I love animals.
Growing up, I had dogs, cats, hamsters, degus (an adorable Chilean rodent), and hermit crabs.
Two animals I always wanted but never had – a rabbit and a bird.
My parents drew a line in the sand about a bird. “They bite.” “They’re loud.” “They poop everywhere.”
These were several objections I heard from my parents whenever I asked to get a bird.
Now that I’m an adult, I decided that I wanted to try my hand at bird ownership, and though I had no problems dealing with noise and poop, I didn’t want to get bitten all the time.
With this in mind, are green cheek conures aggressive?
The short answer is no; green cheek conures are not aggressive. And also, yes, they can be. Green cheek conures are a shy, friendly bird by nature. However, they have a strong instinct to protect themselves from possible harm. Their level of aggression depends on you.
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What makes a green cheek conure aggressive?
Birds are prey animals.
They have instincts to protect them from predators in the wild.
They are small and fragile, and humans are big and can be scary to birds.
One of the essential parts of bird ownership is gaining the trust of your bird.
Gaining your bird’s trust is easier to do if you happen to get a hand-raised baby bird.
However, rescuing a parrot can be just as rewarding with some patience and understanding.
Rescue parrots are more likely to be aggressive because of neglect.
Green cheek conures are happiest in a flock, but they may see humans as dangerous if they are neglected for years.
Parrots explore the world with their beaks.
They use it much like we use our hands.
They use it to pick things up, sense their physical environment, and protect themselves from harm.
Another behavior green cheek conures have is using their tongue to taste and recognize objects around them.
If they sense a threat as they are tasting something, they can bite down and protect themselves.
You may be able to see why this can be problematic for bird owners.
As we gain our bird’s trust, we may mess up and cause our bird to think we are dangerous by moving too quickly.
Sometimes we may get bitten by our bird.
Getting bitten doesn’t mean we have an aggressive bird.
However, if we respond to our bird by flicking, hitting, or otherwise reacting to the bird’s natural reflexes, we can create aggressive patterns in our bird and diminish trust.
What does aggression look like?
Green cheek conures typically are not offensively aggressive.
Meaning they won’t leave their safe space to come and hurt you.
They are more likely to be defensively aggressive.
Meaning, if you come into their safe space, they will defend it the best way they know – by biting you.
Green cheek conures will often give you several signs they don’t want you near them.
They may change their posture, mimic biting at you, or even vocalize angrily at you.
This behavior should be taken as a sign to respect the bird’s space and leave it alone.
However, if you are determined to try and touch the bird, you will most likely get bitten.
Don’t do this.
Birds are intelligent, emotional creatures.
Respect their communication and do not try and force any interaction with them.
They will naturally want to have a positive interaction with you once they see it is safe to interact with you.
Again, aggression is caused by a lack of trust and an instinct to protect themselves.
This is why consistent positive interactions with your bird and going at their pace is the best defense against aggression.
How can you correct aggression?
You have to show your bird that you are safe and trustworthy.
Depending on the bird’s experience with people, this may take longer for some birds than others.
The length of time doesn’t matter; it takes as long as the bird needs.
If you take good care of your bird, it may live 20-30 years, so take your time.
Have consistently positive interactions.
Keep yourself safe by watching for the signs your green cheek conure gives you.
Please do not force your hand on them.
Give them treats, but if they try to bite your hand through the cage, you can put peanut butter on a spoon or fruit on a skewer.
Extend the treat into the cage and allow them to come to receive it.
Once they learn that you are there to give them treats, you can start building your relationship from there.
Green cheek conures interpret specific body language from us as aggressive.
To appear less threatening to your bird, always speak in a soft, calm voice.
Approach their cage with your head turned to the side and slightly down.
Parrots may interpret a head-on posture as threatening.
Praise your bird as often as you can, and do not react to aggressive behavior.
Reacting will create more of what you don’t want.
Always protect yourself and your green cheek conure from a negative interaction by going at your bird’s pace and never forcing them.
If necessary, you can purchase special gloves to wear when handling an aggressive bird.
However, be warned – the gloves may scare your bird and result in more aggression.
You will have to learn the unique personality of your bird and do your best to work within those traits.
If my bird is an aggressive rescue, is there hope?
Green cheek conures are naturally flock animals, meaning they are happier when they get along with their environment.
Now that you have a bird, you’re their flock.
They can be taught to trust again.
You can show them that a relationship with a human can be safe, rewarding, and loving.
If you have never had a bird before, green cheek conures can be a great choice.
Be sure to learn as much as you can before rescuing a bird.
Be armed with information so you can have the best chance of starting your relationship off on the right foot.