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what does it mean when a budgie is shivering?

Why Is My Budgie Shivering?

Budgies rarely shiver or shake unless something is wrong. You shouldn’t find your budgie puffing up, hunkering down, and shaking.

Most budgies shiver in response to being too cold, afraid, or having a fever.

Budgies shiver to raise their core body temperature when cold during the winter or dry themselves after bathing. Also, budgies shiver when adrenaline, which is triggered by fear, is released into their system.

Even if your budgie isn’t cold or sick, pain can lead to shivering. Certain behaviors can be mistaken for shaking in budgies, such as head-bobbing, tail wagging, or shaking out the feathers while preening.

Baby budgies will bob when begging for food and tremble when learning to walk.

What Does It Mean When A Budgie Is Shivering?

Shivering is the body’s response to certain stimuli, occurring when the muscles rapidly contract and release. These spasms happen so fast that it can appear as if a budgie is vibrating on the spot.

It’s an involuntary response, but shivering means that a budgie is overwhelmed by an external problem or dealing with an internal problem.

Budgies shake for four main reasons:

1/ Cold

According to Lexical and Structural Etymology, budgies are a native fauna to Australia and need a warm environment. So, the ideal temperature range for a budgie is 75-85 degrees Fahrenheit.

A budgie generates heat by clenching and relaxing its muscles in rapid succession.

This can warm up the entire body and prevent its internal organs from getting overly cold. Since budgies have thick feathers and puff them up to stay warm, they shouldn’t tremble unless they’re very cold.

A budgie that shivers frequently may be exposed to cold air currents, such as those from an air conditioner or open window. Also, the room may be too cold during the winter months.

why is my budgie trembling?

2/ Illness

If the body detects a virus or bacterial infection, it may initiate a shivering response to raise the body temperature and fight off the sickness.

3/ Fear

Experiencing fear or stress causes the body to release adrenaline into the system.

Adrenaline is a hormone used to respond to dangerous situations. For example, when the budgie hears a loud, sudden noise or gets jostled, it may release adrenaline to boost its reaction time and energy levels.

Shivers result when the body can’t process the adrenaline through rapid movement and exercise. Persistent shivers could mean that the stressor is persistent in the budgie’s environment. For example, the neighbor’s cat may be sitting outside the window.

The effects of a flood of adrenaline can result in uncontrollable shivers.

4/ Pain

If your budgie is injured, it may shake due to the intensity of the pain.

This becomes more acute when the budgie is forced to strain the injury. For example, standing on a wounded leg can strain the muscles and overwhelm the pain receptors.

If the budgie is injured elsewhere, the pain can still raise its heart rate, blood pressure, and breathing intensity. This leaves a budgie on high alert, causing it to shake and tremble.

Is It OK for A Budgie To Shake?

You shouldn’t ignore when your budgie is shaking. Usually, excessive shaking means that a budgie is dealing with a medical problem or experiencing discomfort.

However, there are times when you can mistake other behavior for shaking. If your budgie isn’t shaking due to pain or fear, you can leave it alone.

Here are examples of harmless shaking in budgies:

Why Is My Budgie Shaking Its Tail?

Budgies rely on body language to communicate, and their tails play an important role.

For example, budgies will fan their tails in aggression and wag or flip them in happiness. If a budgie expresses itself vigorously, it’s easy to confuse this with shaking.

Usually, tail-shaking is harmless behavior. If your budgie has closely bonded with you, it may greet you with a side-to-side shake of its tail, which means it’s happy to see you.

A budgie may also wiggle its tail while bathing or preening to shake off excess dust or water.

However, it’s more concerning if a budgie ‘bobs’ its tail up and down. This will be a slow, mostly rhythmic movement that’s in time with the budgie’s breathing, which can indicate sickness or injury.

Why Is My Budgie Shaking Its Head?

Head bobbing can be mistaken for shaking, but it’s a part of mating rituals for male and female budgies.

Baby budgies will nod their heads when begging for food. Very young baby budgies even appear to wobble or shake before gaining more control over their muscles.

Why Is My Budgie Shaking Its Wings?

Budgies use their wings for communication and insulation.

Shaking the wings has various meanings:

  • A budgie that’s preening may open its wings slightly and shake them out to realign the feathers
  • Showing off their feathers will help males attract a partner during mating season.
  • Budgies that are distressed may hold their wings open and flap them to appear scary
  • During a molt, budgies twitch or shake out their wings to help pin feathers grow in
  • Budgies gently shake their wings when happy or affectionate

You should be concerned if the budgie can’t close one of its wings properly. In this case, the shaking can indicate pain or injury.

Likewise, if the budgie puffs up its feathers and begins to shake, this can mean it’s freezing.

Why Is My New Budgie Shaking?

Budgies are small prey animals that are cautious of new environments and new owners. So, it’s normal for a budgie to be anxious in its new home.

Even if you have done everything right, the new budgie may be so scared that it shivers. Fear shivers are due to adrenaline coursing through the body. This is preparing the budgie to flee.

The surge of adrenaline would be the difference between a budgie escaping a predator or getting caught. Captive budgies can’t fly and burn off this adrenaline, resulting in shivering.

Why Is My Baby Budgie Shaking?

Baby budgies can appear to shake, but it’s usually because they’re gaining control over their muscles.

As mentioned, chicks bob their heads when begging for food. It’s easy to distinguish true shivers from this behavior by listening to the sound the chick makes. Begging is a noisy affair that will commence once the chick realizes that its parent has returned to the nest.

It’s common to see chicks wobble and tremble as they learn to walk and move. It can look as if the budgie is shivering while going through this process.

Baby budgies may shiver if they’re too cold and need a consistently warm environment to thrive. The mother budgie is normally responsible for keeping the chicks warm.

However, if you are hand-raising the chicks, you will need a nesting box to maintain a temperature of roughly 98 degrees Fahrenheit.

What To Do If Your Budgie Is Shaking

If you notice your budgie shaking, observe it closely. You need to identify where the shaking is centered or if the budgie’s entire frame is trembling.

Isolated limb shivering isn’t a result of changing temperatures or adrenaline. It’ll be due to injury, hormones, or will happen for another reason. Monitor how long the shivering continues.

Full body shivers are a response to adrenaline, fever, and lower temperatures. If the budgie is shaking, check if the room is warm enough.

why is my budgie shaking so much?


Look for additional signs and symptoms:

  • Labored breathing
  • Nasal discharge
  • Sneezing
  • A fever
  • Diarrhea
  • Loss of appetite

Seek medical assistance from a vet if you suspect that the budgie is unwell. Since they’re skilled at hiding illnesses, visible signs mean the ailment has progressed.


Look for any disturbances that could be frightening your budgie, such as:

  • Animals that approach the window
  • Pets disturbing the budgie
  • Loud noises, like a dog barking or music
  • Children or strangers going up to the cage

When possible, remove the stressors or provide the budgie with a calmer environment.

Budgies shiver when cold or afraid. The act creates warmth when the body’s core temperature is too low or the environment is too cold. This heat is also used to deal with bacterial and viral infections. Also, adrenaline released as a part of a natural fear or stress response results in full-body shivers.