does a bird bite hurt

Against popular belief, a parrot’s beak is not a weapon but a sensory organ used to explore and touch. Although some parrots will nip while doing this, most do not bite but when they do, it hurts. One of the first things to teach a baby parrot is not to bite. The goal is to allow the bird to use its beak for exploration while teaching it to be gentle.

Over time, a baby parrot will learn just how much pressure to place on its owner’s skin without causing pain. It is imperative to be consistent during training and to use specific commands. For example, if a bird begins to bite too hard, the word “gentle” can be used as a reminder. Of course, if a parrot becomes excited or over stimulated, a simple word command may not work. At that point, the hand should be removed from the beak area and the bird offered a cotton, knotted toy or vegetable tanned piece of leather instead.

Sometimes, biting is nothing more than a pattern opposed to a natural behavior. Again, while living in the wild, parrots seldom show aggression. Therefore, if a bird is being aggressive in captivity, there must be a reason. Below are some of the more common reasons that baby birds bite:

If someone owns a parrot with a tendency to bite, there are specific do’s and don’ts:

It is the owner’s responsibility to keep the bond with the bird healthy and positive. Keep in mind that even non-biting birds may bite. The key is to learn the bird’s behavior and respond accordingly. A bird’s eyes and body language can be interpreted, giving the owner advance warning of a potential bite. Some of these include flashing eyes, ruffled and raised chest, and erect feathers on the head or nape.

Of course, some of the signs may be more subtle. For this reason, a bird owner needs to pay attention to changing moods but also the time of day moods change or situations that cause change. Additionally, when planning to handle or train a parrot, be prepared by approaching gently yet confidently.

During training, distractions should also be minimized and eye contact gentle. Typically, parrots are far more aggressive around their cage so taking the bird to a different and quiet place in the home would be beneficial. If there is any fear in taking the bird from the cage, a T-stand can be used. Bribing with special treats also works great. Finally, a time for training should be chosen that is good for both the owner and the bird.

How to Stop the Biting

It’s not fun to own a parrot that bites out of fear or aggression. Because of the strength of a parrot’s beak, bites are not only physically dangerous, but they also indicate that the bird is unhappy with something about its circumstances. Every owner of a pet bird wants to ensure the happiness of their feathered companions. When problematic behaviors, like biting, resurface, it’s critical to take immediate action to address the issue before these behaviors become ingrained habits. To improve the relationship between your biting parrot and its owner, you can:

  • Managing and training hostile parrots: While not every owner of a parrot is an expert bird trainer, with time and effort, almost anyone can coax a bird into being manageable. Go to a calm place, refrain from yelling, establish trust, concentrate on repetition, and bring goodies.
  • Correcting misbehavior in birds: Unlike more conventional pets like cats and dogs, birds are extremely sensitive animals and interpret our actions differently. This may cause the bird and owner to become frustrated and miscommunicated, which frequently just makes the behavior issues already present worse. Rehabilitating a behavior-problematic bird effectively necessitates an understanding of avian psychology in addition to having a soothing, expressive voice that conveys messages consistently.

Why Do Parrots Bite?

The mere fact that a bird bites you does not indicate that it is hostile, violent, or unattached to you. As hookbills, parrots have many uses for their beaks, including preening, eating, playing, and climbing. When grabbing toys, food, perches, or even their owners, parrots frequently use their beaks instead of their hands. If your parrot is generally amiable, you might need to assess whether it is actually biting you or if it is just using its beak in a typical, healthy way.


Aggression may be the cause of your parrot’s biting if you can establish that it isn’t just scared and isn’t playing, climbing, trying to preen you, or any of these behaviors. Parrot aggression can be a severe issue that makes both the birds and their owners unhappy. Among the many factors that contribute to parrot aggression are territoriality, hormonal changes during adolescence or breeding season, stress, low mental stimulation, and problems with dominance.

Take action to remove any obvious sources of aggravation for your bird.

  • Check the birds environment for things that might cause discomfort. Is the cage near a drafty window?.
  • Do you need to modify the frequency of cage cleanings to maintain a tidy and comfortable living space for your birds?
  • Does your bird seem stressed out by other pets in the house?

Make adjustments as necessary and monitor your birds response. It can be difficult to pinpoint the exact cause of aggressive biting, so it’s wise to make an appointment with an avian veterinarian to rule out any health problems that might be causing your bird’s unwanted behavior.


How hard does a bird bite?

Something all bird owners surely know is that parrot beaks are powerful. But how powerful? There are few reliable sources on this, but some people have estimated that a large macaw has the bite strength of 500 to 700 pounds per square inch, which is close to that of a large dog bite.

Are bird bites painful?

Take Caution. While you’re managing your biting bird, be cautious. Bites aren’t only painful, but they can also be severe. While rare, parrot owners have lost eyes, fingers, and toes to their pet birds, while others have sustained traumatic injuries to their lips, ears, and noses.

What happens if your bird bites you?

Infection from bird bites is a big concern. Birds carry many of the common bacteria we are exposed to in our environment such as E. coli, Samonella, and Staphylococcus. But they also can transmit to humans (through bites and scratches) Lactobacillus, Pasturella multocida, and Proteus.

What bird bite hurts the least?

Budgies (or parakeets) are another great choice for those who prefer a gentle feathered friend. While they might bite when they’re upset, their tiny beaks are hardly capable of doing much damage.