Bites from birds are natural behavior, and usually, they are harmless. Even a well trained and socialized bird could develop a fear of something and might bite you out of impulse.
Most of the time, these little bites are friendly. However, there are cinereous when it turns to be a very painful experience for the owners.
So, do macaws bite their owners? Yes, there are possibilities that your macaw could bite, and the reason could be fear, stress, hormonal fluxes, or lack of mental stimulation.
There are a few reasons why your macaw might bite you, and if you can figure out the exact cause, you could protect and avoid these bites.
Now, let’s dig into the topic and find out the reasons for these bites and what you can do about it.
Table of Contents
Do Macaws Bite Their Owners?
Macaws are very gentle and don’t usually bite their owners, but sometimes they do, and it could harm you badly.
However, you can avoid this behavior by understanding their body language and eliminating the exact cause.
Why Do Macaws Bite?
There are a couple of reasons why your macaw may bite you. One of the most common reasons could be fear, stress, injured or ill.
However, biting is a natural behavior of birds, and macaw is a wild bird, so biting is obvious.
Here are some common reasons for biting:
Young birds usually explore the world with their mouth. Babies teething may gently bite your finger, but this won’t be harmful and should be handled with caution.
So, if you have a baby macaw, this could be their way to explore the world, but they need to be taught the boundaries before it gets in their habit.
They might not be aware of the pain caused by their bite. So, if your baby bird is biting and nibbling on your finger, you shouldn’t encourage this behavior; instead, you should schedule their training.
Usually, stress, hormonal changes, territoriality and lack of mental could lead your macaw to aggression.
Aggression in parrots could be severe, and they might lose interest in playing, preen and become unhappy.
Fear could be a reason why your macaw tends to bite you. Birds that are not properly trained and socialized generally develop a fear of humans even when raised with love and care.
In this case, give your bird enough time and try to understand the reason for fear, eliminate it as soon as possible, and build trust.
Territorial of their cage, place or person is a common behavior of birds. If your bird is biting you whenever you go near the cage or try to remove them, then it could be a sign of territorial defending.
In this case, you should dedicate some time to training your macaw. Usually, they become normal after some time.
However, a territorial bird could be dangerous, and you should avoid taking them on your shoulder, and they need a lot of patience and care to handle them.
Birds often bite when they are feeling playful or over-excited. Birds are prone to overload behavior, especially cockatoos and amazons.
However, you can understand when your bird is about to bite just by looking at its body language.
Most birds usually have fluffed feathers and gazed eyes at the time when they are super excited.
In this case, handle your bird carefully with love and try to avoid getting bitten.
Injured or Illness:
If your macaw is injured or ill, they often want to be alone. An injured bird may start biting out of fear, anger or stress.
If your bird doesn’t usually bite but suddenly starts nipping without any reason, you should take your bird to a pet expert or vet and get a checkup.
Meanwhile, handle your bird with care and love and try to avoid getting bitten and do not punish them for this behavior.
Lastly, hormonal changes due to breeding could be the reason for unusual biting and aggressive behavior.
They tend to become more aggressive and protective to their mate and try to defend them. Amazon and cockatoos are the most affected birds by hormonal changes.
While you can’t do much about these hormonal changes occurring in your bird but to avoid getting bitten, you should visit an expert vet or breeder to help your bird out of this situation.
Do Macaw Bite Hurts?
Yes, it does!
Among all other parrot species, macaw has the most painful bites. An average macaw can bite with 500 – 700 psi force, strong enough to puncture the skin, draw blood, and even rip off the skin.
A macaw break is made of bone and keratin (the same protein that makes our nails and hair), and they are full of nerves and blood vessels and not hollowed from inside.
The keratin coating of the outer shell provides extra strength to the break and protects it from harm.
So, if next time your macaw tries to bite you, make sure you distance yourself and avoid getting bitten.
How Hard Macaws Bite is
A hyacinth macaw’s beak is massive and powerful enough to break the bars of a standard birdcage.
Among all parrots, green-winged macaw can bite with the force of 2,000 psi, strong enough to snap the standard stainless cage.
While macaw has a bite force to rip off your finger, the good thing is that they are calm and gentle in nature and do not bite often.
However, before biting you out of fear, stress or over-stimulation, they will show a type of body language as a warning.
Can A Parrot Bite Your Finger Off?
Not likely, but I won’t say it’s impossible.
Giant parrots, especially hyacinth macaws, have sharp and curved beaks and they are strong enough to crush your finger even if not ripen off.
Black palm cockatoo and hyacinth macaw have a bite force of around 10, 00 to 12, 00 pounds, which is powerful enough to damage your fingers permanently.
Therefore, if your macaw is aggressive, stressed or fearful, pay close attention to their body language and be careful.
What To Do If Macaw Bites You?
Macaws don’t usually bite, but if they do, they can rip off the skin if their peaks have latched you tighter.
So, here are the things you should do if a macaw bites you:
- First of all, remain calm (I know it’s hard, but still).
- Don’t try to remove the peak or throw the parrot forcefully, as it can make them latch you tighter
- Hold the parrot carefully, thrashing, stressing out the macaw can deeper the wound.
- If the parrot has latched on you, keep calm; they will leave you eventually after some time.
Treatment For Parrot Bite
Usually, parrot bites are gentle and playful, and most of the time, you do not have to do anything. However, sometimes it gets worse than usual.
Here are a few things you can do:
When a macaw bites you while playing, it should be a loving snap of its beak, which is harmless.
These warning bites might hurt, but they won’t be deep enough to cause any further problems.
In this case, all you have to do is wash it with clean water and then apply some anti-inflammatory ointment and a band-aid on the tender area.
If It’s Bleeding
Even a small friendly bite from a large macaw can be painful, and sometimes it rips off the outer layer of our skin.
This type of bite can be treated at home with antibiotic ointment. All you have to do is wash the affected area with clean water and let it dry and then apply some antibiotic ointment.
If the bite or scratch has punctured the skin or deep, you should call your doctor as it might get severe, and your doctor may suggest tetanus.
This is the worse bite when macaw latches you with their full power. Because of their curved shape peak, their tip gets stuck into the skin when macaw bites you and leaves a painful, gaping wound.
So, if your macaw has bitten you and ripped off a large area of your skin, you should immediately seek medical attention.
This type of bite needs stitches and proper antibiotics to avoid further health complications such as infection and parrot fever.
How To Prevent Your Macaw From Biting?
Macaws don’t usually bite, and they are pretty friendly.
Still, owning a macaw that bites out of stress and aggression could be very dangerous.
Macaws have very powerful beaks, and even a small interactive bite can cause immense pain. And there are scenarios when the owner has lost their fingers, toes to the bird and other severe injuries.
However, you can prevent your bird from biting, understating the cause and eliminating it.
Here are a few things tips to prevent your macaw from biting:
Provide Proper Training:
Whether it’s a bird or animal, proper training plays a significant role in correcting their behavior.
If you have a baby macaw at home, you must set a training schedule to disrupt, even if it’s a temporary biting behavior.
With patience and effort, you can teach your bird not to bite with reward training method even if you are not a professional trainer.
However, if nothing works, you can always contact a bird trainer or behaviorist to help you out.
Give Them Attention:
Macaws are attention seekers, just like any other animal.
They are highly affectionate with their owner, which means if you have a macaw at home, you must spare some time and spend it with them, whether in the form of training or interactive play or just hanging out.
This will increase the bond between you and your bird, which will likely prevent unwanted bites from your macaw, and once you have established the bond, you can further expose your macaw to others so they can be comfortable.
Not getting enough engagement could be a reason for this biting behavior.
Macaw is highly energetic, and they require inter-active playtime just like any other animal. You just can’t put them in a cage and watch them play.
They have a big beak, and they love to bite and nibble on things. So, if you don’t want to get bitten, I suggest you purchase some chewable toys.
Maintain a Stress-Free Environment:
In the wild, macaws can freely roam wherever they want, but when you buy them into your house, you must provide them with a stress-free environment.
Treat them with love, have some fun playtime with your bird or just stay near their cage and talk to them.
Don’t forcefully place your bird into the cage. They should be in a cage whenever they want and not as a punishment.
Moreover, make sure they have sufficient food and water, and you should buy some toys for their entertainment.
Yes, macaw do bites sometimes, but the good news is that you can correct this behavior by understanding the cause and providing appropriate training.
Macaw usually bites when they are under stress, tired or injured. Another reason could be aggression or hormonal changes.
Whatever the reason is, just keep watch on your bird, and you will understand when they are about to bite by their body language.
Try to isolate the reason and don’t force or overpower anything on your bird; they may lose trust in you.
Remember, patience is the key, and you should never punish or mistreat your bird. With proper training, love, understanding and patience, you will be able to gain the trust and friendship of your macaw.
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