Besides being aware of the best ways to care for your lovebird(s), knowing the body language– or birdie language— as I like to refer to it, is very important. It could prevent a bite, for instance, and believe you me those can HURT!
One sign that your bird is happy and content is while they are resting on a perch, usually with one leg tucked under the body and the beak is opening and closing at a steady and regular pace. Many times you will notice the tongue darting in and out as well. Don’t be alarmed, it is most likely a sign of contentment.
Regurgitation is actually a sign of affection (I almost took mine to the vet thinking she had eaten something toxic) If your bird looks like it’s having small convulsions and opening it’s beak at the same time, he/she is often saying I LOVE YOU.
I know, weird right?
….but in nature bonded pairs feed each other this way and mothers feed the young through chewing up food and regurgitating the remains into the babies open mouths.
No, you didn’t say the wrong thing, chances are your bird is a bit chilly. Lovebirds will often fluff their feathers in an attempt to stay warm (safe temps for your bird should range from 60-80 degrees) More on that later–but they DO adapt quite well to changes in temperature as long as it’s gradual and not in a shocking, short time frame. Beware of cold drafts in addition to cold temperatures, as they can be insidious to your bird’s health.
I must add that ruffled feathers can ALSO be a sign that your bird is ill and if you notice him/her doing this for a long period of time coupled with lethargy, I recommend a vet’s visit ASAP. It is better to be safe than sorry!
Keep a close eye on your bird if you notice he/she is sleeping more than usual i.e. eyes closed a lot during the day, not moving around for long periods of time, tilted head or neck or just being extra lazy. Lethargy is usually a sign that something is wrong and I would also be alarmed if your bird is spending a lot of time sleeping on or around the food bowl.
If your bird is wagging it’s tailfeathers especially at a rapid pace, it’s usually a sign of excitement and/or happiness.
Flared tailfeathers that stay in one place, however, could be a sign of aggression and you may get bitten. Now keep in mind that a lovebird’s bite can REALLY hurt, but rarely is it dangerous or skin-breaking.
You might notice your bird wiping it’s beak on that favorite perch and it’s kind of cute. They may be just wiping to stay tidy, but often in nature, it is to mark the bird’s territory.
Often a technique used to get your attention or your little lovie is getting ready to take off for flight.
Another attention getting ploy, although sometimes it is to cool the bird off. If your bird extends it’s wings right in front of you, it may mean that he/she is happy to see you. (aww)
Birds love to stay clean and tidy, so for the better part of the day, they will pull at their feathers to clean and preen. This is completely natural and they will most likely do this several times per day. Often you will see them reaching way back into the tailfeathers and cleaning their feet as well. If your bird does NOT do this several times a day, it could be a sign of illness.
If you have a bonded pair, they will most likely preen each other.
Also, check to make sure the vent area is clean and not stained. Obviously there may be a time that they get part of the feces stuck to the vent, but it should fall off within minutes. If the bird has a constant stain or discharge in the vent area , it is most likely a bad sign and you will need to see a vet.
Take the time to observe your bird in all circumstances and you will learn how to read your lovie. As with anything, if you feel there is something critically wrong with your pet PLEASE do not hesitate to take them to a good Avian vet.