Parrot drinking water

Why Is My Parrot Drinking A Lot Of Water? (Polydipsia In Birds)

Parrots hardly visit their water bowls more than three times a day. They have different fluid requirements and need much less water than other animals. So If your parrot suddenly starts drinking too much water, it can be a concerning matter. 

Polydipsia or excessive thirst is a condition characterized by an intense and constant urge to drink water excessively. It can be quite noticeable in parrots as they don’t drink that much water. 

Excessive thirst in parrots can be due to various reasons, such as a high-sodium diet, hot weather, or health issues like kidney failure, diabetes, and diarrhea. The parrot will also have watery poop because an excess water intake will likely lead to polyuria (increased urine in the feces). 

How Much Water Should A Parrot Drink Daily?

There are a number of things that could influence how much water your parrot drinks in a day, including the type of diet, weather, size of the bird, etc. But in general, parrots drink very little water, about 10-15% of their body weight. 

Normally, you should not see your parrot visiting their water bowl more than 3-4 times a day. Many owners wonder why their parrot isn’t drinking any water, but that is completely normal.  

Macaw parrot near its food bowl

Reasons Why Your Parrot Is Drinking So Much Water

The balance of fluids is regulated by many different factors. So it is essential to pay close attention to the accompanying signs. Here are the possible reasons why your parrot is drinking a lot of water:

High Sodium Diet

Poor dietary choices are one of the most common reasons for electrolyte imbalances in parrots. In order to maintain the correct levels of sodium in the body, excessive urination is a normal response to high levels of sodium intake. 

Although parrots do need sodium in their diet, foods that contain high amounts of it are generally not recommended. In high amounts, sodium can even be toxic to parrots. You should keep your parrot away from salty snacks and packaged foods as they generally contain loads of salt in them.  

Excessive thirst may also occur if you’re giving your parrot salty tap water. In certain areas, tap water may contain high levels of salt which can disrupt the normal balance of electrolytes. This disruption in electrolyte balance can trigger excessive thirst as the bird’s body tries to compensate for the excess salt. 

Hot Weather 

Parrots typically do not handle extreme temperatures very well but heat can particularly be more harmful to them. On a normal day, a parrot may not have the urge to drink any more than a few millimeters of water.

However, if the room temperature is too high, the parrot can get dehydrated pretty quickly which can lead to excessive thirst. If you notice your parrot panting or breathing with an open beak, it can indicate that the temperature in the room is not right. 

Physical Activity

Acitiveits such as flying, playing, or exercising can naturally raise the body’s temperature and increase the demand for water. It can induce thirst in parrots temporarily due to increased metabolic demands.

The parrot may drink a lot of water right after the exercise to replenish its body fluids. Thirst should not persist once the bird has cooled down. 

Macaw sitting on its perch


During diarrhea, a parrot can lose an excessive amount of water from its body which can even lead to dehydration. To make up for the loss of fluid, the parrot may drink more than usual. If your parrot already has diarrhea, it is crucial to address the condition promptly as persistent dehydration may cause damage to the kidneys.  

Diabetes Mellitus

Diabetes can trigger both excessive thirst and increased urination in parrots. It is because of a disruption in the normal regulation of blood sugar levels. Insulin is responsible for helping cells take in glucose from the bloodstream, allowing it to be used for energy.

When insulin is deficient or ineffective in the system, glucose accumulates in the bloodstream, resulting in high blood sugar levels. To remove the excess sugar, the body tries to dilute it by increasing urine production. This excessive urination leads to dehydration, triggering excessive thirst.

However, Diagnosing Diabetes mellitus in parrots can be difficult since birds have higher normal glucose levels compared to mammals (200 to 400 mg/dL). The sugar levels can further fluctuate for a myriad of reasons, like stress or excitement.

When a parrot gets stressed, such as when it is handled or restrained, it can have elevated blood sugar levels. So having more glucose in their blood or urine alone doesn’t necessarily mean they have Diabetes. Also, diabetes mellitus is not as common in parrots as it is in other birds. 

Hypercalcemia (Vitamin D Toxicity)

Hypercalcemia is a condition where the level of calcium in the blood is above normal. In parrots, this condition is usually caused by vitamin and mineral oversuplementation of their diet. 

An excess amount of Vitamin D3 supplementation can lead to the leeching of calcium from the bones into other parts of the bird’s body including the kidneys. This abnormal increase of calcium can eventually lead to improper functioning of the kidneys due to calcification and cause both polydipsia and polyuria. 

Symptoms of Hypercalcemia In Birds Include: 

  • Lethargy
  • Excessive thirst
  • Polyuria
  • Abdominal pain
  • Vomiting


Another possible cause of polydipsia in parrots is the ingestion of toxins, particularly heavy metals like zinc and lead. These metals can be easily found in the house and are easy for the parrot to chew on. Birdcage bars are often coated with zinc which is potentially one way the metal can make its way into the parrot’s stomach. 

In a study published by Science Direct, an experiment was conducted to induce polydipsia in pigeons, budgerigars, and ducks by administering lithium chloride (LiCl). Among these birds, budgerigars exhibited the strongest polydipsic effect. 

Psychogenic Polydipsia

Excessive thirst can also be categorized as a behavioral problem when it is not induced by an underlying health issue. In an experiment published by Avian Pathology, a pet African grey parrot was reported to have psychogenic polydipsia, which means excessive thirst caused by psychological factors. 

To understand the parrot’s condition, a water deprivation test was conducted. This test examined the release of a hormone called arginine vasotocin and how the kidneys responded to it.

Once the diagnosis was confirmed, the parrot’s access to water was restricted, and as a result, the excessive thirst and related symptoms disappeared. It concluded that psychogenic polydipsia in parrots, similar to destructive behaviors, is a neurotic condition that arises from a lack of social interaction and stimulation.

Renal Disease

Improper functioning of the kidneys can also lead to excessive water consumption in parrots. The main function of kidneys is to filter waste and regulate fluid balance in the body.

So when the kidneys aren’t able to perform efficiently, the parrot’s body may struggle to remove waste properly. As a result, the body will cope with the situation by signaling increased thirst to flush out the accumulated waste and maintain proper hydration levels. Parrots with renal disease are also likely to have polyuria or excessive urine content.

What To Do If My Parrot Is Drinking Water Excessively?

Excessive thirst is not normal in parrots since they have less fluid requirements compared to other animals. If your parrot is drinking too much water, there is a greater chance that your parrot is suffering from a medical condition. It is crucial to get your parrot evaluated by an avian vet in this situation. The vet may likely order blood and urine tests to determine the cause of this issue and suggest dietary changes in the meantime.  

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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