Compare Wood Perches

Parrots need to exercise their very flexible feet with wood perches.

Parrots have zygodactyl feet enabling them to reliably balance on just about any surface.

By Diane Burroughs

Natural Branch Wood Perches

Vet’s recommend wood perches for all birds, from canaries to Macaw’s.  We aren’t talking about dowel perches, here.  Dowel perches have a consistent diameter across the length of the perch. Branch style wood perches, though, are actually cut from bird safe shrubs or trees and fitted with hardware to attach them to cage bars. To understand the value of branch style wood perches, it will help to study the anatomy of a birds ‘foot.

To understand, you may need to learn a little about the parrot foot. Notice this large parrots’ feet pictured on the left.  You see that two toes pointing forward and two toes pointing backwards.  Parrots have zygodactyl, feet that are configured for exceptional climbing and grasping proficiency.  These flexible feet are amazingly strong, too, as you know from that tight grip when held or if you’ve ever groomed your bird’s nails.

Parrot Foot Health

Take a closer look at Peachy’s foot on the right.  Do you see how each toe is a different length?  The longer the toe length, the more joints and muscles it contains. The longest toe has 4 joints while the shortest toe has only two.  There are a total of 11 joints in the 4 toes of a parrots’ foot. A parrot can grasp a branch and hold its entire body weight with just the one longest toe.   Imagine holding on to a cliff wall at the clay licks in South America to detoxify your body with just a few toes!  Or, flying from jungle tree to jungle tree and having the toe strength to hold any sized branch you’d need to land on. Wild parrots keep their feet in tip top condition every day by grasping a variety of surfaces and sized branches.

A close-up of a parrots foot helps us understand why wood perches are so important.

Notice how each toe on a parrots foot is a different length with a different number of joints. All this variability makes a parrots foot very strong.

Our captive parrots’ feet have the capability of grasping all types of items; they just don’t have the accessibility of items to exercise their feet and toes.  They can climb the bars of their cage and may have a few perches to stretch and exercise their toes, but nothing near the variability of the wild. Several variable diameter and twisting wood perches will offer your parrot important foot exercise.  We love our Java Wood Bird Stands because they have a number of highly variable wood perches at various heights to exercise foot muscles.

Just like us, if a parrot stands in one position all of the time, their feet get very achy and stiff.  A parrot that doesn’t sufficiently exercise it’s feel on a routine basis will develop painful, stiff and even arthritic feet.  Stiff and arthritic feet affect your birds’ entire health.  So keep your bird comfortable and healthy by offering a number of wood perches.

Wood Perch Comparison Chart

Manzanita Wood Perch Dragonwood Perch Java Wood Perch

Manzanita Wood Perch

Rock hard manzanita makes a popular wood perch

Dragonwood Perch

Dragonwood Perches are hard with an appealing bark

Java Wood Perch

Senegal Parrot on Java Wood Perch

Wood Density Very Hard Very Hard Very Hard
Bark Coating Slick, peeling bark, picture shown is handscraped Varigated textured bark fun for chewing Hand Scrapped – allows foot pads to grip well
Variability Very good variability, especially with twisted branches Moderate Variability Highly variable within each branch

About Diane Burroughs

Diane Burroughs, founded in 1998. A bird lover who is owned by African Grey's, a Moluccan, a Parrotlet and a Red-Bellied Parrot, Diane is dedicated to improving the lives of pet birds with vet-approved parrot tested supplies and expert bird care articles.

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