Are Parrots Afraid Of Thunder? [Fearful vs. Excited Reaction] (2023)

(Last Updated On: October 8, 2022)

The loud noises that thunder makes can be terrifying for pets. When thunder arrives unexpectedly, the loud noise can startle captive parrots, resulting in fearful and defensive behavior.

Some parrots fear loud thunderclaps, leading to self-mutilation, loss of appetite, vocalization, and stress bars. However, other parrots grow excited by thunderstorms because it signifies that food will soon be abundant and breeding season is approaching.

When thunderstorms occur, scared parrots must be kept comfortable, so they don’t self-harm.

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Do Parrots Get Scared Of Storms?

Research suggests that parrots can detect when storms and bad weather are coming. The Journal of Experimental Biologyexplains how birds alter their behavior based on ambient pressure changes.

Parrots can detect barometric pressure declines before a storm (thunder, lightning, and heavy rain) arrives. As a result, parrots can detect storms, preventing them from developing a fear of storms.

However, storm detection can have the opposite effect, as parrots will ready themselves for danger. Some parrots may show signs of stress hours before the storm arrives.

Do Parrots Get Scared of Thunder?

Much depends on the parrot’s personality regarding whether it gets scared of thunder.

Parrots sensitive to loud sounds won’t like loud thunderclaps. More confident parrots are less likely to be fazed by the experience.

Many wild parrots live in rainforests, where storms are relatively common. So, they’re accustomed to the sound of thunder.

During the monsoon season in Australia, rainy, stormy weather signifies that food will soon be in abundance. Warm, wet conditions provide the optimal ecosystem for plant growth, which parrots feed off.

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These plants also support insect life, providing food for parrots whose diets consist of insects. As a result, thunder can be seen as a good thing for parrots because the weather it’s accompanied by provides parrots with the sustenance needed to survive.

Thunder signifies that breeding season is about to commence. In the Amazon rainforest, the rainy season starts toward the end of February to early March, which is when thunderstorms are most likely to occur.

During this period, parrots become sexually mature and experience surges in hormones that get their bodies ready to nest and lay eggs. Therefore, parrots may react to thunder by singing and dancing as they’re excited about the start of the breeding season.

Do Parrots Get Scared of Lightning?

Some parrots have no problem with lightning and may not even notice the sky lighting up. Others may be confused about what lightning means and become stressed.

Wild parrots understand that lightning means thunder, wind, and rain. To avoid being too high, where they can be whipped around by extreme weather, they’ll find shelter nearer the ground or in tree hollows, which is usually where parrots nest.

In dense rainforests and woodlands, lightning causes fires, which can destroy large sections of the forest. Therefore, many parrots are on high alert when lightning strikes in case they need to flee.

Do Parrots Mind Loud Noises?

Parrots accustomed to a noisy environment will likely cope better with these sounds. However, parrots that live in a quiet, peaceful environment may fare worse.

The hearing ability of parrots is comparable to a 60-year-old man. Parrots can hear noises relatively well and are troubled by them if they’re sudden and loud.

How To Tell If A Parrot Is Scared Of Thunder?

Parrots scared of thunder may show stress symptoms before the storm’s commencement. The following indicates that a parrot is scared:

Stress Bars

Stress bars are small lines that run horizontally across each feather shaft. They show that your parrot is fearful of a thunderstorm when they appear.

Stress bars are easier to see on molted feathers, but they’re more common on wings. It isn’t possible to tell what’s causing stress bars from the feathers alone, but they highlight something’s wrong.


Some parrots will scream, while others hiss. If your parrot is usually quiet, excessive vocalization signifies a problem. Similarly, if you have a noisy parrot that’s gone silent, it’s upset by the thunder.

Fluffed Up Feathers

Parrots fluff their feathers when scared to make themselves appear larger and more threatening. Parrots confronted by predators usually do it, but it’s also a natural reaction to fear.

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When parrots are stressed by thunder, they’ll fluff up their feathers, which you’ll notice alongside other signs. Observe the symptoms to determine whether thunder is the cause of fear.


Feather plucking doesn’t happen in the wild; it only affects captive birds.

Not only do parrots pluck their feathers out of the skin, but they also dig into their skin with their beaks. Very stressed parrots may harm the muscle and bones, causing damage to the pectoral muscles.

According to the Exotic Animal Veterinary Center, self-mutilation can be life-threatening.

It’s most commonly observed in lovebirds, cockatoos, African greys, and Eclectus parrots. Unfortunately, once self-mutilation begins, it’s hard to stop after the thunderstorm ends.

Loss of Appetite

When parrots are scared of thunder, they may refuse to eat, as they’ll be unable to focus on anything other than their fear. Usually, a parrot will regain its appetite shortly after the thunder ceases.

How To Keep Parrots Calm During A Thunderstorm?

Some of the most effective ways to calm a parrot during a storm include:

Hiding Spaces

If the thunderstorm is accompanied by lightning, keep your parrot away from the window where it can’t see lightning flashes. Blackout curtains should keep the room dark.

If you don’t have curtains, move your parrot to a room with small windows to minimize exposure. You could also place a blanket over part of your parrot’s cage.

Provide toys and games to occupy your parrot, and keep checking on it to ensure it’s okay.

Are Parrots Afraid Of Thunder? [Fearful vs. Excited Reaction] (2)

Play Some Music

When thunderstorms are raging, play calming music for your parrot, as this will drown out the sound of thunder.

White noise machines provide natural background sounds that enable parrots to feel more at ease.

Stay Close To Your Parrot

Parrots that prefer human company will appreciate your presence when a thunderstorm arrives. During the storm, remain in your parrot’s room and speak softly to keep it calm.

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If your parrot sees you’re not afraid, it should also feel less scared.

Read a book to your parrot, or turn on the TV and watch it together. Remain calm at all times, even if you’re scared of thunder and lightning.

Calming Supplement

Dried chamomile or chamomile tea is known to soothe stressed parrots. It can even help birds sleep and prevent them from plucking their feathers or displaying other self-mutilation behaviors.

If your parrot displays destructive behaviors brought on by stress, place some lukewarm chamomile tea into a shallow dish for your parrot to drink.

While wild parrots know what thunderstorms mean, captive parrots may be unfamiliar with the loud claps of thunder. If so, comfort your parrot. Once the storm has gone away, most parrots’ behavior normalizes.

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Are birds scared of thunder? ›

Some birds have no problem with thunderstorms or fireworks, and may even enjoy watching them. Others shake, hide, or, worse yet, bolt off or thrash.

Do parrots get scared of storms? ›

For the larger parrots that may live in rainforest areas, water scarcity is usually less of an issue, and rain and mist may be more of a constant part of life. Thus, they may be less likely to react, or at most simply become a bit nervous at the approach of an especially big storm.

How do birds react when scared? ›

Frightened birds hold their feathers in close to their body. Cockatiels put their crests up. They might huddle in a corner or rock from side to side. Extremely frightened birds will threaten by snaking their neck out and hissing.

What are parrots afraid of? ›

Parrots are prey animals and can startle easily by new large objects, loud noises, and sudden movements. Keep your parrots away from the sight and sounds of predatory animals.

What do birds fear the most? ›

Generally speaking, birds hate strong smells, shiny objects, and predators, both birds of prey or larger animals or humans within their vicinity.

What are birds most scared of? ›

Things to scare birds away

Predator statues such as lifelike scarecrows, owls, coyotes, snakes or cats that can be moved around every few days. Shiny objects such as old CDs, foil pans or silver reflective tape. Large colorful balls placed in the garden or from trees will look like eyes to birds. Flashing lights.

How do birds react to thunderstorms? ›

Seek Shelter

Because many birds are so tiny, even tucking against the trunk of a tree can be good shelter from the worst wind, driving rain, or stinging snow. Birds will seek out hidden cavities or nestle under branches, brush, or other shelter to keep out of bad weather.

How do birds react when a storm is coming? ›

Birds tend to stop flying and take refuge at the coast if a storm is coming. They'll also fly low to avoid the discomfort of the falling air pressure.

What sounds are parrots scared of? ›

3 Sounds that Scare Birds
  • High-frequency, ultrasonic sounds. One of the best sounds to get birds to scatter (and perhaps not to return) are synthetic sounds such as high-frequency, ultrasonic sounds. ...
  • Ultrasonic bird repellers. ...
  • Sonic bird repellers.

Do thunderstorms affect birds? ›

Despite these survival strategies and adaptations, however, storms can still be deadly to birds, and many wild birds die during severe weather. Storms that impact nesting areas are especially devastating, as birds may not be able to re-nest during the same season.

What do birds do during thunderstorms? ›

When bad weather hits, birds generally seek shelter from wind and rain in dense shrubs or thickets, next to heavy tree trunks, and on the downwind side of woods and forests. Cavity-nesting birds hunker down in nest boxes and natural cavities to ride out storms.

Do birds get scared of storms? ›

There is some evidence that birds respond to drops in pressure and therefore seek shelter before a storm hits. They also tend to avoid high trees during lightning storms to avoid being whipped around from the tops of trees.

Where do birds go when it thunders? ›

During storms birds can hide in bushes and dense trees, they may be able to find calmer areas on the quiet side of a wood, protected from some of the winds. In our gardens, birds may hide in quiet dense bushes, especially behind sheds or fences or thick hedges which may help protect the small birds.


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