Knowing what is normal and what is abnormal for your bird can save its life. These are some of the warning signs. Remember, never treat the bird yourself. Always go to an avian veterinarian. The earlier you catch signs of an illness, the better chance your bird has to recover.

  • Shivering on perch
  • Swaying or falling
  • Inability to perch
  • Loss of use of a limb
  • Laying on the bottom of the cage
  • Convulsions
  • Sitting with feet farther apart
  • Drooping head
  • Dazed
  • Swelling with air ( looks puffed up like a balloon)
  • Wings drooping
  • Leaning to one side
  • Sleepy appearance
  • Loss of balance
  • Fluffed up
  • Head weaving (non-behavioral)
  • Flicking of head
  • Tail bobbing
  • Signs of hypothermia that do not disappear
  • Nares, Mouth, and Cere
  • Discharge from nares
  • Clogged nares
  • Blocked nares
  • Discharge from the mouth
  • Sores in the soft tissue around beak
  • Whitish bumps on the roof of the mouth
  • Regurgitation (not caused because the bird is happy to see you.)


  • Sneezing (not caused because the bird has learned to imitate you. Wet sneeze.
  • Coughing (not caused because the bird has learned to imitate you.)
  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Rattling or clicking noise when breathing.
  • Tail bobbing when breathing
  • Rapid breathing
  • Labored breathing
  • Blocked air ways
  • Thunking sound when stressed

Feather Changes

  • Abnormal feathers (color, growth, etc.)
  • Matted feathers around eyes, nares, mouth, or vent
  • Dark blotches or lines in feathers
  • Loss of feather sheen
  • Feather plucking
  • Decreased preening
  • Deformed feathers
  • Ruffled feathers (consistently)
  • Bothering one spot
  • Drab, dirty looking feathers
  • Unusually heavy molt
  • Missing feathers not due to plucking


  • Kicking or rubbin at eye area
  • Eyes that have an opaque milky appearance
  • Eyes that are dull and listless
  • Tearing
  • Discharge from eye
  • Dull lifeless eyes
  • Puffy, swollen or red eyes
  • Eyes half closed when the bird is not sleeping, or napping


  • Decrease in activity
  • Hyperactivity
  • Sudden biting attacks
  • Decrease in vocalizations
  • Unusual fears
  • Thrashing or night fright
  • Abrupt changes in personality
  • Moodiness/irritability
  • Stops talking
  • Sudden whimpiness
  • Regression to baby behavior (weaning, almost weaning)


  • Diarrhea (not caused by extra fruit in the diet)
  • Blood in any discharge
  • Color changes in droppings (not diet related)
  • Constipation or a decrease in number of droppings
  • Soiled or pasted vent
  • Smelly droppings
  • Undigested seed or food in droppings
  • Matted or stained feathers around vent
  • Increased number of droppings
  • Decreased number of droppings

Food and Water Consumption

  • Not eating or drinking
  • Water intake increase
  • Water intake decrease
  • Refusing favorite food
  • Sudden increase in weight
  • Loss of weight

Lumps, Bumps, Bruises, and Sores

  • Swelling on face, eyes or cere
  • Swelling on legs and feet
  • Lumps on wings
  • Lumps in chest or belly
  • Lumps, other


  • Injuries (broken wing, head injuries, broken beaks, bruising, bleeding or swelling of an area)
  • Bleeding
  • Open sores or wounds
  • Bone protruding
  • Wing drooping or misaligned
  • Cuts, scratches, abrasions
  • Bruises
  • Refusing to put weight on one foot


  • Crop that does not empty
  • Baggy over-stretched crop
  • Air in the crop
  • Slow emptying crop

Nails and Feet

  • Overgrown nails and beaks that need care every few weeks
  • Toes appear black (or not normal color
  • Loss of use of leg
  • Cannot Grip Perch
  • Sores on feet
  • Scaly, crusty appearing feet
  • Overly sensitive feet
  • Swelling feet

If your bird is displaying any of these symptoms, bring them into a veterinarian immediately! Never try to treat your bird yourself using “over-the-counter” medications. Your veterinarian is the only one who can make a diagnosis!

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