Parakeet Head Bobbing 101 - Top 5 Reasons Budgies & Pet Birds Dance And Move Their Heads Up And Down

Parakeets are one of the world's most popular types of pet parrots. Their small size and fun-loving, gentle nature make them the perfect choice for families.

Parakeets, or budgies, love flying freely so it’s best to set aside some time for them to be out of the cage and explore the wilderness that may be your room. Be sure to keep all harm away or covered though, so they don’t bump into something and get hurt.

However, first-time parakeet owners are oftentimes puzzled by their head-bobbing behavior. A parakeet may suddenly bob their head up and down for no apparent reason.

The sight of a colored bird bouncing their head around is enough to put a smile on anyone's face, but what causes this rather unusual behavior?

Male Parakeets Looking For a Mate

Male parakeets will bob their head up and down while performing a dance to attract nearby females. I guess you could say this is their mating dance, as it draws the attention of female parakeets in the area.

If you have a female and male parakeet placed in separate cages, there's a good chance the male will perform a little head-banging routine to try and get the female's attention. Unless you want to chicks on your hand, though, it's a good idea to keep the male and female away from each other during this time.

Note: Male parakeets may also bob their head in front of a mirror, believing they are looking at another living parakeet.

Territorial Aggression

Parakeets are also known to bob their head to warn others that the surrounding area is their territory.

If another bird enters the parakeet's territory, they'll bop their head up and down to show they are the biggest and baddest bird around. The other bird will likely back off to avoid confrontation with the head-bobbing parakeet.

Unless you are the parakeet's owner, you'll probably want to keep your distance if they are bobbing their head in an aggressive manner.


Of course, some parakeets bob their head simply because they are bored.

When a parakeet is cooped up inside their cage for long periods of time with no interaction with humans or other parrots, they'll naturally grow bored and want some entertainment.

As an outlet for their boredom, they may bounce their head up and down. In this matter, it is also important for a budgie to have somebody to play with other than its owner or you can also teach your bird to speak during your free time.


Baby budgies also bob their heads to draw attention to their parents, which may be because of hunger. As babies, they tend to me more needy and dependent.

Once baby budgies are weaned from their parents, they are taught to fly from perch to perch and baby budgies respond by crying while bobbing their head. This will go on until the babies are fully independent of their parents and can now freely explore the world on their own wings.


As parakeets are also known to be attention-loving, they bob their heads to show entertainment to their owners. They are very smart small creatures having personalities separate and distinct from one another. Some may be more outgoing and cheery than the rest.

Once budgies have adapted to the behavior that their owners want, they can dance and bob their head to make the environment merrier and in this way, they get the attention that they crave. You can also figure out steps to get your budgie to love you in return.

Is It Normal?

The good news is that head bobbing is a completely normal behavior in parakeets. Nine out of ten times, they do it to catch the attention of others, but a bored parakeet may also bob its head to help pass the time.

Want a more tranquil pet? Then check out the larger English budgie.

However, don’t take every bob heading episode lightly as this may be a cause of illness. Take note of your budgie’s behavior very carefully and as an owner, the connection you have with your pet should give you an instinct once something doesn’t feel right.

Don’t hesitate to take matters to a veterinarian for further checkup and treatment. Prevention is always better than cure.

Wrap Up

Hopefully, this will give you a better understanding of the mysterious 'head bobbing' behavior among parakeets. There are also other types of behaviors that parakeets have as a sign of body language.

Be observant of their beak, eyes, tail, vocalization, overall posture and most especially, nutrition as some parakeets may have Vitamin A deficiency. But most of all, enjoy your parakeet’s companionship as this has been said to extend their lifespan longer!

Have you noticed your parakeet bouncing their head? We'd love to hear your story in the comments section below!

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  • This article left out 2 of the most common reasons for head bobbing: when the Parrot is excited—for example when vistors come to the house—and to regurgitate food to give to the one s/he loves, be it another Parrot or his human Mom or Dad.

    Christie Wagner-Starley on
  • I have ring neck parakeets flying free outside my window in london every morning. I hang feeders on the window. They allow me to go within a few feet of the window and have a chat. The babies sit in trees making an incredible noise bobbing their heads up and down. The babies now clumsily land on my window sill Bob their head and screech in a rhythmic way and are learning to get on the feeder. They are quite aggressive towards each other. It’s a joy to see the birds freely flying about outside and visiting me every day. The noise can be a bit annoying though! Thankfully they fly off to visit other parts to return in the early evening for a seed top up.

    Marianne jefferys on
  • I enjoy my parakeet Bubba is his name. He stays in the cage all the time. If I’m outside in my chair he goes with me ,cage and all. He does a little talking. I leave music on for him when I go out and he says Praise the Lord and appears to be happy most of the time. He loves his bird baths with sprays from the house. He Bob’s his head and I’m assuming he is a happy ,healthy bird.and does chirp alot.

    June N DeFelice Smith on
  • My budgie bobs her head when my male budgie gives her kisses. Pretty cute

    Ash on
  • My budgie bops his head to his perch in a crouched position and cherp.. Peking at the perch and bopping what does this mean?

    Leesa Fera on

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