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Parrot Pet Position

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Ash's shoulder should be killing him by now.

"She flaunts it on her shoulder, like... like an exotic bird! By tonight, all of Paris will be wanting one!"
Miss Sofie (about Agatha's wasp weasel), Girl Genius

A Loyal Animal Companion who rides on its human companion's shoulder. Though it can hitch a ride on its human companion's head or even in their arms from time to time, its most prominent location is the human's shoulder.

Both the Pirate Parrot and Shoulder-Sized Dragon are often found in this position.

In Real Life this can be somewhat dangerous with larger parrots, since they like to nibble things and it tends to put their beak at eye-level. With trained birds of prey such as hawks and falcons, it is borderline suicidal — Go for the Eye is a natural predator instinct that cannot be wholly suppressed, perhaps explaining all those pirates with eyepatches. Hunting birds should always be held away from the face or perched on a staff or pole.

Compare Head Pet, Feather Boa Constrictor. For (tiny) people being carried this way, see Shoulder Teammate. Hopefully has nothing to do with the position of a dead Norwegian Blue parrot.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In 07-Ghost, a dragon-like creature rides on Teito Klein's shoulder.
  • Digimon:
    • In Digimon Data Squad, Kudamon adopts a Feather Boa Constrictor position around Sampson/Satsuma's shoulders.
    • Often, it's the human partners who take this position on the Mons when they're in their giant combat forms. Of course, they (generally) have the good sense to stay out of the direct line of fire.
  • Dragon Ball: Dr. Briefs often has a black cat clinging to his shoulder. Its name is Tama ("Scratch" in the dub), and its only real purpose is to hover around him and at one point prove Android 16 isn't all that bad.
  • Shippou the young Kitsune from Inuyasha will usually ride on one of his companion's shoulders during their travels. More often than not, Kagome is the one to carry him around.
  • In Jewelpet Sunshine, whenever Kanon lets Titana the squirrel hitch a ride on her, it's usually on her shoulder.
  • K: Neko (in kitty form) sits on Shiro's shoulder like this. To take the cuteness further, they tend to do things in unison (e.g. hand/tail waving, blinking).
  • Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha: Yuuno Scrya often perches on Nanoha's shoulder like this when in ferret form. He only really does this in the first season as he spends less time in that form in the second season and then gets Demoted to Extra in the subsequent season.
  • As part of her part as an evil witch in the Non-Indicative First Episode of The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya, Nagato gets a shoulder-mounted cat. It tends to slide off, so she has to keep pushing it back up throughout the episode. Kyon's sister has the cat on her head in the opening sequence.
  • Moyashimon has a weird example: Tadayasu Sawaki is often seen with an anthropomorphic spore of Aspergillus oryzae sitting either on his shoulder or on his head. It's often seen chatting up other microorganisms, or making comments on the craziness in Sawaki's life (even though Sawaki and the audience are the only people who can see or hear it).
  • One Piece: Rob Lucci carries his pet pigeon Hattori this way, though Hattori knows to fly off before his master starts fighting, keeping his distance until it's over.
  • Pokémon: The Series:
    • Pikachu often rides on Ash's shoulder. The average Pikachu weighs 6 kg, or around 13 lbs; this would be heavy enough to tip over a kid Ash's size. May have been lampshaded once when it takes James a bit to get used to the sudden weight of the amnesiac electric mouse.
    • "Chikorita's Big Upset" ends with Chikorita (6.4 kg, or 14 lbs) riding on one of Ash's shoulders and Pikachu on the other. It was only by the grace of cartoon physics that he remained standing.
    • Similarly, Iris's Axew pops out from her hair to form this appearance on her shoulder. And despite being smaller than Ash, Axew weighs three times as much as Pikachu (18 kg, almost 40 lbs). When Iris returns in Journeys, her Emolga (5kg, or 11 lbs) has taken this position, due to her Axew having evolved into a Haxorus.
  • In Record of Ragnarok, Odin is typically seen with his talking crows, Huginn and Muninn perched on his shoulders.
  • Luna and Artemis from Sailor Moon. Both have passed themselves off at least once as a fur stole.
  • Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann:
  • In the Tokkô manga, Kureha's pet phantom can be seen sitting on her shoulder in one panel.
  • ×××HOLiC: After much experimentation (including up Watanuki's shirt, and probably once or twice in his pants), Mugetsu appears to have found his(?) niche as a shoulder pet.

    Card Games 
  • Munchkin has the Cute Shoulder Dragon, which is Exactly What It Says on the Tin: a cute little dragon that sits on your shoulder and gives a higher bonus to women than to men (is Dragons Like Women a trope yet?).

    Comic Books 
  • Sleepless: Lady Poppy's vulpine pet (and personal poison detector) Bini is often seen perched on Poppy's shoulder.
  • Transformers: In the early G1 comics/cartoons, Decepticon leader Megatron would routinely have his bird-like subordinate Laserbeak perch on his shoulder. Whenever someone else (such as Shockwave) claimed the position, Laserbeak would sit on them instead. (The character bios establish that he's an extremely opportunistic coward who sides with whoever looks like the best choice at the moment.) The TF Wiki refers to him as "The Decepticon Matrix of Leadership".
  • Wonder Woman:
    • The Amazon Aella has a falcon that is most often found perched on her shoulder.
    • Wonder Woman (1987): Natasha's space lizard/tiny dragon Yuri hangs out on her shoulder at times.
  • In X-Men, Lockheed the dragon often rides on Kitty Pryde's shoulder, though in a twist on this trope he actually considers her to be his pet.

    Fan Works 
  • In Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality, Dumbledore frequently carries Fawkes The Phoenix on his shoulder. Once, he has both Fawkes and his Phoenix Patronus on his shoulders. Then, at one time Fawkes gets especially upset at Dumbledore, the phoenix spends an entire evening riding on Harry Potter's shoulder. It is later discussed whether having a phoenix on your shoulder is a sign you're a "good" person or not.
  • In This Bites!, Soundbite, the Devil Fruit-powered Transponder Snail, usually sits on Self-Insert Cross's shoulder when he's not being held in his hand to launch sound attacks.

    Films — Animation 
  • Aladdin:
    • Iago is often perched either on Jafar's shoulder, or scepter.
    • Abu does the same with the title character.
  • Sleeping Beauty: Maleficent's raven (later Ret-Named "Diablo") takes this spot.
  • Tangled: Pascal is usually seen riding on Rapunzel's shoulder, or failing that, her head.
  • In Turning Red, three kittens climb up and perch on Mei's shoulders.

    Films — Live-Action 
It gets played straight once Tim lets Pikachu perch on his shoulder out of habit, and it comes to the point where, when searching through the abandoned lab, he tells Pikachu that he can perch on his shoulder if he wants to.
  • Prehysteria features a miniature Pteranodon that likes to perch on a girl's shoulder. In one scene, said girl even calls her to perch on her finger like a trained parakeet.
  • In the early scenes in civilisation of Sands of the Kalahari, Grimmelman has a small pet monkey that rides on his shoulder. The monkey must have perished in the plane crash as it is not seen after this.
  • Who Framed Roger Rabbit: In a case of What Could Have Been, Judge Doom was going to have a Toon vulture perched on his shoulder. Interestingly, a licensed toy set included him with Doom.

  • In The Chronicles of Narnia, Reepicheep occasionally rides on someone's shoulder. However, he does not appreciate being mistaken for a pet.
  • Corinna Chapman mysteries : Lucifer, a smallish but very active and bold kitten, litter-mate to "Fluffy" Tori and dignified Nox, often rides on the shoulder of Trudy the gardener. Trudy greatly admires his rather slapstick enterprise. He is often described as looking as if he has eaten a parrot and taken its place.
  • Diogenes Club: In "Swellhead", Stacy arrives at Richard's house to call him out of retirement and finds him walking around with a Siamese cat perched on his shoulder (and a Persian kitten peeking out of his coat pocket).
  • Discworld: In Guards! Guards!, Lady Sybil Ramkin is seen training swamp dragons to sit on one's shoulder, as shoulder-sitters are in fashion. However, the would-be fashionistas often don't consider the consequences of having a volatile creature on your shoulder, as Sybil details: "... next thing you know, you've got crap all down your back and a singed hairstyle."
  • Dolphin Trilogy: In Dolphin Boy, John tames a small octopus by feeding it pieces of lobster. The octopus can't swim fast enough to keep up with him, so it rides on his shoulder with a tentacle wrapped around his neck.
  • Dragonriders of Pern: Beauty, Menolly's queen fire lizard, reserves this position exclusively for herself.
  • The titular feline Bond Creatures of the Ghattis Tale series sometimes do this, although having a 40 pound creature in such a position does seem a bit of a stretch. In fact, they're TRAINED to assume this position, should they need to get out of the way quickly.
  • Heralds of Valdemar: Some but not all Tayledras bondbirds ride on their bondmate's shoulder. The determining factor appears to be the size of the bird; Darkwind often carries Vree this way, but Starblade doesn't even try carrying the much larger Hyllar on his shoulder (he can barely carry Hyllar on his arm). One book notes that carrying a bird this way is a sure sign that it's a bondbird and not an ordinary raptor.
  • It is a centuries old tradition in Honor Harrington that treecats ride on the right shoulder of their human, necessitating that a treecat's person include padding in their wardrobe to accommodate their claws, and wear hats with the brim rolled up on the right side so they don't get in the way. On occasions where Honor doesn't have access to her regular wardrobe, she simply carries Nimitz. This also goes for those adoptees who aren't quite strong enough to go walking about comfortably with a 30+ pound cat riding on their shoulders.
  • Star Wars: Honor Among Thieves: Capping off Hunter Maas's ridiculous outfit is a rat-bird perched on his shoulder that mutters nonsense phrases in several languages. After he is killed, it starts eating him.
  • The Sword in the Stone: Merlin's pet owl, who is very stuck up, can be shut up by lowering your hand he's perched on, forcing him to run up your arm to your shoulder, thus demonstrating to him that he is only a bird and thus subject to a bird's instincts.
  • Tortall Universe: Faithful, the black cat in Song of the Lioness, likes to be on Alanna's shoulder. While he's happy being picked up by her friends, he won't go on their shoulders.
  • Captain Flint, Long John Silver's parrot in Treasure Island, may be the ur-example.

    Live-Action TV 
  • In an episode of The Bill, the police speak to a local resident who happens to have a cat on his shoulder. None of the characters act as though this is unusual, and the man never appears again.
  • Game of Thrones: The dragons often sit on Daenerys' shoulder in Season 2 (she wears an armored spaulder for comfort), before they grow too big to do so. By the later seasons, it's Daenerys who's sitting on the dragons' shoulders.
  • On Star Trek: Discovery, Cleveland Booker sometimes carries his cat Grudge on his shoulders.
  • Wednesday: Thing is seen riding on Wednesday's shoulder a few times. At least, as long as she isn't annoyed at him.
    Wednesday: Careful. That's my cold shoulder.

    Puppet Shows 

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons & Dragons:
    • The Complete Ranger's Handbook specifically averts this trope in its Falconry section, pointing out that hunting birds are never carried on the shoulder. As their natural instinct is to take out an ear or eye blinding-fast, even the most well-trained falcon cannot be trusted so close to the face. Thus, seeing any bird of prey riding on someone's shoulder is a sure sign that it isn't a natural animal, but more likely some sort of magical beast or familiar.
    • Pseudodragons are described in several editions of the game as being fond of this trope, when bonded with a humanoid companion.
  • The Traveller Adventure, section "Pysadian Escapade". It's mentioned that the alien anolas can ride on the Player Characters' shoulders.
  • The pirate themed Maneater model from Warhammer and Warhammer: Age of Sigmar has a pet Gnoblar/Grot wearing a parrot costume sitting on his shoulder in place of a Pirate Parrot.

    Theme Parks 

    Video Games 
  • In ARK: Survival Evolved, the smallest critters, such as monkeys and Dimorphodons, can be carried on the player's shoulder after taming them.
  • The fairy familiar in Castlevania: Symphony of the Night will land in this pose if Alucard stands still for long enough with her out. (She'll also fall off hilariously if he backdashes while she's there.)
  • After obtaining the familiar version of Midgarsormr in Final Fantasy XIV, he will perch on your shoulder from time to time. A number of other pets now do this as well; mostly flying ones, from a hawk to a butterfly to a winged cat, but the red panda and chipmunk pets will also scamper up their owner to perch.
  • The eponymous Daxter from the Jak and Daxter games has this as his default position. Jak's shoulder, while probably made of iron itself (Daxter weighs 48 lbs/22 kg and Jak literally does everything with him there), most likely gets saved from being shredded by his claws thanks to his single shoulder pad.
  • In Lunar: The Silver Star, Nall is frequently seen on Alex's shoulder, same with Ruby and Hiro in Lunar: Eternal Blue.
  • Pokémon GO allows some tiny Pokemon to ride the player avatar's shoulder when assigned as a Buddy Pokemon.
  • Puyo Puyo: When Carbuncle is at his tiny Compile-era size, he's small enough to ride on Arle's shoulder. Not the case in the Sega games, where he's so big it takes an arm's length to hold him.
  • In Puzzle Pirates, the player can get a "familiar" pet that perches on the player character's shoulder. Originally they were all parrots or monkeys, but later updates to the game have added octopuses and seahorses (which nonetheless like a shoulder perch) and serpents (which go the Feather Boa Constrictor route).
  • Team Fortress 2:

    Visual Novels 

    Web Animation 
  • DSBT InsaniT: Chilly the chinchilla is almost always on Autumn's shoulders.
  • Plan 3: The cursed pirate has a pet duckling that sits on his shoulder when he makes his entry and introduces himself, although it suddenly disappears right before he dies.

  • In Bugged Run, Elle and Viral routinely ride around on various parts of Chrys's body as Caterpie and Weedle, most usually her shoulders. Viral even gets to ride around like a living backpack after evolving to Kakuna.
  • In El Goonish Shive, Jeremy likes being on Susan and will sometimes ride on her shoulders.
  • Discussed, but never actually done, in Freefall. When contemplating piracy, Helix says that they need to include Florence, because she's the only one with shoulders for the parrot to ride on. Later, Helix gets an emu, which he believes will command more respect. Sam agrees, "I know I'd be respectful of a pirate with an emu on his shoulder." Note that they plan to be space pirates, and there's no artificial gravity, so this might be less intimidating than intended.
  • In Godslave, this is Anpu's favourite method of travelling, in contrast to being picked up.
  • Blackwing, Vaarsuvius' raven familiar from The Order of the Stick, has started riding of V's shoulder once the wizard began acknowledging the bird's existence consistently. This can sometimes look weird, since stick figures in this comic have heads bigger than their shoulders are wide.
  • Schlock Mercenary:
  • Bun-Bun and Kiki of Sluggy Freelance regularly rides some shoulders. Kiki is just a cute Weasel Mascot, but for Bun-Bun... it isn't like anybody would dare saying "no" to the little bunny psychopath.

    Web Videos 
  • BUCKETHEADS: A Star Wars Story: The female stormtrooper sergeant carries a small droid on a shoulder mount.
  • Pirates SMP: In GoodTimesWithScar's character announcement poster on Twitter, his beloved cat Jellie is depicted to be in such a position.

    Western Animation 
  • Both Iago the parrot and Abu the monkey in Aladdin: The Series.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • Momo the lemur-bat rides on Aang's shoulder a lot.
    • Then there's also the pirates from "The Waterbending Scroll", one of whom has a "reptile bird" instead of a parrot.
    • In The Legend of Korra, Pabu tends to wrap himself around the shoulders of whoever he's most attached to at the moment. Usually it's Bolin, but occasionally the other members of the new Team Avatar.
  • Jana of the Jungle: Jana sometimes has Tiko sitting on her shoulder.
  • The Owl House:
    • King has a habit of climbing on Luz's shoulders, or clinging to her back like a backpack.
    • Most Palismen do this with their owners on occasion. Flapjack is the only Palisman who routinely sits on his witch's shoulder, though he also occasionally chooses to sit on Hunter's head, hand, or knee.
  • In Perfect Hair Forever, Young Man's parrot must be lazy, as it doesn't so much ride than sit on his shoulder.
  • She-Ra: Princess of Power: Imp will often take up this position when around Hordak, particularly when they're in a battle. This not only affords the little guy protection, but also leaves him handy in case Hordak needs him to change into something.
  • The Simpsons:
    • The illustration on the cover of Treasure Island that Bart was supposed to read for a book report, but didn't.
      Bart: Fellow students, prepare to be dazzled! [walks to the front of the room] Well, as Mrs. Krabappel already mentioned, the name of the book that I read was Treasure Island. It's about these... [describing the book jacket] pirates. Pirates... with patches over their eyes... and... shiny gold teeth... and green birds on their shoulders... [pause] Did I mention this book was written by a guy named Robert Louis Stevenson? And published by the good people at McGraw Hill. So, in conclusion, on the Simpson scale of one to ten, ten being the highest, one being the lowest, and five being average, I give this book... a nine. Any questions? [hands go up] Nope? Then I'll just sit down.
    • Played With in the episode "Simpson Safari", where they take a trip to Africa and meet their guide, Kitenge who first appears with a bush baby on his shoulder. Lisa comments on it being cute. Cue Kitenge being surprised it's there and shooing it away.
  • In the Timon & Pumbaa episode "Two for the Zoo", when the animals Timon and Pumbaa tried to rescue are freed from their cages and confront them following Pumbaa's bumbling, the buzzard is sitting on the gorilla's shoulder similar to a pirate's parrot.
  • In The Transformers, Laserbeak often assumes this position with either Megatron or Soundwave when he's not being stored in Soundwave's chest. This is such a well-known trait of his that some modern toys include slots on their arms or shoulders so that Laserbeak can sit there.

    Real Life 
  • Traditionally, the African basenji dog is carried over rough terrain by laying it across its owner's shoulders, with its legs extending forward like a canine Feather Boa Constrictor.

Alternative Title(s): Shoulder Pet



"King wanna cracker!"

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