Height Dominance

Height dominance refers to behavior displayed by some pet birds perched above the eye-level of people surrounding it.


An old and possibly outdated label denoting the difference in behavior seen in some parrots when pet birds are perched above eye level. Generally speaking, more aggressive behaviors are noted. Some experts question whether or not this is actually an issue of “dominance,” worrying that the use of this often-misunderstood label will encourage aggressive responses from people, which will not solve the problem.


Theories abound on this subject, including the theory that height only exaggerates an already existing problem. In other words, when a pet parrot is already on the border of being out of control, increased height can exacerbate the problem.


While some pet parrots do not change their behaviors when higher than eye level, those that can respond aggressively need to be handled carefully. Often, climbing onto a footstool to reach eye level with the bird is all that is required for compliance, until the person is able to decrease resistance in the bird’s behavior. Incidentally, increased height can also be effective in boosting the confidence and comfort level of a frightened or anxious parrot.

Disclaimer: BirdChannel.com’s Bird Behavior Index is intended for educational purposes only. It is not meant to replace the expertise and experience of a professional veterinarian. Do not use the information presented here to make decisions about your bird’s health if you suspect your pet is sick. If your pet is showing signs of illness or you notice changes in your bird’s behavior, take your pet to the nearest veterinarian or an emergency pet clinic as soon as possible.

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Behavior and Training · Birds