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Does It Hurt When A Budgie Bites You? (Bite Type + Pain Level)

Last Updated on January 28, 2024 by Carrie Stephens

Budgerigars have tiny beaks but can be nippy birds. They like to explore the world with their beaks. If a budgie nibbles the skin, you won’t experience any discomfort.

If a budgie is angry or afraid, its warning bite feels like a short, sharp sting. If a budgie is highly agitated, it’ll bite as hard as possible. This bite can pierce the skin, resulting in mild bleeding and infection.

A budgie’s maximum bite force is limited by size, so they can’t sever human fingers or break bones.

Signs A Budgie Will Bite You

A budgie that hasn’t adjusted to its new life may be temperamentally volatile. However, a tamed budgie won’t willfully bite a bonded human owner without a valid reason.

Biting is undesirable, but pet budgies rarely bite without notification. If you’re considering petting or handling a budgie, check for clear physical and verbal warning signs:

  • Stretching the neck and spreading the wings to appear larger.
  • Crouching and staring at you, pinning the eyes.
  • Flicking the tail back and forth.
  • Hissing and clicking the beak.

If you ignore a budgie’s warnings, it’ll believe it has no alternative but to bite.

Where Budgies Bite Humans

Any area a budgie can grasp with its tiny beak can be gently nibbled, nipped, or bitten hard.

A budgie most commonly bites the hand and fingers. Budgies frequently bite when handled against their will or mishandled, making fingers an easy target.

A budgie perched on your shoulder may peck and bite the nose, lips, or ears. However, these areas are usually bitten more gently out of curiosity and to show affection.

are budgie bites dangerous?

Pain Level from Budgie Bites

Depending on the underlying intent, the pain level caused by different bites is as follows:

Nibbling

Nibbling shouldn’t hurt, so even a small child is unlikely to be distressed. They’re usually a consequence of the budgie exploring its surroundings, asking for attention, or showing affection.

Beaking

“Beaking” isn’t technically biting. It involves a budgie holding onto a body part. This could be a finger during training or an ear when perching on a shoulder to maintain balance.

As budgies don’t have hands, they use their beaks as a third limb.

Beaking is often spontaneous, similar to how humans would grab the closest solid object when losing balance. While breaking may hurt a little if prolonged, it’s not done with malicious intent.

Warning Bites

This is a short, sharp bite in response to a perceived threat or to announce displeasure. Most budgies will bite once before backing away. Bites can hurt similarly to getting some skin caught in a zip.

Hard Bites

If a budgie is afraid, upset, or angry, it bites with greater ferocity and holds on for longer. Some budgies have been known to twist the skin in their beaks, inflicting further discomfort.

A hard bite can draw blood and cause infection due to the bacterial microbes inside the beak.

Why Budgies Bite You

If you have previously rewarded a baby budgie for nibbling, it’ll believe this behavior is okay. As the budgie ages, its bites will get harder. Training will be required to coach it out of this habit.

Tamed adult pet budgies may bite for the following reasons:

Beak Overgrowth

Budgies must wear down their beaks, which grow throughout their lifetime. If a budgie lacks chew toys and abrasive items in the cage (like cuttlebones), it’s likelier to chew and bite.

This could be the bars of a cage or human fingers or hands within reach of the budgie’s beak.

Fear

Budgies are prey animals, frequently the target of feral cats, snakes, and birds of prey.

Proceedings of the Royal Society explain that birds have a superior sense of smell than previously believed. For example, a budgie may detect the scent of a predator and bite in a state of panic.

You must earn a budgie’s trust before it allows you to interact physically.

Territoriality

Budgies, especially females, can be highly territorial.

If you house two females in the same cage, they may fight over perches, food, water, and attention. A lone budgie may bite if it feels its territory is being taken.

Changing a budgie’s food and water or adding a new toy can result in aggression.

Attention Seeking

Budgies love attention and interaction with their owners, especially lone birds. You’ll be expected to entertain your pet if you don’t provide a second budgie for company.

Regularly talk to your budgie, offer petting, play games, and encourage exercise outside the cage.

Hormones

Budgies will experience hormonal changes during the year. Both male and female budgies can become more volatile and aggressive during the mating season.

Wild budgies mate between October and March in the Northern Hemisphere (like Australia) because these months deliver increased light, food, and warm weather.

Overstimulation

As much as budgies like to play and explore outside the cage, they eventually grow tired. The budgie is expressing that it’s growing overstimulated and needs a break.

do budgie bites hurt?

What Happens When A Budgie Bites You

Although budgies can experience a rush of blood, these fits of temper are usually fleeting. Most budgies will back away after biting, feeling their point has been made.

If a budgie bites you, avoid reacting beyond withdrawing your hand. If a budgie bites you out of fear or in self-defense, it’ll be satisfied that the action was successful and the threat has been removed.

Never yell at a budgie for biting. While intended as negative reinforcement training, a budgie may consider this extra attention favorable.

Return the budgie to its cage for a time out and work on your relationship when ready.

Budgie Bites Aren’t Dangerous

It’s unlikely that anyone bitten by a budgie will need to visit the emergency room. Can budgie bites draw blood? A bite can bleed if the budgie bites as hard as possible.

After being bitten, inspect the area. While a budgie’s beak isn’t strong enough to break bones or crush fingers (like a macaw’s bite), you may find that the skin has been punctured.

If so, wash the wound with antibacterial soap and stem the bleeding. If the bitten area continues to hurt, throb, or feel warm to the touch after 24 hours, seek medical advice.

How To Stop A Budgie from Biting You

While any owner can get bitten, the risk can be minimized by doing the following:

  • Tame the budgie, forming a reliable routine that satisfies its instincts.
  • Regularly interact and play together (toys, games, tricks, and talking).
  • Avoid handling unless the budgie trusts you.
  • Provide entertainment in the cage.
  • Add a cuttlebone to the cage to give a budgie a way to wear down its beak.
  • Avoid handling during the breeding season when hormones are elevated.
  • Encourage regular exercise, but avoid overstimulation.

A healthy adult won’t experience prolonged pain from a budgie’s bite. Usually, the discomfort will pass within a few minutes. Consult a doctor if the bite area becomes infected (swelling, redness, puss, etc.)