For loving pet owners, not many things are more panic-inducing than the thought of something being amiss with your animal, whether a parrot, cat or hamster. The puffing of feathers in parrots can indicate a variety of things, from malaise to the need to warm up in chilly temperatures.
"I'm Feeling Cold"
If your parrot puffs up his feathers, it may mean something as simple as that he's cold and wants to warm up -- stat. Puffing up is a way of conserving warmth for birdies. If you glance over at your bird on a winter day and he looks much "fuller" than usual, then you probably know what the poor thing is doing. When parrots are cold, they also often show it by trembling. Both of these things are signs that it's time to manage the temperature of your too-cold parrot's living quarters. Parrots also occasionally puff their feathers up in times of excessive heat -- a means of getting cooler.
"I'm Under the Weather"
The puffing up of the feathers in parrots also frequently indicates malaise, especially if done for extended periods. If a parrot feels sick for any reason, he may not only puff out his feathers, he may also rest on just one of his feet while doing so. If you notice your parrot engaging in one or both of these body signals, then it's time to call your veterinarian for an appointment. The sooner you know what is ailing your parrot, the faster the vet can manage the problem for you. Birds frequently conceal their physical discomfort, so take note of any and all hints that you can get.
"I'm Ready to Relax"
Parrots sometimes puff up their feathers when they're feeling drowsy and are ready to wind down. If your parrot looks puffy, then he may just be preparing to enjoy a good, old-fashioned nap.
By puffing up feathers, your precious parrot may be requesting some comforting petting. If you notice puffing of the feathers only in your bird's neck region, he's probably seeking some interaction. He also may droop his head down as he does this. Do not pet a parrot that puffs his neck, however, unless you're 100 percent certain that he'll feel favorably about the contact.
If a parrot sticks all of his feathers out dramatically, it may indicate that he's belligerent and ready to go to battle with someone. Look out for other telling angry clues that may accompany this, including keeping the wings distant from the rest of the physique and twisting of the tail. Some parrots may display similar body language clues when attempting to woo others for mating purposes.
"I'm Blowing Off Steam"
Parrots sometimes puff up only to immediately follow the action by jolting their feathers. Frustrated parrots occasionally do this as a way of blowing off steam during times of anxiety.
- George Doyle/Stockbyte/Getty Images