Panting describes fast, often spasmodic, breathing in pet birds.

Panting describes fast, often spasmodic, breathing in pet birds.

Panting is a fast, sometimes spasmodic and noisy breathing characterized by open-mouth respiration. In birds, it can be the result of a variety of etiologies.


Panting can be a response to respiratory distressoverheating or sexual arousal. It can be characterized by abnormal tail motion (“tail pumping”) when associated with respiratory distress. If associated with overheating, the bird will often hold its wings away from its body to increase heat exchange from thinly feathered areas under the wings. If it is a response to sexual arousal, it often occurs when a female pet parrot is masturbating or being petted by the owner in a sexual manner.


If the bird is having trouble breathing, take it to a veterinarian immediately. If the bird is overheated, reduce the environmental temperature and/or mist the bird and/or its feet with cool, not frigid, water. If the person’s caresses cause the bird to become sexually aroused, the person should immediately stop what he/she is doing and move away from the bird.

Disclaimer:’s Bird Behavior Index is intended for educational purposes only. It is not meant to replace the expertise and experience of a professional veterinarian. Do not use the information presented here to make decisions about your bird’s health if you suspect your pet is sick. If your pet is showing signs of illness or you notice changes in your bird’s behavior, take your pet to the nearest veterinarian or an emergency pet clinic as soon as possible.

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