Parrot Coughing? (Here’s Why & What To Do)

People who are raising parrots as a household pets must have seen the signs when their parrots get sick and have noticed that sickness in parrots can cause many signs. However, one important sign is parrot coughing and parrot sneezing, which are signs that are common with sick parrots, but they don’t always get noticed, especially parrot coughing because of the different coughing sounds between us humans and parrots.

And in this article, we will dive into everything about how to know if the parrot is coughing, why it would happen, is it really a sign of sickness, what you need to do, and many more. So, grab your coffee and continue reading.

Parrot Coughing Or Sneezing (Here's Why & What To Do)

Do Parrots Cough & How?

Yes, parrots do cough as a result of cold or sickness, but parrot coughing is different from the coughing of humans. Yes, it’s the same thing and probably because of the same reasons, but it’s different in the way it happens. Sometimes a parrot can mimic the sound of a human coughing just like mimicking any other human sound.

So, owners should understand this fact about pet parrots. They mimic the sounds of their surroundings, and, of course, this includes coughing.

How Parrot Coughing Happen

By now, you know parrots can imitate the sound of human coughing, and you probably asking how parrot coughing happens and how to detect it.

And the answer is, a coughing parrot won’t show the same coughing symptom just like humans, and this is because of the difference between our respiratory system and parrots’ respiratory system. The avian system contains 2 lungs and air sacs.

And to detect coughing, owners should always be proactive about their parrots’ health, and this is because parrot coughing is really hard to detect. The best sign owners can look for the way the parrot’s head moves while making noises or mimicking sounds. Here, the sign would be the synchronizing movement with the sudden stop of whatever sound the parrot is making. It will appear like a synchronous diaphragmatic flutter that sometimes happens to us.

For example, if the bird can talk long words or sing songs, owners would notice a sudden stop before finishing the word of the song.

Another sign is the fluttering of the chest area during coughing. So, being able to hold and play with the bird will help owners to sense any fluttering that normally happens with a coughing parrot.

However, being proactive is not about learning how to notice a coughing parrot, but to prevent the cough itself before it worsens or leads to more problems. Here, the best owners can do is to measure the amount of food their bird consumes daily, and weigh the bird on a daily basis. Any weight reduction of 10% less than the normal weight of the bird can be considered a bad indication that needs further investigation by the avian vet.

Another sign of a parrot coughing is the hard, louder than usual breathing sound of the bird, along with the previous signs. However, loud breathing can be absent while the parrot is actually coughing, so stick to fluttering signs.

Why Would Parrot Coughing Occur?

As mentioned above, parrot coughing can happen if the parrot is sick, and in most cases, the parrot will develop some sickness if it already didn’t do it. However, in other cases, the coughing can just be a minimal reaction that won’t lead to any other problems. And it could happen because of the following:

  • Allergic Reaction
  • Dry Environment
  • Just Mimicking

Allergic Reaction

Parrots are just like humans and can suffer from allergies for many different reasons like food, drinks, and sometimes the weather. Especially if the weather is cold. So, it’s ok sometimes to notice your parrot coughing in cold times, but it could be serious if the coughing continued for a long.

Apart from that, a dusty place can lead to parrot coughing, so always keep the cage and surroundings clean.

Dry Environment

Most parrots live in humid areas in their natural habitats, and these creatures won’t probably experience dry weather unless owners kept them as pets in certain places in the world. So, if the owner lives in a place with a dry climate it’s possible for the bird to experience coughing as a result. See What is the perfect humidity and temperature for parrots so you can provide the optimum environment for parrots to live a healthy life as pets.

Just Mimicking

Sometimes, parrots can learn how to cough like humans, and whenever you hear a parrot coughing like humans, make sure that the bird is just making fun of whoever lives with it. I know I mentioned that parrots can’t cough as we do, but trust me, most owners mistake this sound with real coughing that could lead to health issues, and you won’t believe that most owners take their birds to the vet after noticing this sound. So, you don’t need to worry about it.

Read About Parrot Crying.

What To Do When Coughing Won’t Stop

If you notice a problem with your parrot and you suspect that the bird is coughing after observing for enough, you can take the parrot to an avian vet for medical assistance about the issue. Apart from that, remember to always observe the parrot poop because it will help you to know if there was something wrong with the parrot in most cases.

So, after visiting the vet, you will probably get a prescription for a medicine to serve to the parrot after mixing it with water.

As you know, parrots are smart and will notice the different coloration of the water and it’s possible for them to refuse to drink that water. Don’t worry all you need to do is to make the play outside to get tired, or you can remove the water bowl until the bird gets thirsty and then serve, the bird will drink, and it’s ok if it drunk just small sips, it’s ok and it will be enough for it.


In a summary, parrot coughing is just another indication of a suffering bird, and owners should pay attention to it. And most times observing the parrot poop will be enough and coughing will be just a secondary criterion to assess the parrot’s health. And at the end of this article, I hope it was informative and easy to digest. Thank you for reading…