• Welcome to African Grey's vibrant community - Forum ! We just started this journey, our aim is to build a friendly community for pet lovers.
    Our goal is to foster a warm and welcoming community where you can connect with like-minded individuals, share your experiences, and learn from one another.
    Don't miss out on the fun! Sign up now and join us in celebrating the love and joy our pets bring into our lives.
  • Welcome, this forum isn't exclusively for African Grey Parrots. While this is my primary focus due to personal experience—I had an African Grey Parrot who I sadly lost—in his memory, I launched this website. So, whether you have any type of pet, you're welcome here.
    Everyone is encouraged to read, write, and share knowledge with our forum members.

Is my bird SICK? Or INJURED?


Staff member
Birds hide illness for as long as they can, therefore it is important to understand the normal behaviour of your bird so that you can detect any changes as early as possible.

Greys are flock creatures and the presence of a sick member makes the whole flock vulnerable. A sick bird is also more vulnerable to predators. Birds instinctively hide illness for as long as possible in order to avoid being attacked by their flock members or by predators. By the time a bird is showing symptoms of illness it is usually well progressed and in need of urgent veterinary attention.

As bird owners we are attuned to their normal behaviour so usually quickly become aware if a bird is not its usual self. These signs include unusual sleepiness, (and especially if the bird is sitting fluffed on the floor of the cage rather than a perch), changes in appetite, weight loss, being vocally quieter (also changes in voice) and less active than normal.

There may be changes in usual posture e.g. sitting low, hunched over the perch, sitting with drooping wings. The eyes may look dull or be half closed. There may be changes in attitude - such as becoming more aggressive or more docile or needy.

The monitoring of droppings is important and every owner needs to be aware of the normal variation. Not all droppings are the same - they vary with time of day, with diet, with stress. Therefore it is important to know what is a normal range for your bird. One abnormal dropping isn't usually anything to worry about but consistently abnormal droppings are. (See droppings topic in FAQ section for a description of what droppings should look like)

A certain limited amount of regurgitation is normal and is a voluntary action, usually in response to a favourite person but repeatedly regurgitating or suddenly and involuntarily bringing up large amounts isn't.

Other more obvious symptoms of illness include discharge from nares, eyes or ears, swollen eyes, excessive sneezing. Noisy (there may be wheezing or clicking noises) heavy or open beaked breathing which may include tail bobbing. General unsteadiness, loss of balance, seizures. White patches inside the beak, an unpleasant smell from the beak.

Feather plucking. If a bird is ill it is important to keep them calm, warm and hydrated. If they won't eat for themselves try offering formula, human baby food or other soft food such as mashed sweet potato, scrambled egg. oatmeal etc. See an avian vet as soon as possible.
A bird should always see an avian vet if possible.

If you see blood on your bird or in the cage the most likely cause is a broken blood feather (a growing feather). The feather may have already stopped bleeding, if it starts again the feather may need to be pulled out by a vet. Beak injuries may also cause bleeding if the tip breaks close enough to the blood supply.

Bleeding is always alarming and while it is important to stop bleeding, try to stay calm and remember that a little blood goes a long way. especially if the bird has been flapping around. In terms of blood loss, parrots can "safely" lose up to 1% of their body weight - 5mls or a teaspoonful in a 500g African Grey for example. Cornflour (cornstarch) is very useful for emergencies involving bleeding feathers, beaks and nails.

If you find this thread/post informative, feel free to share it with your family or friends as it might be helpful to them.

Stay safe!