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Could temperature change cause the death of a Australian King Parrot?

Expert Question

Hi!  I need advice, My husband gave me an Australian King Parrot about a year ago and he appears to be fine, but this morning I found him dead, What are the possibilities of death by temperature changes, he was inside the house and the room temperature was 72F, my husband said that he needed to be in a higher temperature setting.

Thank you

Expert Answer

Hi Nancy, I am sorry for the loss of your parrot.  Unfortunately, due to birds’ phenomenal ability to disguise symptoms of illness, we see far too many sudden, unexplained deaths in our companion parrots.  Often, birds can have advanced disease and still be eating, active and appear perfectly normal.  The only way to diagnose the possible cause of death in your bird is for a qualified avian veterinarian to perform a necropsy (the animal equivalent of an autopsy).

A normal, healthy parrot can live in far cooler temperatures because their down feathers provide excellent insulation.  In fact, birds can better tolerate lower rather than higher environmental temperatures.  I keep my birds in 60-65F temperature and this is what I recommend to my clients.  If a bird is sick, they do need to be kept warmer.  I would guess that being too cold was NOT the cause of your bird’s death.

I recommend to my clients that they weigh their parrots weekly: a 5% drop in weight is enough to be cause for concern.  I also stress the importance of an annual physical examination as a way to prevent or diagnose disease before it becomes too serious.

Ellen K. Cook, DVM
About Ellen K. Cook, DVM

Dr. Ellen K. Cook has been practicing small animal medicine since 1975. In 1998, she rescued Merlin, a six-year-old Moluccan cockatoo with many undesirable behaviours, and soon began focusing primarily on avian veterinary medicine and behavioral issues.

Dr. Cook is a member of the Association of Avian Veterinarians, the International Association of Trainers and Educators, the Animal Behavior Management Alliance, and the American Veterinary Society of Animal Behaviorists.

She has published numerous articles over the years on avian veterinary and behavioural care, and serves as on online consultant for the World Parrot Trust. Dr. Cook has been teaching basic behavior classes to parrots and their caregivers since 2009, and is the founder of Parrots Anonymous, an organization dedicated to educating those who live with companion parrots.

To book a consultation with Dr. Cook, visit the Cicero Veterinary Clinic at