Can a Parrot Bite Your Finger Off? 

Although, a parrot’s bite can crush your fingers or cause severe nerve damage.

However, a parrot biting away whole fingers is unheard of.

Though in theory, it is not entirely impossible.

And so, a large parrot can chew away a child’s finger or probably your little finger. 

Which is why you should be careful

In this article you’re going to discover the following

  • How strong is a parrots bite?
  • Why do parrots bite their owners
  • What to do if your parrot bites you
  • Should you punish your parrot for biting you
  • Which Parrot bites the most
  • What determines the strength of a parrots bite

Lots to cover with some very interesting topics to talk about

I’m sure you being a parrot parent would want to know all about this biting behavior

Sound good?

Let’s get started!

How Strong Is a Parrot’s Bite?

Astoundingly, a Macaw can bite even more fiercely than a German Shephard. 

A parrot bites with about 300-500 psi (pounds per square inch).

Since a human can bite merely a 160psi, therefore, a parrot’s bite is at least twice as harsh compared to human bites. 

This is precisely why birds can break through walnut shells, while humans cannot.

So, if Cockatoos can crack open Brazilian nuts, then they can surely crush bones or rupture nerves.

Though, this rarely ever happens. 

You must be thinking

Why does my parrot bite me?

I mean I’m sure you’ve been nothing but good to your birdie

What’s up with all this behavior!

Carry on reading..

Why Do Parrots Bite Their Owners?

Mostly, a bird bites its owner either out of aggression or fear. Though, sometimes it can be from excitement or even boredom.

Besides even a hand-bred parrot is still a wild animal.

1. Aggression

Aggression in parrots may be due to:

  1. Territorial behavior when a bird is being possessive about its cage, owner, or even mate. And so, biting is a form of dominance.
  2. Hormonal changes are typically associated with the breeding season.
  3. Stress such as inadequate sleep, excessive noise, or presence of predators.
  4. Injury or illness.
  5. History of abuse or violence.

If you can find the cause of aggression, simply removing the stimulus may stop your parrot’s biting behavior.

2. Fear

Perhaps your parrot fears you because of:

  1. Poor socialization.
  2. Grabbing the bird in some wrong way.
  3. Playing with a bird even after he is exhausted.

3. Excitement or Boredom

Perhaps, your parrot was just being playful and was trying to show affection to you. So, maybe that bite was just a one-time thing.

Or maybe, your bird was bored and biting you gave him some sort of entertainment and stimulation. 

Why?

No, your bird is not evil. 

But that yelling and crying after the bite were surely new to him and somehow, amusing. 

Check out my article – Why does my parrot bite my nails?

So what should you do if your parrot bites you?

Let’s find out..

What To Do If a Parrot Bites You?

Do nothing.

Your every reaction is new to your bird and so, even that cursing under the breath was like some sort of attention. 

Here is what you ought to do:

  1. The bite is already happening, so don’t give a reaction. 
  2. Don’t distract him with a treat as it will only encourage him to bite more.
  3. Gently put the bird back in the cage and wash your hands with soapy water.
  4. If you only have a few scratches, just put some antibacterial ointment and a band-aid. But if you are bleeding, I suggest you rush to a doctor. 

Also, your doctor may advise you regarding psittacosis if you have contracted this infection from your bird.

  1. Take your bird to a vet for a complete check-up for any injuries, disturbances in behaviors, and diet.
  2. Remove all possible triggers and re-train your bird to stop biting you.

When your parrot bites you it can be frustrating 

I understand that

So should you punish your parrot for biting you?

Should You Punish Your Parrot For Biting You?

Never.

Firstly, for a bird, you trying to hit him makes no sense.

It is just painful attention and may cause your bird to distrust you even more.

Secondly, you can manipulate your bird’s behavior only by positive treats on good behavior.

So, when he stops on your command give him a treat. 

Thirdly, why would you wanna do it?

Now, your bird is tiny, cute, and currently under your protection.

You trying to punish him is only devastating, for both of you. 

Even a slight flick of the beak may be pretty harsh.

Would you hit a child while he is teething and trying to nibble your finger?

No right

So, I advise you to not adopt a parrot if you cannot be patient enough.

At this point, new breeders ask me, “So I am supposed to get bitten without reason and warning? all in name of love?”

Technically, that’s correct. 

But parrots do give warning before biting you. 

How Can I Tell If My Parrot Is Going To Bite Me?

The warning signs include:

  1. Head bobbing and hissing.
  2. Eye Pining.
  3. Lunging forward.
  4. Ruffling feathers.

Though, the signs may vary from bird to bird. 

Wrapping Up 

A parrot cannot bite your whole finger off.

However, it can cause significant damage to your nerves or bones.

Since parrots show signs before nibbling, it is best to not provoke them.

If a parrot nibbles you, make sure to not react.

As it will only encourage this behavior.

Frequently Asked Questions

What Determines The Strength Of a Parrot’s Bite?

Normally, the strength of a bite is related to a parrot’s beak, and not as much to the size of the bird.

So, even a small bird can cause significant damage. 

Major factors involved are:

1. Beak Size

Normally, large beaks can endure more pressure. Therefore, parrots with bigger beaks can cause more damage compared to those with smaller beaks. Consequently, 

While you may need stitches for a macaw bite, a parakeet bite may not hurt at all. 

Parrots having similar sizes, but different beak dimensions exhibit how bigger beaks are more vicious. And so, a Senegal will bite harder than a cocktail. 

Since oversized birds are likely to own sizeable beaks, therefore, it is generally assumed that “the larger a bird, the more brutal its bite”.

2. Beak Shape

Wide beaks can handle more pressure compared to narrow ones. But pointy beaks are specialized in piercing through the skin. So, the shape of a beak can have an entirely different impact.

For instance, a cockatoo has a hooked upper mandible, and a pronged lower mandible. Therefore, a single bite from a cockatoo can cause three times more damage compared to other birds with the same beak size.

3. Bird’s Personality

A strong but peace-loving bird may withhold itself during biting. While an aggressive bird may nip you with all its might. 

Since Hyacinth Macaws are usually docile, their bites are not as violent despite their massive strength. Contrarily, Amazon can chew you with all its might as they are usually unforgiving birds. 

4. Age

Baby birds, testing their beaks and limits, may only slightly nibble your finger. But an older and more experienced bird will bite you where it hurts the most.

Thus, biting style may differ giving rise to certain types of bites including:

  1. Puncture Wounds associated with narrow beaks e.g. Conures and Quaker bites. 
  2. Long-lasting Bites without letting go such as Caique bites.
  3. Twisted Nibbling as by Amazons.
  4. Excessive Chewing is commonly observed in African greys.

If you are a prospective parrot breeder, this may have raised several red flags. 

Which Parrot Bites The Most?

Since larger birds are most reported for biting.

Therefore, macaws and cockatoos are assumed to be the most biting parrots.

Among these, green-winged macaws are most notorious for biting.

But most common biting parrot species include:

1. Macaws

  1. Green Winged Macaws bite with 400-450psi. Such a bite normally needs stitches.
  2. Blue and Yellow Macaws are the most aggressive and possessive parrots that can bite with more than 400psi.
  3. Hyacinth Macaw are the biggest parrots and grow up to 100cm in length. They can bite around 450psi, but don’t do so unless provoked.

2. Cockatoos

  1. Bare Eyed Cockatoo can bite with 350psi and draw out blood.
  2. Moluccan Cockatoo is the strongest parrot that can bite with 500psi 

But then, 

Which Parrot Bites The Least?

All birds bite one time or another.

You may assume that budgies won’t bite as much, yet they do.

However, if you are looking for a bird that rarely bites, I suggest you get a Cockatail. 

Not only do cockatiels rarely bite, but they are usually easy to train. 

Related article you may be interested in

Why does my parrot bite my clothes?