What Are Some Signs That a Pet Bird is Not Healthy?

What Are Some Signs That a Pet Bird is Not Healthy?

Last Updated on by Mitch Rezman

Some signs that a pet bird is not healthy include:

General Physical Appearance:

Ruffled or unkempt feathers, changes in vocalization, fluffed feathers, reduced appetite, weakness, drooping wings, distended abdomen, listlessness, inactivity, depression, reluctance to move, sleeping more than usual.

Behavioral Changes:

Unusual tame behavior, irritability, agitation, biting, any change in regular attitude or personality.

It’s important to differentiate between “hormonal” behavior vs. behavior triggered by illness.


Closed eye, ocular discharge, redness of the eye or eyelids, cloudy eyes, bulging eye (exophthalmos), swelling in or around the eyes.

Respiratory Issues:

Labored breathing or open-mouth breathing, tail bobbing with each breath (tail bobbing), nasal discharge, sneezing (excessive), wheezing or wet breathing, coughing.

Skin and Feathers:

Abnormal feathers (dull color, texture, shape), bleeding from blood feathers or pin feathers, prolonged molt, feather changes (abnormal color, chewed, plucked), skin issues like flakiness or sores.

Many of these signs can be attributed to poor nutrition ie lack of vitamins.

Musculoskeletal Problems:

Sore feet or wings, lameness or shifting of body weight, swollen joints, paralysis, and generalized weakness.

We have seen far too long pets birds are regularly allowed to sleep on grooming perches that can wreak havoc on a pet bird’s feet.

Digestive and Urinary Issues:

Polyuria (excess water passed with each dropping), diarrhea (mushy or unformed feces), change in the color of droppings, staining of feathers around the vent (anus), and straining to defecate.

This is another reason why wood shavings should be not used on the bottom of the birdcage which hides poop.

Neurological Symptoms:

Balance problems, head tilt, falling, constant muscle twitching, seizures, and unconsciousness.

Quick what’s your emergency veterinarian’s phone number?

If you notice any of these signs in your pet bird, it is crucial to seek veterinary care promptly as early detection of illness allows for timely medical attention and a better chance of recovery.


AAV Signs of Illness in Companion Birds – PDF

Recognizing the Signs of Illness in Pet Birds ~ VCA Animal Hospitals

Signs of Illness in Pet Birds ~ Veterinary Partner

Written by Mitch Rezman and the Windy City Parrot Content Team

Mitch Rezman

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