Psittacine Behavior, Handling, and Restraint

Key Points

  • Study principles rather than methods. The mind that grasps the principles can develop its most effective methods.”—Author unknown
  • Any behavior that is being increased is being reinforced; any behavior that is being decreased is being punished.
  • “Old-school” capture and restraint focuses on physically overpowering the bird. Problems associated with this approach may include an increase in learned fear-eliciting stimuli and learned aggression.
  • Keeping sound behavioral science in mind when handling and restraining companion parrots, will result in increased sensitivity to their behavior and an earlier appreciation of fear-associated responses allowing us to adjust our technique for optimal comfort of the patient.
  • When getting a bird out of the cage or carrier, systematically take a brief period of time to sort through all potential fear-evoking stimuli as well as favorable stimuli to the bird.

Behavior is the most direct tool a wild bird has to respond to its environment, and it ultimately determines whether it survives and breeds in its natural environment. There are two functional categories of avian behaviors: self-maintenance behaviors and social behaviors . . .

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Speer BL, Murad JW. Practical psittacine behavior, handling and restrain laboratory. Proceedings of the European Assoc Avian Vets, 2009, 433-444.

Further Reading

  1. The Cambridge Center for Behavioral Studies
  2. The Gabriel Foundation
  3. Living and Learning with Animals
  4. Good Bird Inc
To cite this page:

Speer B, Murad J. Psittacine behavior, handling and restraint. May 22, 2009. LafeberVet Web site. Available at