If you are a new parakeet owner and have been observing your new friend, you may have noticed this little quirk and are wondering, ‘why does my parakeet keep opening and closing his mouth?'. In this article, we will discuss why your bird does this and other behaviors such as clicking his beak and panting. Knowing this will be helpful to you while caring for your parakeet.
Firstly, there are a number of reasons why your parakeet may be opening and closing his mouth. Some of the most common reasons are these:
When I got my first parakeet, one of the first things I noticed was his constant clicking and, upon observation, opening and closing his beak. I knew immediately it was based on the new environment and that my bird was just scared.
Your Parakeet Is Still Eating
You might have caught your parakeet after a meal, and it is still “chewing”. Often, parakeets get bits of seeds stuck in their beak and will click it from side to side in order to dislodge the food.
What you could be witnessing is this; your parakeet trying to get the food out of the top of its beak!
Your Parakeet Is Preening
Sometimes, your parakeet may open his mouth wide and push out his tongue while manipulating it with its foot or beak before closing again. This means they are preening themselves! Birds will use their beaks and tongue to remove feathers, skin flakes, or bits of food from the feathers.
Preening is why you may notice your parakeet turning his head sideways and opening wide. It also looks like your parakeet is biting or eating himself, but do not worry; he is just preening!
Your Parakeet Is Nervous, Anxious, Or Frightened
As mentioned before, parakeets can display this behavior when they are feeling stressed, anxious, or frightened.
When a parakeet is scared, it will start clicking its beak together and opening its mouth to make itself appear more significant in order to look more intimidating. It will also puff up feathers on the back of its neck that give them an even bigger appearance! This behavior is why you will notice your parakeet opening and closing his mouth when he is in a new environment or scared.
In addition to clicking its beak together, if your bird has been startled by something, it may also raise its head as high as possible while fluttering its feathers.
If you have a new parakeet, he is probably scared and nervous because the environment is unfamiliar to them! Try talking softly in a soothing voice while petting him or providing food and water. This behavior should lessen over time with your new bird becoming more comfortable.
Your Parakeet Is Sick
When a parakeet is sick, it may open and close its mouth in order to get more oxygen. This behavior can be mistaken for panting when the bird is just trying to take deep breaths!
If your parakeet has been gasping or breathing excessively after you pet them, it could mean that he's not feeling well.
In addition to opening its mouth, a sick parakeet may also show other signs such as not eating or drinking. If your bird is acting abnormally and you suspect that he might be ill, take him to the vet for diagnosis.
Your Parakeet Is Hungry Or Thirsty
If your parakeet opens and closes his mouth often, even while on the perch or flying around, he may be hungry or thirsty.
If you have recently switched to a new seed brand or have switched from pellets to seeds or vice versa, your parakeet may not have taken to the food and, thus, is still hungry.
Your Parakeet Is Bored Or Lonely
Parrots are social animals who enjoy companionship from their flock members. A parakeet who is bored or lonely may open and close his mouth due to boredom, stress, or loneliness.
If you have tried placing a variety of foraging toys and perches in his cage but are still noticing this behavior, your parakeet could just be lonely.
The best way to alleviate this behavior is by providing your bird with a companion! If you have more than one parakeet in the cage, they should be able to spend time together so that neither of them feels lonely.
Your Parakeet Is Feeling Hot
Birds can feel the heat more acutely than humans, so it is crucial that you provide a balanced environment for your parakeet to live in! If your bird shows signs of discomfort such as panting or opening and closing his mouth while he's on perch, and it is hotter than usual, chances are he needs a break from the heat.
An excellent way to cool down your bird is by misting him with water. You can also have a fan in the room on low power, blowing on it while they are perched in its cage, but make sure it's not too close, or you may do more harm than good.
Your Parakeet Is Stretching Or Yawning
Just like humans do, parakeets will yawn when they are tired. Birds will also stretch their wings and neck in the same way that we do!
If your parakeet opens his mouth while he is stretching or yawning, it is nothing to worry about, again, just like when humans do it – it is entirely natural.
The most important thing to do is to determine what the underlying cause of your parakeet's behavior may be. If you think it might be caused by hunger or thirst, feed him some seed and water respectively before continuing with any other troubleshooting steps.
It also can't hurt to take a look at his habitat for signs of over-heating, as well as making sure he has plenty of things to keep him entertained while he’s in captivity. Remember that just because your pet isn't talking doesn't mean they're not communicating!
Bird mom, blog writer and children's books author. My first ever pet bird was a parakeet, and now I am a proud “bird lady” and even enjoy writing about them!