VIDEO: Watch This Cockatoo Destroy This Cup Tower & Then Let’s Talk

Is this cockatoo playing or angry?

I saw this bird video over at The Daily Dot, which had the great description for it: “Harley the [umbrella] cockatoo is a winged tyrant, and all shall fear how he rules with an iron talon.”

Harley is the same cockatoo who was screaming into the cups. (An adorable video by the way.) But watching this particular video, I had to wonder: Is Harley mad?

Look at Harley’s body language: Flared crest, fanned tail, fluffed up feathers, spread wings. It’s like an “aggressive bird” flashing sign.

As the late Liz Wilson describes threat behaviors in her article on aggression:

Threat behaviors are characterized by specific body language, such as elevated feathers on the nape of the neck, eyes flashing to show excitement, open beak, fanned tail feathers.

Body feathers may be elevated to make the bird look larger and more dangerous. Like a dog growling, this bird is clearly stating its willingness to bite if the threat is not withdrawn.

Is that what Harley is doing?

I bring this up because there are times when a bird gets very excited while playing, and might suddenly turn aggressive. It’s not anything bad ?it just happens sometimes, but if you observe your bird’s body language beforehand, you can usually avoid it. 

As Liz Wilson writes in her article, “Aggressive Parrot Play:

If [a parrot’s] body language indicates a bite is forthcoming, make direct eye contact and say, “Be a good bird.?Then calmly put him down, and move out of his range until his body language relaxes. If he lunges at you, frown, say “No,?turn your back and walk away. The second his body language relaxes, return to him with lavish praise. The momentary isolation of briefly turning your back should suffice to express your displeasure with his aggression, teaching him more polite ways of interaction.

What do you think about Harley vs. The Cup Tower? Let us know in the comments.

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