Why Is My Cockatiel Shaking

There are different reasons why Cockatiel trembles or shakes. The trembling or shaking could be a result of normal behavior. It could also be a symptom of an underlying health issue, whether stress or a severe medical condition.

Most birds try to hide their health problems. They have a natural defensive instinct that helps them do that. If your bird is showing signs of shaking, the bird might be feeling sicker than you think. It is best to go immediately to the vet and not wait.

It is important to note that most birds demonstrate certain body languages, whether subtle or noticeable. In most cases, the bird is conveying something related to their needs and wants. It is important for the bird owner to pay close attention.

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Your Cockatiel may be shivering due to unnecessary stress. Trembling could be natural, as indicated before. It could be a temporary behavior because you may have relocated to a new home, and this proves to be an unfamiliar place to your bird.

However, there are environmental factors that could cause stress. An example is loud music from a television or the sound of a dog barking.

These things can trigger fear in your bird, freaking them out. If the television is not on or you don’t have a dog around, and the house seems quiet, and yet your bird is trembling, it could be another reason.

Anxiety and Fear

You can detect anxiety and fear in your Cockatiel by how its wings move. For example, if you place your bird near a window or door, you will find your bird always looking to see if there are any predators to be afraid of.

For that reason, the bird is going to find it hard to relax. If the home is active with young kids and there is a lot of noise made by the children, your bird could get scared and agitated.

It is also not OK for the young kids to go up to the bird and try to scare it. This could be a frightening experience for your bird to be reminded all the time about these actions.

The Solution

It is important to keep the bird in a comfortable setting to reduce stress. You could also speak to your bird calmly, reassuring it that this is a safe environment.

Keep the bird’s cage away from the front door and away from the highest traffic areas inside the home. In so doing, the bird will feel more safe and secure.

Grooming Routine

Most Cockatiel will often tremble as part of their natural grooming routine. This might include ruffling of the feathers after they have been groomed. You probably see this kind of behavior in your bird after giving the bird a bath.

As the bird gets dry, it will fluff the feathers.  The trembling could also be caused by the brief chill after a cool bath. If the behavior persists where the bird is scratching its feet or feathers after grooming, then you might want to contact the vet.

This could be a symptom of stress. If your bird trembles, it could also be due to other reasons, especially if it trembles and forms a ball. It means that your Cockatiel does this prior to their grooming.

They tend to ball and tremble at that time. In this way, they align their feathers to start this process. If your bird does this and does not groom herself later, she may be very ill.

Before Flying Away

There are some Cockatiel birds that shake before they fly away. This is in birds with clipped wings and not sure they can fly. If you see the bird putting on feet in front of the other on its perch and engaging in rocking back and forth as if shaking, it could be that the bird is preparing to fly away.

Feeling Sick

The act of shaking could be a result of an illness. If your bird starts to shake and seems to lose its balance or sits at the bottom of its cage, then you know something is wrong.

This is especially true if this is not normal behavior. In some cases, the trembling could be a seizure. This is the time when you should immediately see a vet.

Change in Temperature

The Cockatiel could be shaking due to a change in temperature where the bird feels cold. It does not have to be caused by the weather. It could be as a result of the cold air conditioning unit in the home.

Pay attention to your bird, and if you have to, it is best to turn the AC down. If it is caused by cold temperature, turn the heat on. Otherwise, you could move the bird’s cage to a warmer place in the home.

You could also use a heater or heating lamp, placed directly under the cage or close by. Do what it takes to keep your Cockatiel warm and cozy.

The Solution

If you want to keep your Cockatiel from feeling cold or experiencing a chill after taking a bath, it is best to give the bath during the day rather than at night.

While giving your bird a bath, you could place a heater in the bathroom during the process. Take the cage away from any cold drafts coming through the window.


Older, sicker, and malnourished birds are susceptible to being cold. The key to avoiding chills in your Cockatiel is to maintain a calm and welcoming environment and to feed a quality diet with fresh water.

When in doubt, contact your avian vet to schedule a check-up to rule out any life-threatening illnesses.

Feeling Irritated

If you find that the Cockatiel seems to be irritated and shivers or shakes, then this could be a normal way to show its irritation. However, it is best for you to assess the situation to discover the possible reason for the obvious irritation.

You could consider making changes to the environment to determine if there is stress and how much stress. Bear in mind that Cockatiels love attention and are socially inclined to do this; just to get your attention.

If you don’t give your bird a lot of care and attention, this could cause boredom and stress and, subsequently, the reason for the shaking. In some cases, the shaking could occur if you have just purchased the Cockatiel, and it is in a new environment.

Body Language

There are some birds that will flap or shake for several reasons. In some cases, the bird may only flap certain body parts, such as their abdomen or wings.

While not every bird shows the same body language or gesture, some birds have a universal language, which is distinct from their species. This could be helpful to you to know if it is the normal shaking or flapping.

Things You Should Do

The Cockatiel is a social and intelligent bird, with a life expectancy of between 15 and 20 years. Taking care of the health of this bird can help it live a long and healthy life.

These birds can get sick, just like humans, so it’s important to be aware of some of the symptoms your bird may be displaying. It is always best to take your bird to a specialized bird vet for routine examinations, especially if you notice any symptoms that may indicate that your bird is not feeling well.

In the meantime, if you see your bird shaking or trembling, you can do your own assessment, which includes the steps below.

Step 1

Check the feathers of your bird around the eyes, nostrils, and mouth. Look for any tangled feathers, light yellow mucus, or discharge on their feathers. A runny nose or watery eyes can mean your bird may have a cold and exhibit flu-like symptoms

Step 2

Check your bird’s nose for swelling and make sure the nostrils are not red. If you have any of these symptoms, you may have a respiratory infection, which could lead to other serious conditions. It is important to know these things so you can explain them to the vet.

Step 3

Observe your bird see if you notice any unusual stretching of its neck or shaking of its feathers. Shaking occasionally is normal, but if it is frequent, this may mean that your bird is not feeling well.

Step 4

Listen to your bird. If they make hoarse or low (quieter) squawks, compared to how they normally are, the bird may also have a cold.

Step 5

Observe the behavior of your bird. Make sure to see if the bird is not sitting on its perch but is sitting at the bottom of its cage and does not walk much, as if the bird may be very sick. You should also be aware of your bird’s breathing.

If you notice any wheezing, coughing, chirping, or clicking, along with tail wagging every time it breathes, this usually means the bird is having trouble breathing.

If you notice that he is not climbing onto his perch or seems to be having trouble breathing, this may be a medical emergency. Take him to a bird vet right away.