11 Reasons Why Your Parrot Is Shaking

Your pet bird is undoubtedly the dearest creature to you. At times you might have wondered why your parrot is shaking its body and must have grown curious about the reason behind such a strange behavior of your dear pet. After all, seeing your parakeet trembling is not a pleasant sight at the least. To calm your nerves, we are here with this informative article to help you understand the underlying reason behind such weird behavior. 

A flock of parrots shaking their bodies

While shaking can be a usual behavior of your green bird, it can also happen when your pet parrot is trying to display its emotions. Say, if it feels sad, happy, nervous, or anxious, it can shake its body to react to its inner state of mind. 

Unfortunately, body shaking can be much more than just the normal behavior of the bird. Such a situation might point towards malnourishment or some severe disease that your bird is suffering from.

If you are worrying over “why is my bird shaking,” you have come to the right place, for we will enlighten you if something is wrong with your parrot. 

Parrot species such as African greys and Quaker parrots have a natural tendency to shake their bodies. Parrots of other species could be shaking their bodies to express their emotions to you.

Understanding the body language of your bird may not be that easy. Anyway, there is nothing to worry about because we are here to help you out! Let’s get straight into the details of the possible reasons your bird could exhibit shaking behavior. 

Why Do Parrots Shake/Shiver Their Bodies? 

Let’s have a look at the conditions that may trigger the parrot’s shaking behavior. 

  • When the parrot feels excessively cold. 
  • When it feels too warm. 
  • When it wants to get groomed and washed. 
  • When it gets a sick feeling. 
  • When your parakeet gets excited to a great extent. 
  • When your parrot is frightened. 
  • When the bird is feeling anxious because of the new environment in which it is kept. 
  • When the bird is stressed and nervous. 
  • When it exhibits its usual behavior of shivering and shaking the body. 
  • When it is angry and shows dissatisfaction over something. 

There are several ways in which your parrot may shake its body. Let’s have a look at those!

  • Shaking the body by just sitting in its place. 
  • Shaking the body from side to side. 
  • Twitching the body. 
  • Quivering and quaking. 
  • Jerking its body. 

Each of these shaking responses of your parrot has a different meaning. You need to understand the reason behind such a reaction.

Only then will you be able to help your bird from coming out of that stressful situation. If you fail to understand the cause behind the response of your parakeet, adjust the temperature of the room if it is too cold or too warm.

Else, the ultimate option will be to consult an avian veterinarian to analyze its stressful state. 

11 Reasons Behind why Your Parrot is Shaking Its Body 

1. Your Parrot Is Scared & Afraid Of Something 

It is very usual for your bird to react to fear by shaking its body as it experiences an adrenaline rush in its body. Its body switches to a fight or flight situation when it is exposed to highly stressful situations.

 As a result, immense energy is produced in the body. This very energy is released in the form of body shaking. To vent out this released energy, the parrot shakes its body in its place. 

why your parrot is shaking

If you see that your bird has become wholly still and has frozen for a moment, know that it has witnessed an incoming threat. 

When parrots show the symptoms of shivering behaviors, it is an indication that their bodies are trying to cope with the fearful situation. 

Initially, on perceiving the appearance of the threat, the parrot will puff up its feathers, become silent, and shivering its wings. It will tensely move about from one place to the other. Usually, the threats include any predator such as a dog, cat, or some other bird.

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Since a parrot is very expressive in its actions, you can easily understand why it is shaking its body if you carefully observe its movements and reactions. 

However, if the threat lingers around the bird, it will shake its body more violently and start hissing and screaming. It will make attempts to bite anything that will come in its way, with its strong beaks.

You need to remove the source that was invoking fear in the parrot. Once the threat is removed from its surroundings, it will stop shivering and come out of the fearful stage within a few minutes. 

2. Your Parrot Is Feeling Too Cold 

Just as humans shiver when exposed to frigid conditions, your parrot is also no exception. When it feels cold, it starts shivering.

To cope with the cold environment, the body of the parrot starts contracting and relaxing the breast muscles at a rapid pace to provide warmth internally. In this kind of situation, the parrot exhibits a lot of twitching and jerking in its breast area. 

When you notice this behavior of your parrot, you need to immediately check its temperature with a thermostat, much to the displeasure of your pet bird.

parrot in cage

Apart from the constant shivering by means of contractions and relaxation of the muscles, your bird may show its puffed feathers and go into a sleeping posture, like they do by putting its head into the wing. It will also grow silent when exposed to cold conditions. 

A majority of the parrots are native to tropical and subtropical climates and can comfortably live at a temperature varying from 65 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

So, they can live in your home without being affected by hypothermia. But, parrots tend to feel cold when they are exposed to the rain or when you have given them a good, long shower. The presence of water in the feathers of the parrot can lower its temperature to a great extent. 

If you have an AC installed in your home or a cooler in your room, your dear parrot may catch a cold and shiver vigorously. Always remember that if it is shivering after taking a bath, it is just warming itself to feel good.

To comfort your parrot from excessive shivering, you can get a heated perch or raise the room temperature, by using a room heater. You can also shift the birdcage to a warmer corner of the house so that the parrot is saved from the terribly chilling feeling. 

3. Your Parrot Is Feeling Very Warm Or Hot 

If your parrot feels very hot or warm, it will start shivering and lifting its feathers. This is a coping mechanism of the body to deal with the heat. Its body traps the heat beneath its feathers so that the heat is soon lost to the atmosphere.

Parrot stretching its wings

It may spread out its wings wide open to release the heat. Since the coats of parrots’ feathers are ideal for storing and trapping heat, their bodies often get overheated. To recuperate from the excessive heat, the parrot spreads its wings and opens it wide. 

Though many parrots hail from warm, humid climates, not all can tolerate the warm conditions. When it feels too warm, it opens up its feathers and releases the heat to cool down itself. 

4. Your Parrot Is Stressed Or Nervous 

Just like humans, parrots can also fall victim to stress. When they get nervous or tense, they may start trembling and shaking their bodies. Note that fear is not the same as stress, and their reactions will differ from stressful and frightening situations.

When exposed to extreme stress conditions, it will start shaking its body even without any threat factor. The body shaking of the parrot will continue for a considerably long period. Your pet parrot may grow violent and behave destructively. 

There are two kinds of stress that your pet parrot birds might face. 

Short Term Stress 

The parrot may be plunged into a state of short-term stress when faced with the following situations. 

  • When the birdcage of the parrot has been shifted to a new corner in the home. 
  • When the parrot has been introduced to a new place or environment. 
  • When the bird has been taken as a pet by some other owner or when its owners have changed. 

Whenever the usual living conditions of the parrot change and there has been an alteration in its lifestyle, it goes to a state of stress and anxiety. Parrot birds love to live as per their normal, usual lifestyle.

Stressed parrot

Any changes in its living place may make it fall prey to stress. Give it adequate time to acclimatize to the new environment, and soon it will stop shaking its body once it feels safe in the new place. 

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Long Term Stress 

Often, long-term stress in parrots may have very hard-to-find factors and significantly impact their health. For instance, the sound of constant honking of the cars in the street outside may stress out your parakeet.

Soon, it will start feeling insecure about its living environment and go into a state of excessive stress and anxiety. As an expression of its stressed state of mind, it will start shaking its body severely and may even stop eating.

After intensive research, several other causes behind the emergence of long-term stress in parrots have been discovered. These include: 

  • When the bird had a traumatic experience of mistreatment at the hands of its previous owner. 
  • When the parrot is made to live alone, and no one gives much attention, it might feel abandoned and get stressed over it. 
  • When the bird wishes to have more food and notices that you have not been feeding it properly. 
  • When the pet parrot birds’ cage is not well-lit and has a dark, gloomy setup, they might not have a good sleep and get stressed due to it. 

Always remember that long-term stress is fatal for your parrot’s health. Soon, it will grow quiet and may fall ill eventually.

Consult an avian vet immediately to restore the health of your pet bird. You may perform any of these actions as a remedy to the stressed and critical state of your parrot. 

  • Make sure you are giving your parrot enough of its favorite food. 
  • Make it a point to spend time with your parrot and never leave it alone and unwanted. If you are busy with some work, ask any other family member to stay near the little parrot.
  • Ensure if the place you have selected for placing the parrot bird is a quiet and peaceful one. 

5. Your Parrot Is elated & Delightful 

Parrots tend to shake their bodies even when they feel happy about something or when they get excited. If you shower your parrot with immense love and take care of it, its body will start shaking, and it will begin chirping loudly in delight on seeing you return home after work. 

Happy Parrots

Also, if you have presented your budgie or cockatiel with some toys and foods that they love, they will start shaking their bodies in boundless delight. 

6. Your Parrot Is Taking A Bath Or At The Time Of Grooming 

Though your parakeet loves taking a water bath, it may respond to bathing by shaking its body.

Parrot bathing

When you are cleaning the body of your pet bird in water, it will loosen its feathers, spread these a bit, and go about shaking its body and splashing the water all around. At this point, it might shake its body in the following ways. 

  • The parrot may right away dip its water into the tumbler of water and then shake it sideways. It may flap its wings slowly. 
  • It is natural for the parrot to experience a spine-chilling moment, and it might conclude with its tail flicking a bit. 
  • The parrot may swell its chest and puff its feathers and then may instantly make its feathers fall. 

Even after you have bathed your parrot, it will shake its body at the time of drying up. It will start shaking its body to shed the excess water from its feathers.

Though it may look like the bird is shaking, it is fluffing out the small feathers of its body and twitching these. Give the bird a few minutes after bath, and it will stop twitching eventually. 

7. Your Parrot Is Preening 

Do you know that parrots don’t depend on their owners for getting cleaned? They can groom themselves quite a lot of times in a single day. By preening, they remove the dirt and dust from their bodies.

Parrot Preening

Just like wild parrots, your home budgie may groom not only themselves but also ensure the proper alignment of its body feathers. Preening is absolutely a usual act of the parrots. You need to worry if your parrot doesn’t preen, as it could suggest that some problem is perhaps going on with it.

While preening, your parrot may exhibit a few jerks. This kind of body shaking is not bad for the parrots’ health. It is a means of making the feathers settle in an orderly manner. While preening, your bird may either shake its head or jerk its entire body sideways.

When the bird is preening, a small dust-like cloud may appear around it due to shaking the body. You don’t need to worry if your pet is shaking its body because of preening. To understand that your bird is not under stress or tension, let’s see the indicators of preening. 

Indicators Of Preening In Parakeets 

  • The parrot would slightly nudge its feathers along with its beak quite a few times so that it could clean the dirt easily from each of its feathers. 
  • It may lift its feathers up and then lower them down slowly. 
  • Your bird won’t show any symptoms of stress. For instance, it would not sit with puffed feathers or try to bite things coming in its way. 
  • If the bird stops shaking its body after a few minutes, it is preening. In case of body shaking due to illness or annoyance, it would have continued trembling for an extended period, and the shaking might intensify if it is in a state of stress. 
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8. Your Parrot Is Sick Or Ill 

If your parakeet is sick, its body might shake, and it can shiver, which is a natural thing, even for humans when they have got fever. You can easily understand if the reason behind the body shaking is the parrot’s sickness by looking for the following symptoms. 

  • Laziness 
  • Wings have drooped
  • The feathers have got rumpled 
  • The bird is not responding to external stimuli
  • Bobbing of the tail
  • Lack of appetite 

What you can do to cure your parrot is visit the vet immediately to help heal your bird from the disease. Ensure that you are providing enough water and food to your parrot. Pay attention to your pet bird and see if it needs medical attention. 

9. Your Parrot Is Not Getting Proper Nutrition 

If your parrot is malnourished and is not getting the required amount of nutrition, it might experience shivering. As its body starts weakening, the muscles get afflicted with atrophy, and its bones start weakening. So, it starts shivering and shaking its body.

The condition of malnourishment can be improved by providing your pet parrot with premium-quality food. Make sure that there are variations to your parrot’s diet. Prepare a properly balanced diet for your bird and feed them at proper intervals.

You can provide your bird fruits, veggies, nuts, seeds, and pellets. It is recommended that you consult a vet immediately once you notice the signs of malnourishment in your parrot.

You may have to offer your bird a combined diet of proper nutrients and health supplements so that it recovers from the body shaking state. 

10. Your Parrot Is Injured & May Need Medical Attention 

If your parrot is injured and has hurt itself, it might shiver due to the sudden stress inflicted on its body and mind. The acute pain felt by the parrot because of some accident or attack from some other animals can plunge it into a stressful condition.

Parrot beak injured

However, if you cannot find any sign of external injury, the wound may have its source in the bird’s internal organs. If you notice the following symptoms, you can easily understand if it is wounded. 

  • A permanent change in the feathers to the puffed state. 
  • The wings have been drooped or lowered. 
  • Breathing problems 
  • Inability to fold the wings of the body 

Just as cockatiels, your parrot may shy away from you and will try to evade you when it is reeling under pain. Don’t delay but immediately search for the best vet that may save your bird’s life and give it a respite from the shaking behaviors. 

11. Your Parrot Is Shaking As A Natural Characteristic Of Its Species 

 Your parrot could be shaking because it is one of its behavioral characteristics. If you have a parrot belonging to any of the following species, the reasons behind shaking could be the following. 

African Grey: An African grey parrot can shake its breast to show its happiness and satisfaction. However, if it keeps on shaking its entire body, the reason might be that it is stressed over something. 

Quaker Parrots: As its name suggests, it keeps shaking its body all day and night long without any reason. If you are planning to buy one then check out on this article How Much Is A Parrot

Cockatiels: A cockatiel could shake its body due to reasons similar to a parrot. Often, giving it a heated perch helps if the cause is- it is feeling too cold. There are multiple factors behind it shaking its body. The remedies applied to help the parrot come out of its shivering state can also be applied to the cockatiel. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

What Are Some Signs Of A Bird Dying?

Signs of a bird dying include puffed feathers, appetite loss, discharges, shivering and shaking, and breathlessness. 

Why Is My Bird Vibrating? 

Your bird is vibrating because it is feeling extremely cold or propelling its feathers to let in more air. 

What are parrots scared of? 

Parrots are scared of the dark and predators. They may grow agitated and displeased when exposed to harsh noise and left alone at home. 

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Gulshan
Hi, I am Gulshan, a pet blogger, and author. I've been working with the local pet groups for the past five years. I have been fascinated by our pets and am here to share that wonder with you.