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what temperature is too hot for parrots?

How Hot Is Too Hot for A Parrot? (Overheating + What To Do)

Last Updated on January 28, 2024 by Carrie Stephens

Parrots are descended from tropical and sub-tropical climates, so they’ve evolved to cope with hot temperatures. Of course, wild parrots can shelter in the shade and benefit from breezes.

Pet parrots are confined to their cages and subjected to the ambient temperatures of the home. If you feel cold, your preferred central heating settings may not be bird-appropriate.

The optimum temperature for captive parrots is 65°F to 80°F, but healthy birds can cope in slightly warmer conditions. Temperatures of 104°F or higher can cause overheating or heatstroke.

The more weight a parrot carries, the likelier it is to experience discomfort in higher temperatures. Fat creates a layer of insulation, elevating the parrot’s core body temperature.

If a parrot is visibly panting through an open beak, holding its wings away from its body, drinking excessively, and declining to exercise, it’s struggling with excessive heat.

During hot weather, provide parrots with a bird bath to splash in, mist their feathers, close the curtains and draw blinds, and circulate air around the room with a tower fan.

Best Temperature for Parrots

While parrots struggle with excessive heat, they cope better with high than low temperatures.

The ideal temperature for large parrots like macaws, African grays, and cockatiels is 65°F and 80°F. Smaller species like budgies and parrotlets prefer slightly lower temperatures.

This ideal temperature scale is broad, so how hot can parrots tolerate? While keeping the temperature at a maximum of 80°F is advisable, healthy parrots can cope with heat for a while.

Temperature Is Too Hot

When temperatures reach 104°F or higher, a parrot’s life is in danger. The parrot is at risk of dehydration and heatstroke if its environment gets this hot and remains that way.

Hottest Time of Day

We may assume it’s hottest at midday (or noon), but this isn’t the case.

A 3-4 hour delay occurs, known as the thermal response. The daytime temperature peaks between 3 PM and 4.30 PM when the sun reaches its highest point in the sky.

can parrots overheat?

Parrots Can Moderate Their Body Temperature

Controlling a parrot’s body temperature is crucial at the hottest times of the year. Parrots molt as the seasons change, shedding their more dense winter feathers in readiness for spring.

Birds don’t sweat, so they must reduce heat through panting. If a parrot feels too hot, it opens its beak and breathes deeply to introduce cool air and remove excess heat.

The feet and legs are unfeathered, so you may find that a bird’s feet are hot. Parrots have fast-moving metabolisms, so the legs and feet are used to release excess heat.

You may find a parrot standing in its bath or water bowl to cool down.

Some areas of the face lack feathers, such as around the eyes. A fleshy area around the eye can swell up to increase the surface area, enabling a parrot to reduce its body temperature sooner.

Birds can also expedite blood flow through their beaks to cool off.

Parrots Can Overheat

If temperatures are scorching, a parrot is at risk of overheating.

This can lead to heatstroke, resulting in loss of consciousness and death. Dehydration is also a common side effect, which can be equally dangerous.

The Journal of Experimental Biology explains how wild Australian parrots are prone to mass mortality during freak weather conditions, such as heatwaves.

This outcome can be prevented by managing the ambient temperature around captive parrots.

Signs A Parrot Is Overheating

The warning signs that a parrot is overheating include:

  • Puffing the feathers away from the body, aiming to allow cool air to reach the skin.
  • Drooping and spreading the wings while standing with legs apart.
  • Panting and heavy breathing.
  • Changes in behavior, including aggression or unusual levels of passivity.
  • Declining to exercise or interact with humans.

If you observe these signs and behaviors, steps must be taken to reduce the parrot’s body temperature.

How To Help Parrots in Hot Weather

Although wild parrots are native to tropical and subtropical conditions, captive birds can’t escape heat because they’re confined to cages in a living environment based on human requirements.

You can protect a parrot from overhearing during hot spells by taking the following measures:

Weight Reduction

Keeping a parrot’s weight under control is always essential. However, the effects of obesity are most felt in hot conditions because the extra layers of fat insulate the body and trap heat.

If a parrot carries extra weight, movement will make a pet parrot even hotter. Before the summer, reduce the parrot’s calories and ensure it gets more out-of-cage exercise.

Other temperature-control measures are even more critical to survival if a parrot is fat.

Drinking Water

Parrots need more fresh drinking water and moisture-rich food during the summer months.

Healthy parrots drink little and often, so don’t expect to find them drinking constantly. Consider switching to filtered or bottled water if a parrot is disinterested in water.

Parrots can be fussy, and some dislike the chlorinated taste of tap water. Consider adding electrolytes to its drinking water (like Pedialyte) during hot weather.

Ensure that a parrot’s drinking bowl or water bottle(s) are out of direct sunlight, or they’ll heat up quickly. Ensure that the water is changed regularly to keep it fresh and cool.

Parrots also hydrate through foods like fruit and vegetables. To boost their hydration levels, give the parrot extra watermelon, blueberries, cucumber, or watercress.

Few parrots will survive for more than 24-72 hours without water. If a bird is elderly, in poor health, or is dealing with an elevated temperature, this timeline will likely be much reduced.

Water Play

Wild parrots cool off in hot weather by playing and frolicking in the water.

You can recreate this experience at home by offering a parrot a bath in cool water. The water will evaporate on the parrot’s skin, reducing its core body temperature.

Avoid refrigerated water or putting ice cubes in it because it could lead to shock.

Run the water, let it reach an appropriate temperature, and splash a little. The parrot will take notice and likely decide that it looks like fun.

parrots body temperature control

Mist The Parrot

Misting can keep a parrot cool by aiding heat dissipation in hot weather. This is important if the parrot is starting to molt in the heat because water loosens the keratin that covers the pin feathers.

Fill a clean spray bottle with cool water that has never held cleaning chemicals to mist the parrot. Set the nozzle to a fine spray to avoid overwhelming the bird.

Spray the mist in the vicinity before releasing it on the parrot. If you mist yourself, the parrot will learn there’s nothing to fear. Soon, the parrot will welcome misting as part of its daily routine.

Fans And Air Conditioners

The simplest way to cool off a parrot is to utilize a fan or air conditioning.

However, it must be approached with care to protect the parrot. Don’t use a ceiling fan during any out-of-cage time because the parrot may injure itself on the hard, rotating blades.

Tower fans and wall-mounted AC units are usually safe. Don’t blow cool air directly at the parrot because birds can be spooked by draughts applied directly to their face and body.

A gentle breeze that circulates the room is ideal because this will reduce the ambient temperature.

Shade

Ensure the parrot has access to a shaded area during the day. If the parrot is caged while you’re away, pull the blinds or close the curtains. This will prevent the parrot from facing constant sun exposure.

In homes with large windows, you may need to relocate the cage during the hottest months. Assess the temperature in each room and identify the safest location.