New member
Mar 17, 2020
Hi everyone. So I have a green cheek conure who is a little over a year old now. I’ve had her since April 2019. She’s adorable and sweet but can have her moody moments which I know is normal for GCC’s. She used to be super nice to anyone when she was younger but it’s as if once she turned 1, she did a complete 180. She’s still sweet but only to 3 specific people: me, my mom, and my sister. People she used to be nice to, now she just bites and attacks them. She can’t even see other people because she’ll puff up and get really mad. She has really rare moments when she’ll be okay with being held by someone else other than the 3 I mentioned before, but that happens very rarely. She’s almost always mean to anyone other than us.
I really want to stop this because I want her to be able to be with others and not have to warn other people and tell them they can’t hold her. It was nice when she was okay with being with other people, but now she just won’t allow it.

Has anyone else had a similar issue? And does anyone know how I can possibly try and stop this? I’m desperate :(

Also, her wings are not clipped since it’s winter time but I might clip them for the summer so I can bring her out with me. Clipping or not clipping is still a debate in my mind though.


Well-known member
Jul 14, 2017
A crossover Quaker Scuti (F), A Sun conure name TBD (?), A Cinnamon Green Cheek conure name TBD (?), and 6 budgies, Scuti Jr. (f), Blue (m), yellow (m), clark Jr. (f), and two babies name TBD (f&f).
1) Homones......Look up conure hormonal behavior in the search.

2) Same I'm letting mine fly right now since I live alone and I have no place to take them, later on when everything blows over and it's nice out I'll clip again, (and try the harness some more but they hate it.

:gcc: + :gcc:


Supporting Member
Feb 6, 2010
Maryland - USA
Parker - male Eclectus

Aphrodite - red throated conure (RIP)
Yes, you’ve hit puberty. Itself, it will abate. But this selective favoritism is a common thing in parrots.

You’ll likely be fighting it the whole life of the bird. It can be overcome if worked on early in life (NOW), but I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s a resounding theme moving forward. One person bird is a real thing. Socialization, and TONS of positive reinforcement are your keys to overcoming this. Reward whevever the bird has a positive REACTION to someone outside the main three.

Have others work on step up training without you present - take training back to basics, as if you have an intake bird. Slow and steady.

You may not see much immediate change during puberty because the hormones are in form control, but once puberty abated you’ll start seeing the fruits of your labor. Right now, do the best you can and understand the hormones will end eventually. You just have to ride them out.


Well-known member
Aug 2, 2018
Full house
My GCC will step up , very briefly for anyone's. But no one but me can pet or touch her. Something she allows others to give kisses.
Safflower seeds were used to have her step up for others in beginning. She will do anything for those seeds!!!
She can be eating a safflowers seed and I show her one in my hand and she comes running! Or flying.


Active member
Jan 14, 2020
Mid Glamorgan,South Wales,UK
One Pineapple Conure.
Hatched late 2018.
They are temperamental little divas! Yesterday, Connie who is just over 2, was adorable,cuddling into my neck, quacking,beak grinding,I had her on her back,scritching her head,you name,what a difference, an absoloute little terror,ruffed up and attacking my hands! Sent back to her house in disgrace! Hopefully better tomorrow!


Well-known member
Dec 28, 2014
Greater Orlando area, Florida
JoJo, 'Special' GCC, Bongo, Cinnamon GCC(wife's)
I am so happy you are reaching out! Your little one is totally normal and will mellow out!
This is from a different thread, but 100% for your situation!

Hello Alex, and welcome to the Parrot Forums family!

A few questions. Where are you in relation to the cage, on average, when Rio starts to bite? Does it happen more often when you're near to it?

And do you free-feed Rio (food is constantly available in the cage) or do you have pre-determined meal times?

I ask about the feeding times because much of what I'm about to suggest is aided by pre-defined mealtimes. My eclectus parrots, for instance, are not free-fed. They get two large meals per day. (Some do three, in smaller portions. It's fine either way, so long as you are consistent.) Why is there a training advantage to designated mealtimes? Because I get to know when they are at their hungriest and, therefore, at their most treat-motivated. Now, don't confuse this with withholding food for performance. I abhor that practice. The difference is simple, yet vast. They get their meals at the designated mealtimes every time. Regardless of performance. Withholding food is cruel. No, what they are earning in this instance, is the chance to have a little something extra... when they most want it. Strategically-timed training.

So, let's say dinner is at six. (Just an example) You might engage him with a lesson at 5. He'll be at his hungriest, and therefore at his most treat-motivated. You'll be surprised how quickly they pick things up when properly motivated. When he does as you ask, praise him for it. Always use the same words and tone. This consistency is important, as he will begin to associate the words and tone with the treat he so enjoys. (Of course, you will have learned his favorite treats beforehand and made sure they are never in his regular meals. They should be something that he only gets while training.) Association is how birds tend to learn.

And when he doesn't perform as expected, he doesn't get the treat. But be reasonable with your expectations. Baby steps. Don't set him up to fail.

And when dinner time arrives, let him go to his cage to eat. This is important. He should always eat his main meals in the cage. Why? Because it reinforces the feeling that the cage is his home. A place of shelter and the primary place where his hunger is satiated. This is huge when it comes to timeouts. You don't want him ever looking at the cage as a bad place. Do this little bit of preparation, and it will never be a problem.

Now. The biting. First, check out this thread on the causes of biting: Very much worth the read, as it goes into many of the causes of biting behavior. And very importantly, it focuses on avoiding the bite before it occurs.

Second, here are some threads on bite pressure training and dealing with the bite as it's happening:

Okay. So you have an aggressive biter. You haven't determined the cause of the biting just yet. But you do know that he can't be trusted on your shoulders. Being allowed on the shoulders is a privilege, not a right, and Rio needs to earn that right. From the shoulder, a bird can go after your face. Step one is not to allow him past your elbows until you've worked past this issue.

Now, I know you're thinking easier said than done. And you're right. It's not easy. But it works, so long as you are consistent enough. There are two things you can implement, here. Either temporarily dial back on outside time and work on target training him through the bars of the cage, or introduce him to a more rigorously consistent set of consequences for any given action... as well as equally consistent rewards for desired behaviors. (Consistency is required with both approaches, but consequence comes more into play.)

Okay, in case you're not familiar with target-training, here is a link to the best video I've seen on the topic: Beginners guide to target training parrots - YouTube

Target-training is important for two reasons. First, it's a bonding tool. This is because a basis for communication is being forged. Once he comes to understand that performing this task will lead to yummy goodness, he'll come to enjoy training time. Both for the treats, and for the stimulation of earning said treats.

And second, it teaches a valuable skill. It gets him accustomed to going where you direct him.

So, if you target-train through the bars of the cage, you'll be protected from his bites while building the bond between you.

You can also, however, target-train outside of the cage. Given how good a flier Rio is, I'd suggest trying to have the target-training progress into flight drills. Having him fly off a to of that excess energy will make him less likely to bite. A tired bird tends to be a more cuddly bird. Whereas an amped up bird will sometimes bite because he's too excited and doesn't know what to do with himself. (Overstimulation is one of the potential causes of biting you'll come across in the Brainstorming thread)

Another thing that might help is carrying either a small, bird-safe piece of wood or hard plastic around with you. (Small enough to carry comfortably in your pocket or even the palm of your hand, and hard enough to withstand a good gnawing.) And then learn the warning signs for when he's about to attack. When he does, interpose the bird-safe item between your flesh and his beak. This will serve the dual purpose of shielding your hand/arm, and also diverting his attention from you as the object of his ire. Most birds will be distracted enough by this that they will momentarily forget their desire to eat you.

Once you become more adept at reading his moods, you'll be able to prevent many bites simply by not putting yourself in the position to be bitten in the first place.

If he clamps down on you, tell him "No," in a firm, yet even, tone of voice. This is to make sure you're not training him to bite you. You see, when you react animatedly to a nip or bite, he has no point of reference for your decidedly human body language. So if you yell, or jump about cursing up a blue streak, it is entirely possible that he might find the display AMUSING. And then he'll of course prove his hypothesis of cause and effect by doing it again. And again. So try your best not to react excitedly. Keep your movements controlled and precise. Keep your voice calm.

But don't just take it. Remove the beak from your skin, say "No," and immediately put him back in his cage on timeout. There is no interaction during timeout. Leave the room if at all possible. Or, at the very least, turn your back. This should go on for 5-10 minutes. Long enough to be a significant consequence, but not so long that he's forgotten that he's on timeout in the first place. When you taker him back out, don't hold onto any of the negative energy from before. Clean slate. If he bites again, wash, rinse and repeat.

Consistency is key. Depending on how stubborn he is, it might take a while. But he'll eventually get it. I rarely have to put my birds on timeout anymore. We understand each other very well.

And yes, the no shoulder part will be tough to enforce. But you just have to out-stubborn him. Tough, but not impossible. And every bite gets him a timeout. A nip that is merely uncomfortable rather than painful might get a warning, "No," first. But a second such nip ends in a timeout as well.

I apologize if this is a bit more rambling than my usual. Long day at work and I'm a bit tired. But if you have any questions, just ask away.

Most Reactions

Latest posts