Suddenly Aggressive Sun Conure

by James
(Manchester, CT)

My girlfriend and I have a 2 and a half year old Sun Conure named Margarita that has suddenly become aggressive with both of us at seemingly very strange times. We try to make it a point to snuggle with him in our bed every night when we are settling down watching TV.
The other night I had him on my shoulder while I was playing a video game, and he out of nowhere bit me on my neck really hard. I mean really hard. He didnt give any warning that I would have noticed- it just came out of nowhere. When i picked him off my shoulder and placed him down in front of us on the bed he ran at my hand which was holding the game controller.
The next day we had him cuddling in bed again and he started puffing up and charging at my girlfriends arm when she was holding the remote controller to the TV. A while later he did the same thing when I was holding a glass.
What we have come to conclude after testing his behavior is that whenever we hold anything in our hands near him, whether when hes in or on his cage, on our shoulder, or on the bed with us, he seems to get really aggressive and start trying to bite and attack not only the device in our hands, but us as well. Does anybody have any idea why this might be happening and what the potential solution is? Please help!

Comments for Suddenly Aggressive Sun Conure

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Mar 18, 2014
Jenday Conure Sudden Aggression
by: Joyce

We have a conure who has suddenly turned nasty with my husband. She will attack and bite at him viciously whenever he is in the room. This is truly an overnight change. He always puts her to bed every night at 8 pm. She has a sleeping cage in a separate bedroom which is covered, lights off and door closed. I get her up in the morning around 8:30. 5 days ago, my husband got her up and she attacked him as soon as he opened her cage door. He can't get near her now without her throwing a fit. Let me clarify, we call Peppe a "she" but we don't really know her sex. We purchased her when she was 8 weeks old (she's now 6-1/2 years old)so we had the pleasure of hand feeding her for about 8 weeks and it was an awesome bonding experience. Peppe has always preferred me to her daddy but has always been very loving to both of us. She has a very large cage with lots of toys of all kinds and is a true joy. She is only out of her cage when she is with one of us, which is for approximately 3-4 hours a day. We are in a quandry about what happened to make her turn on her daddy. We've read everything we can find about this problem. Does anyone have any other ideas?

Editor's note: Parrot Training page has articles to help you.

Sep 02, 2013
Sun conure attacking
by: Squeeky

Your conure is more than likely in breeding mode. I am having same problem with one of my sun conures who is in breeding mode, and literally chases me (he is fully flighted) and bites the hell out of me. For now, i have him in a cage on his own until he calms down.

Any kind od cuddling or stroking, is going to put your conure into breeding mode. If you have any shreddable toys or paper in the cage, remove them. If your conure is between 2 yrs and 7 yrs you are also dealing with hormone rages. Your little monster should turn into a stable companion at about 8 to 9 years of age.

Also, your bird is becoming very possessive of you so when he bites you, in his mind, he is biting to protect you from whtever he feels is threatening. Just be patient, and give him some time out to calm down. It may take a month or two, but he will turn back into a sweet birdie. Right now, my conure went from a loving affectionate bird to a little monster so you have my sympathy.

Mar 10, 2013
Sweet 2 yr old female sun conure suddenly HATES me!
by: Lorie

I have a DNA sexed female sun conure that was very sweet and tamed UNTIL 3 days ago. I just bought her about 2 weeks ago and I am still trying to get comfortable with her. She started doing LAPS around her cage and I went and bought some Cage toys. When I reached in to hang the toy, SHE LOST HER MIND!!!!!! The breeder told me that at age 2 , she probably wants to mate and so she is frustrated. I put on a thick glove and gently reached in to remove the toy. She started SCREAMING!!!! Its been about 15 mins since I removed the toy and she is calming down. WOW!!!! PMS???!!!!!! I also bought some vitamin/mineral stuff to put in her water.

Editor's note: Do NOT give vitamins, you my kill your bird. Feeding pellets gives all they need. If you want people to see and answer, you need to post a question, not an answer here to another question, on our Parrot Questions page.

Jan 23, 2013
Sun conure
by: Teresa

Mine is doing the same thing, they are just hormonal right now. It will end soon. Just put him in his cage when he bites. Time out. It too will pass.

Jan 14, 2013
Aggressive Conure
by: Tracie

You can look at our Parrot Training page and read some of the articles there. With time and patience, you can train your bird to respond differently. If the bird prefers anyone in the household, that person should be the one to train the bird.

Jan 14, 2013
My bird is doing the same thing
by: Selena

My sun conure, Maxi,is doing pretty much the same thing. She used to be nice and everything. She would go to anyone who wanted to hold her but she liked me best. But a few weeks ago, when I tried to take her out, she just attacked. Then my sisters tried a little while after that and they got attacked as well, including my mom who tried an hour or so after them. And when she does decided to let someone hold her, she attacks their ear, neck and sometimes even their face. (she got me on the nose once during one of her attacks). She won't let anyone pet her at all without trying to pierce their skin. Now we are all scared to go near her. And none of us know what to do. :(

Dec 21, 2011
Aggressive Conure
by: Shredder

We are currently having the same issue with our sun. Usually super sweet little guy is now attacking literally anything we pick up(paper, my iPhone but not the wifes, pop cans, glasses, his food dishes, etc). It seems that each day he finds a new thing to attack and he tears us up in the process.

I wish we had a solution to this behavior.

Jun 01, 2011
My Sun is the same way
by: Chris

My 6 year old Sun Conure is the exact same way. If he's out of his cage, (which is almost all the time) i've learned to be careful & mindful what I pick up in my hands.
Remote controls he absolutely hates and will attack. Same with paper, if i'm doing work at my desk and he hears the papers crinkling in my hand, he will attack that.
You have to remember it's not YOU he's attacking, but the object/sounds he hears that seems to be threatening him in some way.
A friend says that the sounds remind them of predators in the wild and it's simply in their instincts even though they're domesticated.
Since I try never to punish him for his attacks being mindful this is simply his instinct and nothing personal towards me, i've learned to just be mindful of what I pick up while he's out with me.
A really great deterrent is a spray bottle! My Sun Bruce, HATES being sprayed with water (though he loves baths)...so I bought a $1 spray bottle and leave it out close to me....the setting is on the lowest pressure...just mist comes out, but it does the trick...whenever he sees the bottle in my hands he flies to his cage to hide and puffs up.
This lets him know in a non harmful/punsishable way who's in charge and when he wants to attack my remote or what have you...he gets a nice misting!
I refuse to be afraid to change the tv channel in my own home! And locking him back inside I just cannot do to my baby...(except for a 15 min "punishment" if he's really bad!)
Hope this helps you and your Sun, and just always remember that his attacking of objects in your hand is NOT personally directed to you, it's simply in his nature to attack what he finds threatening to him...just keep mindful and try the spray bottle deterrent! :)

Dec 17, 2010
I know what you mean..
by: Rosey

Im 16 and I have a 2yr old sun conure named Joey that I am fully responsible for. His cage is in my bedroom and he never leaves this room unless no one else is home because Joey will usually fly at and bite strangers, although in the summer he does get to spend time outside in his outdoor aviary. Joey can be very sweet, cuddley, and funny. He says "hi""loveyou" "good boy" "peekaboo" "hey" "bless you" and he barks and coughs and other random sounds. The issue is that Joey gets so scared of random things. He hates tissues and paper towels and if i hold a papertowel or tissue in my hand Joey will attack it, and me. If hes out of his cage and I go to blow my nose or something with a tissue he will fly at me and bite, its just rediculous, i dont understand.. Like yesterday I picked up a soda can and he was afraid of it and bit my hand so hard it bled. He hates my hair straightener, I had it out and he practically attacked my arm. What sucks the most is that he just bites because hes scared and I dont know what to do to get him to relax and not bite so much and bite so friggin hard.

Oct 18, 2010
RE: Suddenly aggressive sun conure
by: Anna (Boston)

Hi James,

I went online to try to find some answers to my bird's sudden aggressiveness as well.

My male 2.5 year old sun conure started doing the same about a year ago. He especially hates knives and clothes hangers. His little beak had caused bruises on my arms. He is being protective towards me and sometimes bites other people if they come close to me or try to pet him. I was shocked at what he did yesterday though: he deliberately flew over(which he's never done before) to my friend, landed on her shoulder and repeatedly bit her neck as I struggled to take him away. He then got away from me and attacked her again. I think part of the reason he is so agressive is that he needs a girlfriend :) What guy wouldn't be? I might need to start a search before our friends refuse to come to our house.

Editor's note: Buying another bird is NOT the solution. You don't know if both birds will like each other, they may kill each other.

Oct 17, 2010
jenday conure gone crazy
by: janice and chicko

i have a jenday conure i got aabout a couple months ago i belive he is about a year old. he was always in love with me cuddly everything and he always hated my boyfriend, but now all of a suden he is in love with my boyfriend and hates me. i have no idea what to do. i didnt do anything to him or anything different im just confused and upset. he yells when i even come near him when i put him on my shoulder he immediatly runs away and goes to my boyfriend. ive been soooo upset latley i just dont know what to do if i should leave h im alone or what.

Aug 24, 2010
Maybe this will help
by: Anonymous

Your bird could very ell be telling you that he needs some down time. Even conures need time to themselves, like all other parrots do. I would recommend giving him time to himself for just a little while. He may be tired too of being handled so much, so make sure he is getting at least 9 hours of sleep each day - if not more. These birds need their sleep and get cranky and mad if they are deprived from it too long.
Also, conure parrots are generally 'one master' birds. They typically like to be handled by only one person so (perhaps) only one of you should handle him for a while.
I know the pain of being bitten although (thankfully) 'Truman' doesn't bite me hard when he's angry or grumpy. But I would recommend getting him plenty of rest and a good diet. Something is making your bird grumpy and you may have to single out a few things at a time to get him to stop.

Aug 13, 2010
SUN CONURE
by: MAXINE

My conure is 13 years old. We thought she was a he until she became egg bound last year so now she is on hormone shots.
She too attacks my remote control. I have no idea why. It can just be lying on the bed and if she see's it, she fluffs up and goes for it. If it is in my hand she does not distinguish between my hand and on the bed and will attack it. I have no idea why- just something she has decided she does not like so I try to not let her see it. She can also attack some people for no reason what so ever- while with the majority of everyone else she is loving and sweet. Guess they are like us in how there are some people we like and others we dont.

Jan 26, 2010
aggressive parrot
by: grrramma

My quaker got really aggressive after I dropped a ball of yarn on him, but he is now again back to himself. I found I got real apprehensive of him, but when I got over that, he seemed to come around. I think he could sense my fear of him biting me, now if he goes to nip at my hands, I push into him, and he is learning that biting doesn't accomplish anything. I have also learned not to have plastic packaging around him. The sound the wrap makes seems to drive him bonkers, so if I have to touch any packaging I try not to have him close to me, and if he is close, I move real fast so that he doesn't have a chance to react to it. It sounds like your conure doesn't like anything in your hands, maybe he is in competition with the remote. Try to change his interaction time and place with it,

Dec 17, 2009
aggressive quaker
by: grrramma

our quaker has suddenly gotten extremely aggressive towards me, who he usually can't get enough time with, he does everything with me. We have made some changes to the living room, ie the xmas tree and other decorations, but i think it comes from the other day when I was rolling knitting yarn into a ball, and he was sitting on my leg, it dropped out of my hand and fell on him, now he bites me every chance he gets, chases after me on the floor wherever I go, and just is in attack mode all the time. He got me real good on the hand last night when I tried to put him back in his cage, I dropped him and then had to use a towel to get him so he wouldn't bite me. This morning when I uncovered him, he was again in attack mode, and wouldn't come out and do the usual morning routine with me. He normally comes out of his cage, down the ladder and walks to me in the kitchen, then askes to come up and do puzzles with me, we do some cuddling then and then he goes with my while I get ready to go to work. I'm really concerned that this is going to go on for a long time, and I don't know what to do to reassure him that I won't drop anything on him again. If it's going to take retraining to earn his trust again, can someone give me some tips, as we got him from the breeder and he was cuddly and affectionate at that time, I just want my buddy back. I feel so bad if it was the wool that scared him.

Jul 03, 2009
Puberty
by: Anonymous

My normally snuggly Sun Conure has been a bit nippy lately as well. He turned 2 yrs old on April 15. By 10pm he starts getting grumpy and he doesn't like to be handled or pet. I suspect it is the onset of puberty and I expect him to calm down in the fall as the days get shorter.

My advice to you is to give your bird attention frequently but of a shorter duration and as early in the day as possible. When he bites he is showing his dominance over you so make sure you get some training time in, have him do some "step ups". He needs to understand that you are the dominant bird in the flock.

He could also be jealous of you or your girlfriend. Who is his favorite?

Please remember spring aggression is very common in parrots and will most likely pass in a couple months or so. Make sure he gets plenty of sleep and a healthy diet and he will be back to his cuddly self before you know it.

Jun 25, 2009
Aggression
by: Linda

It sounds to me like your bird has become aggressive because of the video games? Putting birds too close to a monitor exposes them to dangerous UV rays, and that plus whatever ever material composes the game has him going. He is attacking anything that resembles the game controller you use, tv remote--anything that has to do with screens and monitors. Items you hold in your hands.

My first suggestion is to have him on an outside perch or a play top on his cage when you are playing video games. Keep him over 3 feet away from the screen, and keep him from looking at it as well. The sounds may also be having an adverse effect on him. If game is violent or loud, he is picking up on the sounds, pixels and screen flash and your attitude while playing.Birds are sensitive to loud noise, and violence makes them violent.

Second suggestion is to keep him off your shoulders. Though it is accepted that parrots on shoulders is okay, IT IS NOT OKAY. Being that high up, gives him more control than he needs. Keep him at eye level always and no higher as birds have a pecking order--the highest bird wins! Parrots can inflict very dangerous wounds to your face, ears and even your eyes while perched on shoulder.Birds are wild animals and will behave in ways we cannot fathom. Being wild makes the parrots like other wild animals in that their behavior can be very unpredictable.Put him on perch or in cage when playing and give him a nice wooden toy to chew on or a special food treat. When it is bedtime, he needs to be in his cage possibly in another room from where you sleep. He is taking control, and this will get worse. A trip to Avian vet would not hurt in case he is becoming ill and feels bad which can cause bad tempers.

He needs to go to bed at about 9pm as they need around 12 hours of darkness in which to rest. A cover will also help him to feel secure and ready for sleep. If you stay up late watching tv, he's not getting enough rest, so move his cage elsewhere, so he can go to sleep. Basically, he needs to learn that he is the parrot, and you are the people. Our birds "own" us in many ways, and he is taking this too far, so go to the vet, get him checked out. They have many doglike qualities, and still they are birds who need peace and quiet for rest. The cover need not smother him, just a light cover like a pale colored small lightweight sheet depending on size of cage. Birds do not rest when covered with bright, loud colors, so stay with pastels. They see in full color and their vision lets them see more details than we can. The monitor may be causing him to have mini seizures from being too close. All he sees are pixels, color and flash.

Keep us posted on this as your experience can help others learn to live with their birds more peacefully.
Linda

Jun 25, 2009
Conure
by: Anonymous

Could still be hormones. Sexual frustration. When my quaker is hormonal, you can't pick anything up in front of her. Also , bad idea to let him perch on your shoulder. you can't read the body language to see what is going on.

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