Budgies are dexterous birds, capable of hanging upside down, climbing the sides of their cages, and balancing on thin perches.
However, there are times when they fall off. If their wings don’t catch them, a budgie may hit the bottom of its cage. This isn’t normal and could mean that your budgie is ill.
Budgies fall off their perches due to ataxia, which is a loss of coordination in the legs. Also, musculoskeletal deformities make it hard for a budgie to grip its perch and maintain balance.
Sudden unexpected noises and night fright can scare budgies so much that they fall off their perch.
Of course, a budgie can fall off its perch accidentally, and it may be that a cage mate knocked them off. It could be clumsy, failing to balance as it should, or have missed a jump when it fluttered around.
Why Is My Budgie Falling Over?
Budgies usually have good balance, using their wings and feet to maneuver and perch. They’re sufficiently dextrous that they can even hang upside down and swing on toys for fun.
So, it’s particularly concerning when a budgie has an unexplained fall. Budgies falling off their perch or slumping over at the bottom of their cage can signify illness or have a benign explanation.
Let’s explore the more harmless causes of a budgie falling off its perch:
Loss of Balance
Budgies sometimes lose their balance, but they usually catch themselves by flapping their wings. However, it’s possible that your budgie’s timing is off, and it doesn’t react in time to recover.
Falling off a perch could mean your budgie missed its mark when jumping between perches. Also, a cagemate could nudge it off while playing or during a fight.
Fainting, also known as passing out, is called syncope. This refers to the loss of consciousness when the brain doesn’t get enough oxygen, which usually happens when less blood goes to the brain.
Fainting happens for short periods of time, and consciousness is regained once the brain gets sufficient oxygen. Your budgie will be fine after a single fainting spell.
Why Does My Budgie Keep Falling Off Its Perch?
Falling off the perch regularly means that your budgie is unwell. A temporary problem, like heatstroke, can cause this, or it could be due to a genetic disorder that harms the brain or lungs.
Let’s explore the reasons for budgies regularly falling off their perches in greater detail:
Heatstroke can be a concern if you live in a hot and humid area.
Budgies that are overweight are more likely to succumb to heat stress, as the body’s internal temperature becomes too high, so the organs stop functioning efficiently.
When excessive temperatures cause the heart to stop pumping blood, the brain loses its blood supply.
If your budgie has heatstroke, it’ll exhibit the following symptoms:
- Panting, sometimes open-mouthed
- Heavy, rapid breathing
- Lack of balance
- Holding wings away from the body, or wing venting
According to Austral Ornithology, smaller birds will be more likely to vent their wings. So, take steps to reduce the room temperature and provide cool water for your budgie.
Ataxia is a common symptom of neurological disorders, and it’s often the first to appear. When a budgie displays ataxia by struggling to walk, eat, or perch correctly, consider the following:
A stroke refers to the brain getting less oxygen or no oxygen. A stroke sometimes causes syncope (fainting). To tell, consider if a budgie has done any of the following in the last few hours:
- Sudden, loud vocalization
- Paralysis, especially on one side
- Flapping wings
- Lying still on the floor
- Lost control of bowels
Hypocalcemia occurs due to a lack of calcium in the body. Besides building bones, calcium also plays an important role as a neurotransmitter, among other neurological functions.
For this reason, you’ll often find hypocalcemia in budgies that are fed an all-seed diet. Budgies with hypocalcemia will present the following symptoms:
- Muscle weakness
- Neurological disorders
- Sudden collapse
Calcium supplements and UV lamps are recommended.
Budgies’ air sacs are susceptible to many diseases that affect their respiratory system. A budgie with respiratory problems has one of the following conditions:
Newcastle disease is a respiratory disease that can affect psittacines. It’s rare in pet budgies living in the U.S., but it has been found worldwide. It’s caused by paramyxovirus, which is a virus.
It’s highly contagious. Any incidents should be reported to local authorities to stop the spread of the virus. Sometimes, budgies may not show any signs and can die suddenly.
If your budgie fell off its perch and died without another explanation, this could be the reason. The symptoms of Newcastle disease early on include:
- Green or yellowish and watery poop
- Dropping wings
- Loss of appetite
- Weight loss
- Swelling of the eyes and neck
In the late stages, it can affect your budgie’s mobility, so you’ll notice symptoms like:
- Paralysis of the wings and legs
- Lack of coordination
- Head bobbing
- Involuntary movement
- Jerky movement
- Twisting of the neck
- Unnatural position of the head
Unfortunately, there’s no cure for Newcastle disease.
Aspergillosis is caused by a fungal infection. According to Revista Brasileira de Ciência Veterinária, aspergillosis causes disorders in many avian species, affecting their:
- Gastrointestinal tract
- Respiratory system
Aspergillosis happens when a budgie inhales fungal spores, introducing them to the lungs and air sacs. In low amounts, the spores will continue to live in a budgie’s respiratory system.
However, once the budgie’s immune system is lowered, either through stress or disease, the spores can multiply, and symptoms can be seen.
Aspergillosis is mainly a disease of the respiratory system. However, it can affect the central nervous system, causing fainting. In smaller bird species, aspergillosis is more deadly.
Acute aspergillosis is due to direct exposure to fungal spores. It goes away once the budgie is no longer in contact with them. Chronic aspergillosis is caused by exposure to the spores indirectly through:
- Objects in a budgie’s environment
This indirect exposure causes chronic symptoms, as the spores will continue multiplying. In chronic aspergillosis, malnutrition is the most common explanation.
The most common symptoms associated with acute aspergillosis are:
- Loss of appetite
- Labored breathing
- Sudden death
- Mucus in the lungs and air sacs
- Nodules in the lungs
- Airsacculitis, or the inflammation of the air sack
In chronic aspergillosis, the following symptoms are common:
- Difficulty breathing
- Change in voice
- Sudden weight loss
When left untreated for a long period of time, chronic aspergillosis can cause:
- Permanent changes in bone structure
- Malformation of the upper respiratory system
Aspergillosis can also affect the central nervous system, leading to the following:
- Lack of coordination
Aspergillosis is treated with antifungal medication.
A disease may not always be the reason for a lack of coordination in budgies.
Falling off the perch regularly could be the perch’s fault. It could also be credited to your budgie’s genetics or the environment it’s kept in.
Let’s explore why else your budgie may take a tumble:
Musculoskeletal deformities may be why your budgie continues to lose its balance.
Deformities in the wings can stop your budgie from catching itself or staying upright on a thin perch. Also, deformed legs can impact the budgie’s grip strength or ability to stand with any balance.
If your budgie has a deformity, you’ll need to provide accommodations. These will depend on your budgie’s condition, but moving food and water bowls to the bottom of the cage is recommended.
Budgies are highly adaptable and can adjust to any anatomical issues.
If your budgie often falls to the bottom of its cage at night, it may be experiencing night frights. Night terrors occur, as they’re also known, occur when budgies are startled or scared during the night.
Night terrors may be due to something real, such as flashing car lights, fireworks, or a cat near its cage. However, budgies can also have nightmares or falsely perceived dangers.
Preventing night frights involves changing your budgie’s environment. Many owners believe that installing a night light is beneficial. Also, consider moving your budgie cage away from windows, covering its cage at night, or putting it in a quieter room.
Sometimes, the problem can be with the perch itself.
Budgies’ perches should be 1/2 inches in diameter. Plastic perches tend to be too slick, so get your budgie a natural wood perch.