Why Do Birds Kiss? (What It Means) (2024)


Kissing, for humans, is commonly a sign of affection. Bird kisses are a widely documented phenomenon. In fact, you may have seen videos of birds kissing each other and are now wondering why do birds kiss?

A “bird kiss” is more likely to be courting behavior. It occurs during the breeding season when your birds are feeding each other.

Budgies form close social bonds through sharing food. Some birds may even attempt to “kiss” their owners.

Keep reading below for more information.

Before you scroll further down this guide, check out these other animal-related articles: Do Dogs Like To Be Kissed? and Best Bird Rescues in Australia.

Do Birds Kiss?


Feeding amongst birds can involve touching beaks, as was noted above. A casual observer might assume it’s a kissing gesture. However, many domesticated birds’ kissing behavior is acquired from humans.

They do this by placing a beak tip on the owner’s cheek or mouth. Some of them make kissing noises. Others even go so far as to lick someone with their tongue, almost as a dog would.

Nonetheless, touching beaks should not be interpreted as a sign of love. Beak touching can be a dominant display among birds.

Parakeets, for instance, may use kisses to investigate a newcomer’s presence or demonstrate tolerance towards a fellow flock member.

On the other hand, it might be a blatant sign of hostility. In cases like these, bird owners need to keep a watchful eye on their feathered companions.

Yet, birds demonstrate affection in various ways, certainly not only by smooching.

Whether they are serially monogamous (switching partners every mating season) or are part of a bonded pair, birds display affection towards one another.

What Does Bird Kissing Mean?


When you first catch sight of your birds kissing, you might sigh with delight. You might be thinking that it’s adorable. Love is in the air, at least for your birds. And yet…

Unfortunately for you, a kiss between two birds can mean many different things, the most common of which is probably not romantic love. All the different interpretations of a bird kiss are listed below.


When two birds appear to be kissing, they may exchange food bits. This practice is known as courtship feeding.

The male bird is the one who forages for food. After swallowing, he seeks out a female companion from whom he can vomit the meal. 

There is no evidence that a male and female bird is romantically involved only because they engage in courtship feeding. Feeding each other during courtship has nothing to do with romantic feelings.

Instead, it is the male bird’s responsibility to protect the female and provide her with food so that she can hatch fertile eggs.



The affection between the two birds can still be shown through a kiss. Affection between birds isn’t always romantic; it can be purely platonic.

The parakeet regularly displays such behavior. When kept in a cage with another bird, this species forms strong bonds with its roommate. The parakeet may start kissing the visitor after it can trust it.

This is very significant to the parakeet. Parakeets show their trust in other birds by kissing them. The lack of romance in this act only adds to its endearing qualities.


Most bird species are capable of maintaining their hygiene.

We say “mainly” because the bird cannot reach some spots, such as the feathers on its face. Because of the hourly nature of preening, you may occasionally catch two of your birds’ locking beaks.

The other bird may be cleaning the first one’s feathers because the first one cannot do so alone. These birds keep their faces clean and tidy by cleaning each other’s feathers.

Kissing also transfers natural oils to the recipient since birds have preen or uropygial glands that may do so.

These kinds of kisses are quite pleasant and will make the recipient feel relaxed and content. Also, the friendship between the two birds grows stronger.



If you were to put two dogs together in one area for the first time, it goes without saying that they would sniff each other to get acquainted.

When one bird approaches another, they will nip them. This is a common habit among birds. Rather than a kiss, this is more of an inquisitive touch.

Some birds, like parakeets, use their beaks early in life. The bird may nip or nibble at things as it explores its new environment.

Add another juvenile bird to the mix, and you can be sure that the two will try to bite each other to determine who is the stronger (and more patient) of the two.

If your bird bites at new things as it explores, you can teach it not to. And if you don’t, the biting won’t stop even when they’re an adult! When these birds reach full size, their bites become significantly more lethal.

Do Birds Pair for Life?


Several bird species create lifelong bonds in the wild. Although birds don’t have particularly lengthy lifespans, we shouldn’t underestimate their dedication. Long-term relationships are not common among all bird species.

Many bird species portray various behavioral patterns. Scientists studying birds, for instance, frequently remark that certain species with the highest brain-to-body ratio are the ones that form permanent pair connections.

These birds typically cohabit with a single partner for their lives, and they adhere to the norms and protocols established by the flock’s leaders. Parrots and corvids also share this characteristic.

Like many other birds, the mynah forms lasting bonds with its mate. Yet if one of their partners dies, they can easily find new partners.

Certain birds, like swans and eagles, are monogamous until one of them dies. That’s when they start looking for potential new partners.

Finally, there are birds like house wrens and hummingbirds that have more than one partner throughout their life, and the female of the species is responsible for all aspects of the nesting process.

What is Bird Courtship Behavior?


Courting is difficult. And getting a female bird’s attention can be tough and exhausting. Furthermore, there are many rivalries.

It is common to see birds kissing to entice potential mates with food and rewards. In addition, you’ll see that birds resort to any means at their disposal to win over their mate.

1. Singing

Many types of birds use their songs or dances to woo potential partners. This is done so that potential mates will find them more attractive.

All sorts of birds, from bald eagles to mute swans, use song to attract a mate. When females respond to males’ songs, it is often interpreted as a sign of acceptance or bonding in species where only the males sing.

Yet, for certain birds, singing is also a way to scare away rivals and stake a claim to an area. When it’s mating season, singing can have unintended consequences.

2. Dancing


The majority of birds do not engage in dance. However, those who can do so often put on quite a show.

Many people find the mating season the best time to go bird-watching. Your bird might even start bobbing its head to the music.

In order to attract the attention of surrounding females, some birds will even gather in large numbers and perform elaborate dances reminiscent of clubgoers performing group dances.

Parrots and peacocks flash their colorful feathers while other birds demonstrate their physical prowess and stamina.

Some bird species, like the Laysan Albatross, the Red-capped Manakin, the Costa’s Hummingbird, and the Magnificent Riflebird, have been found dancing to attract mates.

3. Displays

There isn’t a more magnificent display than that of a peacock.

Compared to the more basic and unremarkable brown peahen, you might wonder what the hubbub is about.

In reality, though, male birds typically sport flashier plumage and more vivid feathers to entice females.

Birds of paradise, native to Papua New Guinea, court by dangling from a limb. Peregrines, on the other hand, are acrobats who fall through the air to attract the attention of the other sex.

The birds will show off elaborate displays, including puffed-out chests, heightened crests, and spread wings.

4. Preening


What we have here is akin to a kiss. Birds clean each other by preening. It is a common expression of affection. Feather plucking, feather arrangement, and ectoparasite prevention are all forms of preening behaviors.

The uropygial gland, located at the base of the tail, secretes preen oil, which birds use to waterproof their feathers when preening.

Surprisingly, parakeets and budgies often preen on their human caregivers as well. Mutual trust and closeness between the pet and owner are reinforced here.

5. Food

In most cases, this is what kissing between most bird species amounts to. But some birds, especially parrots, are known to kiss as a sign of affection and trust. And yet, the remainder of them regurgitate food into their partners’ mouths.

The placement of the beaks is meant to prevent any food from going to waste, yet it looks remarkably like a kiss.

You see, all birds value food highly, no matter how big or small. It represents the line between success and failure, life and death.

This behavior is common among males throughout the year. Some male birds, however, may continue to provide food for the nesting female even after the eggs have been laid.

6. Construction


The house wren has impressive construction skills. The male wren will construct multiple nests for the female of its choice. As for the female, she gets to pick from a variety.

The majority of the nests of the male wren are unfinished. It is also said that the female will choose the most promising nest.

The female begins completing the nest after making her choice. Finally, a lining is added to the nest for added protection. You then have the female interior designer who works with the male architect’s house wren.

Nonetheless, males of certain bird species may go into the trouble of constructing elaborate nests to attract females.

The male bird’s chances of successfully wooing the female increase proportionately to the complexity and beauty of the nest he builds for her.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why does my bird stretch when he sees me?

Birds often stretch to relieve tension, especially if they have been standing or awake for some time.

Why do birds look at you sideways?

Birds cannot see as well straight on as they can from the side.

Do birds recognize your face?

Some birds recognize faces and voices as a key to survival.

So Why Do Birds Kiss?


Your bird’s kissing could mean a variety of different things. Generally, though, it’s harmless courtship behavior. However, it might prove beneficial to keep an eye on them if you find them smooching each other.

If you find this guide, “Why Do Birds Kiss,” informative and helpful, you can check out these other animal-related articles from our team:

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