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The health of your bird is of great importance, and when they fall sick, it can be a difficult time trying to nurse them back to health. When it comes to bird illnesses and parrot care, you will need to pay extra attention so you can catch it before it is too late. You might also have to consult your bird or chicken vet. After all, if it is a life-threatening situation, you most certainly want to nip it in the bud as soon as you can. 

Identifying Sick Bird Symptoms

There are many factors as to why a bird will fall sick. This can be due to a poor diet, husbandry, trauma, bad hygiene, or even genetics. However, it is more important for owners to monitor the bird’s behavior and look out for these signs that a bird is suffering from an illness. 

Reduced Appetite

One of the clearest ways to see if your bird is sick is monitoring their appetite. Birds are known for their high metabolism, and they need to eat plenty every day. 

If your bird begins to eat less and starts to lose weight, then you have a problem on your hands. Be sure to also clean the cage so you can have a clear view of what goes in and out.

Unkempt Appearances

With healthy birds, you can expect to see an alert disposition, clear eyes and neat feathers. So if you see feathers that are clumping together, either at the bird’s head or rump, then it could be an indication of sickness. You might also see unfocused or swollen eyes. Your bird might also have wetness around the eyes, nose or mouth discharge. 

Bird Droppings

Bird droppings can also be good indicators of health. Depending on the food you feed your bird, the color of their droppings may change accordingly. However, should the droppings appear to be yellow, red, or even black, they can be indicators of a serious problem with your pet. 

Breathing With an Open Mouth

Common bird illnesses often include respiratory issues. Pay attention to the way your bird is breathing. If it’s resting and breathing with an open mouth, it’s highly likely that your bird is ill. 

Other Physical Symptoms

Here are more physical symptoms that should give you a clue about your bird’s wellbeing. A bird that’s healthy is generally busy, alert, preening and feeding. The following observations are the opposite of what you’d expect in a healthy bird:

  • Drinking water excessively
  • Being extremely still and not really responding even when you try to interact with it
  • Not being able to stand steadily
  • Short and quick breaths as if it can’t breathe properly
  • Wings that are droopy
  • Moving around with a limp
  • Tendency to sit or rest at the bottom of the cage
  • Head is leaning to a particular side
  • Trembling
  • Falling off the perch


Your bird is reliant on you for its health or to seek medical help when needed. The more you know what to look out for, the more you’ll be able to catch any health issues before they worsen. If you’re ever in doubt, be sure to seek advice from your veterinarian so your bird can get the right medical attention.

Author: Santiago Diaz
As a veterinarian focused exclusively on avians, exotics, and wildlife, Dr. Díaz has lectured widely, including at a National Veterinary Conference, the Merck Merial Conference, the Morris Animal Foundation Conference, and at various veterinary technician schools throughout Florida. ​