Pionus Parrot's Forum

The Wonderful World of the Pionus Parrot Species => Pionus Parrot Chatter => Topic started by: Julie T on September 19, 2014, 09:40:36 PM

Title: Fluffing head Pionus body language
Post by: Julie T on September 19, 2014, 09:40:36 PM
So Raven has been doing this head (and around face) feather fluffing every now and then lately. All the other body feathers are laying flat and he's still sitting down. I don't recognize this as a body language used by any of the other parrot species I've had/have.

Since I wasn't sure if it was a friendly or not so friendly posture, I slowly went to stand by him on his swing outside the cage, and I crooked my index finger (like the motion you're telling someone to come here except with the back of your hand facing up). I do this motion to tell him I'd like to skritch his neck since I know he likes me to ask first. When I did it, he didn't bend his neck down, but he didn't act aggressive either. That further made me confused. He was also talking this whole time. Even though he didn't bend his neck down for me, I slowly reached over to his head to see if he'd be receptive. He gave me a little warning nip which was not hard at all, in fact I wouldn't even call it a bite. Just telling me I don't want to be touched now.

Anyone else see this head fluffing where the rest of the body is at rest and smoothed down? I'm just wondering why he's doing it nowdays. I've never seen him or anyone else do that before.

On a separate note, he isn't old enough to do the 'Pionus Strut' yet but I'm curious what that looks like in person lol, though I'm not looking forward to hormones.
Title: Re: Fluffing head Pionus body language
Post by: Jan on September 19, 2014, 10:38:08 PM

Yes, a Pionus Strut can be at any age, I've seen my 3-4 month old baby birds do it some but usually at a young age it is taken a little differently than when older. As far as feather fluffing ... I've seen not just Pionus but other birds fluff up only their head feathers and not body feathers.  Sometimes I've noticed the head fluff can be due from something catching their attention, I think it can even be from contentment, relaxation, relieving tension.  I know a full head, body fluff and shake is to get rid of dust and such in the feathers.
Title: Re: Fluffing head Pionus body language
Post by: Dartman on September 19, 2014, 11:31:55 PM
Sometimes a head fluff means they are happy, many times they are upset or concerened so I'd watch the eyes and vocalizations to try and figure out which one it is. Nerd used to have a happy to be here with you fluff and maybe look happy at me and go Erk! Gently as a happy comment, plus his eyes were soft and happy looking. Lurch tends to fluff when concerened or upset so I too approach with caution, and NEVER touch them when strutting.
Title: Re: Fluffing head Pionus body language
Post by: momazon on September 20, 2014, 01:35:07 AM
My zon and Maxi will fluff a bit around the face when they are just talking. Different than a body fluff, I think. Not prone to biting.
Title: Re: Fluffing head Pionus body language
Post by: maxsmom on September 20, 2014, 05:42:30 AM
Wow, Dobby is not prone to biting....lucky you!
Title: Re: Fluffing head Pionus body language
Post by: Julie T on September 20, 2014, 09:56:00 AM
Thanks. It's just pretty ambiguous when Raven does it. He was talking to me, he let my hand close to him, yet didn't want to be touched, but didn't bite aggressively. I just looked at him and said what in the world does that mean Raven? Lol.

It's not the body fluff and shake off that all parrots do that Jan mentioned. Also he's not strutting YET... Yes, I know not to touch if it happens! I saw vids of it now, and it reminds me of an Amazon display.

The reason I'm asking is that up until now, Raven hadn't done this. Now he's doing it a noticeable amount at 1 year old. Just curious that's all  :) most of my experience has been with several Old World species, and they don't do this. Maybe it's the South Americans who have more similar traits idk.

It could just be as you guys say, something small like an emotion, or something catching their attention, etc. but that doesn't explain why he JUST STARTED doing it a lot and not before. Nothing has changed except he turned 1 in August.
Title: Re: Fluffing head Pionus body language
Post by: momazon on September 20, 2014, 11:02:34 AM
Wow, Dobby is not prone to biting....lucky you!

No, no, he does bite, just not so much when he is talking and only has a head fluff!  Winter is coming, and when I wear hoods or hats he will body slam my head and fly off. Biting is only one of the tools in his arsenal!
Title: Re: Fluffing head Pionus body language
Post by: Dartman on September 20, 2014, 11:41:38 AM
AHHH YES, the EEEVIL hoodies and hats, I'm well acquainted with that one, much to my necks chagrin :shocking:
Title: Re: Fluffing head Pionus body language
Post by: Jadebirdie on September 20, 2014, 05:03:14 PM
Now see, my 11 yr old B/H female, Jade, struts several times a week around and around the perimeter of her cage playtop.  When I see it, I will excitedly repeat "ooh, how pretty!" which gets her going more.  At any time mid strut, I can touch her or scratch her head and she will not try to bite.  When she head fluffs it definitely means she wants a head scratch.  So, my point is that they all have their individual quirks and behaviors and in time, you learn what each movement means.
Title: Re: Fluffing head Pionus body language
Post by: Dartman on September 20, 2014, 05:21:05 PM
I had Nerd for 31 years and I could touch him in mid strut, but I usually respected him and left him alone. If they truly trust and respect you they'll allow things nobody else will be allowed to do.
Lurch isn't quite there yet so I respect him and like you said every bird is different so you have to read em and act accordingly.
Title: Re: Fluffing head Pionus body language
Post by: Julie T on September 20, 2014, 11:28:33 PM
my point is that they all have their individual quirks and behaviors and in time, you learn what each movement means.

Just like I know my 20 year old Red Bellied parrot like the back of my hand! :) Yes, it really does take years to learn them that well as individuals.
Title: Re: Fluffing head Pionus body language
Post by: Julie T on September 20, 2014, 11:37:42 PM
If they truly trust and respect you they'll allow things nobody else will be allowed to do.

Raven has that sort of trust and bond with my hubby. Raven is MY bird, and Don isn't even really a "bird person" as far as knowledge beyond playing with birds goes!

It was practically love at first sight with those two!! Birds have their preferences for certain people over others just like us. Sometimes it's not an obvious reason that you could see.

I will have to get to my phone to post a pic of Don cuddling Raven with his hands. Something I could never do.
Title: Re: Fluffing head Pionus body language
Post by: Julie T on September 20, 2014, 11:57:04 PM
Here's an example of what Raven is willing and comfortable doing if he REALLY likes you. Look at his expression. He's truly content. Don just did it to him one day and Raven went right along. He can just grab him and play with him like a puppy (like you can with some macaws). It's absolutely unreal!

With me he's a typical hands off male Pionus, and is very particular about when and what I'm allowed to do with him. He'll very occasionally bend his neck down for a rub, and I can hold him close and pet him for just a moment sometimes, but usually he doesn't like me touching him at all, and doesn't even like to step up for me half the time. He likes me near him though in the same room, and will preen my hair if I stand close to him on his cage. He doesn't dislike me, I'm just not his favorite. I take 100% of the responsibility for him and Don has no decision making regarding him, as he's MY bird, only Raven doesn't know that haha :(

(http://i1318.photobucket.com/albums/t657/jletaz/Mobile%20Uploads/4E28D2CE-D9CF-45AD-B5D3-C3FB3D8B7AC5_zpsbjdgdatq.jpg) (http://s1318.photobucket.com/user/jletaz/media/Mobile%20Uploads/4E28D2CE-D9CF-45AD-B5D3-C3FB3D8B7AC5_zpsbjdgdatq.jpg.html)

Title: Re: Fluffing head Pionus body language
Post by: Dartman on September 21, 2014, 12:05:04 AM
AAHHH! Daddy loves me :) I could do things like that with Nerd. SOMETIMES I can do some things with Lurch besides letting him sit on my knee or shoulder and get scritches and preen but have to make sure he's calm and receptive first so I don't push it.
I used to really rough house with Nerd and he loved it too :biglaughing: Lurch would shred me if I tried at this point but sometimes he'll reach over and gently grab or nip my fingers like he's trying to figure out how to start a play fight session, but with his history I have to be pretty careful about that.
Title: Re: Fluffing head Pionus body language
Post by: maxsmom on September 21, 2014, 02:58:03 PM
Unfortunate when they choose another as favorite.  Max loves to be near me but prefers me not to scritch very much. So you are not alone. Difference is I live alone. Raven's joy is undeniable in photo.
Title: Re: Fluffing head Pionus body language
Post by: Dartman on September 21, 2014, 03:29:48 PM
Lurch is like that with my sister, he likes her and loves to share toast and ride around on her shoulder when she's working in the kitchen, but she's not allowed to scritch him or really touch him other then handing over treats. Sometimes he gets tired of the treat, or the hands holding the treat and fluffs, or even screeches and strikes at the treat with her.
BUT she knows his moods and body language well enough now she just says fine, sets it down, and turns her back on him.
Luckily he decided I'm the one as that was the plan all along and his original owner was a old guy so I kinda resemble him, except for the really old part... :shocking:
Title: UPDATE: Fluffing head Pionus body language
Post by: Julie T on December 19, 2014, 12:10:49 AM
I posted this thread in September originally, asking about Raven's ambiguous head fluffing. Now that it's December, and I have seen MUCH more of this posture, and there is no doubt that he does not want to be touched when his head is fluffed in this particular way. He is much more aggressive now and prone to biting (or trying). It seems like he's like this 50% of the time! He's even getting territorial over his food which he wasn't previously. I know Pi's can be cage territorial too, and Raven is not, so I'm praying I'll at least have that stay that way. I'm not holding my breath though. I know he's a male Pionus (not unlike a small male Amazon) and I'm ready for it. It's just that it's a bummer sometimes. Sometimes I wish my female didn't die, or I got a female this time. But no, I really wanted a male, and I knew what I was getting into.. I just need some moral support here is all, from those who experience the same thing first hand. This and in the next year or two I know will be the hardest, since it's his first hormone surge  :(.

Also... He bites with NO warning body language!! At bed time. That is the time in particular when he can show no noticeable warning (feathers normal, looking relaxed) and still bite to draw blood. I suppose he's becoming defiant when it's time to go to bed. From this day on, I will use the stick to put him to bed. I type this with my bleeding finger.  >:(
Title: Re: Fluffing head Pionus body language
Post by: maxsmom on December 19, 2014, 04:46:49 AM
It gets better. Hang in there. Nourish him regardless and he will appreciate it.

Give Raven time to mellow.....it takes years. I know I have many years ahead to wait for Max to mellow but I see improvements. Try a training exercise activity now. I do not train enough but I truly believe if you get their minds interested in training they are more positively engaged and less aggressive.

Yes, females sound cuddly but it is nice not to deal with eggs. Hang in there. I have not come out on other side completely but I see changes as Max approaches 3 in 3 months
Title: Re: Fluffing head Pionus body language
Post by: maxsmom on December 19, 2014, 04:50:07 AM
Interestingly most  of regulars have males....you, me, Momazon, Cetan, Dartman, Eloy....so you have support
Title: Re: Fluffing head Pionus body language
Post by: momazon on December 19, 2014, 01:52:46 PM
Yes, just like other species, males can be aggressive without a clear reason as we see it.  One useful thought I hold in my head is what Terry (Dartman) says, which is that pi's have their own rules that we don't understand. Dob needs to play with the dishtowel and chew holes in it every morning or I am in big trouble.  Likewise, he has to sit on my computer with music playing to get a decent head scritch, and he must be allowed to forage on the counter every morning and night. A little like living with a tiny dictator!  Like you, I love it, but we had agreed to  female and were told he was.  When we went to pick him up, the dna certificate showed he was a male.  Of course, we had been visiting him and feeding,  and my daughter was very attached.

The funny thing, is that my zon is clearly a male, and for 11 years we had been saying how very sweet "she" was.  Now that we know, every nip is attributed to Nasty Male Zon Syndrome.  Same bird, same moods. I wonder how much stereotyping I did on my human child, oops,  sorry sweetie!

I agree that training spends a lot of energy and they are nicer, but the head fluffing is hard to read.  Hang in there, the bond grows so much over the years.
Title: Re: Fluffing head Pionus body language
Post by: Dartman on December 19, 2014, 05:22:43 PM
If it helps at all when Lurch first got here and was mad at the world he would bite quickly with no warning I could detect and I'd had Nerd for 31 years and could read him fine. He's probably getting hormonal and getting used to what's his and defending it. Lurch now will mostly give very clear warnings but I think where he was before he gave up because his clear to him back off signals were ignored so he went straight to a fast hard bite to protect himself.
Now that he knows we respect his warnings he gives them again and doesn't try to bite as hard or fast, plus he's learning a unwarranted bite ends all play time or treats.
He still gets pissy and pops the back of our necks when something isn't going like he wants but MOST times it's now noise and a light touch or peck.
There are still things that make him homicidal like certain hats, then all bets are off. When I see the crazy look in his eyes I check what hat and hoody I'm wearing and remove them if that's his trigger/issue.
Keep at it and eventually you two will reach a understanding. :shocking:
Title: Re: Fluffing head Pionus body language
Post by: Julie T on December 19, 2014, 11:24:45 PM
Thanks so much for the support everyone. It's good to know that you regulars have males too, so you can relate. I believe it does take years for them to mellow, but good news maxsmom that you already see little changes with Max at almost 3.

Robin my Red Bellied parrot who despite is much smaller, has a beak ALMOST as big as a Pi, and was downright vicious there at about 10 through most of his teens (I don't know why so late), but year round he was feisty, with hormone season being worse where he'd take chunks of flesh out of me. FINALLY it seems that in the past year or so (after turning 20 in July) he has mellowed out and is a really sweet and tolerant bird now. It also helps that we're bonded and he loves me (unlike Raven and I, although Raven is still so tolerant with his 'daddy')! This right now is Robin's hormone season, and knock on wood, he's pretty nice! His occasional hard bites are still nowhere near as vicious as when he was younger.
SO, I'm thinking we may have some years with Raven like what I went through with Robin, and then one day he'll mellow out some!

Truth is, I won't let Raven know through my body language, but I'm almost afraid of asking him to step up anymore. I'm now leery about how close my face is to him nowdays too. I guess there will be no more step up and a close hug and kiss before bedtime anymore since I will be using a stick now to put him to bed. He usually doesn't like to step up for me anyway, and now that he shows no detectable body language, I don't trust him. That's what I hate... Like the African Poi's, many times they show no detectable body language, or only a split second before the attack. I HOPE that Raven being a Pionus, he will EVENTUALLY stop just biting without body language like Lurch did. Maybe it's because he's still young and hasn't completely read the manual on "how to be a Pionus" yet!  :biglaughing: