Why Is My Parrot Sneezing

Why Is My Parrot Sneezing? (7 Common Reasons)

While an occasional sneeze is nothing to worry about, if your parrot keeps sneezing frequently, it could be a concerning matter. 

There can be many reasons why parrots sneeze. It can be due to something minor like a reaction to dust. Sometimes, a parrot might just be mimicking the sneezing sound. It becomes a concern if your parrot is sneezing more often and has nasal discharge. 

In most instances, parrots sneeze to expel irritants from the upper airway of the nose. If you observe persistent or troubling symptoms, it is advisable to consult with a veterinarian.

What Causes Sneezing In Parrots?

Let’s talk about the reasons why parrots sneeze:

Dirty Cage  

If your parrot’s cage is dirty, it would likely cause them to sneeze. When the cage is not regularly cleaned, it can lead to a buildup of dust, mold, and other debris, which can irritate the parrot’s respiratory system. 

Dust particles obstruct airways and cause sneezing and difficulty in breathing. Additionally, bacteria and allergens thriving in a dirty cage can compromise the air quality, making it more likely for a parrot to experience respiratory discomfort

Make sure that the environment in which your parrot lives is clean and free from any irritants that could be causing sneezing. This can be done by regularly cleaning and disinfecting the cage, replacing bedding and toys, and providing fresh food and water daily. 

Parrot Dust

Certain parrot species, such as African Greys and Cockatoos, are known to produce a lot of dust. This dust not only collects around the parrot’s living enclosure but also spreads throughout the house.

If not cleaned regularly, the fine particles can settle on surfaces and in the air, potentially leading to respiratory issues and sneezing. 

This not only affects the parrot but also those sharing the living space. Regular cleaning routines, including wiping surfaces, vacuuming, and installing a HEPA Air Purifier are crucial to maintaining a clean environment when living with dusty parrots.


Mites can be another reason that can cause parrots to sneeze. There are different types of bird mites that affect parrots. Air sac mites are internal parasites that infest a parrot’s respiratory system, leading to irritation and triggering sneezing as a response. 

The presence of mites can irritate the nasal passages and airways. If a parrot is sneezing frequently, especially accompanied by other signs like itching, feather loss, or changes in behavior, it can be a sign of mites infestation.

Strong Odors

Certain types of perfumes, colognes, and room fresheners can also act as irritants for parrot nostrils. Cigarette smoke also affects parrots negatively and routine exposure can put them at the risk of respiratory disorders. 

Parrots are sensitive to strong odors, so it would be better to avoid using heavy colognes near them and also keep from using musky room fresheners. It is also important to provide good ventilation and avoid exposing parrots to cooking fumes, and other airborne irritants. 


Occasional sneeze is normal for parrots, excessive sneezing could be a sign of an underlying health issue. Parrots can also sneeze because of an allergic reaction. 

They can eat most types of whole foods without any problem, but if you feed your parrot human foods such as fries, chips, and other unhealthy snacks that can cause an allergic reaction. 

They can also be allergic to low-quality bird food or certain ingredients in the pellets you feed them. If you notice your parrot sneezing right after eating a certain type of food, it might be the cause. 


Parrots can develop respiratory infections caused by bacteria, fungi, or viruses. Many owners think that their parrot has caught their cold. However, humans cannot transfer colds or viruses to parrots. 

Parrot contract infections from their environment or other birds. These infections can cause irritation and inflammation in the parrot’s respiratory tract, leading to symptoms such as wheezing and sneezing. 

If your parrot sneezes are accompanied by a runny nose, nasal discharge, coughing, and slight voice change, it could be a symptom of an upper respiratory infection. (Source

Sneezing, in particular, is an early symptom of respiratory infections in parrots, as it is the body’s natural response to expel irritants and foreign substances from the respiratory tract. Sneezing can also help to clear mucus and other secretions that can accumulate in the respiratory tract during an infection. 

Parrot panting


Parrots are adept mimickers, capable of learning sounds even without training. They typically need to hear a sound a few times to grasp and reproduce it. If your pet parrot has repeatedly heard you sneeze, it might start mimicking the sneeze-like sounds. 

The sound is usually quite accurate, which leads owners to believe that their parrot is actually sneezing. However, to tell the difference between a real parrot sneeze and a sound imitation, pay attention to the movement of their body.

When a parrot sneezes, its head shakes similar to how we sneeze. But when a parrot is producing a sound, you can observe it mouthing and its vocal box vibrating. 

Why Does My Parrot Sneeze After Drinking Water

Most parrots sneeze right after drinking water and there’s an interesting reason for that. parrots dip their heads deep into the bowl and tilt it to let the water drip down their throat. This causes the water to run down their nasal passages as well making them sneeze. 

Parrots do not drink water the same way we do. It is a pretty inconvenient way of drinking water but since they cannot directly suck it in, it becomes necessary to hold the water in their beaks first. However, some parrots do not fully immerse their heads in the water and are able to drink without sneezing.

What To Do If My Bird Is Sneezing 

Although sneezing in birds is perfectly normal, sometimes you can notice them clearing their nasal airways more than usual. You should ensure your bird is healthy and free from any nasal infections.

Observe your bird closely for any signs of respiratory distress, such as coughing, wheezing, or difficulty breathing. 

Ensure that your bird’s environment is clean and make sure their cage is free of any potential irritants, such as dusty bedding or food. 

If you suspect your bird may have an allergy, try removing potential triggers, such as certain foods or bedding materials, and observe their symptoms closely.

If your bird’s sneezing persists or is accompanied by other symptoms, don’t hesitate to seek veterinary care to help identify and address the issue.  

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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