9 Signs Of A Sick Parrots

Sick parrot symptoms can be very confusing to the owner and can go unnoticed. And because of this, a lot of loved pet parrots will die, eventually. And if you look at the bigger picture, you will notice that it was just because of the simple ignorance of the owner. Meaning that there are some symptoms owners just do not recognize, and with this, the parrot is mostly going to suffer and die.

I recommend reading this article about the parrots poop and how it could indicates to sickness and help owners on prevention.

Sick Parrot Symptoms

  • Messy Feathers
  • Changes in Eating or Drinking Behavior
  • Difficult Breathing
  • Sensitivity, Aggressiveness, or Submission
  • Wounds or Tumors
  • Abnormal Defecation Shape, Pattern, and Smell
  • Weakness and Lethargy
  • Nasal Discharges and Swollen Eyes
  • Abnormal Eyes

However, with simple online research, owners can learn about sick parrot symptoms, leading them to be able to address if there was a need to visit the aviary vet to help their pet parrot.

These symptoms could be hard to detect, and could also be very clear, it could appear in the overall look of the parrot, and it could appear as a behavioral problem.

As an owner, you should educate yourself about the common symptoms and illnesses that could affect your pet parrot, and in this article, we will dive into the sick parrot symptoms, what may cause them, and what you can do to treat sick parrot.

sick parrot

Disclaimer: This article is for educational purposes only. Consult a professional vet for medical advice.

And before all of this, let’s find out what a healthy parrot looks like.

What Healthy Parrot Look Like?

healthy parrot

Parrots are naturally active and curious. They love to play and interact with owners, different family members, and even other pets like cats and dogs if you established the connection between them correctly. Every healthy parrot must be living in good housing and interaction conditions, and this is the ultimate factor to keep your parrot healthy.

The feathers and skin are always in good shape with a healthy parrot, good weight, clean and dry anus, bright fully opened eyes, healthy beak, healthy nostrils without discharges, and normal defecation shape and pattern. These are the major signs of a healthy parrot.

The healthy would always behave normally. He will demand attention. He will scream for it. Playfulness, activeness, flying around the place, responding to you and to the object in the surrounding area. This is how a healthy parrot acts.

Aggressiveness is not a necessarily bad sign. Some parrots are naturally prone to show aggressive behavior, especially if you didn’t tame the parrot, or the parrot is going through the breeding season. But if the aggressiveness came suddenly with more symptoms, then there might be a problem.

The behavior is an important indicator, and as an owner, note any difference with the behavior of your parrot. If the owner couldn’t notice any behavioral changes, no one else would.

9 Sick Parrot Symptoms

Although parrots in captivity live healthier than individuals in the wild, they’re no guarantee that your bird won’t get ill, and if you know that most breeds of parrots are prone to health problems, this can make sense.

And without further ado, here are the most notable sick parrot symptoms:

Messy Feathers

Every parrot, naturally clean and combs his feather, and while sickness this behavior is of no interest to the parrot anymore, because of the suffering and pain he is struggling through. And it could be just exhausting to him during sickness.

Eventually, the feathers of your parrot will turn to be fluffy and messy, sometimes it could be oily, and here is a picture of a sick budgie with messy feathers.

sick budgie

The sick parrot could pluck his own feathers out of depression, anxiety, stress, and loneliness. And this is easy to fix, if you know that lack of stimulants, interaction, and boredom could cause this.

The inadequate portions of food and hunger are also major reasons for inducing feather plucking.

If the feather plucking didn’t stop, then this is an indicator that there is a bigger problem behind this symptom, especially if the parrot started to lose his feather doing nothing.

Changes in Eating or Drinking Behavior

This symptom is very common among sick parrots. Almost all parrots are curious about food, they may prefer some kind of food to other kinds.

It’s normal for parrots to discover all kinds of food. While sickness, this curiosity could disappear, and also could lead to the rejection of food. Your parrot won’t be interested in eating anymore, at least until he heals.

In contrast, some diseases that may affect your parrot will cause an increase in his appetite. The same goes for drinking water. Thirst could increase or decrease.

In general, if you noticed any changes in eating or drinking with your parrot, and it’s accompanied by other symptoms, then there might be a serious problem.

Sometimes changes could occur after an exhaustive activity like flying. Breeding and molting times could cause an increase in appetite as well.

Difficult Breathing

Parrots are prone to respiratory system diseases, and this will reflect in the breathing rhythm of your parrot, if you noticed your parrot is struggling, and making hoarse sounds when breathing, breathing quickly. Then you need to visit a vet.

A low stamina parrot could show this symptom, and this could be normal if it happens for a short period, after flying for the first time, for example.

If this was the case, the symptom will go away after resting for a bit.

Sensitivity, Aggressiveness, or Submission

Behavioral sick parrot symptoms could happen with sick individuals. This could appear as a hypersensitive parrot. Objects, pets, or family members could bother your sick parrot easily. Something like voices and movements around the cage is enough to make your parrot feel restless.

He may resist and refuse to go out of his cage. All he wants is to rest. And if you forced your sick parrot to something else other than resting, your parrot may turn to be aggressive, he will bite or scream,

sometimes in some cases, the parrot will act submissive and won’t resist anything you want him to do, and this is mostly because of lack of Energie.

Remember that some parrots are aggressive by nature. Especially at breeding and molting times.

If this aggressiveness or any other behavior is abnormal, and you know your parrot well, that this is not his normal behavior, then take further steps to detect any other symptoms.

Wounds or Tumors

Wound or tumors are one of the easiest symptoms to notice in your parrot. Sometimes parrots could wound themself inside their cages. This wound could cause a serious infection to your bird, leading him to suffer from fever and pain.

The tumors are also an indicator that your parrot is suffering from some kind of illness, and it’s not necessarily something you would know after researching. However, the avian vet would know the reasons and will treat the symptoms and causes.

So, if you notice any wound or tumor, you should pay the avian vet a visit immediately. This will prevent the symptoms from developing any other serious side effects.

Abnormal Defecation Shape, Pattern, and Smell

This indicator is one of the main ways to determine if there was any health problem with a parrot or any other bird.

Diarrhea is common in parrots, your parrot will defecate more often. Also, the stool will come out more liquid than the normal stool.

If the feces are hardened and your parrot seems to struggle to push it out, then it’s probably constipation. Constipation can happen with parrots if they ate something they are not used to. So is diarrhea.

It also could happen because of an undiagnosed illness. If your parrot continued to suffer from diarrhea or constipation for more than 3-5 days, even if you provide him with food rich in fiber and vitamins, then you should visit a vet. These symptoms could be a sign of a greater health problem.

Bloody feces is a go-to the vet directly symptom. you shouldn’t ignore it, or try feeding your parrot something like garlic or onion, this could be a sign of fungal infection or internal hernia.

The Smell of the stool could also indicate that your parrot is sick, and he should seek medical advice. Parrot stool is orderless, normally. And the foul smell is one of the sick parrot symptoms.

Weakness and Lethargy

If your parrot is sick, he may appear lethargic and weak, some parrots will sleep abnormally, like sleeping in the cage’s base. They may hide their heads under their wings to relax their neck muscles.

They might be not able to stand on their cage perch, they will always let their wings drop, the parrot essentially won’t be able to hold his wings as healthy parrots do.

Staggering, collapsing, and falling from the perch whenever they are standing on it could be a sign of sickness. Submissive behavior out of lethargy is another indicator, as well.

Nasal Discharges and Swollen Eyes

Sneezing, nasal discharges, and swollen eyes are common in parrots, and it indicates a probable sinusitis condition affecting your parrot.

They can also indicate that the parrot is suffering from some kind of sinus infection, especially if there is excessive sneezing.

Abnormal Eyes

Abnormal eyes of your parrot could indicate that there is a problem regarding your parrot’s health, it could be eye diseases or any other illness.

Tired, sleepy, closed, not preening, dulled, sunken, abnormal color, and eye discharges are all indicators that your parrot is suffering from sickness.

What May Cause These Symptoms

There are many reasons that could cause the previous sick parrot symptoms, some of them are easy to deal with and your parrot won’t need any medications.

And some of them will require professional help from your vet, and sometimes it could save your parrot life depending on the sickness and how quickly you sought help.


Injuries are common with active parrots, they can injure themself while they’re inside their cages, they may hit something while flying around, they could break their beak when playing with toys, wooden furniture, or any other objects.

Sometimes and depending on the condition, you can treat these wounds with hydrogen peroxide, or Free-alcohol iodine. If the wound is serious, you should seek medical help.

Colds And Fevers

Colds and fevers are common in household parrots, any slight changes in surrounding temperature could cause your parrot to feel cold and possibly fever. And the symptoms include:

  • Nasal Discharges.
  • Depression.
  • Lethargy and dropped wings.
  • Apathy, Parrot, seems not responding to stimulants.

Infectious Diseases

Infectious Diseases are rare in parrots, especially household parrots. These diseases could lead your parrot to death easily, as they are the most dangerous. Symptoms include:

  • Extensive discharges in nose, eyes, mouth.
  • Liquid green or yellow stool with a strange or bad smell.
  • Not finishing his meals, treat, etc.
  • Drinking more Water Than usual.
  • Groggy or clumsy while moving.
  • Apathy


Rotten food, some fruits, and veggies like tomato or avocado could cause your parrot to poison.

Other chemicals and smoking around the bird could cause him the same symptoms that include:

  • Not Eating
  • Thirstiness
  • Diarrhea


Lice and ticks could make your bird feel sick, and he may show stress anxiety. you have to treat it as fast as possible when you see bugs are crawling and infesting your parrot body.


All parrots shed their old feathers once or twice a year (Molting), and in this time, parrots can feel stressed, anxious, or they may show abnormal behaviors like aggressiveness.

When your parrot molts, all he needs is a more lonely time, more rich food in protein, and other nutrients like minerals and vitamins.


As we mentioned, this article is only for guidance, and the best thing you can do is to notice if there is something wrong with the parrot’s energy or behavior, or the overall shape, you should not try to treat your sick parrot with any kind of medication.