Ask Lafeber


September 20, 2021

Lovebird sudden death

We are getting ready to bury our little Lovebird.

What kills a bird instantly with zero warning signs?
We came home and do what we always do and part of that is talking and playing with Snuggles. He was chirping, playing, and got excited to get his nightly treat, and as he was going to get it fell over dead! What causes sudden death?
Acting and looking 100% normal. Ate all his food from earlier today. There is nothing we can see. He went from normal to dead in a matter of seconds.
Yes, he just turned 16 – but I don’t know what old is for a lovebird.


Hi Sharra,

I’m very sorry to hear about your loss of Snuggles. At 16 Snuggles was very old for a lovebird. While they can live into their early 20’s, most lovebirds only live 10-12 years. Most likely his heart just gave out. I’ve known many elderly birds who died suddenly like Snuggles. Birds have a very high metabolism, so if the bird is really old, sudden organ failure can cause nearly instant death. Airborne toxins can also cause this, but generally the bird will show signs of respiratory distress first, and then have trouble breathing before it dies. From what you said, I really think it was just little Snuggles time, and while it was shocking for you, know that at least he didn’t suffer at all.

Take care,


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