Why Your Bird Is Sitting At The Bottom Of The Cage

Published by Joseph Calabrese on

“HELP! My bird is sitting at the bottom of the cage, is he sick”?

This is the thought that pops into everyone’s mind when they first see their bird sitting on the cage floor, which is understandable. Although sick birds will sit at the bottom of the cage, healthy birds do it too for a number of reasons.

This article presents 6 possible reasons why your bird would go to the bottom of the cage.

I’ll also cover when you should start worrying about this odd behaviour.

Disclosure: I’m not an avian veterinarian or a medical expert. All info in this article has been well researched from reliable sources, but the author himself is not a vet. The info in this article should not be taken as medical advice nor should it surpass any professional recommendations.

6 Possible Reasons Why Birds Sit At The Bottom Of The Cage

1. Your Bird Is Hormonal

A bird that is ready to find a nest, mate, or lay eggs may decide to go to the cage floor.

Most birds, although there are many exceptions, prefer to act hormonally on flat surfaces instead of regular perches. If you have a female that’s been spending time on the cage floor, she might be getting ready to lay eggs.

This can happen without a male being present.

If the bottom of the cage reflects a dark and confined space, birds may see it as a nesting site.

In which case they’ll spend lots of time down there acting territorial and overly aggressive, defending their potential nest. Shredded paper, cardboard, and other things that resemble nesting materials will encourage this behaviour.

Although hormones are a nuisance to deal with, the related behaviours aren’t a cause for concern.

Related: Hormonal Parrots: Signs, Triggers, & How To Deal With Them

Bird sitting at bottom of cage
Image credit: Pixabay

2. Your Bird Is Young

The bottom of the cage may resemble a nest, where baby birds spend their first days of life.

If you have a young bird, they may choose to go to the bottom of the cage as it looks similar to where they were raised. It’s not because they’re reminiscing about their baby time, it’s just that they feel more comfortable there.

They might not feel comfortable enough to perch like a big bird yet.

The cage floor might simply be the most comfortable spot in the cage for a young bird, which is normal.

If your young bird is eating, drinking, and preening normally but goes to the bottom of the cage to relax, there’s likely nothing to worry about.

They’ll figure out perching soon enough and will eventually spend less time on the cage floor.

3. They’re Recently Adopted

Recently adopted birds are normally fearful and sceptical of their new environment.

As a result, they’ll attempt to make themselves as secure as possible, which often means going to the bottom of the cage. Perches that you installed might seem too out in the open for your new bird, so they’ll find the cage floor safer.

Smaller cages provide even more perceive security as it’s tight and confined.

Once they’ve had time to adjust to their new home, they’ll soon lose interest in the cage floor.

And then they’re off on an explorative adventure!

4. The Bottom Of The Cage Is Warm

Our birds are naturally drawn to warm areas, especially if the environment is colder than preferred.

If your bird finds that the bottom of the cage is warmer than other parts of the cage, they’ll likely spend a bit of time down there.

Try to keep your home’s temperature above 20° C (68° F) and see if they still want to be on the cage floor.

If not, the temperature was likely the reason.

If they remain near the cage floor after the temperature increase, it means there’s another cause for this behaviour.

cockatiel sitting at bottom of cage

5. The Cage Floor Has Food Crumbs

Many popular pet bird species, including cockatiels and budgies, are natural ground foragers.

Birds often flick their food around while eating and crumbs end up on the cage floor.

If your ground-foraging birds notice those floor crumbs, their natural instincts will tell them to go down and eat them all up. I think my cockatiel goes to the bottom of the cage about 10 times a day to pick up any pellets or seeds that he spilled.

You shouldn’t worry about this behaviour…

In fact, foraging and behaving naturally is good for your bird and it should be encouraged!

Bird sitting on bottom of cage

6. The Cage Floor Has Fun Toys!

Birds are attracted to toys that they can destroy or forage through as these are instinctive behaviours.

Take a look, are there any toys at the bottom of your bird’s cage?

A toy doesn’t need to be something you made or purchased, birds can make a toy out of pretty much anything you put in the cage. If you use white paper or newspaper to line the cage floor, your bird might go down to shred it.

Eating, foraging, and shredding on the ground is natural for most parrots.

If they go down there for this reason, there’s nothing to worry about.

Let them shred that paper to their heart’s content!

When To Start Worrying…

A temporary visit to the bottom of the cage for any of the reasons above should not concern you.

However, you should not shrug it off when your bird spends a lot of inactive time on the cage floor as that’s not normal bird behaviour. I’d be worried if this happens and would likely book an avian vet appointment ASAP.

Being motionless at the bottom of the cage for long periods is a potential sign of sickness.

Sick birds can spend full days doing nothing on the cage floor.

The same goes for birds with serious injuries.

For example, birds struggling to balance or who have weak legs won’t have the strength to perch, causing them to sit on the cage floor.

bird sitting on the floor of cage
Image credit: PIxabay

Most importantly, you should look out for behaviours that aren’t normal for YOUR bird.

For some birds, hanging out near the bottom of the cage is a normal thing, but for others, it’s strange.

Is going to the cage floor normal for YOUR bird?

If it’s something they only recently started doing, I would go with your gut instinct and get them checked by an avian vet. The fact that you’re here googling for answers means you feel something is off about the behaviour.

You know your bird better than anyone else, so go with your instincts.

Don’t shrug off abnormal behaviour, instead see an avian vet.

This won’t only guarantee your bird’s long-term health, but gives you the peace of mind you need.

Thank you for reading!


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