how long do parrots live

5 Common Parrot Diseases Explained: Symptoms and Treatments

Many species of birds are prey animals in the wild. They must be extremely careful in order to avoid predators and stay safe. Prey animals have a tendency to conceal any illness they may have in order to avoid being perceived as a weak and appealing target. Their lives are dependent on appearing healthy.

Due to this behavior, it can be challenging to identify potential parrot diseases in your pet parrot. In order to take care of issues before they become serious, you must be aware of the signs that your bird might be ill. This involves keeping an eye on your pet bird so you can spot any symptoms of illness as soon as possible.

Parrot Diseases To Watch Out For:

Psittacosis in Birds (Parrot fever)

Psittacosis, chlamydiophila psittaci, and ornithosis are other names for parrot fever. It is a contagious disease that can affect most bird species. Usually, it spreads through contact with bird dust and feces.

Psittacosis Symptoms in Birds

  • Appetite loss
  • Having trouble breathing
  • Depression
  • Green, watery droppings
  • Eyes and nose discharge

Failure to detect these symptoms early enough can result in the death of your pet bird. Get your bird to the vet right away if it displays any of these signs.


Antibiotic treatment under the supervision of your avian vet can result in the successful treatment of your bird.

Is it transmissible to humans?

This disease is transmissible to humans and appears flu-like.

Polyomavirus in Birds

Another infectious disease that can be found in mammals and birds is polyomavirus. Younger birds are frequently affected by this extremely deadly virus. Adult birds may develop immunity, according to some studies. The disease spreads through the dander of birds, their droppings, and their touching. Budgies are one of the most common carriers, so use caution if they are your bird of choice.

Polyomavirus Symptoms in Birds

It may take some time for the bird to show signs of infection.

  • Abdomen swollen
  • Appetite loss
  • Diarrhea or vomiting
  • Weight reduction
  • Dehydration


It is recommended that the birds be vaccinated against polyomavirus while they are still in the breeder’s nursery. There is no known treatment for an infected bird. Strict hygiene and limiting contact between potentially infected birds are the best preventative measures for this disease.

Is it transmittable to humans?

Some varieties of this disease can infect humans.

Pacheco’s Disease in Birds

This fatal viral illness is brought on by a herpes virus variant. It is transmitted by infected feces and nasal discharge. The virus in your parrot may become active if it experiences stress from moving, breeding, or grieving over the loss of a mate.

Pacheco’s Disease Symptoms in Birds

  • Tremors
  • Lethargy
  • Sinusitis
  • Anorexia
  • Green excrement
  • Unexpected death


When used early in the course of an infection, the antiviral medication Acyclovir can be effective, but it can also harm the bird’s kidneys. It is a deadly and highly contagious disease. The best preventative measure is quarantine.

Is it transmittable to humans?

It does not appear to be human contagious.

Giardia in Birds

This parasitic disease is spread by infected birds via cysts released into their feces. This problem is frequently caused by contaminated water supplies.

Giardia Symptoms in Birds

  • Diarrhea
  • Skin itchiness
  • Skin itchiness
  • Stool bloating
  • Depression


Giardia is treatable with antibiotics, but it usually takes several courses because it recurs frequently. The best way to prevent disease is to keep the aviary clean and dry, and to avoid overcrowding. Water bottles should be used instead of open water sources.

Is it transmittable to humans?

Humans can get giardia if they drink from the same water supply as birds, which should be relatively easy to avoid.

Malnutrition in Birds

Malnutrition may be the cause of any of the widespread symptoms of disease that are discussed here. This should not be an issue if your bird is fed a nutritious diet of pellets and fresh foods. However, they may be deficient in certain vitamins, in which case you should consult our bird supplements guide to overcome these deficiencies.

Malnutrition Symptoms in Birds

Stress bars in the feathers and darkened feathers may be indicators of such deficiencies. You should also make sure the bird gets enough full spectrum sunlight, especially if it spends the majority of the day indoors. If so, artificial bird lighting might be necessary.


When changing diets, one must exercise caution because some birds will reject the new food and literally starve themselves. Before making any major dietary changes, you should consult with your veterinarian. Once the bird’s nutritional requirements are satisfied, the undesirable symptoms should gradually go away.

Is it transmittable to humans?


Sick Parrot Symptoms

The first sign that a parrot owner may notice is a change in one of their bird’s characteristics. There are a few specific changes to look out for in your pet bird that may indicate illness.

Unusual appearance or stance:

  • Huddled
  • The bird has lost their balance.
  • Excessive plucking of feathers
  • Its beak is dangling from the cage’s side.
  • Trembling
  • Going in circles
  • Not preening

Behavior and attitude

  • Changes in vocalizations
  • Drooping wings
  • Inactivity
  • Change in personality

 Bird’s droppings

  • Color and consistency changes
  • Decrease in dropping
  • Blood in droppings

The appearance of the head

  • Squinting and partially closed eyes
  • Beak flaky or overgrown
  • Twitching of the head
  • Loss of symmetry indicating swelling


  • Ruffled, fluffed, or boring
  • Wet or stained areas on the head or vent area
  • Plucking excessively
  • A lot of molting and bald spots
  • Stress bars made of feathers

Legs and feet

  • Lameness
  • Nail growth that is abnormal
  • Foot or joint swelling
  • Discoloration or crusting


  • Tail-bobbing
  • A lot of panting
  • Breathing with an open beak
  • Exercise intolerance through a change in parrot sounds

Eating and drinking

  • Decrease in appetite
  • Vomiting
  • Swelling in crop area
  • Straining to defecate or pass eggs
  • Inability to pick up food

Weight Loss

Weight loss is a common symptom of parrot diseases and overall illness in birds. You should check on your bird’s health on a weekly basis with avian scales. If you notice any drastic drops in your bird’s weight, take them to the vet and double-check the bird food and diet. These scales can also help keep your bird from becoming overweight.

Daily monitoring of your bird, including the removal of a layer of paper from the cage bottom, will allow you to detect any of these changes. Unfortunately, many of the illnesses that your pet bird may experience will have the same set of symptoms. This frequently makes determining the nature of the parrot’s problem difficult.

When these symptoms appear and you are unable to determine the cause, it is time to take your parrot to the avian vet.

When in doubt, consult a veterinarian!

If your parrot exhibits any symptoms of a health problem, the best course of action is to consult with your avian veterinarian. As previously mentioned, your bird will make an effort to hide its illness, frequently until it is too late to be successfully treated. Early detection is your best chance of getting your bird the treatment it requires.

You might be interested :

How To Stop Your Parrot from Biting
How And When To Give Your Parrot a Bath
How Long Do Parrots Live as Pets?

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