Regardless of which type of parrot you handle, if you own a parrot chances are that you will be bitten by them at one point in time or another.
Of course, parrot bites can range in severity.
A baby parrot that is testing the world around it with its beak may nibble on your fingers, but it won’t be very hard.
A parrot that is biting out of aggression on the other hand, could do a lot of damage.
Which parrots pack the biggest punch?
As you probably already expected it’s some of the bigger parrots, like the Macaws, that can do the most damage. With that being said, you shouldn’t underestimate the power of a small beak either. Sometimes the severity of a bite isn’t just about how big the beak is, but it’s also about how the bird chooses to use it.
Today we’ll talk about how scientists measure the power of a bite, as well as which parrots have the strongest bite.
We’ll also talk about some other factors that can affect the severity of the bite, as well as what to do if you have been bitten by a parrot.
Let’s not waste another minute:
How do scientists measure the power of a bite?
Yes, if you were to let two different parrots bite you, you would easily be able to tell which one hurts the most or which one causes the most damage.
But scientifically, you can’t put someone in a research study and allow a variety of different parrots to bite them – that would be cruel and scientifically unethical.
So how do scientists measure the strength of a bite?
When the strength of a bite is calculated, it’s measured in PSI (Pounds per square inch).
The measurement is often referred to as “bite force”, but should more appropriately be named “bite pressure” as the measurement determines how much pressure the bite exerts on the object being bitten.
To determine PSI, the following equation is used:
Pressure = Force/Area (P = F/A).
The average human has a bite force of 162 PSI.
Of course, a human’s bite force hold’s nothing in comparison to some of nature’s most fierce predators.
A tiger, for example, has a bite force of 1050 PSI and a Grizzly bear has the bite force of 1200 PSI.
As powerful as these animals are, neither of these compare with the Nile Crocodile who is known to have the strongest bite force in the world, sitting at 5000 PSI.
Where does the parrot fall?
A parrot’s bite force will differ from parrot to parrot and can be influenced by many different factors.
With that being said, depending on the parrot, a parrot bite can exert anywhere between 300-400 PSI.
This is why parrots can crunch through hard shells, nuts, and seeds while us humans cannot.
What factors influence the severity of a bite?
It’s difficult to give an “average” PSI for parrots because each type of parrot has its own bite force strength.
What determines the severity of a parrot bite?
This probably doesn’t come as much of a surprise.
Quite obviously, the larger the beak, the stronger the bite.
You wouldn’t expect that a house cat would have a stronger bite than a tiger, so you shouldn’t expect a budgie to have a stronger bite than a Macaw.
With that being said, it isn’t necessarily the size of the parrot that matters – it’s the size of the beak.
Take cockatiels and Senegals for example.
They are similar in size but the Senegal has a much larger beak.
In return, you can expect it to pack a stronger punch.
Some people have lots of muscles and extreme strength but docile personalities that wouldn’t allow them to use their complete strength on another human being. Parrots are no different.
Some parrots, like Hyacinth Macaws, have a lot of power behind their beak.
If they ever decided to use that power, they would be able to do a lot of damage.
But because they are more docile than some other parrot species, it’s unlikely that they would ever use their full strength to bite someone, even if provoked or frightened.
The Amazon parrot, on the other hand, does not have any inhibition. When they strike, they strike to damage – and damage is what they do.
Parrots who have inhibition will do less damage, while parrots who lack it will do more.
When it comes to beak structure, narrower beaks have less pressure while wider beaks have more.
Furthermore, and this should come as no surprise, birds with sharper beaks can also do a great deal of damage.
What types of bites are there?
Yes, there are different types of bites. And depending on which type of parrot you have, some bites are more likely than others:
Sharp puncture bites:
When it comes to parrot bites, most of us think of bites from large parrots like Macaws and Cockatoos.
This is because their beaks are big and we have a right to be afraid of them.
With that being said, many people don’t realize that small beaks can do damage too.
Sure, the damage probably won’t be as severe as that from a larger parrot, but if you were to get bit by a Conure or Quaker you would still know it!
Bites from small parrots like these are generally quick in-and-out style bites, but are very sharp and painful.
Long lasting bites
When most parrots bite it’s quick – they strike and then back off.
But some parrots, like the Caique, tend to hold on for a lot longer.
Rather than striking and then letting go, the Caique strikes and attaches their beak to your skin, hanging their entire body weight off of you.
Unlike regular parrot bites where you can start to give attention to the bitten area immediately, in the case of Caique bites, you need to pry the bird off of you first – ouch!
The twisted bites
As we mentioned above, Amazon parrots tend to lack inhibition.
In return, they bite really hard. But not only do Amazon parrots bite hard, they also know how to inflict maximum damage – by twisting the skin!
The Amazon parrot does this extremely swiftly and quickly, so much so that you may not even realize you have been bitten until you see the wound or start to feel the pain.
When a parrot bites and twists, severe damage can be inflicted in a very short period of time.
The chewing bites
Some parrots don’t just bite once, they bite continually.
Of all parrots, it’s the African Grey that is most likely to do this.
They will bite in a “corn on the cob” motion simply chewing on your skin until they are distracted or removed.
Which parrots have the strongest bites?
- The Green Winged Macaw
When you think of a parrot, the Green Winged Macaw is probably what first comes to mind.
They are the vision of beauty – red heads, green wings, and a variety of colors in between.
But while they are beautiful to look at, they aren’t so beautiful to be bitten by.
The average Green Winged Macaw can generate around 400 PSI in one bite – that’s much stronger than the average human bite!
If you are ever bitten by a Green-Winged Macaw, you will know it.
The area will remain inflicted and tender for quite some time before the healing process begins.
Green winged Macaws can easily snap through large nuts and seeds.
Luckily, they don’t pack enough punch to break a finger.
They can, however, break the skin enough to require stitches.
The good news is, most Green Winged Macaws are relaxed and easy going.
Unless provoked or extremely angry, this type of parrot is unlikely to become aggressive.
Even when they do bite, they tend to maintain their inhibition and won’t utilize their complete force.
With that being said, I still wouldn’t recommend trying to provoke one!
- Blue and Yellow Macaws
Like the Green Winged Macaw, Blue and Yellow Macaws are considered to be some of the most beautiful parrots in the world.
When people think of a typical parrot, this is what they think of. Also like Green Winged Macaws, Blue and Yellows pack a lot of punch behind their beak.
The average PSI for a Blue and Yellow Macaw is also around 400 PSI, which is strong enough to snap through hard nuts and seeds.
With that being said, unlike the Green Winged Macaw that is often docile and relaxed,
Blue and Yellow Macaws do have a stronger tendency towards aggression.
While they can make excellent pets when raised in the right environment, the wrong environment can lead to vicious behaviors like biting.
Furthermore, the Blue and Yellow Macaw loves to test everything with their beak, so even though they might not bite out of aggression, they could still bite out of playfulness.
By developing a strong bond and providing your Blue and Yellow Macaw with lots of stimulation throughout the day, you can drastically reduce your risk of being bitten.
- Hyacinth Macaws
Yes, there are a lot of Macaws on this list, but that’s because they are an extremely strong species of parrot.
This is the longest species of parrot and grows up to 100cm in length.
As you’ve probably already guessed, the Hyacinth Macaw produces a similar bite force as that of the two other types of Macaw on this list.
They have a bite strength of around 400 PSI.
The average Hyacinth Macaw can break a broom handle in half with their bite, so they are definitely a bird that deserves to be respected.
With the proper socialization, the Hyacinth Macaw can be a well-mannered bird that is unlikely to bite. But if not raised in an active and healthy environment, the Hyacinth Macaw can become aggressive, vicious, and even neurotic.
For this reason, they require plenty of room to roam, plenty of socialization, and plenty of stimulation.
If a Hyacinth Macaw decides that it wants to bite you, there is little to stop it from doing so.
This breed of parrot is considered to be an excellent hunter and is extremely fast.
If they choose you as a target, they aren’t going to miss – so pay attention to their body language and cues.
Though the Cockatoo doesn’t pack quite as much punch as the Macaw, it still has a bite force strength of over 350 PSI.
This means that their beak can easily destroy things like nuts, seeds, wooden toys, and yes, human flesh.
The cockatoo is an extremely social and lovable bird who, for some, can make an excellent companion.
With that being said, they are also a very challenging species of parrot to handle, which is also why they are one of the most abandoned species of parrot.
More specifically, when a cockatoo is unhappy, you know it. Cockatoos can be quite vocal in their displeasures, and might also express their displeasures by biting.
Bites can be painful, can break the skin, and can even draw blood.
By maintaining a positive, stimulating environment with lots of toys to bite on for your cockatoo, you can reduce the risk of being bitten.
- Moluccan Cockatoo
The Moluccan Cockatoo is the strongest type of cockatoo, and one of the strongest parrots on earth.
It’s bite force suprasses even that of the Macaw, weighing in at over 500 PSI.
The personality of the Moluccan Cockatoo is two-fold.
On one hand, they can make extremely amazing pets.
The Moluccan typically forms an extremely strong bond with its owner which is unsurpassed by any other type of parrot.
On the other hand, the Moluccan demands a lot of attention.
If they don’t get it, they can take massive tantrums that can include screaming and yes, biting.
It’s not uncommon for a Moluccan Cockatoo to attack its owner if it feels like it is being ignored.
You can prevent Moluccan bites by giving the parrot the attention that it needs throughout the day.
So there you have it – the top 5 strongest parrot bites by PSI. But what should you do if you are ever bitten by a parrot?
What to do if you are bitten by a parrot:
How to handle a parrot bite really depends on how severe the bite is.
If you have been bitten by a small parrot and there has been no breakage of the skin, you shouldn’t have to do much of anything – just clean the area.
It’s essential to have a good first aid kit. We recommend getting one like this on Amazon
If there has been breakage of the skin, but the bite is not severe then you can take measures to deal with the bite at home:
Step 1: Wash the bite with soap and warm water. Let air dry
Step 2: Apply a disinfectant and antibiotic ointment
Step 3: Cover with a bandaid and let heal
Keep in mind, however, that the biggest concern with a parrot bite is infection.
Regardless of wound size or severity, keep a close eye to ensure that there are no signs of infection. If there are, seek medical attention immediately.
You should also seek medical attention immediately if the wound has broken the skin, caused bleeding, and is too large to be dealt with at home.
Depending on which type of parrot has bit you and how hard, you may require stitches.
If your parrot has not been in your care for long, you may also want to consider seeking medical attention to rule out parrot fever.
Parrot fever is an infectious disease that can be caught from infected parrots.
Though parrot fever is rare, it can be passed onto humans if bitten. If infected with parrot fever you may feel nauseous, weak, or tired.
Other symptoms associated with the disease include vomiting and diarrhea, muscle and joint pain, and cough. If you have been bitten by a parrot and experienced any of these symptoms, or signs of infection, seek medical attention immediately.