Characteristics of parrot behavior may vary according to the species. One characteristic many psittacines share, however, is the ability to whistle and speak. Many parrot species are also capable of mimicking various sounds. Whether a parrot is inclined to form words or simply mimic sounds may be influenced by environmental factors. A wild parrot's behavior may differ somewhat from that of a domestic pet, although both share similar instincts.
Vocalization is a common characterization of parrots in the wild. In a natural habitat, parrots typically vocalize in the early morning and late in the day. Some refer to this vocalization as squawking or screeching, but this is actually the way parrots communicate. It is also instinct for a parrot to remain absolutely quiet when it feels frightened or threatened.
Another common characteristic of parrot behavior is flocking. Flocking behavior is often done when foraging for food or during flight. In a bird's natural habitat, it is common to find a flock of parrots perched on treetops, as parrots are not solitary creatures. Domestic parrots who are kept as pets may bond with a companion bird, or with an owner and caregiver.
Not all parrot species display the same characteristics. For example, parrot behavior of an African grey parrot tends to be somewhat different from that of a blue-fronted Amazon. Although African greys are considered to be the most intelligent of the species, these birds tend to be more timid and shy than an Amazon parrot or a cockatoo. As a domestic pet, the African grey tends to bond to one person, whereas it is not uncommon for other parrot species to bond with several members of the household.
Macaws are the largest of all parrot species, and these birds are also considered the noisiest. Macaw varieties include the blue and gold, scarlet, and very rare hyacinth. Common parrot behavior of macaws would be a strong chewing instinct. In the wild, parrots will chew tree bark, seeds, and nuts to keep their beaks from overgrowing.
Parrots kept in captivity occasionally display self-destructive behavior. Parrot behavior known as feather plucking may be due to boredom or lack of stimulation and exercise. This is why it is necessary to provide a pet parrot with stimulating activities, toys, and social interaction. It is rare for parrots in the wild to pluck their feathers due to frustration or boredom, as there are many opportunities for birds to stay active and satisfy their natural instincts.