Why Does My Parrot Nibble My Ear?

Your parrot gently chewing your ear is most likely an expression of affection.

And yet, it may simply be your bird either exploring you or holding on to you to maintain balance.

However, if that nibble is a harsh bite, then your bird is maybe angry or scared.

In this article you’re going to learn the following 

  • What it means when your birdie nibbles you
  • Why do birds bite ears
  • How you should react to your parrot nibbling your ear
  • How you can stop this behavior
  • How do parrots show affection

So if you want to know everything about your parrot nibbling your ear you’re in the right place

This is a complete guide to this behavior

Lots to cover and learn

Sound good?

Let’s get started!

What Does It Mean When Your Bird Nibbles You? 

Well, is your bird even biting you? or, is he simply trying to beak you?

You see, the beak is like a bird’s hand.

And so, a bird uses its beak to not only explore new things but also, to get a grip and stabilize itself.

Which means..

If your parrot is gently caressing you through its beak, then it’s showing its love. 

Apart from affection, birds also use their beaks to test the strength of a perch.

So, if your bird is relatively young or new to your place, then perhaps he is checking the strength of your arm and will hop on to you.

However, if that nibble was a brutal outright bite, then your bird is trying to make you go away.

In this case, he may either be expressing aggression or fear.  

Why Do Birds Bite Ears?

Because even a pet parrot is still a wild bird with all the feral instincts.

So, you being a parrot parent is bound to get bitten sooner or later. (Expect it because it will happen!)

Though, trained birds rarely bite and never without a reason.

These may include:

1. Fear and Mistrust

If you try to hold a bird without gaining its trust, you are in for a harsh bite.

From a bird’s view, you are “a tall monstrous creature trying to force him to sit on his shoulder”.

And so, a bird gives a quick hard crunch to the ear, communicating that it is not feeling comfortable.

But if you have already bonded with your bird, it may still occasionally bite you out of nervousness.

As even a sudden movement or excessive lights can make a bird anxious.

2. Aggression

A bird may simply get angry at you for grabbing him the wrong way.

However, a parrot can also bite you out of misplaced anger. 

This mostly happens during the breeding season, when even the most genial birds get cranky because of the hormones.

3. Exploring and Maintaining Balance

A bird explores its world through its beak.

So, maybe your parrot accidentally chewed your ear.

This mostly happens with baby parrots as they don’t know their strength.

If you have a singular bird, he may not even know that chewing others can hurt them.

So maybe your parrot is simply ignorant of munching pain.

There is a slight chance that your parrot is trying to keep itself from falling down.

And so, it is only nibbling your ear to maintain its balance.

4. Sickness And Fatigue

Just like when we are tired or sick, and not feeling like ourselves, parrots may want to be left alone. And so, they may bite to avoid social interactions. 

I recommend that you take your bird to an avian expert, especially if he has suddenly started to bite you. 

5. Expressing Affection

A gentle chew and caressing are your bird’s way of showing love.

This is the most common reason for a bird chewing its breeder’s ear.

If your bird is being affectionate, then it will also try to preen you.

6. Dominance

Since in a flock of birds, the higher birds oversee all other birds.

Therefore, some breeders suggest that maybe your eye level is higher than your bird, making him anxious.


Your bird is trying to exert its dominance by chewing your ear.

However, I reject this theory because birds don’t have alpha bird leaders.

7. Boredom

Sounds like a myth, but a bird may still bite you out of boredom.

At this, most parrot parents complain: 

“So, I am hurt and my parrot finds it amusing?

Well, your bird is not evil.

But that screaming and yelling you did after the bite is definitely a new kind of ‘Treat’.

For a bird, even the bad kind of attention is still attention.

Wait, so,

How Should I React To My Parrot Nibbling My Ear?

Honestly, you shouldn’t. 

I advise you to not scream, yell or even cry out of pain. 

Your every reaction is entertaining.

Perhaps, it’s the best trick in town as a bird can elicit the same activity by simply biting you.

So, they may even make a habit out of it.

Of course, they don’t know they are hurting you.


I insist that you never punish your parrot

I have heard parrot parents tapping the beak as a punishment.

However, it is not only useless but also animal abuse.

Your bird is at your mercy, don’t try to ruin your relation for one time nibble.

I know what you’re thinking 

So I shouldn’t react to my parrot nibbling ear

But how do I stop my parrot from nibbling my ear?

Let’ find out..

How Do I Stop My Parrot From Nibbling My Ear?

I recommend the following steps:

  1. Whenever your bird nibbles your ear, don’t react by sudden movements or cries.
  2. Try to move as gently as possible with your usual tone. Don’t try to smile or distract your bird with treats.
  3. Now put that bird inside its cage. You can pick it up after about 10 minutes, however, I suggest you don’t pick it up for the rest of the day.
  4. Do this until he stops nibbling you.
  5. Inspect your ear for any blood or wound, and then see a doctor if you need stitches. Otherwise, just wash your ear and apply an antibacterial ointment.
  6. If the nibble is out of fear or aggression, then there must be a trigger. Find and eliminate it. 
  7. Take your bird to the vet for a regular check-up for any signs of sickness or anomalies.

I do suggest you never put your parrot on your shoulder again.

This may be dangerous for both of you.

As your parrot may fall down, or it may poke your ears or eyes.

In worst cases, you may have to visit the ER.

Of course, having a bird and being unable to put it on your shoulder is not a charming idea.

And so, even the oldest bird parents don’t heed this advice.

Unless they get bitten by their Amazons or Macaws and have to get stitches.

Though, most of them still claim it was totally worth it.

But I must say again, 

Your bird is at your mercy. Don’t let your love for your bird endanger your mutual safety.

Besides, birds don’t need to sit on your shoulder all the time, to express their love. 

Related articles

Why does my parrot hold my finger?

Why does my parrot attack my feet?

Why does my parrot eat my hair?

Why does my parrot throw his food?

Why does my parrot bite my nails?

Wrapping Up 

All birds bite as they have feral instincts.

Parrots may nibble on human ears out of fear and aggression.

However, it’s mostly out of love.

With proper training, you can make your bird not bite you.

Besides a parrot may express its love in several other ways instead of just beaking you.

How Do Parrots Show Affection?

Being absolute sweethearts, parrots can express their fondness in several ways. If your parrot likes you he will: 

  1. Flap its wings on your approach.
  2. Preen you.
  3. Touch your hands and face with its beak.
  4. Try to cuddle with you, especially on your neck.
  5. Mimic your phrases and sentences.
  6. Get jealous by seeing you talk to anyone else.
  7. Regurgitate on you or try to feed you.
  8. Shake its tail or walk onto your arms.
  9. Want to sleep on your arm.

Since all birds have distinct personalities, so your bird may express itself a bit differently.

Nevertheless, receiving a bird’s love is nothing but pure joy so enjoy it! 

We at birdcageshere.com write about bird health and diet however it should not be taken as medical advice. For advice on your bird you need to seek out an avian vet. The information you find on birdcageshere.com is for educational purposes only. At birdcageshere.com we are not liable for any information that you may find on here. Birdcageshere is NOT a substitute for professional medical advice about your bird.