No Biting! Bird Care & Information | Custom Cages

All birds nip once in a while. A bird may become startled, scared, surprised, or simply grab the seeds out of your hand too fast. An occasional nip is normal and should be expected. But biting can get out of hand and develop into a serious behavioral problem.

Cockatoo and African Gray Parrot

Does This Mean My Bird Doesn’t Love Me?

Your new bird has become a perpetual biter. Every time you come around he snaps at you. He refuses to hop on your hand or let you pick him up.

You cannot understand it. You feed him, clean his parrot cage, try to interact with him…and he treats you like this? But the real disappointing part is when your husband comes around. Your bird gets all excited to see him—even though he never takes care of the bird. Your feelings are seriously hurt. You’ve invested time, money and emotional energy into this parrot who seems to hate you. You’re heartbroken. But save the tears for later. With hard work and diligence you can teach your bird that biting is unacceptable.

Why Birds Bite:


This is the most common reason why birds bite. Small things that you don’t even notice may frighten your bird. You can tell if your parrot is getting ready to bite by his body language. He will stand or sit straight and tall. His wings and tail will be slightly extended and his pupils will be dilated. If this is the case, step back and let your bird calm down. If your bird was caught in the wild, he may remember the rough treatment he received from human hands. You will need to help your bird work through these issues.


A sick bird is an irritable bird. Remember the last time you were sick? You probably weren’t a picnic to be around either. So if you’re bird is struggling with health issues and this biting problem developed right around that timeframe, lend a little grace and wait for your bird to start feeling better.


When angered, birds tend to bite the person nearest to them, even if they are not actually angry at that person. This is known as displacement biting. For example, let’s say your bird hates your Uncle Joe. He’s big, loud, cracks a lot of jokes and is always full of car grease, since he’s a mechanic. You’re sitting on your recliner, with your bird on your lap and Uncle Joe walks in. He tells you he’s staying for dinner and then jolts outside to check out your new carburetor.

Your bird is surprised and angered at Uncle Joe’s presence. But because Joe has left the room so quickly and is no longer accessible, he lashes out at the person nearest him—incidentally that happens to be you.

In this situation, it is best to quickly remove the bird from your lap or shoulder and place him in his cage.

A bird may also bite because he is irritated with you. This is especially true of over-grooming or over petting. Birds love affection, but they also have a limit to the amount of attention they can handle at a time. If your bird starts to get restless after several minutes of petting, stop and leave him alone. Be alert and sensitive to your bird’s feelings.

Territorial Instinct

Birds are genetically programmed to establish dominance and protect their own territories. Since birds are flock animals, being the top bird ensures their survival. It enables them to choose the best places to sleep and the best food available. A bird needs to be taught that this type of dominance is not acceptable in a domestic setting. As a result, you should never allow your bird to perch above your head. All perches and playstands should be low enough so your bird looks up to you, not vice versa. If your bird is able to perch higher than you, he will perceive this as dominance.

How to Stop Your Bird from Biting

The first step in training your bird to stop biting is to do some observation. Try to figure out why your bird is engaging in this behavior.

Next, do some heavy duty research. Look for books, articles and videos that provide sound training advice that will help you quickly and effortlessly overcome your bird’s behavioral problems.

It even shows you how to stop biting without ever getting bitten yourself. That could be welcome news if you’re tired of running to the drug store to purchase yet another box of bandages.

Quick Tips:

Here are some quick tips to help prevent your bird from biting:

  • When your bird is perched on your arm and looks like he is getting ready to bite, simply rotate your wrist slightly. This will distract your bird causing him to focus on regaining his balance instead of biting you.
  • Never grab or smack your bird’s beak. This will only make him angrier and increase the likelihood that he’ll bite.
  • Make sure your bird has plenty of toys in his bird cage.
  • Don’t reward biting by overreacting. If you make a huge deal about your bird’s behavior, you are providing him with extra attention. And birds like attention. Some birds may also enjoy the dramatic show you put on after being bit. So don’t let your bird find this type of satisfaction in your pain.