Parrots may be small compared to us, but that often doesn’t stop even the smallest species from displaying aggression towards us.
Parrotlets have something of a reputation for being aggressive as parrots go, but are they really aggressive?
Parrotlets can be a bit aggressive, but they shouldn’t be with the right care. That said, they can have a tendency to get nippy and even bity, so training and taming are really important. It starts with a reputable breeder since they will raise it through those crucial early stages.
Parrots in general certainly can be aggressive if they are not cared for or raised properly.
Parrotlets, despite their small stature, are indeed known to be particularly aggressive even when trained as well as they can be.
It starts with being able to give your parrotlet space when it needs it, and not forcing interactions.
Let’s find out more.
Can parrotlets be aggressive?
Yes, parrotlets certainly can be aggressive and they often will be.
That said, let’s start by considering their reputation.
Like many similar-sized parrots, they do have a reputation for being very aggressive, but the reality is that their reputation exceeds reality.
They are really not as aggressive as people often claim, and when they are, there is typically some part of its care or its raising which is the cause.
They aren’t just naturally aggressive, or at least, not in a way that can’t be tamed out of them like any other species.
I’ll get into the exact causes of this aggression soon, but let’s first look at what it might look like, in the worst-case scenario.
They will bite, first and foremost, as many parrots do.
They will nip and bite and, even though they have a very small beak, it’s still very tough—so it will hurt if you get bitten.
It will particularly hurt children, too, so even the most well-trained parrotlet needs to be supervised when out of its cage.
In general terms, though, they really aren’t much more aggressive than any other parrot.
All parrots are highly individual, and there is room for considerable variation between any two individuals of the same species.
So, one may for whatever reason be far more aggressive than another.
Again, though, as long as the parrot was well raised and trained, and has all of its needs looked after, then it shouldn’t be aggressive, really.
Let’s look into what can cause aggression in parrotlets.
Why is my parrotlet so aggressive?
If you are having trouble with aggressive parrotlet, then there are a few potential causes.
The first and more common is going to be how the parrotlet was raised and handled by the breeder.
They are obviously the ones who have first contact with the parrot and get it ready to be sold to a new home, and those earliest stages of its life are absolutely essential to its development.
If it is not handled properly at this stage, this can lead to aggressive tendencies later in life.
To a degree, parrotlets are naturally aggressive.
In the wild, parrotlets certainly wouldn’t let you near them or touch them, and they would be very aggressive if they couldn’t simply fly away.
Thus, the breeder must be extremely careful in taming them, and in knowing how to do that.
So, if you are trying to avoid aggressive parrotlet in the future, be sure to do your research and find a reputable, respectable, and professional breeder with good reviews in your area.
This will all but ensure they don’t have in-built aggression problems.
But the causes don’t stop there.
Once you’ve got the parrotlet home, you still need to be sure you’re taking care of its every need, or this could also lead to aggressive tendencies.
The basics are obviously what the parrot eats, firstly.
You want to be sure your parrot is getting enough nutrition, but also that it is getting enough balance and variety.
They will want fresh treats like fruit and veg, otherwise they may become irritated and ultimately aggressive.
Their day-night routine should also be quite strict, and it’s important that they aren’t disturbed through the night.
Be sure they have total darkness throughout the night, as well as a standard bedtime at the same time every day.
Make sure they are also not disturbed by a lot of noises during the night.
Finally, make sure they have enough to play with. Parrotlets are smart creatures for their size, and they’ll get bored without enough to stimulate them.
Be sure you are spending enough time with them day-to-day, and that they are getting enough stimulation through their toys.
As long as all this is taken care of you, your parrotlet should be calm and won’t bite.
If they still do, there could be an underlying illness causing it—be sure to speak to a vet to rule this possibility out.
Are parrotlets aggressive to people?
Yes, parrotlets can be aggressive to people.
It’s a sort of fear response, since we are obviously so much bigger than they are.
They might simply puff up and hiss at you if you try to touch or interact with them, or even get near them, if something is causing them to be aggressive.
They can also bite, and this can hurt, as I said.
Even the most well-trained parrotlets should always be supervised when playing out of their cage, and certainly when playing with children.
This is as much for the parrotlets protection from the children as it is from the parrotlet!
So, yes, parrotlets can be aggressive to people—but they shouldn’t be.
Are parrotlets aggressive to other birds?
Yes, they can be, but again, it depends.
If you try to introduce another species of parrot to a mature parrotlet, chances are they won’t get on.
At worst, they may attack and try to kill one another.
That’s a natural response which, again, even the best training and raising cannot really change.
On the other hand, people do often keep pairs of parrotlets.
As long as they are raised together from a young age, they should bond well to each other and never be aggressive.
Having two is a great way to keep them calm and happy, but it can mean they are less bonded to you.
With that in mind, does a parrotlet make a good first parrot?
Is a parrotlet a good first bird?
The simple answer is no.
They are extremely bossy and have very specific needs, and if those needs are not met to a tee, they will quickly become aggressive.
This is much harder to handle and correct if you have no experience owning parrots, so I would definitely not advise a parrotlet as a first bird.
Again, don’t let their size fool you—they’re high maintenance!
Do parrotlet bites hurt?
Again, the short answer is yes.
Parrotlets might be small, but they have a mighty bite and a hard beak to go with it.
If they want to hurt you, they definitely can, and they could even draw blood.
Again, this is why I would advise them to keep away from children, or at the very least always be strictly supervised during any interactions or time out of their cage.
Of course, even if the bites didn’t hurt, the problem would still be the same.
Your parrotlet will be stressed and show that through aggression.
Can parrotlets be left alone?
As a general rule, you’ll need to spend at least 3-4 hours a day with your parrotlet to keep it from getting lonely.
This might seem like a lot, but parrots are incredibly social animals, so they need constant companionship.
If you have the time to provide that, then they will be fine on their own for some of the day.
However, my advice would be that it’s best to have a pair.
It may not bond to you as well as you might like, but it will ultimately be better for the parrots’ wellbeing if they have a constant companion and member of their own species to live with.
Don’t let their size fool you, then.
Parrotlets can be aggressive, and they can even be dangerous if not raised properly.
Parrots are extremely complex animals with relatively complex needs.
Thus, it’s important that you fully understand what you are getting into when you start parrotlet ownership.
They are small, but they can be really aggressive if not treated right.
This aggression can become a permanent problem in the worst cases.
Responsible raising is the most important thing.