Cockatiel Cold Symptoms

Updated February 21, 2017

Cockatiels can become sick with a number of diseases that cause coldlike symptoms. Bacterial infections, fungal infections and household toxins can affect the respiratory systems of cockatiels, causing distress. Cockatiels are very good at hiding their symptoms. Once you become aware of any coldlike symptoms in your cockatiel, your bird is probably very sick. If your bird is exhibiting any of these signs of respiratory illness, call your avian veterinarian immediately.

Swelling and Redness

Cockatiel nostrils are located at the top (or base) of the beak. They should look uniform in size and should not be red. Their eyes should also look healthy and clear. Red and/or swollen nostrils or eyes are symptoms that could indicate a respiratory infection.

Runny Nose

Your bird's nose, nostrils, eyes and mouth should be clean and clear. Look for any discharge or matted feathers near the nostrils or eyes. If your bird has any drainage or mucus coming from the nose, eyes or mouth, call your avian vet.

Voice Changes

Voice changes can be a symptom of a respiratory illness. If your sweet singing cockatiel now sounds hoarse, or sings like a frog, take that as a symptom that needs attention by your avian veterinarian.

Mouth and Neck Movements

Your cockatiel may yawn from time to time, which is not usually something to be concerned about. However odd mouth and neck movements can be a symptom of illness in the respiratory system. If the bird is constantly stretching her neck or seems to be stretching out her throat, the bird may have a blockage in the air way, or otherwise can't easily breathe.

Trouble Breathing

If you can hear your cockatiel breathing, then he is having trouble breathing. You may hear a wheeze, click or bubbling sound. If your cockatiel's tail bobs excessively with each breath, then he is having trouble breathing. A cockatiel that is having obvious signs of laboured breathing such as these is in severe distress. If your cockatiel is having trouble breathing, the severity of the bird's condition makes it imperative that he be seen by an avian veterinarian immediately, or he may not survive.

Not Perching

If your cockatiel is not perching, but is instead sitting at the bottom of the cage fluffed up, still, with eyes closed or partially closed, she is likely very sick, possibly with a respiratory infection. Like the troubled breathing, this is the sign of a bird medical emergency.

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About the Author

Lynn Anders has more than 15 years of professional experience working as a zookeeper, wildlife/environmental/conservation educator and in nonprofit pet rescue. Writing since 2007, her work has appeared on various websites, covering pet-related, environmental, financial and parenting topics. Anders has a Bachelor of Arts in environmental studies and biology from California State University, Sacramento.