Why Does My Bird Grind its Beak? Is it normal?

While human grinding is a signal of stress, on birds it is actually a signal they are getting relaxed and ready for nap.

Some may think that this behavior is linked to beak trimming because it helps the maintenance and avoids the beak getting overgrown, but others say it is just a sign of contentment. No one knows for sure.

We can think as a therapeutical, self-grooming act that you may see among other animals, such as cats and rabbits. They basically just settling down for the night and sometimes this even occurs while the bird taking a little nap. Nothing to worry about!

We found this adorable video of a cockatoo grinding its beak. Isn’t that cute?

Here are some related topics to beak grinding:

Why do birds rub their beaks?

There are three main reasons birds rub their beaks:


Parrots need to keep their beaks sharp. That’s one of the reasons why they swipe their beaks across rough wood. The sharpness is useful for peeling through tough fruit skins.

Additionally, wiping or rubbing is a common behavior after eating to get their beaks clean. Eating with a beak is a messy job! Food will get stuck no matter how careful you are. Birds rub their beaks in order to clear leftovers, bits and pieces of food that may get stuck on the edges.

Territorial behavior

Beak wiping can also be associated with territorial behavior. It can become evident when birds are meeting another bird.

Why is my bird’s beak flaky?

Beaks are made of keratin, the same material as our nails. When a new layer of keratin is coming in, the old layer begins to peel off. That happens every 3-6 months and gives a flaky appearance that may appear alarming to some bird owners, but usually, there is nothing to worry about.

When the flaky is excessive, this can be caused by vitamin deficiency, liver disease or scaly leg mites.

To moisturize your bird’s beak, use a small amount of vitamin E oil gently rubbed on the beak to offer a short term aid to serious flaking. Humidity in the environment might have to be increased, slightly, especially in the case of Eclectus, Amazons, Pionus, etc.


Beak grinding, especially close to bedtime is related to a self-soothing act, it does not mean stress or any other harm to your bird.