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Why Are My Cockatiels Tail Feathers Falling Out?

cockatiels tail feathers falling out

If you have a pet cockatiel, then you may have noticed that its tail feathers seem to be falling out more than usual. This can be a cause for concern, but it is usually nothing to worry about. In this blog post, we will discuss why are my cockatiels tail feathers falling out and what you can do to help prevent it. We will also provide some tips on how to keep your cockatiel tail feathers healthy and looking good!

Why Are My Cockatiel’s Tail Feathers Falling Out?

Cockatiel Sounds

Feathers are vital to a bird’s health and well-being. Cockatiels losing tail feathers can be caused by several things.


The most common reason why cockatiels lose feathers is molting. All birds molt or shed their feathers, regularly as part of their natural growth cycle. Molting usually occurs once or twice a year and can last anywhere from a few weeks to several months. During this time, you may notice your cockatiel looking scruffy as old feathers are replaced with new ones. While molting is usually not harmful to birds, it can be stressful, so it’s important to make sure your cockatiel has access to plenty of fresh water and a healthy diet during this time. Cockatiel molting symptoms may include fluffed-up feathers, increased preening, and more shedding than usual.

If your cockatiels molt, you don’t need to worry unless the molting is excessive or accompanied by other symptoms such as weight loss or lethargy. If you’re concerned about your bird’s molting habits, talk to your veterinarian. They can help you determine whether the molting is normal or if there could be an underlying health problem.

Poor Nutrition

cockatiels tail feathers falling out

Another possible cause of feather loss in cockatiels is poor nutrition. Birds require a diet that includes lots of fresh vegetables and fruits, as well as good quality food formulated specifically for birds. If your cockatiel isn’t getting enough vitamins and nutrients, it can lead to problems with feather growth. In severe cases, Poor nutrition can also lead to other health problems such as weight loss and respiratory problems.

If you think that your cockatiel’s feather loss might be caused by malnutrition, speak to your veterinarian about changing its diet. They will be able to suggest pellet foods of good quality and advise you on which fruits and vegetables are safe for birds to eat. It is also possible that there are underlying health problems causing the slow growth of feathers, so checking with a professional can rule this out or identify any other potential causes.

Hormonal imbalance

A hormonal imbalance can also be responsible for cockatiel losing feathers. Cockatiels produce a hormone called prolactin, which helps to regulate the molting process. If there is an imbalance of prolactin in the body, it can lead to excessive molting and feather loss. This can be caused by stress, illness, or even a change in the cockatiel’s environment.

If you think a hormonal imbalance could be the cause of your cockatiel’s feather loss, talk to your avian vet. They can run tests to check hormone levels and identify any underlying health problems. Once the problem is treated, your cockatiel’s feathers should start to grow back.

Feather plucking

cockatiels tail feathers falling out

Feather plucking is another possible cause of feather loss in cockatiels. This is when a bird picks out its own feathers, which can be caused by stress, boredom, or even insecurity. If your cockatiel is feather plucking, you’ll need to take action to stop the behavior and help your cockatiel feel more comfortable. This may involve changing its diet, providing more toys and stimulation, or even getting another cockatiel for the company. If the entire feather dropped out, you should take your cockatiel to the vet as soon as possible.


Stress is another common factor that can lead to tail feather loss in cockatiels. Cockatiels are highly sensitive birds and can easily become stressed by changes in their environment or routine. Additionally, cockatiels may pluck their own feathers out if they are bored or lonely. If you think your cockatiel is stressed, try to provide them with a more stimulating environment, such as adding new toys or perches to their cage. You may also want to consider getting another cockatiel for the company.


cockatiel losing feathers

Another common reason for tail feather loss in cockatiels is due to mites. Mites are tiny parasitic insects that can live on the skin or in the feathers of birds. They can cause intense itching and irritation, leading to feather loss. If you suspect your cockatiel has mites, it is important to take them to a veterinarian for treatment.

Cage trauma

If your cockatiel’s tail feathers are repeatedly damaged or broken, it can lead to feather loss. This is usually due to the cockatiel’s cage, such as if the bars are too close together or if there are sharp edges. If you think your cockatiel’s cage is causing feather loss, make sure to inspect it for any potential hazards. You may also want to talk to your veterinarian about getting a new cage.


Miracle Care Feather Glo Bird Bath Spray, 32-Ounce
  • Helps to provide relief from feather picking and scratching and minimizes molting.
  • Cleans, beautifies and invigorates feathers and skin.
  • For use on all caged birds.
Dr Cockatiel is reader-supported. When you buy via links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you.


Other cockatiel feather problems

Cockatiels can also experience other feather problems, such as abnormal growth, discoloration, and extra feathers. If your cockatiel is showing any of these signs, it is important to take them to an avian vet for a full examination. Your vet will be able to determine the cause of the problem and provide you with guidance on how to treat it.

Feather loss in cockatiels


Feather loss in cockatiels can be a cause for concern among bird owners, as it may signal an underlying health issue or changes in their environment. While it is normal for a cockatiel to experience some degree of feather loss during the natural molting process, excessive or sudden feather loss could be indicative of a problem. Potential causes for feather loss in cockatiels include nutritional deficiencies, stress and anxiety, parasites and infections, self-mutilation due to feather plucking, and environmental factors.

It is crucial for bird owners to closely monitor their cockatiel’s health and well-being, providing a balanced diet, a safe and clean living environment, and appropriate mental stimulation to minimize the risk of feather loss. In cases where feather loss is persistent or accompanied by other concerning symptoms, consulting with a veterinarian is essential to ensure the bird receives the necessary treatment and care.

Final Thoughts: Why are my cockatiels tail feathers falling out?

cockatiel bites

If you’ve noticed your cockatiel losing more tail feathers than usual, don’t panic! In most cases, it’s nothing to worry about and is simply due to molting. However, if the feather loss is excessive or accompanied by other symptoms such as weight loss or lethargy, it’s important to take them to the vet right away as these could be signs of a serious condition that needs medical treatment.



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