Parrots are one of the most liked pets, and many people plan on adopting them.
In the U.S. alone, one-third of the bird pets are parrots. Parrot bites or feather plucking is not something new, yet many bird owners are still curious to know whether parrots are dangerous, aggressive, or even scary as a pet.
So, I did some research to answer this frequently asked question.
Are Parrots Dangerous? Parrots are wild birds who have been domesticated and sometimes they can be dangerous if not handled with care. Unlike cats and dogs, they are just wild birds who have been tamed. If proper attention, training, and care are not provided, dangerous scenarios can occur with both the owner and the bird.
Parrots can bite, pluck feathers and even scream when they are scared, frustrated, or angry.
Without understanding the cause of these behaviors, most of the parrot owners assume that parrots might be dangerous and harmful. Parrots do not have inherited aggression, in fact, parrots never bite each other in the forest. They only use their beaks for eating, playing, and climbing in the wild.
Parrots are wild animals, and various reasons or circumstances can make them aggressive, dangerous, frustrated, and even depressed. If the symptoms are not recognized and treated on time, it can result to be fatal for the bird.
Reasons why parrots can be dangerous
Parrots are inherently wild. Even if one were to adopt a parrot that has been bred and kept captive since birth, the parrot would still possess the habits and mannerisms of their wild counterparts.
Due to these traits, human houses or even outdoor enclosures do not perfectly match a parrot’s living conditions. This might make them upset, frustrated, angry, noisy, and messy.
If the parrot’s behavior is not corrected, it could continue to get worse and become even more aggressive.
Fear of humans
Sometimes, parrots do get afraid of humans due to multiple reasons. Even the parrots who have been raised and were hand-fed by humans can get frightened of their owners every once in a while.
The bird does not even have to be scared of you, he or she could be scared of something else but bite you instead. We show you 10 things parrots are scared of in this article!
If your parrot usually gets scared of you or other people around, it might be due to lack of socialization and training. We show you 6 potential reasons why your parrot is scared of you and what will help in this article!
People have experienced that sometimes even a well-behaved and well-socialized parrot can get scared and impulsively bite the owner. Here are 11 reasons for sudden aggression in parrots!
The parrot was abused in the past
Taking care of a parrot is not as easy as it seems. They are loud, messy, destructive, need constant love, care, and a long-time commitment. Proper training, care, and attention are a necessity, and if you fail to do so, you can find it quite a handful to take care of a parrot.
Unable to carry out the responsibilities, some owners end up abusing, neglecting, and even reselling the bird. Such birds may not be able to trust humans and they might become aggressive and attack other humans.
If you have adopted a parrot, you should read this article here: Do birds remember their previous owners?
Only the previous two generations of parrots have been raised as pets
A significant fact which is not known by most of the people is that only the last one or two generations of parrots have been captivated, bred and domesticated.
On the other hand, pets like cats and dogs have been a part of human households for centuries. Parrots still are wild-birds and are not accustomed to human life and behavior.
Hence factors like living in cages, without the flock, and far away from the jungles, can be the reasons that make parrots aggressive and unhappy.
Just like humans, parrots also have feelings. If you understand them well, they can be great pets who can interact with the family.
Parrots are known to show almost every emotion that a human is capable of showing and they can sometimes be very emotional and challenging. If a parrot feels neglected, it can get sad, frustrated, and eventually aggressive.
And that is why you should keep parrots always (there are only a few exceptions) in pairs. We show you why you should do that in this article!
Once a parrot reaches the phase of sexual maturity, it can be really upsetting and tough to handle. Common problems that a bird owner can face during this period are: screaming, nesting, feather plucking, and sometimes even biting.
This period can be overwhelming and frustrating for the bird owner if it is not controlled well. Parrot’s maturity age varies from different species and even individual parrots.
Form mate bonds with owners
Parrots are the type of birds who build a very tight and long bond with their partner. When a pet parrot is unable to find a mate, it generally develops an attachment with whoever it finds near itself. This bond can be formed with the owner or one of the family members.
When a human unknowingly pets the parrot during this period, the parrot might start looking at that human as its partner and gets protective towards that human.
This results in attacking and being aggressive towards anyone else (adults or children) who comes near their ‘bonded human’.
A good indicator of a parrot that is “in love” with his or her owner is regurgitating for the owner. If your parrot is doing that, your parrot is on the way to becoming very frustrated. We show you why this needs to stop in this article!
Various behaviors that can be seen during this period are
- If you pet the wings or the back of the bird, it starts acting sexually
- The bird pulls out its chest feathers and even the feathers between its legs
- It regurgitates its food frequently
- The bird will pant heavily after crouching down with its wings dropped
- It becomes overprotective of the nesting site and shows aggression
- It becomes more vocal and screams more
How to minimize the risk of getting bitten by parrots
Understand the warning signs
A parrot rarely bites anyone without giving any signs of aggression. Sometimes, a parrot can also bite you out of the blue due to a sudden shock but it’s rare.
They can get over-excited while playing or grip you unknowingly. Hence you need to understand whether the bite was playful or an attack.
An angry or aggressive parrot shows various signs and changes in body language. For instance; feather-ruffling, lunging, hissing, head bobbing, eye-pinning, etc.
Let your parrot approach you
An aggressive parrot may see any movement as an attack or an attempt to hurt it. How can you handle it? Just place your palm outside the entrance of the cage and wait.
Allow the parrot to take its time to reach and sit on your hand. Letting it come on its own gives the parrot a sense of control and also reduces stress.
If you want to reward a parrot who is inside the cage, do not put your hand inside. Instead, use a wooden spoon to feed the treats. Most importantly, you must always be calm and slow while handling a parrot.
Do not pet sensitive areas
Parrots are very particular about when and where they want to be touched. Sometimes even showing your affection may get you in trouble, making the parrot extremely aggressive.
Parrots have certain sensitive areas on their body. You must always be careful and not touch these areas that can provoke the parrot.
The areas that should be left alone while petting your parrot are the bird’s back, the area under its wings, and around its tail.
Maintain physical distance from an aggressive parrot
If you have an aggressive parrot, you must always maintain a safe distance. Always avoid letting an aggressive parrot from sitting on your shoulders or coming close to your face.
You may never know when it can get agitated and attack you. Hence, it is always best to maintain a distance, train your parrot and build a bond before letting the bird come close to you.
Wear gloves or cover your limbs
After you get a new parrot who is aggressive, the best way to train it is by protecting yourself first. Physical touch always works best in creating a bond and training your bird.
So, the best hack for you is that you can cover your entire arm with a thick towel or cloth before letting the bird sit on your hand. You can also buy falconer’s gloves. If you are scared, you can always start by making your parrot sit on a wooden dowel.
Understand the breeding cycle and aggression
Parrot’s sexual maturity age is very crucial and can be quite a handful. Your parrot will start feeling the urge of getting a partner, and if it is unable to find one, the parrot can get very frustrated and aggressive.
It is essential to keep a constant check on your parrot and find out when it starts behaving differently.
You must note down the dates so that you are prepared for the cycle to repeat every year. You should be aware that you need to handle your bird differently during this period.
For instance, wear protection while handling your bird, learn the signs of aggression, avoid direct contact during this period, keep the diet in check, avoid specific food items and try to remain calm.
Keep your parrot busy
A busy parrot does not require special attention and is happy. There are numerous ways to keep your parrots busy, for example, exercises, games, and teaching tricks to your parrot.
You should treat your parrot every time it finishes a task or an activity.
The parrot would not only enjoy the incentive but will also make it a habit to follow the activity schedule every day, without requiring any special attention while carrying it out. This would buy you more free time and also keep the parrot distracted and happy.
We have created a few articles on toys and equipment that will keep your parrot busy:
- Why swings are so good for parrots!
- Parrots can play with baby toys – Here are 8 recommendations!
- Do parrots need a bed?
- Can parrots play with cardboard?
Are parrots good pets? Most of the parrot species get along with well-behaved children and can be great family pets. But, parrots require special attention and care and might not be the ideal pet for a child. They need constant attention and also live longer than most other companion animals.
Can a parrot bite be dangerous? Parrots do not have teeth but have sharp beaks that can cause a lot of danger if they attack and try to bite. It is necessary to get the wound/injury checked since bacteria can spread even though the wound doesn’t look severe.