Birds do weird things. Sometimes it is difficult for a bird owner to get into the mind of their bird to figure out what’s going wrong. Is this behavior normal, or does it indicate that there is something wrong? Most of the time it turns out, it is completely normal.
When a budgie rubs its beak against a surface, it is exhibiting a behavior called “beak wiping.” It is a normal thing that birds do, and it has a few different purposes. The main reason they wipe their beaks on their cage is simply to clean and maintain their beaks.
Beak wiping is normal and healthy behavior that you should observe in your budgie. It means that they are following good grooming routines and it is a sign that they are healthy. It is possible that they do it too much though, and that can be a problem.
Beak Wiping: What Is It Good For?
A budgie can wipe its beak for a variety of reasons. And usually, it is for good reason. The most common of them being…
Keeping Their Beak Nice And Clean
A bird’s beak is more than just the thing it eats with. It is the main way that birds interact with the world, just like humans with our hands, so it would make sense that they need to keep it clean. Let’s see you keep your face clean if you had to use it for nearly every task throughout your day!
Throughout the day food can build up on the beak, along with dust, dirt, feathers, and the unavoidable gunk that will build up in a bird’s living area. By rubbing their hard beak against another hard surface they scrape the buildup off of their beaks, and also the skin and feathers of their face.
It is completely normal to see your budgie wiping their beak on various surfaces around their environment, but most likely it will be something hard yet forgiving like the wood of their perch or play structures. So, don’t fret if you see this as a regular part of your budgie’s daily hygienic routine.
Keeping Their Beak Straight And Sharp
Since it is arguably the most important part of their bodies, it makes sense that a budgie would want to keep their beak not only clean but sharp as well. A bird’s beak needs to be honed much like any other bladed tool in order for it to work most efficiently.
In order to cut the hulls and shells of seeds, it helps a budgie to have their beak sharpened to a nice fine edge. They do this in much the same way that they keep it clean, by rubbing it on a hard surface.
Just like a chef honing their knife on a piece of steel, it helps to keep your bird’s beak sharp and free of burs. So, not only is it normal for your budgie to wipe their beak for hygienic purposes, but it serves this purpose as well. Keeping their beak fine-tuned.
What Is Beak Grinding?
And how is it different from beak wiping? Grinding is another grooming behavior with a distinctive sound. It might sound like they are grinding seeds or stones together in their beaks, but they are really scraping together the edges of their beaks.
Why do budgies grind their beaks? It is all part of the beak maintenance routine. They will do this alongside wiping to finely hone the edges of their beaks. While it is a different process than wiping, it serves the same purpose, beak maintenance.
Why Is My Budgie’s Beak Peeling?
A peeling beak can go hand-in-hand, or beak-in-beak, rather, with beak wiping. As a bird’s beak grows, it sheds layers, much like our own skin. The layers of fresh and old beak aren’t always uniform and sometimes it can give your bird’s beak an odd, layered look. Kind of like chipped layers of paint. Not to worry though, this is just another normal part of bird life.
However, if there are deep gouges, cracks, splits or scrapes, or anything that looks painful, you might need to consult a vet. If a bird gets too preoccupied with wiping, it can damage its beak and you may need to prevent this behavior. If they get too preoccupied with a certain structure of surface in their environment, you may need to swap it out with something.
When Beak Wiping Becomes A Concern
Beak wiping is a normal behavior and usually, that is all it will ever be. Unfortunately, it can become a problem or be indicative of a more serious issue. Some points of concern could be…
Territorial Or Aggressive Behavior
Sometimes a bird can get a bit grumpy and grumpy birds can get aggressive to their owners and other birds. If a bird does become irritated, it can rub its beak as a sign of hostility or aggression. Like a bull stomping its feet, or a dog’s hackles raising, birds sometimes show beak wiping as a warning sign. They’re saying, “get back!”
While it might not be too threatening to you or the other budgies in the environment, it is not exactly a behavior that you want to tolerate. If it seems that your budgie is wiping it’s beak in an aggressive manner, you may need to train that habit away with treats and rewards. Or, you might have to put the bird in time out, separate from others, giving the bird some time to calm down.
Your Bird Has A Wiping Problem
Not wiping can cause more of a problem than not. Regular cleaning and maintaining their beak is very important to any bird’s overall health. A budgie’s beak is it’s most important asset and if they are not taking care of it, it can mean that there is another problem at hand.
- Overgrown Beak: An overgrown beak is a sign that something is wrong with a bird. It usually indicates that the bird experienced some sort of trauma, physical or mental, that has caused it to forgo, or be unable, to do normal beak grooming. A bird with an overgrown beak might need medical attention and professional beak trimming.
- Scaly Face Mites: These tiny parasites burrow into the beak and flesh of budgie’s face. They can do a lot of damage if left untreated, even resulting in a budgie losing part or all of its beak. An early indicator is a powdery, scaly appearance to their beak, and increased wiping and scratching. If you suspect an infestation, get your budgie to the vet ASAP.
- Change In Beak Color: If you notice that an adult budgie’s beak has suddenly changed color, accompanied by any other symptoms like, lethargy, depression, irritation, low appetite or puffed up appearance, they should be examined by a vet as well. This can be indicative of a myriad of illnesses.
Beak Wiping Is Nothing To Worry About
A budgie rubbing their beak on their perch is perfectly normal and is to be expected on the regular. It is all part of a bird’s natural grooming instinct, right along with beak grinding. These are just natural habits, even though they can sound a bit odd at first.
As long as your bird is not showing any signs of aggression, symptoms of disease, or any damage to their beak, wiping should be nothing to worry about. Wipe that beak, little budgie!