Ask Lafeber


March 30, 2021

sudden death of bird

I had a male cockatoo who suddenly died aged 4. He seemed to be in good shape, well-balanced diet (seeds, vegetables, berries, no sunflower seeds, sweet fruits and nuts just for treats). I am very careful about dangerous toys and other dangers in the household. We practised freeflight with him and he was happy about that. Once he landed on a branch and fell down dead. What might have been the cause?


Hi Marketa,

I’m so sorry for your loss. It is heartbreaking when something like this happens. Dr. Tully discussed sudden death during the last webinar. Generally it comes down to something that was wrong with the bird that wasn’t causing any obvious signs of illness. Since birds have very high metabolisms, death is often very fast because organ failure happens rapidly. Sudden death is usually caused by some type of toxin, especially something airborne, a virus, or an issue with an internal organ, which can sometimes be genetic. When a bird dies from no obvious cause, this is when a necropsy is performed by the Vet. Sometimes it is necessary because there are other birds in the home and you need to rule out something that could affect them, and sometimes it’s done to give the grieving owners an answer. But sometimes, even a necropsy and extensive testing reveals no obvious cause.

Thank you for asking Lafeber,


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