Why is my parrot shaking

Why Is My Parrot Shaking? (9 Reasons + FAQs)

Low temperatures can be the most obvious reason why a parrot may shiver and shake. However, parrots may also shake even when it is not cold indoors. 

This can be a behavioral thing that is particularly common among Quaker parrots or it could be an indication that something is amiss. 

Parrots can shake for different reasons including cold temperatures, anxiety, malnourishment, old age, stress, toxins, or illnesses.

However, a parrot’s whimsical behavior does not always have an explanation. Sometimes, they do it just because they get a kick out of it. So don’t be alarmed if your parrot has picked up a new behavior once again. Let’s discuss in detail the reasons why parrots shake. 

Why Is My Parrot Shaking And Shivering?

Cold Indoor Temperature

A parrot may shiver for the simple reason of being in a room that is too cold as parrots can get cold easily since they’re used to living in warm climates. 

If the indoor temperatures are too cold, it can make your parrot shiver. You may also see them puff up their feathers to keep themselves warm.

You should always ensure the temperatures in your house are bird-appropriate. Typically, temperatures in the range of 18 to 22 °C are considered best for parrots. 

If your parrot doesn’t stop shaking after you’ve warmed up the room, you need to consider other reasons to know what else is going on.

After Bathing

Parrots may also shake after taking a bath in cold water. Wet feathers can make them feel cold, which can cause them to shiver. 

Parrots often shake to get rid of their excess water and then fluff their feathers to regulate body temperatures. Bathing can lower a bird’s body temperature, especially if the water is cold.

Shaking after bathing is a natural behavior, but you should ensure that your parrot does not stay wet for too long after their bath. 

Fear and Anxiety 

Getting startled by loud noises or flashing lights can make your parrot anxious which can cause shaking. It is similar to how we would tremble and quiver when we’re shocked.

Stress can be taxing on a parrot’s body. In a short amount of time, it costs a huge drain of energy. When a parrot is afraid or anxious, its body releases stress hormones into the system that trigger the fight or flight response. 

In the short-tern it may help the parrot to face imminent danger but soon after it can cause the muscles to shake and twitch uncontrollably from exhaustion. 


Not all types of shaking are bad. Sometimes your parrot may be shaking just from excitement and happiness. When the feeling of excitement is very strong, it can make the parrot tremble and shake, in a good way. 

However, this may only happen in very specific situations. For example, if your parrot sees after a long time, it may not be able to control its emotions and feel elated. In such situations, the shaking should go away as soon as your parrot is able to relax. 


Malnutrition is commonly seen in parrots that eat nothing but seeds. If a parrot has been fed seeds ever since it was young, it becomes all the more difficult to improve its diet. An all-seed diet is virtually devoid of any good nutrients and is associated with various illnesses in birds. 

Parrots can also get malnourished if they’re not eating enough. If your parrot is not eating, there can be various reasons both behavioral as well as health-related. 


If your parrot is trembling and unable to maintain its balance on the perch, it may be weak or in pain. When a parrot is sick, it impairs its ability to retain body heat, so it may also be feeling colder than usual.  

Shaking and muscle tremors can be symptoms of serious conditions in parrots such as psittacosis. According to the MSD Veterinary Manual, parrots with psittacosis may show signs like shaking, head twisting, and convulsions. These symptoms are most common with African Greys and Cockatoos. 

Old Age

As parrots age, their leg muscles and joints weaken. Arthritis is quite common in senior parrots, which makes it difficult for them to perch or walk properly. Sometimes, the trembling legs may give the appearance of the parrot shaking. 

If your parrot is still young and has trouble perching or their legs shake, it can be due to the early onset of joint problems or other conditions like bumblefoot


Shivering can also be a symptom of heavy metal toxicity in parrots. Heavy metals can be easily found in household items. If they are within your parrot’s reach, they will certainly chew on them. 

The problem with heavy metals like lead and zinc is that they do not leave your parrot’s system very easily. They can be hard for the body to eliminate, which leads to many health problems. According to PetMD, a bird poisoned with heavy metal may show the following symptoms:

  • Excessive thirst
  • Weakness
  • Depression
  • Tremors
  • Loss of coordinated movements
  • Seizures

Species Specific Behavior

Shaking is a characteristic behavior of Quaker parrots. That is how they got their name – “Quaker” because they quake. This behavior often occurs during moments of excitement, playfulness, or heightened emotions. While quaking is a natural and common behavior in Quaker parrots, new owners who are not aware get worried. 

Quaker parrot shaking

Difference Between Shaking And Seizure

Shaking is much different than a seizure. Shaking is when the parrot’s whole body moves and the bird is in control of its muscles. On the other hand, seizures involve involuntary and uncontrollable muscle movements, sometimes with loss of consciousness. Seizures can be intense and last a few minutes, requiring prompt attention from a vet. 

If you suspect your parrot is having a seizure, you should take them to a vet immediately. While shivering is not a serious concern in most cases, you should still consult a veterinarian as birds are known to hide their conditions.


Why Do Parrot Shake Their Heads?

Head shaking is a normal behavior in parrots. They shake their head up and down when they’re excited, dancing, or seeking attention. 

Why Do Parrots Shake Their Tail Feathers?

When your parrot is shaking its tail feathers, it usually indicates breathing issues. But this does not necessarily mean your parrot has a respiratory problem. 

If the tail bobbing occurs for a short while it may just be because your parrot is a little out of breath. It is usually accompanied by panting as the parrot is trying to get more air in and cool itself down. 

However, if the parrot is shaking its tail constantly, it may be a sign of respiratory illness. According to VCA Hospitals, parrots shaking their feathers or tail bobbing can be a sign of Aspergillosis. 

It is a fungal infection that affects both the upper and lower respiratory tract. Parrots can come in contact with these bacteria through their environment. The bacteria, Aspergillus is found in mold growth such as rotten food, moist nesting material, etc.

Why Is My Baby Parrot Shaking

Since baby parrots do not have fully developed feathers covering their skin, they can get cold pretty easily, which can make them shiver. The ideal temperatures for parrots need to be slightly higher. Make sure you keep them warm and snug, typically inside a box layered with towels. 

Why Is My Parrot Shaking When Sleeping

If you notice your parrot shaking while sleeping, it could be because it is feeling a little cold. Along with shivering, you might notice your parrot fluffing up its feathers. However, shivering can mean your parrot is unable to stay warm just by fluffing up its feathers and needs you to increase the room temperature.

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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