Birds aren’t only notorious for their singing, and they’re also known for kissing! Or at least, a gesture similar to kissing.  Although it sounds strange, seeing birds kiss is more common then you would expect. However, it is not as straight forward as it may seem.

When birds appear to be sharing a kiss, it is usually a sign of courtship. Birds often touch beaks and exchange food before breeding season in the Spring. The beak touches can also appear as though the birds are kissing.

While birds may not be actually kissing, they are showing affection in their own way. There are even some birds that appear to kiss humans as a sign of love that was taught to them. Birds can also appear to be dog-like at times with their affectionate behavior. If you’re interested in what it means when birds kiss each other, then keep reading.

How Do Birds Kiss

Often during courtship, birds will touch beaks in a similar appearance of kissing. When you get a closer look, you can see that they have their beaks slightly open to sharing food. This is called courtship feeding.

Males will find seeds and feed them to the female mate. This is not a sign of affection, but actually to provide the female with nutrition in preparation for reproduction. It is a common step during courtship or while the female is on the nest. This can be seen as similar to a bird feeding their young while they are still unable to do so themselves.

The bird that is known most for giving away kisses is the parrot. A parrot will often imitate a smooch sound made by humans when showing us affection. Parrots can also kiss other birds, but this is not as common as with humans.

How do Birds Court?

Bird courtship has a wide variety of different methods. Feeding, or ‘kissing,’ is one of them. Birds can have a long and tedious time during the courtship. It can be exhausting to attract a mate, especially while competing with others. A bird must use every skill they know, and each species can differ.

Singing

Singing is the most common method to attract a mate. A song can show the maturity or other highly valued characteristics in a mate. It can also ward others from a birds’ territory.

Displays

Displays are another, more cosmetic approach to finding a mate. Birds recognize others from far away based on their displays. Male birds have vibrant colors, while the female has duller ones. You can view this clearly in peafowls.

The peacocks have long and beautiful tail feathers, while the peahens tend to be simpler brown. They use their tails to assist in finding a mate, along with other methods.

Dancing

This kind of dancing may not be the same kind of dancing humans do, but it can have a similar effect. The best dancer is often the one who walks away with a mate. A dance for birds can include wing flaps, their heads bobbing, or a variety of different steps. Often a female will watch as a male performs their dance.

Preening

This is a common sign of affection, even outside of courtship. This shows a bond and sign of trust between birds. Preening is used to assist with positioning feathers that may have shifted out of array or plucking out damaged ones. This can also be viewed as something similar to cats grooming one another, or even a human.

Feeding

As previously mentioned, birds will kiss to share food. A male will bring the female food to show that they can provide while she watches over the nest. Not all species kiss to share food, but it is the most known method.

Building

By building a nest, males can not only impress a possible female but also claim territory. Birds also tend to decorate the nests to gain more attention from the female. Even if a female does choose the male, they may feel more comfortable constructing their own nest in preparation.

While many wish to witness a courtship, it is not recommended to disturb them. If it is interrupted, then there is a possibility of one of the birds leaving the possible candidate. These courtships can be exhausting, so it is best to respect the effort put into them.

How Do/Why Do Parakeets Kiss?

Parakeets do share a kiss as a sign of acceptance or even affection. However, this is usually a sign of them wanting food.

Be aware of the difference between feeding and biting. If a bird does bite the beak of their companion, then it means that they have upset the bird in some way. The reason can be something simple, or that the birds may not mesh well. It is recommended to keep an eye out for hostile behavior to make sure it is not a long term issue.

A parakeet is known to show their affection by either chirping or pecking at your hair. These birds are known for being reasonably social and bonding with their owners. They are highly intelligent and develop bonds with their humans.

How Do Birds Show Affection?

While birds kissing may not be what it appears, they do show affection in other ways.

A common sign of affection between two birds is when they are preening or sharing food. So while they may not be kissing, it can still be a show of affection in a different manner. Humans often make the mistake of putting human-like traits in animals, which is why we often mistake them for kissing.

In regards to birds showing affection to humans, this can be done in a variety of different ways. A standard show of affection is a bird cuddling with their favorite human. This can be a show of trust.

Birds will often show their affection by being vocal. The amount of vocalizations, whether it’s singing or something else, depends on your bird.

If a bird enjoys climbing along your neck or attempts to groom you, this is a sign that they enjoy your company. Another way to show their affection is by flapping their wings while in place. You can view a similar warning in their tails. If they appear to wag them as a dog may, then this can be a sign of affection.

As you can see, while birds do not kiss, they do enjoy showing affection and bonding with others. The majority of birds, captive or wild, will seek out a companion no matter where they are.

Can A Bird Love Their Owner?

It is hard to prove if they feel the love in the same way humans tend to. However, it’s clear that birds do bond with their owner over time.

In the wild, a bird with their mate doesn’t necessarily mean much, since they often will move on after the mating season. So while they may show affection at the time, it may not be long term.

This display of affection is where pet birds vary from wild birds. Since a captive bird will usually spend their entire lives with their owner, they tend to show signs of developing a closer bond. 

When you bond closely with a bird over time, it becomes apparent that they have a wide variety of traits, just like any pet does. An owner can become familiar with these quirks and grow to understand what their birds’ actions may mean.

Being able to monitor a bird closely, you can view how they behave around things that make them happy or angry. While it isn’t clear what exact emotions a bird may feel, they indeed display behaviors that show they do feel something.

Final Thoughts

Kissing birds isn’t as strange as it sounds. It happens quite often, and there’s the meaning behind their beak touches. They’re not doing it to show PDA, preferably as a means of survival, since the male bird is feeding the female.

But just because they don’t kiss doesn’t mean birds don’t have feelings. Birds that are pets and birds that are in the wild are both able to form bonds.