All About Beaks

Parrots are called hookbills, because they have curved beaks.

This kind of beak helps them eat varied foods. It is great for cracking nuts!

Your parrot’s beak is made out of the same material that our fingernails and toenails are made out of, keratin. They have blood vessels and nerves in them and are basically hollow. While beaks are mainly for eating, they also act as a 3rd foot which helps them climb, and hang, and move.

A parrot can trim his own beak by eating and playing. Watch for an overgrown beak which indicates a nutritional disorder or illness.

Mites can sometimes attack beaks, because they are overgrown. Beaks are sometimes misaligned, some parrots will take care of this themselves if it is a small misalignment but some parrots will need to be treated by a vet.

Beaks can be cracked in flying accidents, cracks need to be fixed. You don’t want an infection starting by food that has got into the crack. A cracked beak will hamper eating too. Remember a beak has nerves in it, so a crack will hurt!

Another thing that hurts is a parrot owner flicking the beak, if the bird is being naughty, please don’t do this.

Parrots “click” and “cluck”, clicking indicates fear and aggression and clucking says come here and give me a love please! Parrots also grind their beaks, generally when they are about to go to sleep, it is a sign of a contented, happy parrot.

There is an action called beaking, generally done by baby birds, they taste, and feel, and explore with their beaks much like babies putting everything in their mouths.

As parrots don’t have napkins, they wipe their beaks on perches, and toys, and cage bars. This is why regular cleaning of the cage, perches and toys is important.


This is an incurable disease. It ends in death or having to put the parrot to sleep. It is confirmed by a blood test. Symptoms include feather loss, beak lesions, abnormal feather growth and general illness. This disease can be passed from bird to bird so be careful. It is a virus and passes quickly between birds, it is thought that feather dust, dander, may play a part in it.

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