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Why has my nice African grey turned nasty?


Staff member
One of the most frequent issues on the forum is when a snuggly young bird who has been full of love and affection starts to bite and becomes difficult to handle. Many members get very upset when this happens because they think their bird doesn't love them anymore or there is something terribly wrong.

There can be various reasons why a bird suddenly changes its behaviour and/or starts to bite - it has hurt itself, it is molting, it is jealous, it is frightened of something new such as clothes, jewellery, hairstyle etc. but a very common reason is its age.

As a baby bird starts to grow up, it responds to its natural instincts, it develops its own personality, becomes more assertive and wants to be independent. Sometimes referred to as the "terrible twos", many (but not all) Greys go through a period of difficult behaviour when they would normally be leaving the family group, or a few years later when they reach sexual maturity.

They might become aggressive, they might feel the need to change their favourite person, they might become more hostile or jealous of other family members.

Changes such as these and how to deal with them are all part of being a Grey owner. Always be consistent in your relationship with your Grey, stay calm but firm with your verbal requests and your physical handling. Don't appear nervous or unsure as this will unsettle them. Watch for the body language to avoid being bitten - a frightened or angry Grey will puff up, sway, pin the eyes, and might be preparing to lunge if you put your hand near.

Please be especially careful with children around Greys. Greys are physically capable of biting very hard and can draw blood and cause bruising.

If you find this thread/post informative, feel free to share it with your family or friends as it might be helpful to them.

Stay safe!