Signs of Illness in Birds

Do you know how to tell if your North West London bird is sick? Birds are fascinating and wonderful animals, but they can be a bit difficult to read.

Here are a few ways for you to tell if your pet bird is sick:


If your pet is sitting in the bottom of her cage, not moving much, there may be something wrong. Sick birds may tuck their heads under their wings. Birds may also become aggressive if they are not feeling well. You may also notice your bird seems off-balance. Any of these symptoms could indicate illness or disease in your bird, so you’ll want to contact your vet immediately if your feathered buddy displays any of these behaviors.


Like many other animals, birds that do not feel well may not have much of an appetite. Keep a close eye on how much your bird normally eats, and take note of any changes. Sometimes birds drop more food than they actually eat, so it isn’t a bad idea to weigh your little buddy regularly. If your bird is vomiting, has diarrhea, or if his stools seem runny, or have undigested matter in them, contact your vet. Black waste is also a bad sign in birds.


Feathers can sometimes serve as an indicator of a bird’s health. Feathers that appear ragged, or poorly preened, can be an indication that your avian friend is not feeling well. Skin patches are a red flag, as is waste sticking to your bird’s vent feathers. Dull feathers, or banding that appears unnatural, are also possible indications of illness. Plucked feathers are another warning sign, and could be an indication of several issues, from parasites to diseases.


If your bird seems to be sleeping too much, or if he seems lethargic, or is sitting around with his eyes half-open, your little one could be ill.

Respiratory Issues

If your bird is sneezing a lot or wheezing, there could be an issue. Keep an eye out for watery discharge around your bird’s beak or eyes, as discharge can also indicate illness.

Other symptoms to watch out for in your bird are a change in behavior or temperament, crooked beak or toenails, and, in budgies, a crusted-over nose. Contact your North West London vet immediately if your bird is displaying any of these symptoms.

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