Parrot with its water bowl

How Long Can Parrots Go Without Water?

Most parrot owners worry if their parrot is keeping well hydrated because they hardly seem to be drinking any water. It is usually fine when your parrot visits its water bowl once in a while and seems to be in proper health.

But when you’re off at work and your parrot is home alone, it can be more concerning, especially when they have proven their ability to spill their water time and again. 

So if a situation like that arises in your absence you may want to know how long can a parrot can go without water.  

Parrots can go as long as 24 hours without water before getting seriously dehydrated. However, there are various factors that could influence the duration in which a parrot gets dehydrated. Parrots get some of their water from the food they eat, especially fruits and vegetables that have lots of moisture so they may not suffer dehydration simply by cutting off drinking water. 

How Much Water Do Parrots Drink In A Day?

The normal intake of water for a parrot depends on the size of the parrot and individual habits. Parrots consume a small amount of water, and that is more than sufficient for their tiny bodies to function. But they do need to drink water every day. In general, they drink anywhere around 15-40 milliliters of water or 5% of their body weight in a day. 

What Happens If A Parrot Goes Too Long Without Water?

Water is just as necessary for parrots as it is for us. Water is required in the functioning of almost every vital organ, and a deficiency of that can create problems in the normal functioning of the body. So it is important that your parrot stays hydrated. 

If a parrot goes too long without drinking water either because of restricted access or because it simply won’t drink, several problems could arise, starting with dehydration. Dehydration can lead to electrolyte imbalances in the parrot’s body and cause weakness. The digestive system may suffer due to a lack of lubrication, resulting in dryer poop or even difficulty in passing waste.

The lack of water in the system can also slowly start to impact the bird’s energy levels. The parrot may become lethargic and even have difficulty perching properly. In prolonged dehydration, it may even pose a risk to the parrot’s cardiovascular system and kidneys and potentially be life-threatening. 

Parrots drinking water

What Factors Impact How Long A Parrot Can Go Without Water?

There length of time a parrot may be able to go without water depends on a number of factors outside the health of the bird. It is generally a concern when leaving your parrot alone at home for more than a few hours. These are some of the external factors that could impact how long a parrot is able to survive without water:  


If your parrot is not drinking water but still chooses to eat regular meals, it can survive much longer without water. Parrots can get a good amount of moisture from their diet especially water-rich foods such as fruits and vegetables. 


An older parrot may not handle water deprivation as a young one. Younger parrots have a slightly higher demand for water because their bodies are better equipped to retain water in a more efficient manner and also the fact that they’re more active throughout the day.  

Activity Levels

Parrots tend to lose much of their water from respiration. Increased activity levels can cause them to breathe more rapidly which can lead to faster evaporation of water from their respiratory tract. 


The size of your parrot also determines how much water they need to consume every day as well as how quickly they get dehydrated. Smaller parrots will fall to the effects of water deprivation more quickly compared to larger parrots. 


Similar to us, the humidity levels also impact the water requirements of our parrots. Hot weather can significantly reduce the amount of time a parrot can go without water. On a really hot day, parrots can be at a greater risk of dehydration and may require more water than usual. Also, if your parrot’s cage is kept under direct sunlight or in a badly ventilated room the effects of water deprivation can get to them much sooner.


If your parrot is not drinking water and also looks ill, you should immediately take it to a vet. There can be a myriad of health issues that could make a parrot unwilling to drink or eat. Here are a few signs to look for if you suspect your parrot is sick:

  • Fluffed feathers
  • Not eating 
  • Breathing with beak open
  • Lethargy
  • Sitting at the bottom of the cage

What Are The Signs Of Dehydration In Parrots?

it’s not easy to know for sure if your parrot is getting enough water just by observing. Checking the water levels in its bowl or watching your parrot’s drinking behavior doesn’t give much information about how hydrated it is. It is unfortunate but you might only be able to notice that your parrot is not drinking adequately when it starts showing signs of being dehydrated. That’s why it’s important to take proactive steps to make sure your parrot stays hydrated.


Panting is a clear sign that your parrot does not feel comfortable in the environment that it is in and the possibility of overheating. They may lose moisture from their bodies very quickly when they’re overheating and start to get dehydrated. 

Dryer Droppings

The consistency of your parrot’s poop is an unmistakable way to know about their hydration levels. If your parrot has not been drinking water for some time, it will show up in its droppings. When there’s a lack of water, the droppings are usually dryer and less frequent. In some cases, dehydration may even cause constipation in parrots

Sunken Eyes

Sunken eyes are a consequence of the body conserving water and letting fewer fluids around the unimportant parts. The eyes lids may also appear to be a little puffed.   

Dry Mouth 

Since there is not enough water in the parrot’s body, it will produce much less saliva making the mucous membrane dryer and sticky. 

Inability To Perch

Weakness can soon take hold of the parrot if the fluid levels in the body are not corrected and or it is not rehydrated. The parrot may have difficulty walking or perching and will be less active as a result.  

Reduced Elasticity Of The Skin 

When a parrot is not drinking water as it should, it can cause reduced elasticity of the skin due to less availability of water to the skin cells. It is a common sign of dehydration but in parrots, it may not be the best indicator because most of their skin is covered with feathers. 

Why Would A Parrot Not Drink Water?

A parrot can stop drinking water for many reasons. You should always rule out the medical causes first as it can lead to other problems. If your parrot is healthy but isn’t properly drinking water, here are a few reasons why that might be: 

More fruits In the Diet 

Fruits naturally contain high water content, some even more than others, which can contribute to the overall hydration of parrots from their solid food alone. Having your parrot eat a lot of fruit may prevent it from drinking water directly and reduce its daily water intake. However, this is generally nothing to worry about unless your parrot is having watery poop. At that point, you should probably, reduce the amount of fruit it eats. 

Stale Water 

Parrot like to have the water changed regularly or else they won’t drink from it. They can get a little finicky about it because their waters can get dirty quickly. Ideally, you should change your parrot’s water at least twice daily. And in case the container is dirty, it could be what’s preventing the parrot from coming near it.

Weather Changes

Parrots may be less inclined to drink water during cold weather for the simple reason that they need less water during this time. Cold water can also be less appealing to parrots, as they have to put themselves in the water which would mean getting wet and cold. In such cases, you can try offering slightly warmed water to make them drink it. 

How Do I Get My Parrot to Drink Water?

A parrot may start to get seriously dehydrated if it is not provided with water for more than a day. If your parrot does not seem to drink water but seems fine health-wise, here are a few things you can try to prevent it from continuing this behavior:

  • Soak their food in water
  • Offer some fruit juice 
  • Flavored water
  • Add sugar to their water 
  • Change the location of their water bowl

What Type Of Water Is Best For Parrots 

As a parrot owner, you must ensure that your parrot always has clean and fresh water in its bowl. Along with that, it is also important to make sure that the water you offer your parrot is safe for them to drink. 

Tap Water

Many people advise that you should give your parrots the type of water that you drink for yourself. This may not be sound advice because some people are used to drinking tap water.  

Parrots being way more sensitive to bacteria and contaminants than us, may not tolerate that water very well even when it is considered clean.

Tap water may or may not be a good choice for parrots depending on the area you live in. When considering tap water for parrots it is important to exercise a little caution. Tap water can potentially contain various contaminants including certain metals that may be harmful to birds. Substances such as lead, copper sulfate, arsenic, and other contaminants are sometimes found in tap water. 

Distilled Water

In the long run, tap water can have bad effects on the parrot’s health. Some parrots can be more susceptible to contaminants, and even trace amounts of it can make them sick. Options such as using distilled water can minimize the risk of contaminants to a great extent.

Filtered Water

Filtered water is much better suited and highly recommended. Water is safer for parrots when it is free from any kind of bacteria. A good water filtration system can help remove these contaminants and substances while retaining the minerals in the water.

Bottled Water 

Bottled water is the same as filtered water at home in that it goes through rigorous filtration processes, ensuring that it is free from contaminants that may be present in normal water. It is generally safe and offers quality water. Although, water kept in plastic containers can get stale and acquire bacteria after some time. 

Dorson Joseph
Dorson Joseph

I'm Dorson, a bird enthusiast who's had a lifelong fascination for the avian world. I am a parent to my beloved Senegal parrot and budgie, which has deepened my love for avian creatures and taught me a lot over the years. I co-run a bird store and care center with my friends, where we work with experienced professionals to care for our flock. Now, I find great joy in sharing my knowledge with others, hoping to assist fellow bird keepers and enthusiasts in understanding birds and helping them live happy lives.

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