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does a conure bite hurt?

Do Conures Bite A Lot? (Does It REALLY Hurt?)

Last Updated on January 29, 2024 by Carrie Stephens

Conures bite when overstimulated, stressed, scared, excited, jealous, or wanting attention. The main warning sign is eye pinning (rapid pupil dilation and constriction), in which a parrot flashes its eyes.

The pain caused by a conure bite depends on the species, where you’re bitten, and the intent. Not all bites hurt. Conures may nibble the skin to show affection like you’re a member of its flock.

A bite to the sensitive skin on the neck or ear hurts more than a bite to the finger or hand.

The larger the conure species, the stronger the bite force. Green-cheeked conures are just 10 inches long, while Patagonian conures are 18-20 inches long. The maximum bite force reflects the parrot’s size.

You can teach a conure not to bite by ignoring unwanted behaviors and reacting positively to desirable behaviors. The earlier in life training begins, the easier it’ll be to stop a conure from biting.

Why Conures Bite You

Adult conures don’t bite you for no reason, even if the explanation doesn’t make much sense to us. Conures bites have various explanations, including:

Playfulness And Attention-Seeking

Young parrots explore the world with their beaks. A baby conure may regularly nibble at human skin, often as an act of love and affection.

Many owners enjoy this behavior, petting the parrot and enjoying the special bond. Unfortunately, this reaction teaches a parrot that biting is a desirable behavior.

As the conure grows and develops, those nibbles become more painful bites.

Learn and understand the parrot’s body language. For example, conures often bite due to frustration when they want to express themselves and their wishes are ignored.

If a conure bites due to frustration and you immediately respond, this sends a powerful message to the parrot – biting is an easy way to get the attention and things it needs!

what to do if a conure bites you


Many conures bite because they’re feeling afraid and are acting in self-defense.

Common causes of fearful responses include:

  • Neophobia (a fear of new objects and situations).
  • Startlement due to loud noises and sudden movements.
  • Unnecessary and unwanted handling.
  • Skittishness due to health problems.
  • Previous negative experiences.

If removing the fear trigger is ineffective, cognitive-behavioral therapy can be beneficial.


Conures can become ‘one-person birds’ who become belligerent when approached by strangers. Also, parrots can become jealous if they think someone is getting your attention.

Most species, including green-cheeked conures and sun conures, are open to bonding with several humans. Even if only one family member meets their care needs, they’ll still develop a favorite person.

For a conure to accept several people and not bite when approached by someone unfamiliar, ensure that everybody in the household (including friends and guests) interacts positively with the bird.

Some parrots also recall unpleasant memories of people. According to the Association of Avian Veterinarians, parrots can develop post-traumatic stress disorder.

This could be to blame for a conure’s tendency to bite certain humans.

A bird may be conditioned through negative experiences to fear men or women or particular characteristics such as deep voices, facial hair, clothing, movements, and gestures.

Inappropriate Environment

Position the cage where the conure will feel like part of the family and can see and interact with others.

Consider noise when placing a conure’s cage in the home. Parrots fear loud, sudden noises, so avoid housing the bird in a location exposed to constant noise pollution (like road traffic).

Don’t allow animals with predatory instincts, like cats, to access a conure’s room.

Lack of Sleep

Parrots need 10-12 hours of sleep. A conure should sleep in an area devoid of noise and over-stimulation. Provide a conure with a second cage in a quiet area for sleeping.

If a conure doesn’t sleep enough, it’ll be moody and intolerant during waking hours. While parrots can take daytime naps to catch up on sleep, they prefer to spend 12 hours asleep and 12 hours awake.

If a conure is noisy at night, it’s struggling to sleep. Check if it’s having night frights, and ensure that external noise and other disturbances aren’t preventing it from resting.


If a baby conure has gone from pecking and nibbling to hissing, lunging, and biting, it’s experiencing a hormonal surge. This behavior, called bluffing, arises when a conure enters puberty.

All conures experience hormonal volatility, usually related to mating urges. Many parrots enter the breeding season at the onset of spring when the days grow longer and warmer.

Sexual frustration can make a conure more aggressive than usual. Unfortunately, a lone conure that has bonded with you may show sexual interest and consider you a mate.

Reduce a conure’s hormones with a shorter day. You can reduce lighting and cover the cage earlier.

Be mindful of where you pet a conure. Avoid the back, under the wings, and tail, focusing instead on the head, beak, and feet. Certain zones are reserved for same-species mates.

Health Problems

A sick conure is more vulnerable to predators, so it’s likelier to act defensively.

Unwell conures are also less energetic and friendly, preferring to be left alone to rest and recuperate. Disturbing a sick conure increases the likelihood of getting bitten.

A veterinary examination will reveal the cause of your conure’s health woes.


According to the journal Diversity, conures can be territorial.

A conure may grow very protective of its cage and resources. It may bite if it feels you’re entering its space, even to clean the cage, add new toys, or change its food and water.

If a conure shows this aggression each time you approach the cage, modify your reaction. For example, walk toward the cage more slowly and move your hands more deliberately.

Where Conures Bite

The hands or fingers are the most commonly bitten body parts.

These appendages interact with pet conures the most. The hands and fingers make easy targets, whether you’re reaching into the cage to clean it or handling or petting a conure.

If a conure is perched on the shoulder, it may bite one of the ears or neck out of curiosity.

You may also find that a conure grasps the ears or neck because it lost balance. Instinctively, a conure will use its beak to grab a stable item to secure itself.

A conure may bite you on the lips, which is often an unwanted sign of affection.

why does my conure bite me?

What To Do If A Conure Bites You

If a conure bites you, stay calm and don’t react angrily.

If you jerk your hand away and swat at the conure to remove it, you risk injuring them and harming your bond. This action may cause the conure to bite harder.

If you remain still, the conure will release its grip. Then, you can safely withdraw your hand.

Any wound that breaks the skin must be cleaned with antibacterial soap to prevent infection. When changing the dressing, monitor the wound to ensure it’s healing.

Conure Bite Healing Time

Conures are the third largest category of parrots, issuing painful bites and flesh wounds that result in bleeding. However, their beaks can’t break, fracture, or sever human bones.

According to Hand, parrot bites can transfer bacteria and other harmful pathogens. Consult a doctor if you experience redness, swelling, and discharge from the area where you were bitten.

How To Train A Conure Not To Bite

Avoid exposing a conure to anything that triggers biting behavior. This includes approaching a conure from behind and lifting it unexpectedly.

Teaching a parrot not to bite requires positive reinforcement. This involves praising the parrot when it behaves desirably and not responding to unwanted behaviors.

Wearing gloves protects the skin but won’t teach the parrot that biting people is wrong.

If a conure bites harder, don’t yell or scream. Instead, cage the conure and walk away for 5-10 minutes. That way, it’ll realize that hard biting is wrong due to an unfavorable outcome.

When biting behavior always starts at the start of the breeding season, it’s likely due to elevated hormone levels. Hormonal therapy can be used to redirect a conure’s aggression.