca or vent) against its perch.
Even more obviously, birds sometimes make happy noises as they rub. This is a sign that the rubbing is achieving its desired effect on the bird.
He will stop when he has finished up, but this is not a one-time behavior. You can expect your cockatiel to continue rubbing his bottom on things.
If you want to have baby cockatiels, this is an excellent time to get a partner for him and set up a space where they can nest and raise eggs.
Cockatiels prefer a well-hidden spot where they can feel safe from any predators, real or imagined. An enclosed nesting box in the back of a larger enclosure will ensure your pets have a higher chance of fertilizing eggs together.
Parakeet Rubbing Bottom
Parakeets might be vent rubbing as well. Sadly, these small, brightly colored, friendly birds are also prone to worms.
Not only are parasites itchy, but they can endanger your pet’s health if not treated. It’s essential to take them to a vet for diagnosis and treatment.
Because of its diminutive size, a parakeet has a delicate body. Your veterinarian will be able to prescribe the exact right amount and type of medicine to rid your pet of parasites.
Helpful Tips To Know About Why My Bird Rubs His Bum
Birds are going to rub on things. Sometimes it’s an innocent head rub, which signals affection, but other times it is vent rubbing with their bottom, indicating either a desire for mating or a problem causing pain and itching.
Here are a few more helpful tips to know why my bird rubs his bum.
- When your bird rubs their bum on another bird, they are making advances. Typically, birds stick to their own species, but they aren’t always that picky.
- It’s normal even if your bird has been rubbing their vent a lot. Although rubbing is more common when birds reach the equivalent of puberty, they may still do this as they get older. Every bird has their own personality and preferences. It would be best if you didn’t try to stop them from doing this, but you should not encourage them to rub on you either because it’s a bit gross. One thing you can do immediately is to stop petting their backs. Rubbing along a bird’s back mimics sexual activity. What seems sweet to you seems like courtship to your pet. You’re essentially telling them you want that behavior. Give them a head scratch instead and consider getting them a mate from their own species.
- Allergies can also cause a bird to rub his bum on things. Like any animal with skin, irritants in the environment can make a bird itchy, and some are born with a natural intolerance to one or more allergens.
Anytime your pet begins a new behavior pattern, you should pay attention and ask why they are doing this. When your bird rubs his bum on things, it’s either breeding and self-pleasure related, or something is wrong with his cloaca.
A little warm water with no soaps in it and a soft cloth is all you need to help them clean up, but when it’s more serious or amorous than a little stuck on poop, you need a different solution.
See a vet if you suspect a problem. However, if your pet is making unwanted advances at you, be patient, don’t pet their back anymore, and gently set them somewhere, they can’t rub on you for a little while.