Why Do Birds Jerk Their Heads?

Birds jerk their heads because it is one of the common behaviors of birds. The action of jerking their heads is called head bobbing and a bird bobs its head for various reasons and we will have a look at it in detail. 

Why do birds jerk their heads

Birds bob their heads 

  • To seek the attention of the owners
  • To stabilize their vision
  • Courtship
  • If they are hungry

To seek the attention of the owners

If your pet is not satisfied with the environment or if you do not give attention to your pet while feeding food or if they feel ignored, your feathered friend will bob its head

Another reason for your pet birds to bob their heads is Boredom. If they feel so, their only way of passing their time is head bobbing. Make your pet happy by spending some time and talking to your feathered friend.

Related Read: Why do Pigeons Bob their Heads?

To stabilize their vision

One of the research states that Pigeons and Chickens bob their heads as they walk. We humans use our eyes to visualize our surroundings without moving our heads. But these birds bob their heads to maintain the stability of their vision. 

The research further states that their neck is more flexible and they bob frequently which helps them in visualizing their surroundings.


Some of the pet birds especially budgies and parakeets bob their heads to attract their opposite gender and to find their mate. This action is called courtship ritual and they will continue this action till their young ones are born. 

The interesting part is, some parakeets will bob their heads looking at their reflection in the mirror thinking that it may be another parakeet.

Birds also bob their heads to express their emotions, usually when they are angry or excited over something they see. A few birds will bob their heads to express aggression if any other bird comes to its living area.

If they are hungry

The young ones of the birds will start to bob their heads after 24 hours of hatching. If they are hungry they bob their heads and it is one way of communicating to their parents that they need food. The young ones will start crying and bob their heads until they are fed.

Does Bobbing heads frequently signify a symptom or a disease?

Yes, At times bobbing heads can be a symptom that symbolizes Vitamin A deficiency, or a parasitic infection, and sometimes it leads to mental illness.  

The owner should observe their pet bobbing heads. If they bob their heads when they are not hungry or they don’t need a mate then the owner should analyze the other normal behaviors of the birds such as their feathers, eyes, the sound of the birds, and other daily activities.

 If the owner feels something fishy with the behavior of the birds then the owners should take their feathered friends to a veterinarian immediately.

Do birds bob their heads to music?

Yes, Probably some pet birds bob their heads up and down if they hear any pleasant musical sound. Some birds are tamed to bob heads according to the musical pattern.

Birds jerk their heads for various reasons and the owner of the pets can spend some quality time with them to identify their need for head bobbing and to keep them happy.

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