What Does It Mean When A Cockatiel Puffs Up? Find Out More!

What does it mean when a cockatiel puffs up?

Cockatiels may be small birds but they do have a lot of personality. And one of the things you may notice them do is that they tend to puff up – their feathers tend to be puffy and sticking out, which makes you wonder if this is normal.

Perhaps the sight of this makes you worry about your pet. You are probably wondering if there is an issue that needs to be addressed with your cockatiel.

Or maybe, it is a sign of an illness? Well, this is what we will talk about today, so you can figure out why exactly this happens and what you can do about it. Let’s get started.

What Does It Mean When A Cockatiel Puffs Up?

When your cockatiel puffs up, this leaves you confused and maybe even worried that something is not right about your pet.

But there are many reasons why they puff their feathers up. For instance, so they can keep warm and comfortable at night.

In other cases, it may simply be their defense mechanism during preening. They may also be trying to relieve some tension. However, there is a rare circumstance that your cockatiel may be ill.

It is quite easy to see when birds puff their feathers up. The normal way is that their feathers are smooth and flat. But when it is all puffed up, it comes with a rougher and kind of separated. Hence, this gives the illusion that your pet is somewhat rounder and even fatter than it normally is.

Now, let’s take a closer look at these causes and find out what may be going on with your cockatiel and why it tends to puff up. 

1. To stay warm

If you notice that your cockatiel is puffed up, it may mean that it only wants to keep warm and get comfortable before sleeping. It is much like finding a nice, cozy spot to perch on, which gives the bird a feeling of security. 

At night, a cockatiel’s body temperature is usually lower. Thus, to retain some heat, these birds puff their feathers up to be warmer. It is also typical of them to tuck their head inward and right underneath the wing.

So, if you see your cockatiel puffed up at night, there is nothing to be worried about. It simply wants to keep warm and get ready for their nap or sleep. However, if this happens during the day – and constantly a situation you notice, then it may be a different story. They may be sick or cold, which is why it is good to give your pet a cozy blanket to feel more comfortable.

2. During preening

Preening basically means cleaning the feathers. Cockatiels naturally do this to get rid of dirt and debris on their feathers. Hence, they fluff their feathers up to make sure no dirt stays stuck. Then, they arrange the feathers according to where they need to be. 

Thus, if your bird seems puffed up while preening, you should not be concerned at all. This is a normal thing that is part of your pet’s tidying up process.

3. Defense mechanism

Now, there may be instances when your pet bird feels threatened, and so it acts in a defensive manner. When this happens, you may notice the feathers all puffed up. Birds sometimes do this to make them appear bigger than they are, which can help them look intimidating to their predators.

When there is a stimulus that causes your bird to get upset, you may find it all puffed up. Hence, it is nothing but its way of protecting or defending itself from predators and threats.

4. Eliminate tension

Another possible reason behind the puffing up action is that your cockatiel is trying to relieve some stress. The puffing up can help your pet relax, especially after being quite tense and feeling threatened.

Maybe your pet has been startled by something. It could be a loud noise in the room whether from an animal or an object. And so, your cockatiel puffs up followed by some shaking. 

But once cockatiels have realized that everything is okay, then they relax and the feathers go back to normal. So, it is best to observe if there were certain things that happened before the puffing up. 

5. An illness

And lastly, there are cases when your cockatiel puffs up because of an illness. When birds do this most of the time and more than once during the day, it means they could be ill. The fluffing of feathers can come hand in hand with frequent naps and a few other symptoms.

Thus, if there are other symptoms that come with the puffing up of the feathers, then you should monitor your pet and observe for other signs. You should need to provide medical attention to get this issue fixed before it becomes worse.

A few other symptoms linked with cockatiel illness include a lack of appetite, changes in behavior, weight loss, drooping head, excessive sleeping, and runny droppings. 

Normally, your pet should be playing and exercising, as well as preening. They also are usually talkative. So, when they puff up, this means that there must be something bothering them and causing them to be unwell.

Read More: Cockatiel Nose Clogged? Common Causes And Solutions

What To Do Next

There are a number of reasons behind a cockatiel puffing up its feathers. It may mean that your pet is simply keeping warm, especially at night when its body temperature becomes lower. Or, perhaps your pet may be using this gesture as a defense mechanism. 

But if other symptoms come with the fluffing of feathers, it is possible that your pet may be battling with an illness. And this is why it is best to get your pet checked by a vet to make sure everything is normal. By doing so, this should help your cockatiel feel better and return to its normal chirpy disposition.

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