It’s adorable when budgies puff up their feathers and sit on their perches singing. But why do they do it? Does it mean that there is something wrong with them?
Why Do Budgies Puff Up? If your budgie is healthy, this behavior is totally normal and natural. They often puff up their feathers to keep themselves warm. In some cases, constant puffing up can also be a sign for disease.
However, there are other reasons why budgies might puff up their feathers. Let’s take a look at these five reasons why.
5 Reasons Your Budgie is Puffed Up
As stated above, a puffed up budgie is usually normal behavior. There are several reasons why your budgie might puff up its feathers, such as:
- To keep warm,
- It wants a bath,
- To straighten out his feathers,
- It’s comfortable, excited, or is trying to show off,
- Your budgie is sick.
A bird uses their feathers in a multitude of ways. The first is to keep themselves warm. If budgies find themselves feeling a little cold, they’ll puff up their feathers. This keeps them warm from the air trapped in the little spaces between their feathers.
The air will heat up from the bird’s body heat and the warm air keeps the bird warm.
Bathing preferences vary depending on the personality of your budgie. Some budgies like to bath often and some don’t like to bathe at all. Budgies who do enjoy a bath will often do so every couple of weeks in the water dish provided in their cages.
When budgies feel the need to bathe or groom themselves, they’ll often puff up right before they have a good clean.
Another reason your budgie might ruffle its feathers is to straighten them out. Sometimes feathers can feel uncomfortable for them, so a quick puff and ruffle will move the feathers and, hopefully, get rid of the strange feeling.
Budgies are very social birds and so they can use their feathers to communicate. If your budgie is comfortable, it’ll puff up its feathers and tuck one of its feet in its chest, and let its eyes close.
If your budgie is excited or trying to show off to another budgie or person, they might puff up their feathers as well.
Signs of Sickness
Another reason why your budgie might be puffing up its feathers is because of sickness. Usually, this behavior is accompanied by other subtle signs and symptoms.
Birds in the wild often disguise their sickness to protect themselves and this is a behavior that still lingers in domesticated birds.
Other symptoms might include:
- Heavy, fast breathing
- Sleeping Excessively
- Weight loss
- Temperament changes
Of course, your budgie just puffing up isn’t a bad sign on its own. If it sat at the bottom of its cage with puffed-up feathers, it’s time to take your friend to your local avian vet.
Heavy breathing, sneezing, and temperament changes are all also signs that something isn’t right with your budgie.
Birds often don’t show symptoms until the last minute when they are very sick, so it’s best to get your bird checked out as soon as you see that something is wrong.
If you fear that your budgie might be very sick, we highly recommend reading our article on how to tell if your budgie is dying here!
Puffy feathers can also be accompanied by other behaviors, such as singing.
Male budgies love to sing and they will often puff up their feathers while doing it. Puffing up and loudness is often a sign that your budgie is trying to attract a mate or enjoying a good stretch after waking up.
When budgies are bonded, they will snuggle up together and spend a lot of time with one another. Budgies might also puff themselves up and preen each other if they are good friends or a bonded pair.
If your budgie has an overly playful or adventurous personality, they might puff themselves up while playing with toys in their cages.
Puffy feathers can be a sign of excitement, so if they’re having a great time they might try to tell you this through their feathers. Keeping toys in your birds’ cages is very important to keep a happy and healthy bird.
However, not every toy is a good toy for a budgie. Size, material, paint – all that matters.
If you are not sure about your current budgie toys, and your budgie is puffed up all the time, read our budgie toy guide here! We show you what makes a good toy for budgies and we also show you 15 awesome toys for them.
Budgies are also known to take a lot of naps. Flying around and playing is a lot of hard work. When they’re getting ready to catch some sleep, they’ll puff up their feathers and get comfortable. They might even snuggle up with their friend or mate!
Another way that budgies try to communicate is by puffing up parts of their body, such as their tails or necks. Usually, when a budgie bobs its head and ruffles its tail, it’s trying to show off to a friend, potential mate, or even you!
However, head bobbing can have various reasons. If you are not sure why your budgie is doing it, read our article on head bobbing in budgies here.
Another place that gets puffy while they are showing off is their head and neck area.
A lot of budgie’s behavior is contextual so it’s best to see what else your friend is doing when they puff up their feathers. That way, you’ll be able to see what kind of mood they’re in and glean what might be going on with your bird at that particular time.
Why Is My Budgie Always Puffy?
If your budgie is always puffed up, it might be worth checking the temperature around its cage both during the day and the night. Budgies can suffer from both heat stroke and hypothermia, with heat stroke being the most serious of the two conditions.
Hypothermia can take days to settle in but heat stroke can kill in as little as fifteen minutes.
Budgies can withstand temperatures between 40F (4C) and 85F (29C). However, they are happiest in moderate temperatures. If your budgie starts to overheat, it will pant and hold its wings out at either side of its body in an effort to cool down.
If your budgie is very cold, it will puff up its feathers and remain like that for a long period of time.
In general, fatter birds find it harder to regulate their temperature. The fat insulates their body and compresses their air sacs. This makes it very difficult for them to cool down as they expel air out of those sacks to regulate temperature.
A larger bird will be more susceptible to heat stress than a thinner bird and they will feel it in cooler temperatures, too.
If you notice any of these signs or symptoms in your budgie, bring them into a place with moderate temperature during both the day and night to keep them healthy and safe.
If you notice that the temperature in the room where you have put your budgie’s cage in is too low, a heated perch might be a good option for you. Heated perches are cheap and made of pretty good quality. Read our article on heated perches here!
Why is my budgie shivering? Shivering is a normal part of a budgie’s grooming routine. If your budgie starts picking at feathers or shivering excessively, it can be a sign of anxiety and you should take your budgie to be checked out by a vet.
Why is my budgie screaming? It could be boredom, a lack of exercise, sickness, or a sign of joy. Try interacting with your budgie and playing with it a little more. However, if your budgie is bobbing its head and screaming, you probably just have a very happy friend!
Do budgies need darkness to sleep? Yes, budgies should be kept in the dark while you are asleep. Their cages should be covered so they don’t get night frights, too. In the morning, wait until your budgie wakes up before removing the cover.