How Bad Is A Macaw Bite? (What You Need To Know)




How Bad Is A Macaw Bite? (What You Need To Know) Find out at

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When it comes to animal bites, how bad is a macaw bite? Although macaws can be long-lived bird companions, you may find their personalities more challenging than other bird species.   

Macaws are known to have incredibly painful bites. Their biting force is more significant than cockatoos, with a biting pressure of 500 to 2,000+ psi. Also, they can cause significant bleeding in humans, and in some cases, the injuries would require sutures or even surgery. 

Why Do Macaw Bites?

Large and multicolored birds known as macaws are known for their long tails and bare face areas. These characteristics distinguish them from other types of birds. (Source

Macaws are large and friendly birds. You can hear their shrill calls and feathered expressions around the treetop. (Source)

While most parrot species, including macaws, use biting as a defense strategy, they also rely on their powerful jaws when foraging in the wild. For instance, they eat bone marrow and nuts in the environment.

Contrary to popular belief, wild parrots do not attack each other during fights. According to the Veterinary Clinics of North America, which specializes in exotic animals, the motivation for a parrot’s bite is not aggression but rather its environment. (Source)

In general, birds may bite for various reasons. How bad is a macaw bite? It can be pretty bad, let me tell you. Biting is not the same as utilizing the beak in a typical manner. The main causes of bird bites, including macaws, are: (Sources)

  • Fear
  • Protection instinct
  • Conditioning
  • Securing territory 
  • Attachment to its partner

How Strong Is A Macaw Bite Force?

How bad a macaw bite is depends on the animal’s bite force. Large birds like these can also crack nuts and seeds. To break through a nut’s hard shell, a bird requires around 200 psi. Reaching the minerals found in bones requires around 899 psi.

The biting force of a macaw is between 500 and 700 pounds per square inch (psi), with the bite force of a green-winged macaw believed to exceed 2,000 psi. (Source)

Likewise, the Hyacinth macaw is the second-largest bird species compared to the bigger ones. Although commonly regarded as a gentle giant, the Hyacinth macaw is also capable of being very aggressive. 

These birds can also produce up to 2,000 psi of pressure using their beaks, making them incredibly powerful tools. It can exert tremendous pressure on its beak, breaking a broomstick with just one crunch. It is comparable as the average human’s biting force is only around 150 psi. (Source)

How Bad Is A Macaw Bite?

How Bad Is A Macaw Bite? Read to find out.

A common mauling attack by a macaw involves splitting twigs and branches into smaller pieces. Although a single bite may do some damage, it won’t do much if it does not hit a major nerve.

Macaw bites are similar to a tear. When the macaw can’t remove its bill from its mouth, it will continue biting until it can do so. The size and structure of a macaw’s beak make it possible to bite through bone and take off a finger. (Source)

Despite their small size, Hahn’s macaws can inflict bite wounds that need stitches, often resulting in permanent scarring. Your Hahn’s macaw’s mood, behavior, and health will suffer if you ignore it or spend too little time with it. Not giving your bird enough attention might lead to aggression and damage to your property. (Source)

Also, a lot of macaws have large bills that are very robust. They also have sharp ends and curl patterns. After it has penetrated the skin, the bird’s bill gets withdrawn, and its pointed tip grabs onto the skin and rips it away. A larger portion of the victim’s skin or flesh gets ripped out. 

The Green Wing Macaw is an example of a species that can deliver a powerful bite. The green-winged macaw has a powerful beak that can produce a pressure of over 2000 psi. It can also crack open hard-shelled nuts, such as Brazil nuts. (Source)

If you have a Macaw capable of performing violent attacks, you must understand its root cause. It will allow you to find a way to control it. Also, know which type of bite can harm you.

Warning Bites of Macaw 

A piercing snap of its beak usually causes this type of bite. It doesn’t break the skin and doesn’t inflict any damage. A warning bite from a macaw will only hurt so much that it will have to pull your hand back. (Source)

It’s not the bird’s intention to harm you, but it wanted to convey a message. Check out the condition of your macaw to see if there is something that gives it stress. 

Nips of Macaw

The question of how bad is a macaw bite can be not so severe. Bites can be as mild as a playful nip or as severe as a bite that causes blood loss, scarring, nerve damage, and disfigurement. (Source

In general, a powerful bird with beaks that are capable of defending itself. A macaw will use its beak to protect itself against any threat. It is why people must know how to handle them properly. Some macaws will often nip at their human handlers when looking for attention. 

Although nips are often used as body language by parrots, they are not hostile. To avoid the nips, you should give them space and avoid approaching them. Macaws are known to run away if they see people coming. If you pet them, they might believe that you’re after their food, and they could bite you.

Tears of Macaw

Avians have emotions too. A macaw has fear, anxiety, frustration, and anger that can lead to potential danger. (Source)

Although it’s not afraid of people or other animals, the macaw is more likely to attack if it thinks its master is in danger. 

When a macaw’s beak tugs at its skin, it can tear the skin, which can result in painful wounds. It’s essential to clean the wound before stitching can be performed. A bite from a macaw can also cause the skin to tear, as its inner mouth can contain germs.

Crushing Bites of Macaw

It can tell how bad is a macaw bite. Macaws tend to bite like any other bird feeling lonely, anxious, angry, or irritated. If the bird can grasp you, it can deliver a crushing bite. (Source)

If the macaw takes a big bite out of your finger, it could break its bones. It’s also possible that the macaw loses its grip and the finger gets torn off. The impact of the bite will likely put the entire jaw into a firm grasp, which will last for a long time. 

The intensity of the bite may delay the onset of pain, though, and it may also help prevent the victim from experiencing further discomfort. To prevent this, ensure your macaw has somewhere to go to feel secure and comfortable. 

What To Do When Your Macaw Bites You

Although macaw bites are rare among top domesticated animals, animal bites account for as much as one percent of annual emergency department visits in the United States. Species-specific antimicrobial flora dictates how best to treat and prevent certain illnesses. (Source)

You need to take immediate emergency care regardless of how bad is a macaw bite. You must clean a cut or bite the same way as if it were an actual wound. Wash it with warm water, and soap will remove dirt and debris buildup.

Over-the-counter medications can also help ease the swelling and discomfort caused by the bite. However, if the bite gets painful or inflamed, you should follow the instructions on the box and do what it says on the label.

For most wounds, a doctor will prescribe antibiotics to prevent infection. You should take the antibiotics prescribed by your doctor if you have a wound infected with bacteria from a macaw. 

However, some cuts, such as those caused by the saliva from macaws, have bacteria resistant to standard antibiotics. A doctor may also prescribe other antibiotics, such as the antibiotic doxycycline. (Source

How To Avoid Macaw Bites

Trained parrots shouldn’t bite, and birds often bite when provoked. They only bite in extreme emotional states such as stress, fear, danger, or confinement. Macaws will bite as a warning and utilize defensive postures and calls when threatened.

A common problem with a certain type of bird is that it can easily break through the bars of a cage. It is why it’s essential to know these useful tips so that you won’t ask, “How bad is a macaw bite?” when it hits you. 

Establish Good Relationship With Your Macaw

Before training, let your macaw settle for a couple of days to build trust. It will allow you to take it easy and talk to your bird quietly. (Source)

When your bird is comfortable with you, give it treats by filling a small bowl with treats. However, if they have a habit of biting, they may try to grab the treats from your hand or even bite you. If you think your bird would try to grab the treat, place it on a flat surface, such as a wooden spoon.

When it comes to training, don’t try to force your bird into accepting a reward. Instead, let it sit quietly and wait for it to come to you. Once it accepts a reward, pat it tenderly on the breast. Some nuts your bird can eat are almonds, filberts, and macadamias. (Source)

Large birds such as macaws require a lot of playtime. A big cage will allow them to fly around in it while holding various toys and food bowls. To make your bird more comfortable in its cage, put some plants inside it. You can also add branches and twigs with leaves around the cage. (Source)

Sometimes, it’s essential to let your bird out of its cage. It will allow it to get some exercise and mental stimulation. It will also allow you to spend more time with your loved ones. Place your bird’s perch in the rooms that your family frequently visits.

Lastly, ensure that your bird has a healthy diet by providing it with various food sources, such as pellets and mixed seeds. Some of the most common food sources that your bird can eat are fruits and vegetables. Besides vegetables and fruits, other sources of protein and vitamins, such as chicken and pork, can also help boost the diet.

Learn The Macaw’s Body Language

If your macaw repeatedly clicks its beak, it may be feeling defensive or angry. It can also be followed by a neck stretch or a foot lift. Be careful not to get bitten if you try to play with it. (Source)

Eye movements can be used to indicate tense situations. The bird’s eyes may be pinned to indicate excitement, but it’s also possible that this is a sign of hostility or rage. If the bird’s eyes start to dart around, it might be distressed, and you should avoid touching it.

If the bird is not moving its feet or is leaning on its cage bars, it might indicate that it’s trying to come out. Step up or down as you open the cage door to make it easier for you.

Take Time To Train Your Macaw

Some people make the mistake of trying to correct their birds’ behavior by throwing objects at them or physically removing them from the area. It can be very confusing for the bird, as it might mean that the action you want to perform is either good or bad.

You must train your macaw to perch on your hand to move further. You must maintain a kind expression and eye contact while training it to do so. A macaw can tell you when you’re feeling upset just by looking at them.

Also, to keep your bird’s trust, avoid using physical punishment, such as hitting it. Instead, reward it with treats. 


How bad is a macaw bite? The animal’s biting force determines it, and the macaw is well endowed in this respect. These large macaws can also split open nuts and seeds. Estimates state that the bite force of the green-winged macaw exceeds 2,000 pounds per square inch (psi). Macaw’s beak is capable of breaking a broomstick with a single crunch as they can apply incredible force.

Knowing what can make your macaw aggressive is essential, and learning how to deal with them is essential. Then, you can have a smart and loyal bird companion without worrying about hurting yourself.

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  3. “Veterinary Clinics of North America. Exotic Animal Practice.” Science Direct. September 2001.
  4. “ Biting Behavior in Birds.” Arizona Exotic Animal Hospital. Accessed September 13, 2022.
  5. “ How Strong Is Macaw’s Bite?” Quora. Accessed September 13, 2022.
  6. “Hyacinth Macaw.” Lafeber Company. Accessed September 13, 2022.
  7. “ Can A Parrot’s Break A Finger.” Quora. Accessed September 13, 2022.“ Hahn’s Macaw (Red-Shouldered Macaw): Bird Species Profile. Accessed September 13, 2022.
  8. “Green- Winged Macaw.” Woburn Safari Park. Accessed September 13, 2022.
  9. “ Is Being Bit By A Macaw Quite Painful.” Parrot Forums. March 15, 2018.
  10. “ Birds Bite- Don’t Blame The Bird.” Avian Enrichment. Accessed September 13, 2022.
  11. Papini, Mauricio. “Avian Emotions: Comparative Perspectives On Fear And Frustration.” January 17, 2019.
  12. Hess, Laurie. “ How To Tell If Your Bird Is Unhappy Or Stressed- And What To Do.” Pet MD. Accessed September 13, 2022.
  13. Glenn, Gaston. ” Animal Bites To The Hand.” Current Orthopaedic Practice. November 2010.
  14. H, Freeman. “ Managing Parrot Bite Injuries To The Hand; Not Just Another Animal Bite.” National Library Of Medicine: National Center for Biotechnology Information. May 14, 2015.
  15. “ How To Stop Parrot From Biting: The Sharp Beak.” Beauty of Birds. September 16, 2021.
  16. “ Macaw Care: Facts About Macaws, Bird  Care for Macaw Parrots.” Animal- World. Accessed September 13, 2022.
  17. “ The Elements Needed To Keep Your Bird Happy  and Healthy.” Beauty of Birds. September 16, 2021.
  18. “ Reading Bird Body Language.” Mickaboo Companion Bird Rescue. Accessed September 13, 2022.

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