Home » How Cold Is Too Cold for Parrots? [Bird-Safe Temperature Table]
can parrots survive in the cold?

How Cold Is Too Cold for Parrots? [Bird-Safe Temperature Table]

(Last Updated On: December 16, 2022)

Parrots originate from far-flung hotspots like Madagascar and Indonesia, so they’re accustomed to hot and sunny weather. So, they don’t cope as well with cold temperatures.

The level of coldness a parrot can tolerate depends on its species. Parrots hailing from tropical climates, like African greys and macaws, shouldn’t endure temperatures lower than 60F (16C). Those from more temperate climates, like budgies and cockatiels, can’t cope below 40F (4C). 

While parrots can endure lows of 40-60F (4-16C) for a while, they shouldn’t be kept in these conditions. Signs that your parrot is too cold include squatting, fluffing feathers, pooping less, and shivering.

Do Parrots Like Cold Weather?

Parrots come from hot – often tropical – climates, so they don’t like to get cold. Parrots are adaptive, so they can tolerate cooler weather in some circumstances.

According to the RSPB, the Ring-Necked Parakeet, hailing from West Africa, is an example of a parrot adapted to colder temperatures. Several pet parakeets escaped from UK homes in the 1970s, resulting in a small but stable population of wild parakeets in the UK today.

This shows that some parrots can adapt to colder weather. However, crucially, it’s a process that has occurred over time, and it would unlikely survive if a single pet parrot were let out into the cold.

Also, parakeets come from temperate climates where a mix of temperatures is normal (e.g., Australia). However, other parrots like African greys come from tropical climates where cooler weather is almost non-existent (e.g., equatorial Africa). This suggests that not all parrots can adapt to living in the cold.

how much cold can parrots tolerate?

What Temperature Is Too Cold for Parrots?

Most parrots prefer an ambient temperature of 65 – 75 degrees Fahrenheit (18-24 degrees Celsius), varying slightly depending on the species.  

Anything colder than 60F (16C) will feel very cold for a tropical parrot (African grey, macaw). Anything colder than 40F (4C) is too cold for parrots coming from more temperate climates like Australia (budgies, cockatiels, etc.)

See the table below for details of the coldest tolerable temperature for each parrot species.

The coldest temperature isn’t a recommended temperature for keeping your parrot. Rather, it’s more like the coldest possible temperature a healthy parrot could likely tolerate for the short term.

Parrot SpeciesClimate ZoneBird-Safe TemperatureColdest Temperature
MacawsTropics68-72 °F60 °F
African GreyTropics68-72 °F60 °F
QuakersTropics68-72 °F60 °F
Ring-Necked ParakeetTemperate – Tropics65 – 75 °F40 °F
BudgerigarsTemperate – Tropics65 – 75 °F40 °F
CockatielsTemperate – Tropics65 – 75 °F40 °F
LovebirdsTemperate – Tropics65 – 75 °F40 °F

 How Much Cold Can Parrots Tolerate?

Although some parrots can tolerate lows of 40F (4C), they shouldn’t live in these conditions.

If your parrot is exposed to these temperatures for more than 6 hours, it’ll likely become withdrawn and unhappy. After about 24 hours, it could start to develop health problems.

For this reason, PDSA recommends a minimum temperature of 68F (20C) at all times. It’s sensible to keep the temperature as stable as possible, as any hikes or dips can be stressful for a parrot.

Can Parrots Survive in the Cold?

As mentioned, if the temperature dips below 40-60F for an extended period, your parrot may not survive. That said, it’s always best to err on the side of caution and keep the temperature at least 65-68F.

One of the most dangerous things is if your parrot gets stuck in a draft. Drafts of air can reduce the temperature, making your parrot ill quickly.

Think carefully about where you place your parrot’s cage to avoid cold winds. Poorly fitting doors/windows can let in drafts.

How To Know If My Parrot Is Cold

By watching your parrot’s body language and behavior, you can tell whether it’s feeling too cold. Here are some telling signs you can look out for:

Fluffed-up Feathers

Observing your parrot’s feathers can be a helpful way of detecting whether the temperature is right.

A parrot will fluff up its feathers when it’s feeling too cold or too hot. When cold, fluffing up the feathers helps to trap air, building an extra layer of warmth.

If your parrot is too hot, it may lift its feathers to release body heat.

Unsure if your parrot is feeling too hot or too cold? Here are the signs of coldness:

Burying Beak in Chest

According to Exotic Direct, a cold parrot will bury its beak in its chest to try and stay warm. Parrots do this if they’re already feeling cold, so if you see this behavior, you need to increase the temperature.

Squatting

A cold parrot will squat so that its feathers cover its legs. When associated with shivering, squatting is a surefire sign that your parrot feels cold.

Lethargy

When it’s freezing outside, all we want to do is hibernate under our duvet. Indeed, the cold weather can make us feel very lethargic, and parrots are no different.

If your parrot stays in one place and barely moves, it may feel too cold. Parrots are active by nature, so if they’re lethargic, they could feel cold and miserable.

Pooping Less

Parrots poo less in the winter, so witnessing a little less poop is not necessarily of concern. However, if your parrot is pooing less than normal, it could be due to the cold.

How To Take a Parrot’s Temperature

According to NCBI, taking a parrot’s temperature is quite invasive. That’s why it’s not recommended unless your vet has advised you to do so.

You can, however, purchase a digital infrared thermometer to check the temperature of your parrot’s cage and living environment.

These can be sensitive, giving you an accurate temperature recording. A sensitive thermometer can help give you peace of mind, so it’s a useful gadget.

How Do Parrots Keep Warm?

Parrots have various ways of modulating their body temperature, including the following:

Eat More Food

According to The Parrot Society, parrots eat more food if faced with colder temperatures, as the extra food gives them more energy.

It’s important to give your parrot a varied and species-appropriate diet to get all the necessary vitamins and minerals, especially during the colder months.

Winter tends to bring fewer hours of sunlight, which is an important vitamin D source.

For this reason, you may need to supplement a parrot’s uptake of Vitamin D, perhaps through Vitamin D3 supplements, but preferably through natural sunlight or full spectrum UVA/B lighting.

Find a Nesting Area

Parrots seek out nesting areas when they’re cold. It’s a good idea to provide a nesting area – that way, if a draft does arise, your parrot can stay cozy.

Huddling Together

Wild birds sometimes huddle together to stay warm in the wild. Some pet parrots will also huddle together to stay warm, though it depends on their personality.

what temperature is too cold for parrots?

Avoid Very Cold Water

Even if your parrot does choose to bathe in the very cold water, it’ll be hard to warm back up, increasing the risk of hypothermia. That said, it’s best to provide lukewarm water for baths.

Also, change the water regularly if you think it is too cold.

Hazards To Avoid When Keeping Your Parrot Warm

Some plugin/gas heaters can emit dangerous gases for parrots. Dangerous fumes can also be emitted from incense sticks, Tefal cookware, and electric blankets.

According to Bucktons, heating your home excessively can cause dehydration. That said, providing fresh water and water-rich fruit and veggies is very important.

Check humidity levels during wintertime. The ideal is between 40 and 60%.

We spend more time at home in winter. Your parrot may not be used to you spending so much time at home, so be mindful of your movements.

Parrots need 8-12 hours of undisturbed sleep per night, so you may need to move them to a quieter (but still warm) part of the house during winter.

If your parrot lives indoors, it should be easy to keep it warm enough. However, it’s a good idea to check the ambient temperature regularly and check your parrot for any signs of cold or illness.

Squatting, feather puffing, shivering, and pooping less can signal that your parrot is too cold.