How Hard Do Cockatoos Bite? (Beware Cockatoo’s Beak 2023)

Are you considering getting a cockatoo as a pet? Or do you already own one but want to know more about their biting behavior?

Cockatoos are popular pets because of their beautiful feathers, intelligence, and affectionate nature. However, these birds can also be unpredictable and potentially aggressive.

In this article, we will explore the topic of “How Hard Do Cockatoos Bite?” and provide answers to some common questions about these fascinating creatures.

Can a Cockatoo Bite Your Finger Off?

Mostly parrots bite your finger off but it is highly unlikely for a cockatoo to bite off a human finger. But sometimes they are in a bad mood and then bite your finger off.

In that case, you must be alert because their bite is very dangerous and painful for humans.

Because cockatoos have strong beaks, they do not have the same bite force as some other animals, such as crocodiles or large predatory cats.

How Hard Do Cockatoos Bite?

Cockatoos have a strong and sturdy beak that is designed to crack open tough nuts and seeds. The beak is made up of two parts, the upper and lower mandibles, which are connected by a hinge joint.

The upper mandible is longer than the lower and is curved downwards at the tip, forming a sharp point.

The lower mandible is shorter and curved upwards, creating a beak that is shaped like a pair of pincers.

The beak of a cockatoo is one of its most important tools, allowing it to forage for food and defend itself from predators.

Cockatoos are known to use their beak for a variety of tasks, including shredding paper, chewing on wooden toys, and even opening doors.

However, when a cockatoo feels threatened or frightened, it may resort to biting as a form of defense.

The strength of their bite can vary depending on the species of cockatoo and the individual bird’s temperament.

Some cockatoos have been known to break fingers or cause serious injuries with their beaks.

Studies have shown that a cockatoo’s bite force can range from 200 to 400 pounds per square inch (PSI). To put this into perspective, a human’s bite force is typically around 160 PSI.

This means that a cockatoo’s bite can be quite powerful and can potentially cause serious injury.

Different Types of Cockatoos Bite

Cockatoos can deliver different types of bites depending on their behavior and the situation. Here are some of the most common types of cockatoo bites:

Puncturing Sharp Bites

These bites occur when the bird delivers a quick, sharp bite with its beak. The bite can cause puncture wounds, bleeding, and significant pain.

Puncturing bites are usually delivered when the bird is frightened, threatened, or provoked.

Twisted Bites

These bites occur when the bird twists its head while biting. The twist can cause tearing and bruising of the skin.

Twisted bites are usually delivered when the bird is feeling threatened or when it is trying to establish dominance.

Long Bites

These bites occur when the bird holds onto the skin with its beak for an extended period. The bite can cause significant pain and injury.

Long bites are usually delivered when the bird is frightened, threatened, or when it is trying to establish dominance.

Nipping Bites

These bites are not usually painful, but they can be annoying. Nipping bites occur when the bird grabs onto clothing or skin with its beak without breaking the skin.

Nipping bites are usually delivered when the bird is trying to get attention or when it is playful.

Why Do Cockatoos Bite?

There are several reasons why cockatoos may bite, and it is important to understand these reasons to prevent biting and provide appropriate care for these birds.


Cockatoos may bite if they feel threatened or in danger. This can happen if they are approached too quickly or if they are handled roughly or in a way that causes them discomfort or pain.

Territorial Behavior

Cockatoos can be very protective of their space and may bite if they feel their territory is being invaded.

This can include biting if someone tries to touch their cage or if they feel that their food or toys are being taken away.

Fear or Stress

Cockatoos can become stressed or frightened in certain situations and may bite as a way to protect themselves. Due to fear birds also starve themselves.

This can happen if they are introduced to a new environment or if they are exposed to loud noises or sudden movements.

How Hard Do Cockatoos Bite?

Hormonal Behavior

Cockatoos can become more aggressive during the breeding season and may bite as a way to defend their mate or territory. This behavior can be more common in male cockatoos.

Medical Issues

Cockatoos may bite if they are in pain or discomfort due to a medical issue. It is important to seek veterinary care if you notice any signs of illness or abnormal behavior in your cockatoo.

Lack of Trust

If a cockatoo does not trust its owner, it may become defensive and bite as a way to protect itself.

This can happen if the bird has not been properly socialized or if it has had negative experiences with humans in the past.


Cockatoos can become very excited during play or interaction, and may accidentally bite as a result. This behavior can be more common in younger birds that have not yet learned to control their impulses.

Signs Your Cockatoo is Going to Bite You

Cockatoos can display a range of behaviors and body language that may indicate that they are about to bite.

It is important to be aware of these signs to prevent biting and ensure the safety of both the bird and its handler. Here are some common signs that a cockatoo is going to bite:

Flattening of the Feathers

A cockatoo may flatten its feathers against its body as a way to appear larger and more threatening.

If a cockatoo is displaying this behavior, it is best to give the bird some space and avoid handling it until it has calmed down.


A cockatoo may lunge forward or try to attack with its beak as a warning before biting. This behavior is often accompanied by a hissing or growling sound.

Raising of the Crest

Cockatoos have a crest of feathers on their head that can be raised or lowered depending on their mood. If a cockatoo raises its crest and appears agitated, it may be a sign that the bird is about to bite.

Squawking or Screaming

Cockatoos may squawk or scream as a warning before biting. This behavior is often accompanied by the flapping of the wings or other aggressive body language.

Stiffening of the Body

A cockatoo may stiffen its body and appear tense as a way to prepare for a bite. This behavior is often accompanied by an intense stare and raised beak.

Do Cockatoos Attack?

Yes, cockatoos can attack if they feel threatened, their territory is being invaded, or if they perceive a potential threat to their mate or family.

Cockatoos can also become aggressive if they are not properly trained or socialized, and can use their powerful beaks to bite humans or other animals.

It is important to understand their behavior and provide them with proper training and socialization to prevent aggressive behavior.

What You Should Do When a Cockatoo Bites You?

If a cockatoo bites you, there are a few steps you can take:

  1. Remain calm and avoid reacting emotionally. Cockatoos can sense fear and excitement, which may escalate their aggression.
  2. Do not pull away quickly as this may cause the bird to bite harder or injure you with their sharp beak.
  3. Gently and slowly remove the bird’s beak from your skin by applying pressure to its upper and lower mandibles.
  4. Do not punish or physically harm the bird as this may increase their aggression.
  5. Wash the bite wound with soap and water and apply an antiseptic cream to prevent infection.
  6. Observe the bird’s behavior and try to identify the cause of its aggression to prevent future bites.
  7. Seek medical attention if the bite wound is deep or if you develop signs of infection such as redness, swelling, or fever.

Remember, cockatoos are intelligent and sensitive creatures that require proper care and training.

Seek professional advice from a veterinarian or an experienced bird trainer if you are having trouble with your cockatoo’s behavior.

5 Wise Ways to Deal with an Aggressive Cockatoo

Sometimes birds nibble on their owners but they don’t know how to deal with them. Dealing with an aggressive cockatoo can be a challenging and potentially dangerous situation.

Cockatoos are known for their loud vocalizations, strong beaks, and unpredictable behavior. However, there are several efficient ways to manage an aggressive cockatoo and prevent potential harm.

Understand the Cause of the Aggression

Aggression in cockatoos can be caused by various factors, including fear, territorial behavior, hormonal changes, or health issues.

Understanding the underlying cause of the aggression can help in developing an appropriate plan to address the behavior.

For example, if the aggression is caused by hormonal changes, it may be necessary to adjust the bird’s diet or environment to reduce hormonal triggers.

Avoid Reinforcing Aggressive Behavior

Reinforcing aggressive behavior can make it worse. Avoid giving in to the bird’s demands, such as rewarding aggressive behavior with attention or treats.

Instead, reward the bird for good behavior, such as calmness or obedience, to encourage positive behavior.

Train the Bird with Positive Reinforcement

Training a bird with positive reinforcement is a safe and effective way to modify its behavior.

Positive reinforcement involves rewarding the bird for desirable behavior, such as stepping up onto your hand or staying calm when approached.

Use treats or toys as rewards, and repeat the behavior consistently to reinforce the desired behavior.

Use Environmental Enrichment

Cockatoos are intelligent and social birds that need mental stimulation and social interaction.

Providing them with plenty of toys, perches, and other environmental enrichment can help prevent boredom and destructive behavior.

This can include providing chew toys, foraging puzzles, or socializing with other birds or humans.

Consult with a Professional

If the bird’s aggression persists, it may be necessary to consult with a professional bird trainer or behaviorist.

They can help identify the underlying cause of the aggression and develop a tailored behavior modification plan to address the behavior.


How hard do cockatoos bite? Cockatoos are known for their strong beaks, which they use for communication, defense, and feeding.

When provoked or frightened, cockatoos can deliver a painful bite that can cause injury. The strength of the bite varies depending on the species and individual bird.

Biting can occur due to fear, aggression, or territorial behavior. To prevent bites, it’s important to understand the bird’s body language, provide adequate mental and physical stimulation, and avoid provoking the bird.

In cases of persistent biting, consulting a professional bird trainer or behaviorist may be necessary to modify the behavior.


What does a cockatoo bite feel like?

A cockatoo’s bite can be painful and sharp, as their beaks are strong and designed for cracking open nuts and seeds.

Which bird has the strongest bite?

The Galapagos large ground finch has a strong bite relative to its size, but larger birds like raptors and parrots typically have stronger bites.

Do parrots bite hard?

Yes, parrots have strong and sharp beaks that are designed for cracking nuts and seeds, so they can deliver a painful bite if provoked or scared.

Do cockatoos get aggressive?

Yes, cockatoos can become aggressive, especially if they feel threatened or stressed. Proper training and socialization can help minimize aggressive behavior in pet cockatoos.

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