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why is my budgie clicking its beak?

Why Do Budgies Click Their Beaks?

Budgies (parakeets) produce various sounds, from special calls to beautiful songs to unexplained noises.

If you hear clicking sounds from a budgie, you may be concerned that something is wrong with its beak or it’s chewing and biting on something it shouldn’t.

Usually, beak clicking in budgies is defensive behavior, as it occurs when they see something scary or threatening. Also, it can mean that a budgie is acting territorial, as it wants a bird or animal to back away.

Budgies get substances stuck in their beaks, so any clicking is a removal attempt.

Don’t confuse beak clicking with beak grinding. One indicates territorial behavior or fear, while the other is a self-soothing habit.

Budgies that grind their beaks will do so side-to-side, while clicking is an up-and-down motion. If your budgie is clicking its beak, check its space and behavior for problems.

Budgie Making Clicking Noise With Beak

Beak clicking occurs when a budgie clicks the top and bottom of the beak together.

As mentioned, new owners often mistake beak clicking for beak grinding. Although they produce a similar noise, they’re different actions with different meanings.

As the name implies, beak grinding occurs when a budgie grinds its top and bottom beak together, which is akin to humans grinding their teeth.

While beak clicking is a defensive behavior, grinding the beak is a sign of happiness and contentment.

Why Is My Budgie Clicking Its Beak?

The most common reason is unhappiness, especially if coupled with these behaviors:

If these signs occur, you’ll need to take steps to de-stress your budgie.

Beak clicking shouldn’t be ignored as it likely means that the budgie is warning others away.  

What Does It Mean When Parakeets Click Their Beaks?

There are four reasons why budgies click their beaks:

1/ Scared

Budgies use short, high-pitched sounds to signal a threat or defend themselves. Clicking is one of the defensive sounds that we hear from budgies when they feel in danger and afraid.

You may notice that your budgie is clicking its beak when presented with something scary or threatening, such as a predatory pet, loud child, passing traffic, encroaching shadows, or scary sounds from the TV.

When it clicks its beak, a budgie is saying, ‘Stay away!’

budgie making clicking noise with beak

2/ Territorial Behavior

Budgies may click their beaks to tell others to stay away from their territory.

However, the budgie may not just warn you away from itself, but its entire living area and cage. Although small and good-natured birds, budgies need their own space to feel safe and secure.

If your budgie is making clicking noises at you, consider if you’re encroaching on its territory. A budgie may feel threatened if it has been backed into a corner or fears that it’ll be removed from its cage.

When it comes to defending space, female budgies are more likely to be territorial than males because they’re tasked with protecting eggs. The female will try to keep predators away with loud noises and may fend off threats and danger with her sharp beak.

A budgie could be protecting its favorite toys, perches, and food/water bowls. If a budgie thinks it owns something, it may become protective of that object.

Territorial behavior can become a problem, especially if a budgie shares a cage or aviary with other birds. Territorial behavior concerning space can be resolved by giving your budgies a larger cage or transferring some more territorial birds to a new cage.

Territoriality over objects can be more difficult to resolve. You may buy a food bowl for each budgie, but territorial budgies may still seek to take ownership of everything.

Unless you can identify a reason for this behavior, moving them to their own cage may be necessary for more dominant and aggressive budgies.

3/ Sign of Dominance

Territorial behavior and dominance often go hand in hand.

All budgies need their own space and will feel stressed and threatened in a cramped, confined area. However, some budgies remain aggressive, even when they have access to plenty of space.

Budgies with this disposition won’t just be hostile toward other birds but also their owners. Dominant budgies may click their beaks at you, even if they don’t feel threatened or frightened. Clicking can be a budgie’s way of saying ‘I’m the boss!’ and will be unruly and disobedient.

Dominant budgies tend to be more aggressive and territorial than normal. They can be a significant problem in an aviary, not just for you but also for the other birds.

However, this behavior can usually be addressed with ongoing training. After all, aggression is often due to a lack of socialization, so you can train your budgie to be less aggressive and dominant.

Other reasons for behavioral problems include sickness, a lack of nutrients, and a stressful environment. So, optimize your budgie’s diet, remove any stressors, and get your budgie checked over by a vet.

4/ Something Stuck In Beak

Having an object stuck in the beak can lead to prolonged stress and anxiety. After all, it may be difficult to remove, and it can hamper the budgie’s ability to eat, drink, play, and preen its feathers.

Unfortunately, a budgie that’s unable to eat food or drink water may not survive for more than 24 hours. So, the ability to consume food and hydrate is fundamental to their short-term survival.

Food is the most common thing that gets stuck in the beak, usually seeds and grains, since they’re small and sticky. Sticky food, like peanut butter and rice, are common culprits.

If your budgie constantly clicks its beak without explanation, consider if there is something stuck in its beak. You might need to towel your budgie and examine the beak and nasal cavity to check.

Budgies often click their beak to show distress and discomfort. By taking a closer look at your budgie’s beak, you can correct or rule out that explanation. Don’t confuse beak clicking with beak grinding, as this is a positive behavior that requires no intervention.