The budgerigar is often affectionately called a budgie. It’s a type of parakeet that is often seen in homes for our pets and in most cases, people adopt a pair of them to keep each other company, as they are very social birds that benefit from others.
Budgies can bob their tails for many different reasons and, in some cases, are quite normal on a daily basis.
When a budgie is sick, you may see the budgie’s tail bobbing often because of the way they breathe, which is different than humans do.
You should take note of your avian friend’s normal behavior so you will know if his tail bobbing is totally natural or if he is ill in some way.
Ill birds try to hide that they don’t feel well, so if your bird is acting differently in any manner he may not feel good.
Birds that quit pooping are not eating as they should and in some cases, birds get overweight, which can lead to serious medical conditions such as fatty liver. This in turn affects their breathing and makes it labored and hard with more tail bobbing to secure air.
Why is My Budgie’s Tail Bobbing?
When a bird flies around the cage and then lands on a perch, he may bob his tail to catch his balance, which is totally natural for him.
Even after flapping their wings and exerting energy, birds will tail bob when they stop moving their wings. Birds that have been very active or singing may also bob their tails to get extra air.
The budgie has a unique breathing system because it does not have a diaphragm between the stomach and chest as most other animals and humans have.
A diaphragm increases the volume of the thorax to inflate the lungs with air. The tail muscles will move up and down, which is called bobbing when they are trying to catch their breath.
It actually helps them to breathe better and get more air into their lungs in the absence of a diaphragm.
Other issues may occur that will make your budgie tail bob. Parakeets can often suffer from respiratory illness in which they can’t get enough air in their lungs.
If your budgie is bobbing harder than usual or constantly, he may be ill with this type of a sickness and need to see a vet.
Is Tail Bobbing Normal in Budgies?
Occasional tail bobbing is absolutely normal in budgies. However, bobbing the tail hard or very often could mean he is in respiratory distress or has a cold–especially if the bobbing is accompanied by other symptoms of illness.
A budgie will usually only bob his tail a few times after he’s had a flying lesson or been very vocal to catch his breath.
The more he exerts himself, the more intense the normal tail bobbing will become, so his muscles will supply him with enough air to catch his breath. As the extra air enters his lungs, the tail bobbing will lessen until it quits when he has caught his breath fully.
The more the muscles in the tail are working to secure air for your bird, then the more tail bobbing that is required with harder movements up and down.
You may see your bird bobbing just before he starts chirping to get the extra air needed in order to serenade you with a song.
He will also bob his tail during chirping and singing for the extra air needed to make louder chirping sounds–and some budgies can be very loud in their vocalizations.
How to Treat Tail Bobbing in Budgies!
If it appears to be normal tail bobbing in your avian friend, then there’s no need for concern. If he’s bobbing more than normal for his activity level and on a continual basis, he is most likely ill and will need treatment to get better.
Some humans can recover from the common cold within a few days without a lot of concern. However, birds can’t get over even a simple cold without any antibiotics to help their immune system work properly.
If the extra tail bobbing is accompanied by coughing or sneezing, your pet may have a cold or upper respiratory infection that needs care.
Another common illness in budgies is called parrot fever, which displays all the same symptoms as an upper respiratory infection in any type of parrot.
Other symptoms associated with sickness include a runny nose or the waxy flesh on the base of the upper beak, called the cere, which may be caked with dried sinus drainage.
The smaller a pet is, the quicker it can become ill and progress in the illness very quickly, so it’s best to take care of your bird immediately if you believe him to be feeling sick.
Other signs of distress are your bird lying on the bottom of the cage, not eating or drinking much and his breathing will be quite loud.
You can wipe some of the nasal drainage off your bird with a tissue if he’s displaying these signs and then either make an appointment with an avian vet or schedule a video call with a veterinarian to get a diagnosis and medication to help your pet heal quickly.
Veterinarians usually prescribe the antibiotics Baytril or amoxicillin for birds with a respiratory illness that you merely add to their water dish for easy dispensing.
Every time you get a new pet for a new family member, you should take note of their normal everyday activities and actions and that will enable you to tell quickly if he needs attention because of being ill at any time. If you are ever unsure if your budgie is sick, it’s better to contact a vet and not need one than to let your bird suffer. Budgie tail bobbing is quite normal in most cases unless it’s severe and lasts for a longer time than necessary for your bird to catch his breath, accompanied by other signs of an illness.