Why is my parrot panting

Why Is My Parrot Panting? (Breathing Heavily)

A parrot’s normal breathing rhythm is calm and unhurried. You should not see your parrot breathing heavily unless it had recently engaged in a physical activity.

Panting is a method used by birds to dissipate extra heat from their bodies and regulate their temperatures. When a parrot’s body temperature rises, it increases its rate of respiration to let water evaporate through it air sacs, which then helps cool down its body.

However, if a parrot is panting for reasons other than physical exertion, it may signal distress. Panting may be a cause for concern when it occurs because of overheating, obesity, or anxiety. Certain respiratory disorders can also cause panting in parrots.

Is It Normal for Parrots To Pant?

Under certain circumstances, it is completely normal for parrots to pant. If your parrot is panting following activities such as flying or playing, it is a result of exerting the muscles. Engaging in such activities raises the parrot’s heart rate and generates body heat. 

To regulate its body temperature, the parrot uses panting as a mechanism for dissipating heat. It might seem like it’s fatigued, but it’s actually a good sign and tells you that its body is working to maintain comfortable temperatures.

Why Is My Parrot Breathing Heavily?

Parrots breathe with their beak open when they are stressed, extremely hot, or suffering from a respiratory problem. In some situations, panting can be normal and usually subsides within a few minutes. But if it’s because of a medical problem, it’s better to seek veterinary help.

Physical Activity

After a strenuous session of exercise, or playing energetically, it’s completely normal for a parrot to start panting. When they exercise, their bodies produce extra heat. However, parrots don’t have sweat glands to cool off. Instead, they use rapid breathing to release that extra heat and bring down their body temperature.

So, when you see your parrot panting after flying or other activity, you shouldn’t worry too much about it. After a while, as they rest, the panting should go away, and their breathing patterns should return to normal.

Acute Stress

When a parrot is exposed to a stressor for a brief amount of time, its body responds by increasing its temperature and respiratory rates. As demonstrated in this study published by BioOne, parrots manually restrained for 15 minutes showed an increase in rate of respiration which went up from 129 to 252 breaths per minute.

When faced with a stressful situation like being chased by prey or sudden loud sounds, parrots have to deal with the surge of stress hormones in their bodies which can increase their heart rates and body temperatures.


When the temperatures indoors are too hot for parrots or if they are exposed to direct sunlight, they can get overheated. Parrots can usually tolerate hot temperatures quite well, but anything exceeding 44°C can be too much for parrots. When a parrot is overheating, it may not be able to easily remove the extra heat which could lead to shortness of breath.

The following are the signs of overheating in parrots you should look for:

  • Holding wings away from its body
  • Drooping wings
  • Warm Feet 
  • Lethargy

Panting helps the body cool down but at the expense of large amounts of water. So when your parrot is panting, it will need more water to replenish the fluids lost. You should also make sure the room temperatures are bird-appropriate to help them relax.

Respiratory Disorders 

If the indoor temperatures are not too warm and your parrot does not seem to be overheating, panting in such a case may suggest your bird has respiratory problems.

Respiratory infections and diseases are common among parrots. They can be caused by a variety of reasons including a poor diet and Vitamin A deficiency.

When a parrot is ill, it will usually spend most of its time at the bottom of the cage and will seem lethargic. Along with fluffed feathers, you may also notice your parrot panting while it sleeps on the cage floor.


Panting can sometimes be confused with actual breathing problems in parrots. When a parrot is panting, it relaxes and contracts its chest muscles rapidly in order to breathe more air in. However, dyspnea is when the parrot is struggling to get enough air.

The parrot might seem like it’s struggling for breath and might breathe with its beak open. This could be because of respiratory infections or obstructions in the airway.  If you’re unsure your parrot is panting or having difficulty breathing, you should see a vet to figure out what’s going on.


Exercise and playtime can feel more difficult for your parrot when it is carrying extra weight. An overweight parrot will have to use twice as much energy to perform the same tasks as a healthy parrot. 

So if your parrot is obese, it will burn through its energy and get exhausted more quickly. And as a result, you will find it catching its breath too frequently. You should help your parrot maintain a healthy weight, especially during summer times when they’re most likely to get a heat stroke.

Egg Laying 

During egg-laying, the female parrot goes through certain metabolic and physiological changes. In addition to being a strenuous process, egg-laying often leads to elevated body temperatures, which may cause heavy breathing in female parrots. 

According to Research Gate, the average daily body temperature during egg-laying increases significantly in birds. So if your parrot is about to be laying eggs, it might be normal for you to see them breathing heavily.

However, if your parrot seems to be struggling for breath or the breathing is labored, it may be due to egg binding. An egg-bound parrot may show the following symptoms:

  • Straining
  • Heavy breathing
  • Infrequent droppings
  • Loss of appetite
  • Fluffed feathers
  • Sitting on the cage floor

What To Do If Your Parrot Is Panting?

Parrots can often hide their illness when they’re sick. So if you notice your parrot is panting but it does not seem to be hot, you should take it to a vet. Panting can sometimes be a symptom of certain respiratory illnesses and diagnosis by a vet is crucial.

Normally, a parrot should pant for a couple of minutes. But if the panting continues for longer, it’s important to keep them calm and help them cool down by lowering the indoor temperature. 

Here are a few additional ways you can help your panting parrot:

  • Try to calm your parrot if it is anxious
  • If you think your parrot is overheated, mist them with water.
  • Offer them water to drink.


Why Is My Bird Panting After Flying?

Panting after flying is normal in healthy birds. Sustain Flight for a long duration can be strenuous for a parrot. then the bird can intake through breathing. So when the bird stops flying it has to replenish the decreased levels of oxygen in the body. It is similar to how we might get out of breath after a long run.

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.

Articles: 240

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *