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Polly Wants a Doctor - Signs of a Sick Parrot

Category: Parrot Care

Date: February 2024

Posted By Mandee Steinmann


There are tell-tale signs when you get sick. You might lose your appetite, start feeling sluggish, run a fever, or develop nausea or intestinal distress. Your parrot develops symptoms when it gets sick, too. These signs are subtle and easy to miss, though. A sick bird hides its illnesses well and may not show significant symptoms until the disease is already very serious. Learning to spot the signs of an ill parrot before the condition becomes fatal could help you save your bird.

Because most early signs of a sick parrot are easy to miss, it's important to spend a little time each day observing your pet's normal behavior. Watch for any unusual changes: particularly in behavior, cleanliness, eating habits, and excrement.

Here are a few common signs of illness:

• Behavior Changes — A bird that suddenly alters its attitude or personality is a bad sign. If your pet is normally sweet and friendly but suddenly acts aggressive and irritable—or vice versa—it may be getting sick. Being unsteady or droopy on a perch is also a sign of a problem.

• Lethargy/Sleepiness — Parrots are normally very active during the day and sleep at night. If your pet acts unusually sleepy when it would normally play, have your bird tested for diseases.   

• Poor Hygiene — Normally parrots are meticulous about their feathers and general cleanliness, but an ill parrot may not take care of itself. Watch for dullness, discoloration, raggedness, constant feather ruffling, and any crustiness on the body, feet, or legs.

• Loss of Appetite —A bird that doesn't want to eat or hasn't been drinking is definitely sick. Watch for a drop in appetite, or weight loss despite what seems to be healthy eating.

• Wheezing or Breathing Problems — Parrots have sensitive respiratory systems. Labored breathing may be a sign of an infection. Changes in Droppings — Intestinal problems may show up in your bird's droppings. A sudden change in the number of droppings per day, or a difference In consistency without a diet change, should be evaluated immediately. Problems in parrots need to be checked and treated fast. As soon as you notice you have a sick bird, don't wait! If you're not sure if your bird needs help, ask for it anyway.

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