Recognizing Signs of Illness in Birds

Sick budgie


Signs of illness involving the upper respiratory tract can include periocular swelling, oculonasal discharge, sneezing, scratching around the eyes, and frequent yawning.

Soiling or matting of the feathers on the head or around the nares is observed when oculonasal discharge or regurgitated material is flicked back by the bird. Visit Respiratory Emergencies for a video illustrating increased respiratory effort or tail bobbing.

Signs of illness in birds are often quite subtle until disease is advanced. Fortunately, quite a bit of information can be gleaned from a detailed history and careful observation. View this brief slideshow for tips on the visual examination . . .

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To cite this page: Pollock C. Recognizing signs of illness in birds. April 6, 2011. LafeberVet Web site. Available at