Why Is My Parrot Sneezing and Coughing?

Have you noticed your parrot sneezing, coughing, hacking or exhibiting other signs of a possible respiratory problem? It’s frightening experience for an owner to see their parrot in such a state of helplessness, and to make matters worse, very few people know what to do in these situations.

As an owner, though, you should take a proactive approach to determine what exactly is causing your parrot to exhibit these symptoms.


If your parrot has dust lining their nasal passages, there's a chance it will trigger a sneezing episode. Buildups of dust will tickle their nose and force their body to sneeze in response. If your parrot has a sneezing problem, check their surrounding environment to ensure it's clean and dust free.

I know most people live hectic lives, but you must take the time to keep your parrot's living environment clean. Going over their cage and the surrounding furniture with a basic feather duster should knock most of it off. Here's an article going about the importance of bird cage cleaning.

In addition, you should replace the air filter in your once every 30 days to help reduce the amount of dust in the air. Allowing your air filter to go unchanged for longer than 30 days will reduce its effectiveness at removing dust, mold and bacteria from the air.

You can purchase new air filters for about $10 bucks from most grocery and home improvement stores, which is a small price to pay for the health and well-being of your parrot.


Another common cause of parrot sneezing is fragrances. You have to remember that parrots don't have the strong respiratory systems that humans posses. Artificial fragrances from scented candles, air fresheners, incense, perfume, etc. may trigger a sneezing episode.

A good rule of thumb is to avoid ALL artificial fragrances around your pet parrot just to be on the safe side. Natural fragrances are perfectly fine, but artificial ones can irritate their nasal passages and lungs.


Mite infestations can also trigger a sneezing response in parrots. If your parrot is allergic to mites, their body may respond by sneezing.

No owners wants to see mites infesting their parrot. Not only will they trigger sneezing episodes, but mites will also cause your parrot to pluck and pick at their feathers.

Seek the expertise of a professional veterinarian for the best course of treatment for your parrot's mite infestation. These are just a few of the most common causes of sneezing in parrots.


One of the most common reasons why parrots sneeze is due to allergies. If there’s something in the air that doesn’t sit well with your parrot, it may trigger an allergic reaction in the form of sneezing, hacking and coughing.

Air fresheners, furniture cleaners, candles or even perfume can lead to allergic reactions. Identifying the root cause of their allergies is a long shot, but you might be able to narrow it down through process of elimination.

Some parrots are even allergic to certain ingredients found in bird food. If your parrot frequently sneezes after they eat, try feeding them a different brand to see if it helps. This is particularly problematic with generic, low-quality bird food. You may also want to know about Vitamin A deficiency in parrots.

Dry Air

Parrots living in environments with low humidity may also exhibit signs of sneezing and other cold-like symptoms. In addition, their skin may also dry out and they may lose some of their feathers.

Thankfully, this problem is easily treated by placing a humidifier in the same room with their cage. If this is the problem, you’ll notice a change in their behavior almost instantly upon placing a humidifier nearby.


Many owners have been fooled into thinking their parrot was sick when it fact it was just mimicking their own behavior. If you caught a winter cold that caused you to sneeze, cough and hack, your parrot may catch on to this behavior and try to mimic you.

Don’t let them fool you into thinking that you passed the cold onto them, as most human viruses are not contagious to birds. You can also teach your bird how to speak when you have the free time.

Just like us humans, parrots will sneeze on occasion. Some parrots may only sneeze once in a blue moon, while others will do it several times a day. Watching your helpless parrot experience one of these episodes can be frightening, causing some owners to rush their parrots to the emergency veterinarian clinic.

The good news is that such brash action typically isn't required; however, you still need to identify and address the underlying condition that's causing your parrot to sneeze.

Hopefully, you can identify the root cause of your parrot’s sneezing by going over the factors listed above. While these are the most common reasons why parrots sneeze, some parrots may do it for no particular reason at all.

Keep a close eye on them to ensure no other symptoms present themselves. If they do, you’ll need to take your parrot to an avian vet for a closer inspection.

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