Self-mutilation is just one of the many symptoms of keeping a bird in an unnatural environment, Denise Kelly, co-founder and president of the Avian Welfare Coalition, told The Dodo. The behavior can be prompted by stress, physical illness, mental anguish, the environment, inadequate diet or some combination of all of the above. Bottom line, however, is that it's not a behavior found in the wild, she says.
In Bebe's case, he has mutilated himself so deeply that part of his own keel bone is missing.
"It's one of the most extreme cases we've ever seen," Karen Windsor, co-director of Foster Parrots, told The Dodo. "Moluccan cockatoos are extremely intelligent, sensitive animals - and profoundly unequipped to deal with lives as pets," she says.
Unfortunately, Windsor could be speaking about any number of birds who struggle in captivity, including parrots like macaws and African grey parrots, as well as lorikeets, lories, parakeets, cockatoos, cockatiels and New Zealand parrots, says Jennifer Place, program associate and bird expert for Born Free USA.