There are all kinds of reasons why your budgie might be shaking.
Your budgie might shake because they are cold, stressed, or afraid. They could also be shaking as part of a regular grooming routine, because they are excited, or because they are preparing for flight. Shivering or trembling can be a sign of serious illness, so it’s something you need to take seriously.
This article will help you understand the difference between normal, healthy shaking and something you should be worried about.
If you still have concerns, it’s best to get in contact with your vet right away. They will be able to give you the best advice for your specific bird and situation.
Is It Normal for Budgies to Shake?
It is normal and natural for budgies to shake sometimes. But shaking can also be a sign of sickness or stress.
Typically, shaking out their feathers is okay. But it’s not such a good sign when their whole bodies are shivering.
When feather shaking is normal
Here are some examples of when feather shaking is normal.
- Before they go to sleep
- Before they fly
- After they’ve been sitting still for a while (think of it like having a good stretch)
- If they are happy to see you, and they hop around the cage with a quick wing shake (cute, I know!)
- After they’ve groomed themselves
Don’t panic if some feathers fall out while your budgie shakes their wings. That’s kind of the point. They are stretching out and getting comfy, letting their loose feathers fall out of the way.
If your budgie isn’t showing any signs of stress, none of the above should worry you.
However, if the shaking goes on for longer than usual and your budgie shows any other behavior changes, you might want to get them checked out to be on the safe side.
When shaking should be taken seriously
There are times when shaking shouldn’t be considered normal. This is typically when the shaking goes hand in hand with other behaviors.
Here are some examples:
- Your budgie is showing signs of distress, like screaming before or after they shake
- The shaking goes on for long periods
- Your budgie’s whole body is shaking, shivering, or trembling
- Your budgie has lost weight or isn’t eating
- Your budgie is hiding in their cage or flying around frantically
- Your budgie has diarrhea or vomiting
If you notice the signs mentioned above, the shaking is probably associated with stress or illness. First, examine whether something is scaring your budgie.
For example, do they always shake when you come near the cage? Or when the dog enters the room?
Try to work out why your budgie might be afraid and adjust their environment.
You should also ask yourself if they have a healthy, balanced diet.
If you can’t get to the bottom of the problem, contact your vet as soon as possible. It could be that the shaking is due to illness.
Just like humans, budgies will shake if they get too cold.
So, you should also consider whether the room has a draft or the temperature has dropped. Try to keep your budgies at a stable temperature, as they don’t cope very well with fluctuations if they aren’t used to them.
An ideal temperature for a budgie is between 60 and 70 degrees Fahrenheit.
Your budgie will shake different parts of their body in different situations. I’ll explain the various body parts below!
Shaking their tail
Your budgie is probably shaking their tail to get more comfortable. Normally, after preening, budgies will shake their wings, followed by their tails.
This releases detached feathers and also helps their tail feathers lay nice and flat.
Tail shaking can also be a sign of happiness in birds. So, if your budgie gives a quick tail wag when they see you, it probably means they like you!
If you notice that your budgie is fanning out their tail feathers, it could be because they’re trying to impress a mate. (Yes, that could be aimed at an unsuspecting human if you don’t keep your budgie with other birds.)
Shaking their head
Head shaking isn’t usually a good sign. Budgies sometimes shake their heads when they are unwell, shortly before or after vomiting.
Their heads might also shake if they have neurological damage—for example, if a chick fell from a nest and hit their head, or if a budgie was seriously hurt during a fight. An injury like this could lead to brain damage associated with head shaking.
Your vet would be the best person to talk to in both of these cases.
There is a difference between head shaking and head bobbing. If your budgie is bobbing their head to you or a mate, that’s okay. It probably means they are trying out a courtship dance. It’s a natural behavior!
Shaking their wings
As I mentioned earlier, wing shaking is pretty standard. It’s how your budgie stretches or gets annoying feathers out of the way.
This shouldn’t last for a long time, and it might be accompanied by a bit of hopping from foot to foot.
But if your budgie’s whole body is shaking, it could mean they are too cold, malnourished, or unwell.
How Do I Get My Budgie to Stop Shaking?
If your budgie is shivering uncontrollably, your first step is to make sure nothing is scaring them. Try talking gently to your bird, but don’t shout or move quickly. Remove anything from the room that might be making your bird uncomfortable.
If that doesn’t work, check the temperature. The best temperature for budgies during the day is 60 to 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Budgies can manage lower temperatures, but only if they are acclimatized.
You can’t expect them to go straight from a constant warm room to outside overnight. Avoid temperature fluctuations and drafts whenever possible.
However, if your budgie stays outside most of the year, you will need to take the bird to a suitable place when the temperatures get really high or really low.
If your budgie is warm enough and doesn’t seem afraid, abnormal shaking is almost certainly due to illness. This is when you want to take them to the vet for professional advice.
Why does my budgie fluff up and shake?
Your budgie is fluffing up and shaking to stretch out and get comfortable, particularly after grooming. If they are fluffing up for more than a few moments, they may be trying to keep warm.
You should ensure that they are at a suitable temperature and investigate whether they might be sick.
Why is my budgie screeching?
If your budgie is screeching, they are probably distressed. Try and work out what might be frightening your bird and remove that item from their environment.
Chirping and squawking isn’t a big deal; it’s just your budgie’s way of expressing themselves.
Why is my budgie panting?
If your budgie is panting, they are probably too hot. Try to cool them down by placing their cage in the shade and make sure they have fresh water.
Don’t change the temperature too suddenly, or your budgie could get sick. Panting can also be related to fear or excess weight.
Why are my budgie’s wings twitching?
Your budgie might twitch their wings as a pain response or because they are nervous. It could also be a sign of anxiety related to loneliness.
Some budgies start twitching after their mates die, but this response can go away over time, especially if you introduce your budgie to a new bird.
This will take time and patience, so don’t rush anything. If you have any doubts, it’s best to call your vet.
It’s normal to worry if your budgie is doing something you don’t understand. But wing or tail shaking isn’t usually something to fret about. If your budgie’s whole body is shivering, you need to take notice.
Make sure they are warm enough and look for anything that could be scaring them. If you can’t find any obvious reasons for the behavior and it doesn’t stop, you need to get in touch with a vet who can ensure that your budgie isn’t seriously unwell.
More to Read:
- Do Budgies Like to Be Touched?
- Do Budgies Sleep With Their Eyes Open?
- Do Budgies Like Music? And What Kind of Music Do Budgies Like?
My name is Niels Joensen, and I’m the creator of Wings and Beaks. I got my first two budgies at the age of 13, and right away, I fell in love with these beautiful tiny birds. Wings and Beaks is where I share my knowledge and passion for budgies with other bird owners.