Suddenly Aggressive Senegal

by Erin Downs

My senegal GB is a loving sweet little guy with me but tolerates everyone else in my household. There is one individual in the family who loves the bird but the feelings are not mutual. GB is slightly cage aggressive with her and she recently has been bitten twice on the face when she was putting him back in his cage. He has also been aggressive when she feeds him.

We try to make sure that he is fed by different people in the family as to try and make him more friendly with everyone. The bitten person does not over react just tells GB "That wasn't nice" in a soft but upset tone. He does well with this type of training. He sometimes gets upset with me and will nip at me when I try to take him off my shoulder and I firmly tell him "no" and he knows he is in the wrong and he steps up for me. He has been very good with all of us and it seems like the times he bits this family member are very random.

The 2nd time he bit her in the face it had been after a nice day that she had him on her lap petting him all over. He normally is even a little reluctant to have his head pet by anyone but me but he still enjoys it. On that day she pet him all over and for a very long time and then after a while she put him back in his cage (she even has to have him step up onto a stick) and she leaned in to put him on a branch and he scurried to her and bit her on the face.

Other then that he has been normal. The person being bitten wants to keep the relationship but is now fearful of being bitten. I don't want them to loose what they have.

Thank you,

Comments for Suddenly Aggressive Senegal

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Dec 26, 2009
To clear up what you didn't understand
by: Erin (Bird Parent)

I have a large long cage, 3ft long by 3ft tall and 2 ft in depth... it has a rolly stand that makes it 4 fat 6 in tall. GB is normally on the top of his cage or climbing around on it or on the things in the area. I am 5ft 4.5 in tall so that means the bird is just about eye level with me. The door is located in the middle of the cage its a square foot and this means we have to bend down a little to open the door and put him on one of his MANY perches or toys.

When he bit a family member he was reluctant to go back in his "house as we call it, so he kept moving closer to her hand on the stick and jumped off and hung to the side of the cage and was quite close and he bit her on the face... why her face was so close to him I can't say, she can't see in one eye and has trouble with depth perception so that might explain why she bends in more to see that shes putting the bird in the right place. I was not there and that is the best description of what happend I can give you.

GB is very sweet and enjoys being pet, when he waddles away it means he wants no more pets so no one pets him. I think you misunderstand what I said... he trusts me the most and LOVES a good pet by me all over but other people he just likes his head pet and any more he backs away. We respect his wishes and when he comes back for more he gets them.

I don't think it's my birds fault at all, I am just wondering what could have sparked his mean streak. He gets regular vet visits because my boyfriend is a vet tech. The bird also loves to nuzzle his head behind my ear and pet his own head like that. I then pick him up and give him a good rub and he purrs. He rides on my shoulder as I type this to you and he grooms him self clicking at me every now and again to say "hey, I'm right here" I don't think this is a horrible thing.... I understand why trainers or people decide to not let their birds ride on their shoulder but I really don't feel its as big of a threat as you make it out to be.

Some people spank their kids, some don't. Some people beat their kids, and some people let their children rule them. My parenting with my bird needs to be according to our relationship and his needs and mine. We have a beautiful relationship and I would like other is the family to enjoy a piece of that.

Thank you for your contribution to my question.

Dec 19, 2009
Suddenly Aggressive Senegal
by: Linda

From your letter, I have become confused. How can the bird on a stick possibly get close enough to her face to bite her? That just does not make sense to me. If he is on a stick, then he is being held too low to be able to bite her on the face. If his cage is down that low, then it needs to be raised up to eye level with all the humans in the household. Birds much, much lower than all the humans will become aggressive as a way to fight what they consider aggression on the human's part. It makes them afraid to be lower than eye level, and they will lash out any way they can.

So if the cage and bird's highest perch is lower than eye level, you'll need to put the cage on something that brings his highest perch up to eye level. If the cage is too small, the same kinds of aggression will occur, so make sure cage is adequate as regards size.

STOP LETTING HIM ON YOUR SHOULDER AS THIS IS A PLACE WHERE SEVERE DAMAGE CAN BE INFLICTED TO FACE, EYES, EARS AND NECK. You will need to start to work on that one immediately as well. Breaking parrots of bad habits is harder than never allowing them to get started, so you'll want to look at some of the training materials on the Parrot Training page.

I'd strongly suggest you take your bird to an Avian Vet for a checkup as aggression will also be seen in sick birds because they do not feel well and will strike out at the nearest human available.

This is NOT your bird's fault, and it IS the fault of poor training and handling. Get a cage that sits on its own stand, and they usually have wheels so cage can be moved easily. Set up perches so the highest one puts the bird at eye level with the humans in the house and stop letting him get on your shoulder. If he does not like to be petted a lot, then DO NOT PET HIM A LOT. Our Amazons don't like much petting and will bite when they are fed up with it which could also be contributing to this aggression. His basic set-up is wrong as is the ways he's being handled. Look at the training materials out here and do some reading to learn more about parrot's care in general. Your bird is a wild animal and is capable of taking out someone's eye or other severe injury, so learn about how he needs to be kept before someone pays a very high and painful price.

Thanks for writing,

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