How Do Birds Show Affection to Humans?

Some of the most common ways birds show affection to humans are by flapping their wings, cuddling, perching on the arm, regurgitating food, and eating from your hand. Birds will show these signs of affection when they have built trust with their owner.

Birds have always piqued the interest of humans with their brightly colored feathers, chirpy demeanor, and overall beautiful appearance. However, there is always the question of whether they feel and express their emotions in the same way humans do.

Are Birds Capable of Affection?

Like every other animal that can be owned as a pet, birds are capable of affection. These animals have a keen sense of what it means to care and be cared for.

While some of these gestures may be lost to us as humans, you must learn the love language(s) your bird speaks to get the best experience as a bird owner.

How Do Birds Show Affection to Humans?

Depending on the type you own, your bird can show you affection in various ways. It could seek body contact by cuddling into your hand, perching on you, making certain sounds when you are around, or even giving you a beaky kiss.

However, one thing is notably common to all these behaviors: trust. For your bird to express affection, you must have built its trust in you.


This usually comes from subtle body contact at first. The bird usually leans into your hands and lightly rubs just to feel your warmth. This behavior tells you your bird feels safe with you.


Perching on something, particularly on humans who may be predators, requires a bird to have enormous trust. Your bird perching on you is a sure sign of affection as it has put enormous trust in your care.

Eating From Your Palm

Birds recognize that food can be a major trap. This is why they are usually on guard while eating. When they confidently eat near you without standing back or being on constant guard, they are sending a message that they trust you. When a bird eats comfortably from your palm, it is the ultimate message of affection and trust.

Regurgitating Food

Think of this as your dog bringing old socks to comfort you or cats bringing rats they have killed to feed you.

While regurgitating food may appear disgusting, you must understand that some birds keep food in their mouth and travel distances to feed their mates or babies. Doing the same with you is their way of showing their care.

Flapping Wings

You might notice your bird flapping its wings without taking off when you enter a room. The bird is not only signaling that it recognizes you, it’s calling for a treat, a pet, a rub, or a cuddle.

How Different Bird Species Show Affection


With their beady eyes and blank stare, it is quite difficult for you as a human to decipher what your pigeon is feeling. Pigeons mostly show affection through body language and sounds.

The special cooing sound is a mating call, which also doubles as a way for pigeons to show affection to their human caregivers. Pigeons, like other birds, also love body contact by tucking in for a nice cuddle with their favorite humans.


Doves are usually shy and timid animals. When they get bold in how they relate to you, know that you have won their affection.

It takes a lot of trust for a dove to move closer to a human, caregiver or not. If your dove is less skittish around you, takes food from your hands, or even allows body contact, it showing enormous affection.


While Finches are sociable animals, they are not as affectionate to humans as other birds. While they can be very affectionate with their kind, bonding with their human caregivers is an uphill task. The highest level of affection with Finches is that they get more comfortable around humans as time goes by.


With their special ability to mimic human sounds, you might suddenly find a birdy voice saying in clear terms, “I love you.”

Parrots also learn the act of kissing from humans, and if they see it enough, they soon tag it as a sign of affection. While they cannot pucker up, they will make kissing sounds while placing their beaks on parts of your body.

Why is Your Bird Not Showing Affection?

In the same way, birds can be affectionate, they can also show the other side of their emotions. This means they can withdraw or even become aggressive. Here are reasons your bird may not be as affectionate as you want it to be.

Lack of trust

Birds, like other animals, relate to humans based on a level of trust. The more your bird trusts you, the better the bond.

Lack of trust is usually demonstrated with new or young pets. At this stage, it is necessary to practice behaviors that will build their trust. For example, feeding them regularly, ensuring they do not suffer from neglect, initiating body contact as gently as possible, and exercising patience. Trying to jump the gun or force your bird to feel comfortable will not yield results.


Neglecting your animals means you can’t build a bond with them. Think of them as young children, constantly unfed, un-hugged, without words of encouragement. Such children will not develop a bond with their parents. In the same way, your bird does not bond with you if it is constantly starving, in an unconducive or uncomfortable environment.


If your bird is usually affectionate but suddenly exhibits withdrawal symptoms, it could be sick. If your bird is less chatty, cuddly, or lacks enthusiasm when it sees you, it may be time to consult a veterinarian.

It’s All About Trust

Birds are excellent pets because of their natural ability to socialize. While it may be difficult to read their expressions or understand what they are feeling, gaining their trust will give you a window into their emotional ranges as a caregiver and earn their affection.

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