I have cockatiels that always fly to my dad, or sometimes my grandpa. They rarely fly to my mom or me - only when we have food. We think it's because the previous owner was male. But how do they recognize the owner? Do they recognize gender? Is it based more on auditory than visual input? Is olfaction involved?

1 Answer 1


Birds are smart, period. Sight and sound are two main factors, they have a very poor sense of smell. They can tell gender as some parrots bond more with a certain gender, for instance my African grey LOVES men but is always weary of women.

  • ALOT of times birds are more attracted to the opposite sex, they can sense the hormones that indicate gender, as stated above! I had an African get as well that was male and LOVED Females but was ALOT more cautious around males.... If you were a male, good luck getting anywhere near him. Some male birds can be quite territorial over sharing their "female" friends feathered or not! Humans become their flock.
    – Christy B.
    Commented May 24, 2017 at 15:17

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