Parrot Bite from a
Moluccan Cockatoo

These are pictures of a bites from a Moluccan Cockatoo. This is not an uncommon injury amongst parrot owners/caretakers. Parrots are not domesticated animals. They are wild animals. Careful consideration needs to be given when deciding to bring a parrot into your life. For those who have been misinformed, NONE of the bites I received on my face were a result of Baby being on my shoulder. I don't condone keeping parrots on your shoulders, because it opens the door to facial bites, but this was not a factor with the bites you see in my photos.

Baby Moluccan Cockatoo Parrot Bite
This photo shows the bite I got on the chin less than an hour after it happened. It took about that long for it to stop bleeding long enough to get the pic.

Parrot Bite - Face Stitches Chin
This photo of the bite on my chin was taken after a trip to a plastic surgeon who stitched it up nicely. In this one you can see a bigger representation of the damage. Her upper mandible punctured the front of my chin. The lower mandible got me underneath my chin but did not puncture the skin. However it crunched me hard enough to cause pretty bad bruising.

Parrot Bite - Face Chin After Stitches
The plastic surgeon did a wonderful job.
There was still a little swelling after the stitches were taken out.
This 3rd photo was taken 16 days after the bite happened.

9 months later - and another cockatoo parrot bite lip
The scar on my chin healed quite nicely. (It's highlighted in the above photo.) It's still visible, although barely, and is probably going to be on my face for good. It does serve as a good reminder every time I look at it in the mirror. Since that bite, I had more facial bites. At times it's difficult to believe that such a cute creature can do something so dastardly. They can, and they DO! Baby had a habit of giving "kisses" when she wanted something. However, she bait-n-switched on me on one occasion. By all indications, she was going to give me a kiss, but instead grabbed my lip with her beak and bit down.

Also shown in the picture above is the bite on my lip. The scar you see there is about 2 months old when that photo was taken and is from the lower mandible. The upper mandible sunk into the inside of my lip and was a very deep hole. If you look carefully you can see the lumpy scar tissue. Fortunately she didn't rip off a big chunk of my lip! I did not take another trip to the plastic surgeon because the scar skirts the curve of my bottom lip. Unless I hold my lip a certain way for it to be seen on purpose, it stays sort of hidden. Make-up helps as well...

These two next pictures are of bites I received on my hands. They're the target that was most often bitten because, of course, I used my hands to handle Baby. I always tried to hold her feet securely, away from my body at about waist level, so there was no way for her to reach anything other than my hand if she attacked.

Baby Cockatoo Parrot Bite on my left thumb joint.
The bite on my left thumb got me on the thumb joint and gave me nerve damage for a few months! I heard my cartilage crunch when she sunk her beak into it. The reason for the bite? Perhaps she didn't want to go wherever I was taking her.

Baby Cockatoo Parrot Bite on my right hand.
The bite on my right hand you can see most prominently the scar from the upper mandible. I got that bite a couple of weeks after the one on my left hand. Once again, moving her to a new location somewhere in the house. No nerve damage that time, thank goodness.

The following photos were taken and added in the Fall of 2005. I had gone without a major bite for many many months. My luck ran out when I was on the phone with a friend. Baby flew from the dining room, through a narrow door into the kitchen where I was standing. She was on near one side of the narrow threshold and I was near the other side of it. She was aiming for my face...
Baby Moluccan Cockatoo Bite on my left outer wrist.
Fortunately, I managed to protect my face by quickly raising my arms. I became accustomed to the "duck-n-cover" reflex needed to avoid her bites. She caught me - while she was in flight - on the outer edge of my left wrist. These photos were taken 3 days after it happened. Apparently she wasn't happy with me because I was talking on the phone in her presence.
Baby Moluccan Cockatoo Bite on my left outer wrist.

Here is a little insight into things. Baby was brought into our apartment at the age of 5 months in November 1997. She was the picture-perfect cuddly cockatoo. However, just prior to age 3 she became hormonal and turned into a parrot version of Jekyll & Hyde. Despite every best effort to bring her back to 'normalcy' it never did work. This is common with pet parrots - especially (but not limited to) large Cockatoos.

I decided to post these bite pictures to show the damage that can be done by a parrot's powerful beak. When people try to warn new or prospective parrot owners of these things, it's often thought that such advice is a bit harsh. I ASSURE YOU that good advice is not harsh at all compared to having a parrot bite you, especially on your face! The bites shown in these photos are not an indication of how bad a bite can be. They can indeed be much worse.

Since Baby became such a hormonal mess she tried continually to get at my face. I ALWAYS had to be on my toes around her and knew I could not trust her... EVER! My face - especially my nose (beak) - was always her ultimate goal, but if she couldn't get to that, she would take what she could get. Her next choice was hands or feet. It's only natural.

I did a good job for a number years to keep this (facial bites) from happening, but all it took was one split second while handling her and becoming distracted and she took advantage of it and got me! She was very patient and always looking for the opportunity. I hope sharing these pictures will help people to realize the potential dangers of parrot ownership, especially if they have children. Please be responsible and keep your parrots off your shoulders!

Baby Moluccan Cockatoo parrot bite on my left arm. Baby Moluccan Cockatoo parrot bite on my left arm.
The photos just above are from December 3, 2006
I got a fairly good chomp from Baby on this day. She hadn't been biting frequently, or with as much gusto, as she had on past occasions, so there weren't new bite photos for some time... which is a good thing. She was a bit cranky when she bit me. She wanted something she could not have (not a bird-safe item), so she got nippy. First, she nipped my right index finger, right on the knuckle joint, breaking the skin. I received the bite on my arm when I went to scoop her up. I should have known better...

Because of the way I was scooping her up, the bite has a bit of a twist to it. You should be able to clearly see where the lower mandible (2 points, U-shaped on the bottom) got me. Her upper mandible only makes one point, and was not directly aligned with the lower mandible. Thankfully, she didn't REALLY try to scoop the meat from my arm so there was no blood. I got these shots with my cellphone camera RIGHT after it happened. That may explain why the picture quality isn't as good as other photos on this page, but it still illustrates the point clearly.

Bite photos from April 4, 2007
Baby Moluccan Cockatoo parrot bite on my nose.

I want to make clear that the facial bites I have received were never due to my letting Baby get on my shoulder. I NEVER allow her on my shoulder!! This latest bite was a result of trying to pick her up off the floor. I was attempting to towel her to be able to handle her safely, and she lunged out from under the towel, catching me on the nose. (Picture her popping out from underneath the towel like a snapping turtle out of its shell!) No words of reprimand were given, as I think the look on my face (not anger, but pain) were surely enough. I didn't have any words anyway.

I know better than to take it personally. I also know I just failed to see the opportunity I gave her to get me. She was always slick, and studying each move I made to see when it may have been a good opportunity to get me. She figured this one out before I did. She waited for me to slip up - and I did. I feel so sorry that she's in captivity. I feel so sorry she's hybrid. Those things make her so confused and angry. Too many of these birds wind up cast aside by their families because breeders and pet stores don't warn them that these are WILD animals that don't belong in our homes.

I urge those who consider getting a bird to EDUCATE YOURSELF FIRST!! While there are lots of wonderful things related to sharing your life with birds, those who sell parrots won't always be truthful about the negative aspects. If breeders and pet stores were honest, they would lose MONEY. A LOT of money! I urge everyone who shares their life with birds to continue thirsting for knowledge in order to provide their birds with the very best possible life in captivity.

Added November 21, 2005

A bite on the lip of Marc, of Foster Parrots.
Contributed by Matt at Project Perry.
Bite courtesy of a U2: The Bite & The Stitches

Added November 14 - 16, 2007

These next 3 submissions came to us thanks to a discussion begun by a
lady whose husband received a bite on the lip from their Cockatoo.

Bite on the arm delivered by Bella, an Umbrella Cockatoo
Picture One, Picture Two, Picture Three
Here's what Bella's human had to say about the experience:
"Hit a nerve, I went to my knees, took my breath away,
I almost puked, it's been 6 hours and it's still weeping.
Swelling and bruising to follow! UGH!"

The following two photo links show bites from a Goffins Cockatoo. These are small Cockatoos, but they still deliver a whopper of a bite!
Bite on the Hand, Bite on the Face
Here's what ZaZu's human had to say about these bites:
"Now I just want to say that in all cases I have taken a bite, it was never Zazu's fault. When I got that face bite, I was chewing gum and blowing bubbles and Zazu went to grab the bubble and missed. LOL The hand bite she got my digital artery. I was in a rush one morning and there was a piece of string hanging from one of her toys. I put my hand in (with scissors - stupid, stupid, stupid) to cut the rope and she nailed me. I swear I saw stars. I took another face bite when she was after my glasses and another hand bite when she was after a roll of paper towels I had in my hand."

The next photo link will show a bite on the lip by a Congo African Grey.
Cockatoos aren't the only nippy ones, as you will see!
Woody's CAG Bite
Here's what Woody's human had to say about this bite:
"I guess I did something to deserve it, but I don't know what.
He asked for a kiss, I puckered up and wham got nailed."

Here's what Tika's human had to say about her bite:
So it's Sunday morning. Time to clean up the birds indoor aviaries. Everything going as usual... Today we will rearrange some of his hanging toys I was thinking. Started doing that but then wondered..... Where is he anyway??? turned around and WHAM. Nailed me on the right eyebrow..... He runs away laughing his head off then saying "Tika's a good bird, Tika's a good bird" Not funny but the bite was MY fault. IT'S ALWAYS THE HUMANS FAULT.

The next two pictures I am linking to are of a bite received from a Goffin's Cockatoo. A friend of ours "across the pond" has generously donated them to the cause.
This is a link to a picture of the bite just minutes after it happened.
This is a link to a picture of the injury the next day.
Here is what Anne had to say about the encounter:
"Casey, the little Goffins is a little bugger, lol! She will stand on the side of her cage and streeeeeeeeeetch out to grab you with her beak as you pass by. Poor Hollie has had numerous bites off her, and also got a nasty bruising bite the day casey nabbed me! My bite came about because Hollie wanted little Casy to have some attention, so she let her sit on her wrist for a while. You just CAN'T neglect their needs for contact can you, you just cant. Anyway, despite knowing of Caseys temperament, I couldnt resist offering my arm.... DOH! Casey stepped straight on, and was FINE for a few seconds, to Hollie's and my delight. Next thing, that sweet little head went down, and that NOT so sweet little beak went in. Caseys fault? NO way! OUR fault, course it was!"

This is a series of bite photos I've been wanting to add for a while. Here is Brandy's Bite.
Here's what Brandy's Mom had to say about this bite incident: "Brandy was out of HER cage and sitting on top of the cockatiel cage next to her cage. It is shorter then her cage. I was going in and out of the room changing water bowls. The cockatiel cage was directly to my right as I entered the room. I had taken about 3 steps into the room and I felt something on my right shoulder. I turn to look back over my shoulder and it was Brandy coming at me. I turn my face away quickly but she had a hold of me already. I was NOT AN ATTACK. It was simply that she wanted my attention. You can imagine the scene as I turned my head back quickly and a cockatoo flying through the air attached to it. With her not having any foot hold on anything she of course held on for dear life. It took about 45 seconds to get her loose from my face....that's how the palm bite came about. Just a reminder: Brandy was not nor has she ever been on my shoulder!! when this happened. I've only left the house twice since this happened. You can imagine the looks I get from strangers and those that know me about pass out!! You can imagine the "suggestions" I get when people hear that a bird did this. They just get the "stink eye" from the "right eye!"

Added 09/07/2008: Phoebe's Bite and The Bite Close Up
Here's what Phoebe's caretaker had to say about this bite incident: "... these are an M2's bite on an elderly person's arm. She is on coumadin which makes the bleeding under the skin worse. Plus at almost 87 her skin is very thin. The photos were taken about 18 hours after the bite. We had gone to Sam's club and she thought she'd be nice and bring the birds in twice (from their day area). Phoebe was okay the first time she returned her, and nailed her when she tried to get her off the second time she was returning her. Phoebe is 7.5 and we've had her 2.5 yrs. She hasn't bitten me or my husband for 2 yrs. We know her body language. The only time she feels like biting is when she is hormonal, and primarily when someone else tries to get her off of them and I'm somewhere else. Which I wish they hadn't put her on them to begin with. I feel strongly, that Phoebe sees that shoving her off as rejection. Or at least it brings her years of rejection back to her. She always bit me at first and this is what I finally learned about her. Mom knows this, but she is slower than us, and didn't see it coming."

While our photos on this site are copyrighted, we're extending permission for the use of these bite photos to be used to help educate people about parrots and the damage they can inflict on our thin human skin with those big sharp, crushing beaks! In fact, we encourage people to pass this information on. Feel free to print this page out and post these photos and the information regarding them wherever they may have good educational value. We would appreciate credit and a link back to our site (particularly this page) with use of these pictures. Thanks!

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