Why Does My Cockatiel Fall Off His Perch?

Cockatiel Fall Off His Perch

Cockatiels are skilled birds, capable of various techniques such as hanging upside down, climbing the sides of their cages, and balancing on thin perches. However, there are times when they fall off. But why does my cockatiel fall off his perch?

There could be several reasons why the cockatiel falls off its perch, including poor balance, clumsiness, an unsuitable perch, old age, foot injuries, heat stroke, and health issues. Other reasons can be night fright, stress, and overcrowding. To prevent future falls, it’s crucial to identify the underlying cause and provide appropriate care for your cockatiel.

Cockatiels usually have good balance, using their wings and feet to maneuver and perch. They’re dexterous enough to hang upside downOpens in a new tab. and play with toys for enjoyment.

So it’s particularly concerning when a cockatiel has an unexplained fall. Cockatiels falling off their perch or slumping at the bottom of their cageOpens in a new tab. can signify illness.

In this article, we’ll discuss why a cockatiel may fall off its perch and how to prevent it from happening. This will help you maintain your bird’s health and well-being.

Why Does My Cockatiel Keep Falling Off His Perch?

Cockatiel Keep Falling Off His Perch

If the cockatiel regularly falls off the perch, it often means that your cockatiel is unwell. A temporary problem, like heatstroke, can cause this or be due to a genetic disorder that harms the brain or lungs.

However, there are many other reasons why the cockatiel keeps falling off his perch. Here are all of them:


If you reside in a hot and humid area, heatstroke may be a concern. This can be the main reason why a cockatiel falls off its perch repeatedly.

Cockatiels are sensitive to high temperatures, especially in direct sunlight. Despite hailing from Australia, a cockatiel could go overheat if it doesn’t have access to shade, water, and good airflow.

Cockatiels that have a higher weightOpens in a new tab. are more likely to succumb to heat stress, as the body’s internal temperature becomes too high, so the organs stop functioning efficiently.

Excessively high temperatures can cause the heart to stop pumping blood, leading to a loss of blood supply to the brain.

If your cockatiel has heatstroke, it will exhibit the following symptoms:

PantingOpens in a new tab.

Heavy, rapid breathing

Lack of balance

Holding wings away from the body

A study published in Austral OrnithologyOpens in a new tab. suggests that smaller birds tend to flap their wingsOpens in a new tab. more frequently. So, take steps to reduce the room temperature and provide cool water for your cockatiel.

Poor Balance

Poor balance is a common reason why a cockatiel falls from its perch. However, if a cockatiel’s balance is impaired due to illness, injury, or old age, it may struggle to maintain its balance on a perch.

Also, some cockatiel owners choose to clip their cockatiel’s wings to prevent them from flying away. However, wing clipping can also affect a cockatiel’s balance and ability to perch properly.

If a cockatiel’s wings are clipped too severely, it may struggle to maintain its balance on a perch and fall off.


Cockatiels are energetic and playful birds that enjoy exploring their environment, climbing, and engaging in various activities. However, their enthusiasm can sometimes lead to accidents and cause cockatiels to fall off their perches due to their lack of coordination or clumsiness.

This is especially common among young cockatiels, who are still developing their skills.

Unsuitable perch

One of the most common reasons a cockatiel falls off its perch is because the perch is unsuitable. Some perches can be slippery, especially those made of plastic or other smooth materials.

On the other hand, a cockatiel may fall off its perch if the perch is the wrong size or shape. In this case, the cockatiel may have difficulty gripping it properly, which can cause it to lose its balanceOpens in a new tab., and fall off.

This can be particularly dangerous if the perch is too high, as the fall can cause serious injuries.

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Old age

As the cockatiels age, they may experience a decline in their physical abilities, including their sense of balance. This can make them more prone to falling off their perches. Older cockatiels may also suffer from joint problems, such as arthritis, which can further affect their balance.

Owners of older cockatiels should take extra precautions to ensure their safety. This can include providing perches that are close to the ground so that falls are less likely to result in injury.

In addition, older cockatiels may benefit from a diet that is customized to their specific needs. This can include foods that are rich in vitamins and minerals, which can help to support their joint health and overall well-being.

If you notice that your cockatiel falls off the perch repeatedly as it gets older, it’s important to consult with a veterinarian. The vet can help identify any underlying health issues that may be affecting your cockatiel’s balance and recommend treatment options to help manage the problem.

Stress or anxiety

Cockatiels are known for their sensitivity, and changes in their routine or environment can cause them to feel anxious and stressed. Unfortunately, this can result in cockatiels losing their focus and balance, leading them to fall from their perches.

Therefore, it’s essential to minimize your bird’s stress levels by providing a consistent and calming living environment.


When it comes to keeping your cockatiel safe, it’s important to consider the environment it lives in.

Overcrowding in the cage can be a common reason why the cockatiel falls off its perch.

If there are too many birds in the cage, there might not be enough space for each bird to perch comfortably. This can lead to your cockatiel perching on small or unstable perches, causing them to fall off repeatedly.

However, overcrowding can also cause territorial behavior and aggression among the birds. As a result, fights may break outOpens in a new tab., and injuries can occur.

Neurological conditions

Neurological conditions can cause ataxia, which is characterized by difficulty walking and eating and causes cockatiels to fall off their perches. If your cockatiel displays ataxia, it could be a sign of the following neurological disorders:


A stroke happens when the brain doesn’t get enough oxygen, which can lead to syncope or fainting. You can look for signs of stroke by observing if your cockatiel has experienced any of the following symptoms in the last few hours:

  • The cockatiel is unable to stay on its perch.
  • Sudden and loud vocalization
  • Paralysis, particularly on one side of the body
  • Flapping wings
  • Lying still on the floorOpens in a new tab.
  • Loss of bowel control
  • Disorientation


Hypocalcemia is caused by a lack of calcium in the body. Besides building bones, calcium also plays a crucial role as a neurotransmitter, among other neurological functions. Cockatiels that are fed an all-seed diet are often susceptible to hypocalcemia. The following symptoms may indicate that your cockatiel has hypocalcemia:

  • Muscle weakness
  • Neurological disorders
  • SeizuresOpens in a new tab.
  • Sudden collapse
  • Tremors

Cockatiels who experience hypocalcemia may be unable to stay on the perch properly. To prevent hypocalcemia, it’s important to provide calcium supplementsOpens in a new tab. and UV lamps to your bird.

Respiratory conditions

Respiratory problems are a common issue that can affect cockatiels and cause them to fall off their perch repeatedly. The air sacs in their respiratory system are vulnerable to many diseases, including Newcastle diseases. This is a rare but highly contagious respiratory disease caused by the paramyxovirus, which affects psittacines.

Newcastle diseases

Cockatiels with Newcastle disease may not show any symptoms and can fall off their perch and suddenly dieOpens in a new tab., so it’s important to report any incidents to local authorities to prevent the virus from spreading.

If your cockatiel shows symptoms such as:

  • SneezingOpens in a new tab.
  • Mucus
  • Coughing
  • Green or yellowish and watery poop
  • Depression
  • Dropping wings
  • Loss of appetiteOpens in a new tab.
  • Weight loss
  • Swelling of the eyes and neck

In the late stage, it can affect your cockatiel’s mobility so you will notice symptoms like:

  • Paralysis of the wings and legs
  • Lack of coordination
  • Head bobbingOpens in a new tab.
  • Spasms
  • Involuntary movement
  • Jerky movement
  • Twisting of the neck
  • The unnatural position of the head

Unfortunately, there’s currently no cure for Newcastle disease. However, early detection and treatment can help manage the symptoms and improve your cockatiel’s quality of life. Ensure to keep a close eye on your cockatiel’s respiratory health and take them for regular check-ups to detect any issues early on.


Aspergillosis is a respiratory disease caused by a fungal infection that affects many avian species, including cockatiels. The infection can cause disorders in the respiratory system, gastrointestinal tract, neurology, and dermatology.

Cockatiels can inhale fungal spores that introduce the infection to their lungs and air sacs. In low amounts, the spores can continue to live in the respiratory system without showing symptoms.

However, when a cockatiel’s immune system is weakened due to stress or disease, the spores can multiply and cause symptoms.

Acute aspergillosis occurs when a cockatiel is directly exposed to the fungal spores, and the symptoms disappear once they’re no longer in contact with them.

Chronic aspergillosis, on the other hand, occurs when a cockatiel is indirectly exposed to the spores through:

  • Food
  • Water
  • Objects in their environment

All of these leads to chronic symptoms as the spores continue to multiply.

Acute aspergillosis is typically accompanied by the following common symptoms:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Labored breathing
  • Sudden death
  • Mucus in the lungs and air sacs
  • Nodules in the lungs
  • Airsacculitis

In chronic aspergillosis, symptoms include:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Change in voice
  • Weakness
  • Depression
  • Sudden weight loss

If left untreated, chronic aspergillosis can cause permanent changes in bone structure and malformation of the upper respiratory system. Aspergillosis can also affect the central nervous system, causing a lack of coordination and paralysis.

Moreover, if your cockatiel falls from its perch, or keeps falling off its perch, it may be a sign of neurological issues, including aspergillosis affecting the central nervous system. Consult with a vet immediately to diagnose and treat any underlying conditions.

Aspergillosis is treated with antifungal medication. To prevent aspergillosis, it’s important to maintain proper hygiene in the cockatiel’s environment, provide a healthy diet, and reduce stress levels.

Anatomical issues

If your cockatiel is continuously falling off its perch, it could be due to musculoskeletal deformities. These deformities can affect the wings and legs, making it difficult for your cockatiel to maintain balance.

Wing deformities can make it difficult for your cockatiel to catch itself or remain upright on a narrow perch. Similarly, deformed legs can impact your cockatiel’s grip strength and ability to stand consistently.

If you suspect that your cockatiel has a deformity, it’s important to provide accommodations. Depending on the severity of the deformity, you may need to move your cockatiel’s food and water bowls to the bottom of the cage to make them easier to access.

Also, it’s important to note that cockatiels are highly adaptable and can adjust to anatomical issues. However, if you notice that your cockatiel regularly falling off its perch, or continuously struggling to maintain balance, it’s best to consult with a vet.

Night fright

If your cockatiel is experiencing frequent falls from its perch at night, it may be suffering from night frights or night terrors. These occur when cockatiels become frightened or startled during the night, often due to real or perceived threats.

Night terrors can be caused by a variety of factors, including flashing lights, loud noises, or the presence of predators such as cats. However, some cockatiels may also experience nightmaresOpens in a new tab. or respond to false alarms.

To prevent night frights, it’s important to make changes to your cockatiel’s environment.

Many bird owners find that installing a night light can be helpful, as it can provide a sense of security for the birds.

It’s also a good idea to move your cockatiel’s cage away from windows or other sources of external stimuli.

Additionally, covering the cage at nightOpens in a new tab. or placing it in a quieter room can help your cockatiel feel more comfortable and secure.

What Should You Do If The Cockatiel Keeps Falling Off Its Perch?

Solutions if cockatiel keeps falling of its perch

If you notice that your cockatiel is frequently falling off its perch, it is important to take action. The first step should be to take your cockatiel to the vet for a physical exam and diagnostic testing to determine the cause of the problem.

In the meantime, there are some simple things you can do to make your cockatiel more comfortable.

One option is to move the cage to the floor, which will reduce the distance your bird falls if it does slip. You can also remove or lower perches to make it easier for your cockatiel to perch comfortably. Be sure to wipe off any droppings with a towel and place a towel on the bottom of the cage to provide additional cushioning.

Remember, falling off the perch is not always a sign of a serious illness, but it is still important to address the issue promptly. By following these tips, you can help your cockatiel feel more safe and comfortable while you work with your vet to determine the underlying cause of the problem.


If you notice that your cockatiel is falling off its perch, it could be due to various factors such as heat stroke, unsuitable perch, poor balance, clumsiness, old age, stress, overcrowding, health issues, and night fright.

As a cockatiel owner, it’s essential to observe your cockatiel’s behavior and take note of any unusual symptoms such as drooping wings or lethargy. If you notice any signs of illness or your cockatiel’s falls are becoming frequent, then take them to an avian vet immediately.

It’s also important to ensure that your cockatiel’s cage is safe and to make its falls more comfortable by lowering its perch or adding a cushioning material.

Remember, you know your cockatiel better than anyone else, and by being attentive to its needs, you can help it to have a healthy and happy life.

Cockatiel Enthusiast

My name is Bojan. I have been around Cockatiels for the past 7 years. I love writing about Cockatiels and helping people understand how these beautiful birds live, what they like, and how to provide them the best possible care.

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