Quetki

Member
Sep 23, 2022
40
41
Canada, Alberta
Parrots
Violet Green Cheeked Conure
My father got a Senegal recently and I've been having trouble with it. I would call it a "mean" bird, but really it's just cage aggressive, for some reason when I sit by its cage it'll dance, and talk to me like saying "hi!". This is strange because it hasn't done this with any other family member and only today I got the confidence to make him step up and that was followed by a bite. He tried to bite me before but was quickly pulled away before breaking the skin. This time he did! I was 3 feet away and was putting my hand towards him to step up when he flew onto my hand and immediately bit it. He is a VERY confusing bird and my family finds it difficult to read him. I'm not sure why he's doing this... he wasn't near his cage at all. I don't know if he's just mean, tricking me, or just too excited. My grandma, who has had birds for 15 years, doesn't even know why. The bite wasn't as bad as I thought but still wasn't pleasant. He pierced my skin a bit, but it was nothing too bad.

if it adds anything to the story he came with a crippled lovebird who my grandma will be taking in next month.
He's not very nice to it either, if I try to give the lovebird attention he will shove and bite at the lovebird. He's a very jealous, aggressive, confusing bird. I'm keeping my Conure away from him because I'm too afraid he will hurt him. I'm starting to wonder if the Senegal bit the lovebird's foot off and the previous owners didn't tell us..
 

HeatherG

Well-known member
Apr 25, 2020
2,999
5,422
I have a confusing Meyers parrot who has slowly become less confusing over two years. He can still deliver a good bite quickly if I’m not very aware of his moods, though.

I would not ever house a lovebird with a Senegal. I fear for my Quaker ever tangling with my Meyers as I think Jasper Meyers could kill Willow Quaker accidentally. Jasper has a big heavy beak and is very quick. Poor lovebird! I would house him in his own cage so he is safe.
 

JamesC

Active member
Sep 3, 2011
589
36
Knoxville, TN
Parrots
Blue Crown Conures: Tootsie and Rosco.
Senegal Parrot: Sidney.

Feathers of the past:
Budgies: Sunshine, Digit, Kiwi, and Yahto.
Senegal Parrot: Kelly.
"Fly free, little ones. Love and miss you."
Sennies can bite like crazy. I adopted Sidney when he was 5 years old after he basically spent most of his life sitting alone in his cage on a porch in South Florida. He has nailed me several times with some powerful bites over the years. A couple of them to the bone. Some of the worst bites I had from him have been when he clamps on and does not let go, grinding his beak into my flesh. Fortunately his biting tendencies have slackened and almost disappeared as he has gotten older.

I found Sid very hard to read but eventually I came to learn his danger signs. Maybe it is a trait of Sennies and other Pois. The biggest thing that I noticed as a warning sign is stillness and a fixed gaze. He has never really given a verbal or fluffed feather warning. And he will attack from a distance. Other than a very hormonal female budgie, none of the birds I have been around would do that. I tried to introduce him once to a spray bottle for a misting bath and that didn't work out well at all. A few sprays and he flew straight at it and attacked forcing me to drop it. Since then, that bottle has been one of his #1 enemies. I use it for my conures and if I make the mistake of leaving it out when Sid is out, he will fly across the room and slam into the bottle taking it down to the floor to "fight" it. Full, that bottle is so much heavier than him that I worry about injury so putting it away has become part of the routine of misting the conures.

The other thing that I've noticed with him is that he gets very possessive over items that he has "claimed". Like a fork or spoon. Touching them when has possession is an invitation for a bite.

The dancing when you sit by the cage sounds like the bird has chosen you as "his person". It is a common thing with birds and they consider you their mate.

As for the lovebird and your conure, keep them absolutely away from the senegal. Aggressiveness towards other birds seems to be a senegal trait. I have two blue crown conures and he would very much like to kill them both, I think. Especially my elderly female. About 3 years ago, he was going through a molt and was growing back in a few flight feathers but they were not yet mature and I could not trim them yet. My old girl was on a playpen perch about 15 feet away from him preening. Without warning, he took off and managed to get up enough speed and lift that he made it to her and tackled her, clamped on and took her to the floor. I made it to them in just a couple of seconds but by that time he had her by one of her large toes biting as hard as he could. She ended up losing that toe because of the injury. Blue crowns are quite a bit bigger than a senegal so I would hate the see the damage that he could cause to a smaller bird. Play it safe and give them separate out of cage times and never let the conure land on the senegal's cage because toes become very biteable there.

Sennies can be adorable, though. My first sennie was the most gentle and loving bird I ever had. She would go to anyone and after a nervous poop she would happily accept any scratches they wanted to give. Very gentle and she would never bite. Sidney can be very loving too. At this moment, he is perched on my belly preening. He has been molting and has too many growing feathers around his neck for me to give a deep scratch without causing a bit of pain presently but normally, he gets really snuggly with my hand and loves getting scratched. It just took us a few years to get to this point.

Others here who post frequently will have good general advice plus they have links to guides to help with biting. I don't have them currently though they can be found by searching the forums.

Don't give up on your bird. Start a training program with him. Sennies are quite smart and you need to keep that brain active. They are also little buzzsaws so make sure the bird has plenty of good woods to chew on. It may take time and a number of mistakes leading to bites, but it will be rewarding in the end.
 

LeeC

Supporting Member
Jun 5, 2019
293
327
Harrisburg, PA
Parrots
Timneh: Grady;
Senegal: Charlie;
Sun Conure: Peaches (deceased)
Senegal: Georgia
Peach-fronted Conure: Milton (foster)
Brown-throated Conure: Pumpkin (foster)
Senegal: Fletcher
Senegal: Ivy
I have four Senegals. I adopted them all as adult birds with various life stories, personality quirks, and behavioral problems.

today I got the confidence to make him step up and that was followed by a bite

It could jut be wording, but, it is best to think of "Step up?" as a request, not as a command. Especially with a parrot that is new to you, and vice versa, you need to really watch their body language, so you can abort the step-up request before a bite or attack, but they may still get you.

Think of it this way: every single time you get bitten or attacked, you provoked it. Of course, you did not do so on purpose, or even knowingly, but, parrots bite and attack for a reason, in their mind. (It could be the environment that provoked the parrot, for example a dog ran by out the window--but you get the fear bite.)

Being cage territorial makes sense, sadly, especially if they were locked in there a lot. It is where they spent most of their time and felt safe; it also contains their precious life-sustaining resources: food and water. You can earn a lot of respect and trust by respecting their space (that cage and it's surroundings), as well as reading and respecting their body language.

When an experienced parrot person comes along and interacts readily and easily with a parrot nobody else could handle, it's because the experienced parrot person knows the common triggers and can read the parrot's body language. Those are the keys.

Of my four Senegals, three are hyper-sensitive to significant degrees. I have to move more slowly around them, and be careful of unexpected sounds, too. I live alone, with no dogs or cats, but other people and animals can be the trigger that gets you attacked or bitten, too. Try to manage the environment when interacting with the parrot.
 

HeatherG

Well-known member
Apr 25, 2020
2,999
5,422
Thank you both for this information. This expands on what I’ve learned about my Meyers parrot. Jasper is often an extremely cool little alien of a parrot but the can opener bites all around a digit leave a good bruise and a scar.

I think this defensiveness (??) is just a characteristic of Poicephalus and I ought to learn about their natural history, life in the wild, etc. and see if I can draw some more inferences about what behavior and why. When I met Jasper after a 2.5 hr drive north he immediately started regurging for me. He can be the sweetest most loving bird but YES he has seeming “mood swings”. And when he gets really quiet and very very still instead of moving and vocalizing a bit then I know he is not ok with something.

I feel like I understand Quaker parakeet, cockatiel, lovebird, and conure body language well but I am a beginner at poicephalus body language. I do sometimes wonder if jasper would be happier with an expert poicephalus owner as I think being a bit scared of your bird isn’t the best way to relate.
 

Laurasea

Well-known member
Aug 2, 2018
12,567
10,550
USA
Parrots
Full house
I have four Senegals. I adopted them all as adult birds with various life stories, personality quirks, and behavioral problems.



It could jut be wording, but, it is best to think of "Step up?" as a request, not as a command. Especially with a parrot that is new to you, and vice versa, you need to really watch their body language, so you can abort the step-up request before a bite or attack, but they may still get you.

Think of it this way: every single time you get bitten or attacked, you provoked it. Of course, you did not do so on purpose, or even knowingly, but, parrots bite and attack for a reason, in their mind. (It could be the environment that provoked the parrot, for example a dog ran by out the window--but you get the fear bite.)

Being cage territorial makes sense, sadly, especially if they were locked in there a lot. It is where they spent most of their time and felt safe; it also contains their precious life-sustaining resources: food and water. You can earn a lot of respect and trust by respecting their space (that cage and it's surroundings), as well as reading and respecting their body language.

When an experienced parrot person comes along and interacts readily and easily with a parrot nobody else could handle, it's because the experienced parrot person knows the common triggers and can read the parrot's body language. Those are the keys.

Of my four Senegals, three are hyper-sensitive to significant degrees. I have to move more slowly around them, and be careful of unexpected sounds, too. I live alone, with no dogs or cats, but other people and animals can be the trigger that gets you attacked or bitten, too. Try to manage the environment when interacting with the parrot.
If you haven't already I would love you to have a thread and life story, wonderful live journey on your Senegals!! It would be wonderful to learn from your experience! On top of just enjoying parrot journey stories and hearing happy re home stories!

If you have already created such a thread can you link ? As I'd love to read it.
 

LeeC

Supporting Member
Jun 5, 2019
293
327
Harrisburg, PA
Parrots
Timneh: Grady;
Senegal: Charlie;
Sun Conure: Peaches (deceased)
Senegal: Georgia
Peach-fronted Conure: Milton (foster)
Brown-throated Conure: Pumpkin (foster)
Senegal: Fletcher
Senegal: Ivy
Thank you both for this information. This expands on what I’ve learned about my Meyers parrot. Jasper is often an extremely cool little alien of a parrot but the can opener bites all around a digit leave a good bruise and a scar.

I think this defensiveness (??) is just a characteristic of Poicephalus and I ought to learn about their natural history, life in the wild, etc. and see if I can draw some more inferences about what behavior and why. When I met Jasper after a 2.5 hr drive north he immediately started regurging for me. He can be the sweetest most loving bird but YES he has seeming “mood swings”. And when he gets really quiet and very very still instead of moving and vocalizing a bit then I know he is not ok with something.

I feel like I understand Quaker parakeet, cockatiel, lovebird, and conure body language well but I am a beginner at poicephalus body language. I do sometimes wonder if jasper would be happier with an expert poicephalus owner as I think being a bit scared of your bird isn’t the best way to relate.
I got into this a bit in another thread, which I will find and link here in an edit later, but, I think the best thing I've done for my four Senegals is giving them a relatively high-fat diet. Quality matters, of course. I think that lessened the moodiness and sensitivity the most in each one of them. Grass-fed ghee is pretty easy to find these days, and Nutiva, organic red palm oil is findable around here, too. Gently-scrambled eggs (pasture-raised, meaning the chickens ate what God intended) are very nutritious. I cook them in grass-fed ghee, with Himalayan pink salt. All four Senegals love the eggs. So... maybe Senegals are just "hangry" for more fats. 😁 Fat is a nutrient, a macronutrient, of which there are only three, so let's not starve them of any. :]

[Edit] Here is the link to the post where I got into high-fat diet for parrots.
 
Last edited:

LeeC

Supporting Member
Jun 5, 2019
293
327
Harrisburg, PA
Parrots
Timneh: Grady;
Senegal: Charlie;
Sun Conure: Peaches (deceased)
Senegal: Georgia
Peach-fronted Conure: Milton (foster)
Brown-throated Conure: Pumpkin (foster)
Senegal: Fletcher
Senegal: Ivy
Ivy was out of view in this photo.

1664550064834.png
 

HeatherG

Well-known member
Apr 25, 2020
2,999
5,422
I am excited to try nut and egg additions to Jasper’s diet. Thank you! I also believe I have red palm oil but if not I definitely have coconut oil.
 

junior98

New member
Oct 17, 2022
11
12
New England
Parrots
1998 senegal parrot
My father got a Senegal recently and I've been having trouble with it. I would call it a "mean" bird, but really it's just cage aggressive, for some reason when I sit by its cage it'll dance, and talk to me like saying "hi!". This is strange because it hasn't done this with any other family member and only today I got the confidence to make him step up and that was followed by a bite. He tried to bite me before but was quickly pulled away before breaking the skin. This time he did! I was 3 feet away and was putting my hand towards him to step up when he flew onto my hand and immediately bit it. He is a VERY confusing bird and my family finds it difficult to read him. I'm not sure why he's doing this... he wasn't near his cage at all. I don't know if he's just mean, tricking me, or just too excited. My grandma, who has had birds for 15 years, doesn't even know why. The bite wasn't as bad as I thought but still wasn't pleasant. He pierced my skin a bit, but it was nothing too bad.

if it adds anything to the story he came with a crippled lovebird who my grandma will be taking in next month.
He's not very nice to it either, if I try to give the lovebird attention he will shove and bite at the lovebird. He's a very jealous, aggressive, confusing bird. I'm keeping my Conure away from him because I'm too afraid he will hurt him. I'm starting to wonder if the Senegal bit the lovebird's foot off and the previous owners didn't tell us..
If it helps, my senegal of 25 years still bites on occasion too.. Ears, fingers, hands, etc.. I would see if you can just pet him through the bars initially and see if he gives you any vulnerable poses to pet... Maybe handling is too soon. My friend tried that with my bird since he can sometimes pet him and he owns a conure so assumed no issue, puts hand in, and got bit significantly on at least one occasion so its not unusual.
 

junior98

New member
Oct 17, 2022
11
12
New England
Parrots
1998 senegal parrot
Sennies can bite like crazy. I adopted Sidney when he was 5 years old after he basically spent most of his life sitting alone in his cage on a porch in South Florida. He has nailed me several times with some powerful bites over the years. A couple of them to the bone. Some of the worst bites I had from him have been when he clamps on and does not let go, grinding his beak into my flesh. Fortunately his biting tendencies have slackened and almost disappeared as he has gotten older.

I found Sid very hard to read but eventually I came to learn his danger signs. Maybe it is a trait of Sennies and other Pois. The biggest thing that I noticed as a warning sign is stillness and a fixed gaze. He has never really given a verbal or fluffed feather warning. And he will attack from a distance. Other than a very hormonal female budgie, none of the birds I have been around would do that. I tried to introduce him once to a spray bottle for a misting bath and that didn't work out well at all. A few sprays and he flew straight at it and attacked forcing me to drop it. Since then, that bottle has been one of his #1 enemies. I use it for my conures and if I make the mistake of leaving it out when Sid is out, he will fly across the room and slam into the bottle taking it down to the floor to "fight" it. Full, that bottle is so much heavier than him that I worry about injury so putting it away has become part of the routine of misting the conures.

The other thing that I've noticed with him is that he gets very possessive over items that he has "claimed". Like a fork or spoon. Touching them when has possession is an invitation for a bite.

The dancing when you sit by the cage sounds like the bird has chosen you as "his person". It is a common thing with birds and they consider you their mate.

As for the lovebird and your conure, keep them absolutely away from the senegal. Aggressiveness towards other birds seems to be a senegal trait. I have two blue crown conures and he would very much like to kill them both, I think. Especially my elderly female. About 3 years ago, he was going through a molt and was growing back in a few flight feathers but they were not yet mature and I could not trim them yet. My old girl was on a playpen perch about 15 feet away from him preening. Without warning, he took off and managed to get up enough speed and lift that he made it to her and tackled her, clamped on and took her to the floor. I made it to them in just a couple of seconds but by that time he had her by one of her large toes biting as hard as he could. She ended up losing that toe because of the injury. Blue crowns are quite a bit bigger than a senegal so I would hate the see the damage that he could cause to a smaller bird. Play it safe and give them separate out of cage times and never let the conure land on the senegal's cage because toes become very biteable there.

Sennies can be adorable, though. My first sennie was the most gentle and loving bird I ever had. She would go to anyone and after a nervous poop she would happily accept any scratches they wanted to give. Very gentle and she would never bite. Sidney can be very loving too. At this moment, he is perched on my belly preening. He has been molting and has too many growing feathers around his neck for me to give a deep scratch without causing a bit of pain presently but normally, he gets really snuggly with my hand and loves getting scratched. It just took us a few years to get to this point.

Others here who post frequently will have good general advice plus they have links to guides to help with biting. I don't have them currently though they can be found by searching the forums.

Don't give up on your bird. Start a training program with him. Sennies are quite smart and you need to keep that brain active. They are also little buzzsaws so make sure the bird has plenty of good woods to chew on. It may take time and a number of mistakes leading to bites, but it will be rewarding in the end.
So right about the senegals. Once they decide on something new or discover something they want and you try and take it away or intervene they get quite aggressive/possessive.
 

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