Why Do Cockatiels Suddenly Die?

Cockatiels are intelligent, sweet, and lively companions. Also, they love to play and sing and can learn to talk and do many tricks. However, they can live for over 20 years, but sometimes some die very suddenly and without explanation. But why do cockatiels suddenly die?

Why Do Cockatiels Suddenly Die?

Why Do Cockatiels Suddenly Die? Cockatiels suddenly die prematurely from food poisoning and fumes that are toxic to them. In addition, improper diet physically injures, and common cockatiel’s disease can also cause sudden death. Some symptoms alert you to the cockatiel’s sickness, but none surface more often than not.

Cockatiels have a reputation for dying suddenly, and some owners lose several cockatiels, one after another.

Cockatiels never die for no reason. As long as you identify which factors lead to the sudden death of a cockatiel and remove them, your cockatiel can remain healthy and have a long life.

They have a fast metabolism, a delicate respiratory system, and fragile immune systems. Problems that other pets can survive may be fatal for cockatiels.

The good news is that most of the causes of sudden death in cockatiels can be avoided in the future.

Do Cockatiels Die Easily?

Cockatiels are wonderful petsOpens in a new tab., but they are not the most resilient animals.

An illness that a cat or dog could shrug off could be deadly to a cockatiel. Unfortunately, some owners think that cockatiels die suddenly, succumbing to minor issues. But, of course, there is some truth in this.

However, you may lose one or two cockatiels before they reach old age for the following reasons:

High energy

With their fast-paced metabolisms, cockatiels are high-energy birds.

However, this causes issues when illnesses strike, as sickness can kill a cockatiel sooner. That is often why it will appear a little under the weather one day; therefore, your cockatiel dies suddenly for no reason overnight.

Vulnerably respiratory system

Cockatiels have a unique respiratory system that is highly vulnerable.

They also have a collection of air sacs spread throughout their chest. All of these work well at high altitudes and give cockatiels the advantage of breathing perfectly in thin air.

On the other hand, their ability to collect oxygen effectively is an issue when they are exposed to something harmful, such as:

  • Mold
  • Non-stick Teflon
  • Air fresheners
  • Coatings
  • Perfumes/ aftershaves

React badly to stress

Cockatiels can die due to the stressOpens in a new tab. of being stared down by a cat or due to strange noises or reflections. Stress decreases the efficacy of a cockatiel’s immune system and can lead to heart attacks.

Hide illnesses

If your cockatiel is sick, it will avoid displaying signs of vulnerability and attempt to fight illness alone.

If your cockatiel has a small problem, it could get worse without you knowing about it. That makes it seem like the cockatiel died for no reason or got sick in a short amount of time, but that wasn’t the case.

What Causes Cockatiels To Die Suddenly?

Now you probably understand why cockatiels are prone to die suddenly. But why do cockatiels die suddenly?

What should you keep your cockatiel away from to ensure it doesn’t die unexpectedly or prematurely?

Here are the most common causes of sudden death in cockatiels:

1. Cooking with Non-Stick Pans

Teflon coatings on non-stick frying pans keep food from sticking to them. Unfortunately, when heated, this material can give off small amounts of odor.

Most people will never notice, but your cockatiel’s delicate respiratory system will be adversely affected.

Cockatiels are good at filtering the air and getting as much oxygen as they can from it. When toxic fumes from non-stick coatings are in the air, their lungs will process them and they will die quickly.

Always keep your cockatiel away from the kitchen and air out the room once you’ve finished.

2. Lead and Heavy Metal Poisoning

Cockatiels can die suddenly from heavy metal poisoning.

Heavy metals are often found in small amounts in household items like:

  • Jewelry
  • Batteries
  • Toys
  • Ball bearings
  • Plastic
  • Candy wrappers

Heavy metals like lead can be found in small amounts in some metal birdcages. If your cockatiel chews on the metal frame of the cage, this could become a problem.

Similarly, lead paint can give off fumes that are dangerous to cockatiels.

3. Night frights

Cockatiels generally sleep at nightOpens in a new tab. like most people but also nap during the day. However, they like to sleep in the dark, which is why they want an unclosed cockatiel bed. However, they do not see well in the dark and are prone to night frights.

Your cockatiel can suffer from night frightsOpens in a new tab. when they are awakened by loud noises or sudden movement in their cage or room. This will make them fly hysterically around their cage, even possibly crashing into it. Sometimes the action can be fatal.

If you have more than one bird, madness can occur between them all due to the one cockatiel’s reaction.

One proven way to prevent night fright in cockatiels is to turn on a night light near their cage. Covering their cage can block out annoying noisesOpens in a new tab. and prevent your cockatiel from seeing something scary at night.

If your cockatiel has a night fright incident, turn on the lights in the room immediately so it can see wellOpens in a new tab.. Then, be calm and do everything to calm down your cockatiel.

Play soft musicOpens in a new tab. and talk to him gently to calm him down. Then, assess quickly if there are any physical injuries, and call your vet immediately.

4. Food poisoning

Cockatiels are curious birds that peck at anything colorful or edible. In particular, domestic cockatiels lack the experience to identify what is poisonous.

Limited what your cockatiel eatsOpens in a new tab., and research what foods are appropriate. Otherwise, food poisoning often proves deadly for a cockatiel.

In the following, we will type what you should never give at your cockatiel:

  • Chocolate
  • Apple seeds
  • Garlic
  • Onions
  • Uncooked beans
  • Uncooked potato
  • Tomato leaves and stems
  • Rhubarb

5. Dehydration

Cockatiels can survive about 24 hours without water.

This is a concise timeline and offers no room for error. But, unlike with dogs or cats, forgetting to refill your cockatiel’s water bowl even once can be fatal.

That is especially true if your cockatiel is placed in direct sunlight or left in a room above 80 degrees. An overheated cockatiel will survive for even less time without water.

Young and new cockatiels are the most common victims of sudden death by dehydration. This is because the new cockatiel will be unfamiliar with the layout of its cage and may struggle to locate the water bowl.

Younger cockatiels may forget where it is, especially if it is not complete or looks like a decoration.

6. Heat exposure

Leaving a cockatiel in direct sunlight for several hours can prove deadly. This is the case whether it is left in the sun by a window or it is placed in a cage outside.

Even if a cockatiel is left in hot rooms, it may begin to overheat. Since it is in a cage, it cannot get out to find a more comfortable temperature.

Cockatiels experience heat stroke and sun sickness. However, cockatiels will attempt to hide this but will appear more lethargic or puffed up before death.

If you are not around to witness this, you may come back a few hours later to discover that the cockatiel has passed away.

7. Infections

Many kinds of infections could affect your cockatiel. Whether bacterial or viral, conditions can cause respiratory problems, feather discoloration, and other symptoms.

Also, cockatiels can become vulnerable to parasitic infections due to an unclean environment.

To prevent this, clean the cockatiel’s cage, food, and water bowls often. Provide it with a well-rounded diet, so its immune system will be well-optimized. Also, keep your cockatiel away from other birds that manifest signs of illness, and take even minor symptoms seriously.

8. Scented Candles, Cleaning Products, and Fragrances

If you’ve ever asked yourself, “Why are my cockatiels dying? regularly, this is usually the cause. Like non-stick Teflon pans, scented candles and other household fragrances are deadly for cockatiels.

Air fresheners and perfumes contain chemicals that cockatiels shouldn’t breathe in. Exposure can result in death within hours, if not minutes.

Most household cleaning products emit deadly chemical fumes that can damage your cockatiel’s health. Never clean with or spray these near your cockatiel’s cage or in the same room.

Fragrances and products to keep away from your cockatiel include the following:

  • Toilet bowl cleaner
  • Shower and bathtub cleaners
  • Bleach
  • Scented disinfectants
  • Scented candles
  • Aerosol sprays
  • Febreze products

Switch to cockatiel-safe products, such as:

  • Vinegar
  • Dish soap
  • Grapefruit seed extract
  • F10 bio care cleaners and disinfectants
  • Poop-off
  • Bon Ami scouring powder
  • Borax detergent

9. Cigarette and tobacco smoke

Cigarette smoke is immediately harmful to cockatiels. A dog or cat may develop lung issues in the coming weeks and months, but smoking near your cockatiel could cause it to die suddenly.

Even letting in smoke from a bonfire outside your window may have the same result. Smoke inhalation of any kind is one of the most common reasons owners find their cockatiels dead overnight.

Check out this blog post: Why Do My Baby Cockatiels Keep Dying?Opens in a new tab.

Common Cockatiel Diseases

Bird disease is a common reason why cockatiels suddenly die or at least seem to. Unfortunately, there are often few symptoms, or the signs are missed.

There are many avian diseases. In the following, we will explain each of them.

Egg Binding (Dystocia)

Egg binding is most prevalent in female cockatiels and larger parrot species.

The egg becomes stuck in the reproductive tract, so the cockatiel can’t lay the egg without medical intervention.

Female cockatiels can develop dystocia, even if they haven’t mated. It’s normal for cockatiels to lay unfertilized eggs, and egg binding is most likely in older cockatiels or during a young cockatiel’s first mating season.

Egg binding is a potentially severe disorder that can be lethal if left untreated.

Psittacosis (parrot fever)

Parrot’s fever, or psittacosis, is an infection caused by the bacterium Chlamydiosis. It is most common in the tropics and places with many birds. However, the disease can also be transmitted to humans. In addition, it is transmitted from bird to bird or through airborne particles. Humans can also be infected if handled by an infected bird or by oral contact (when they kiss your nose or your mouth).

Symptoms of parrot fever include diarrhea, colorless excretion, discharge from the eyes, weight loss, and lethargy. The infection is treated with antibiotics and prevented by keeping your cage and birds clean and away from each other.


Polyoma is a health problem that is caused by a virus. The viral infection generally affects younger cockatiels, and transmission of the virus occurs through droppings, feather dustOpens in a new tab., and respiratory secretions.

The virus may furthermore be transmitted via eggs. You can have your cockatiels vaccinated against the virus that causes Polyoma. As soon as your pet reaches 40 days old, you can have a vet administer the vaccine.

Pachecos Disease

Pacheco’s disease is from a highly lethal virus. Birds that have this disease are known to experience sudden death. Symptoms of this condition include ruffled feathers, anorexia, intermittent diarrhea, and lethargy. Pacheco’s disease may be prevented via vaccination. However, remember that a bird can experience an adverse reaction to the vaccine.


One of the most common health problems for cockatiels is candidiasis. This is caused by yeast, and young cockatiels usually get it because their immune systems aren’t as strong. However, adult birds with compromised immune systems can also develop this disease. Long-term use of antibiotics is believed to cause candidiasis. When hand-feeding cockatiel chicks, ensure your hands and equipment are sterilized to avoid spreading this condition.

Symptoms include vomiting, depression, diarrhea, and weight loss. In addition, if your cockatiel’s mouth or beak is infested with yeast, your pet may have bad breath, and you may observe white material coming from its mouth. The way to treat this condition is through antifungal medications.

If you suspect your pet has this problem, immediately take it to the vet. Don’t give your cockatiel fruit or anything else with sugar in it until the disease is gone and your pet is healthy again.

Cockatiel Died With Eyes Open

If your cockatiel dies with its eyes open, this can feel like a vital clue to figuring out what caused it to pass away. In most cases, it’s just a natural way that cockatiels die.

Closing the eyes involves consciously exercising muscles. If the cockatiel is dead, this won’t be possible.

The eyes may have been open when they passed away because they didn’t close them. Additionally, the eyes may have sprung open after the muscles ceased to function.

Certain factors can make it more likely for your cockatiel to die with its eyes open, including:


When a cockatiel dies of paralysis, it usually appears Ok until it suddenly collapses and passes away.

Some of the most common causes of paralysis in cockatiels are as follows:

  • Food poisoning
  • Metal and lead poisoning
  • Fumes from scented candles or cleaning products
  • Exposure to cigarette or tobacco smoke


Infectious diseases can cause your cockatiel to die suddenly with its eyes open. This includes a variety of viral, bacterial, and parasitic infections.

In this case, your cockatiel may show symptoms of illness in the days leading up to its end, including:

  • Heavy breathing
  • Messy feathers
  • Reduced appetite
  • Reduced activity
  • Mouth foaming
  • Discolored stool

How Can You Tell If A Cockatiel Is Dying?

You have probably noticed that many of the causes of sudden death in cockatiels hardly show any symptoms. Or some ordinary symptoms.

One accidental case of vomiting means that your cockatiel is healthy but has eaten something unsuitable for it. But if the problem persists, you have a serious problem and must be taken to the nearest veterinarian.

Keeping your cockatiel as healthy and alive as possible requires the same minimal effort as keeping yourself that way. To maintain your cockatiel in that way, you need proper nutrition, clean water, and a clean environment.

As always, take your cockatiel to the vet to ensure it is healthy. If any symptoms of the above conditions occur, contact your veterinarian immediately.

Always pay attention to your cockatiel behavior and eating and drinking habits. Carefully keep cages, beds, toys, and feeders clean.

Feed them minimally with human food. Cover their cages or provide them with a nightlight to prevent night terrors.

By properly feeding your cockatiel and keeping their cages and area clean, you reduce the risk of your cockatiel suffering a sudden death.

And you are free to enjoy all the fantastic things your cockatiel offers. singing and learning to talk with you. The lucky ones always spin around the cage and chirp. All the puzzles and games that cockatiels want to do It is not difficult to take care of a cockatiel.

When To See An Avian Vet

Every minor symptom your bird exhibits doesn’t require a costly visit to the vet. There are certain signs to watch out for; however, that signaL is a bigger problem than a bad mood. Consult an avian vet when you notice these symptoms in your cockatiel:

  • Loss of appetite lasting more than a couple of days
  • An untidy appearance despite proper grooming habits
  • Excessive feather plucking
  • Abnormal droppings
  • Disorientation
  • Excessive drinking
  • Odd sleep behavior
  • Change in routine activities like playing, talking, or bonding with humans
  • Changes in energy levels
  • Soiled tail, wings, or bottom

Making it a habit to check your pet’s appearance and behavior every day will help you be aware of when something is wrong. In addition, you will be able to spot changes in your bird’s behavior early on before problems escalate.

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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