Last Updated on: 3rd October 2023, 11:27 am
Budgerigars are small birds with tiny beaks, a friendly temperament, and an affectionate disposition. Despite these desirable traits, budgies can be nippy.
If a budgie nibbles the skin, you won’t experience much discomfort. If a parakeet is annoyed or afraid and feels compelled to bite as a warning, it’ll feel like a short, sharp sting.
If a parakeet is highly agitated, it’ll bite harder, potentially piercing the skin. A budgie’s maximum bite force is limited by its diminutive size, but mild bleeding and infection are possible.
Do Budgies Bite a Lot?
A budgie that hasn’t adjusted to life in captivity can be temperamentally volatile. However, a tame 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 parakeet, check for these 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 parakeet’s warnings, it’ll believe it has no alternative but to bite.
Where Do Parakeets Bite Humans?
Any area a budgie can grasp with its tiny beak can be gently nibbled, nipped, or bitten hard.
The hand and fingers are the most common places to be bitten by a budgie. 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 general curiosity and to show affection.
Do Budgie Bites Hurt?
Depending on the underlying intent, the pain level caused by different bites is as follows:
These gentle bites aren’t intended to wound and may even feel ticklish.
Nibbling shouldn’t hurt – even a small child is unlikely to be distressed – and is usually a consequence of the budgie exploring its surroundings, asking for attention, or showing affection.
“Beaking” isn’t technically biting at all. This involves a budgie holding onto a body part – potentially a finger during training or an ear while 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 if prolonged, it’s not done with malicious intent.
This is a short, sharp bite in response to a perceived threat or to announce displeasure. Most budgies will bite once, then back away. Bites can hurt similarly to getting some skin caught in a zip.
If a parakeet is afraid, upset, or angry, it’ll bite with greater ferocity and hold on for longer.
While the bite force of a budgerigar in pounds per square inch (PSI) hasn’t been scientifically studied, a hard bite can draw blood and cause bacterial affection on occasion.
Why Do Parakeets Bite You?
If you haven’t tamed a budgie or previously rewarded it when a baby budgie gently nibbles your hand, it may assume this behavior is appropriate.
Training will be required to coach a parakeet out of this increasingly painful habit.
Tame pet budgies may still bite for various reasons, although there will be an explanation. Owners must recognize the different biting triggers and work to minimize these incidents.
Budgies must wear down their beaks, which grow throughout the bird’s 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 and human fingers/hands within reach of the parakeet’s beak.
Parakeets are prey animals, frequently the target of feral cats, snakes, and birds of prey.
Proceedings of the Royal Society explain how birds have a superior sense of smell than previously believed. A bird may detect the scent of a predator and bite in a state of panic.
You must earn a parakeet’s trust before it allows you to interact physically. Be mindful of any animal scents on your hands when handling a budgie.
Budgies, especially females, can be surprisingly territorial.
If you house two female parakeets in the same cage, they may fight over perches, food, water, and attention. A lone parakeet can bite if it feels its territory is being invaded.
Changing a budgie’s food and water or adding a new toy can sometimes result in aggression.
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 bird for company.
Regularly talk to your parakeet, offer petting, play games, and encourage exercise outside the cage.
Budgies will experience hormonal changes during the year. Both male and female parakeets can become more volatile and aggressive during the mating season.
Wild parakeets mate between October and March in the Northern Hemisphere (like Australia) because these months deliver increased light, food, and warm weather.
As much as budgies like to play and exercise outside the cage, they eventually grow tired. The budgie is unwittingly expressing that it’s growing overstimulated and needs rest.
What Happens If A Budgie Bites You?
Although budgies can experience a rush of blood, these fits of temper are usually fleeting. Most parakeets will back away after biting, feeling their point has been made.
If a budgie bites you, avoid reacting beyond withdrawing your hand. If a parakeet bites due to 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 parakeet sometimes considers this extra attention favorable.
Return the budgie to its cage for a time out and work on your relationship when ready.
Are Budgie Bites Dangerous?
It’s unlikely that anybody bitten by a budgie will need to visit the emergency room, but this doesn’t mean that parakeet bites can always be ignored.
Can budgie bites draw blood? A bite can bleed if the bird is determined to use full force.
After being bitten by a budgie, inspect the area. While a parakeet’s beak isn’t strong enough to break bones or crush fingers (like a bite from a macaw), you may find that the skin has been punctured.
If so, wash the wound thoroughly with antibacterial soap and stem the bleeding. If the bitten area continues to hurt, throb, or feel warm to the touch for several hours, seek medical advice.
How To Stop A Parakeet from Biting You
While it’s possible that an owner can get bitten, the risk can be minimized with steps:
- Tame the budgie, forming a reliable routine that satisfies its instincts.
- Regularly interact and play together (toys, games, tricks, and talking).
- Avoid handling unless a budgie trusts you.
- Provide entertainment and enrichment 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 outside the cage, 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.).