Parrot Weight - A Comprehensive Guide (With 90+ Parrots' Weight Ranges In Grams, Ounces and Pounds)

Parrot Weight - A Comprehensive Guide (With 90+ Parrots' Weight Ranges In Grams, Ounces and Pounds)

Bird weight is a key indicator of a healthy or ill parrot. It’s important to weigh your birds regularly to monitor their physical health, growth, and general well being. Even though your parrot’s weight is only one part of the entire picture of your bird’s health, it is not something you should take lightly. This article presents a comprehensive guide on the importance of weighing your parrot, and a list of typical parrot weights you should know.

If you want to check only the typical parrot weights of some parrot species, skip to the table within this post.

Why You Need to Weigh Your Parrot

Whether you feed your parrot once, twice, or many times a day, it’s important that you check his weight frequently. By weighing your bird regularly, you may be able to detect potentially fatal health issues earlier. It’s one of the useful ways you can gauge your parrot’s health, and save his life in the process if you find out that he’s been secretly suffering. Birds that are affected by diseases would still look alert and active, but it is very often that by the time the bird starts looking weak and lethargic, it is almost upon death’s door.

In the wild, parrots are prey animals and also flock animals. Any sign of weakness of a member of the flock puts the flock at risk, as it can attract predators to target them. Hence, parrots have evolved to hide their weaknesses as much as they can, unless they are absolutely in poor condition. This instinctive behavior remains even among our feathered friends at home. Hence, other than daily observation of behavior, weighing your parrot and monitoring its weight trends is important.

Sick birds sometimes eat less than usual, and if they do not eat much, it is inevitable that they will start to lose weight. A common observation of a sick bird is when its weight fluctuates, or decreases significantly. On the other hand, you should not only be concerned with weight loss as weight gain might also predicts trouble to your bird. It shows that something may be wrong with their diet. You could be offering them too much fat that will further complicate the bird’s health.

When female birds start to develop eggs inside them, they often show marked increase in weight. If you have been attentive towards their weight patterns and suspect that your female parrot is getting ready to lay an egg, it would be timely to include more nutritious and calcium-rich food to help them lay eggs successfully. This is another reason why weighing your bird regularly is important.

How to Weigh a Parrot

Placing a scale strategically in their cage is the easiest way to weigh your bird, especially if the bird is not yet tame to you. You’d only need to get your parrot on the scale surface and read its weight. Alternatively, place a standing perch on the scale, and allow your bird to step onto the perch as it moves around its cage, then take the reading on the scale when your bird is perching on the scale perch.

This could be an easy task for many people and hell for others! Some birds do not like foreign objects being placed into their cages, and may either attack it warily, or be very afraid of it. If this is the case for your bird, remove the scale from the cage and try weighing your bird elsewhere. It helps to bring your bird to a neutral location (such as a different room) to weigh it.

Use any positive desired responses (such as giving them treats) to let your parrot understand the importance of stepping on the scale. This will help your bird maintain the routine and make it easier for you to keep records of its weight overtime. If you bird has already been freaked out by the weighing scale itself, you may have to use other methods to weigh it, or work patiently to associate the scale with a positive experience until the bird is no longer afraid of it.

The video below shows me attempting to weigh Loki, Freya, and Bibi using a T-stand perch. All three of them were very afraid of the scale initially, but have gotten used to seeing it over time. Weighing them now is no longer very difficult for me!

Bibi the conure was a little bit unwilling to stay on the perch, but Loki and Freya did well!

What If The Scale Perch Doesn’t Work?

Not all parrots will voluntarily participate in stepping onto a scale perch. This should not discourage you as there are other ways you can weigh your bird. Here are some of the things you can try if your bird is scared of standing on a weighing scale.

  • Entice your bird with treats to help them step onto the scale. Continue bribing it while on the scale to give you more time to accurately read the weight.
  • Use perches for bigger-sized birds since most of them are comfortable standing on a branch. You can improvise something like a box for smaller-sized birds. Boxes also work well for birds not used to standing on twigs or branches. In this video, a lovebird is being weighed by placing it into an acrylic box on the scale.
  • If you’re used to towel cradling your bird, then weighing them could be a bit easier for you. Just wrap your parrot and gently place it on the scale. This usually works best for birds that are not averse towards towelling.

Parrot Weighing Inaccuracies

You can easily make inaccurate weight readings if you’ve introduced something familiar for your bird to stand on. To avoid this, you’ll have to take the readings for the perch separately. First get your bird to stand on the perch, then place the perch on the weighing scale. You can now take the first weight readings and remove your bird gently from the perch.

Place the perch on its own on the weighing scale and take the reading as well, which indicates the weight of the perch without the bird. Subtract the two readings to get the actual weight of your bird. Do the same for any type of tool you use, including the box and towel.

If your weighing scale has the “tare” function (often a button marked by the number zero, or the letter “T”), this is even easier. After placing the perch on the scale, press the “tare” button to reset the weight to zero. After that, place your bird on the perch. The scale will now take only the bird’s weight as the weigh of the perch has already been subtracted by taring.

How Often Should You Weigh Your Parrot?

Humans need to weigh themselves on a regular basis when they go on a diet. The same applies to parrots. Unlike humans, your birds won’t tell you if they are adding more weight or losing. It is also difficult to determine visually whether your bird has gained or lost weight, especially through all those feathers! You will need to weigh your parrot regularly to determine if it’s healthy.

For baby parrots, daily weighing is highly recommended. Fluctuations of weight happen more rapidly when it comes to baby parrots since their bodies are undergoing faster growth and development. That’s why you should weigh them everyday.

Adult parrots take longer to show signs of sickness or malnutrition. You don’t have to weigh them everyday to monitor their health – once a week would be good as a usual practice, or weigh more often than weekly if you suspect your bird’s weight needs to be monitored due to health issues or other conditions.

It’s important that you weigh your parrot at the same time everyday. Different times won’t give you accurate weights. A variation more than 2-5% should be first monitored (i.e. the bird should be weighed more frequently). If the parrot shows other signs signaling illness, or if the weight continues to drop or increase, consider investigating the reasons with a vet.

Write down the weights systematically so that you can accurately compare and contrast. Don’t panic or jump into conclusions that your bird is ill when you notice some weight variations throughout the week. First, you need to check the accuracy of your weighing scale. Then proceed to investigate other possible causes of weight changes in your bird.

For example, Loki is a lovebird, which is a very small bird, hence any minute differences of even 2 grams or more can signal some changes in her body condition. When I first got her, she weighed 48 grams, and subsequently increased to 49-50 grams. She rarely exceeded 50 grams except during egg-laying periods. This is a brief record of Loki’s weight in two different occasions – the top being egg season, and the bottom being non egg season:


Firstly, you can see that I make an effort to weigh her once every two weeks, but I had not been conscientious on recording her weights down regularly, which is why you see long gaps with no weight information! Nevertheless, the trend is quite obvious. For a lovebird that usually weighs around 50 grams, having a sudden increase to 55 grams on 13 May 2020 was unusual. During that time, I had not been too worried as I felt an egg bump on her abdomen (importance of checking other observations!), so I knew that the weight gain was due to egg formation in her body.

On 26 May 2020, she laid an egg, and that morning I had happened to weigh her again. Her weight was a whopping 61 grams! As she needed rest and did not want to be bothered after laying her egg, I did not weigh her after her laying, and left her alone until she stopped laying and stopped being interested in sitting on her eggs. At that time, her weight was 53 grams, which was still a little high, but much, much closer to her usual weight range. Considering that she had eaten a lot while nesting, but not been up and around much for exercise, 53g was a reasonable weight gain from her usual range.

In 2021, life had been hectic for me as I was moving apartments in the first half of the year and getting used to all kinds of new habits, so I had not done much weighing, or when I did, I hadn’t recorded them down conscientiously. On 25 June 2021, you’ll notice that her weight is 50 grams, which is expected and usual. She also had not shown other signs of potential health issues, which is why I was more relaxed on the weighing bit. After that, I weighed and recorded whenever I could remember, and you can see that her weight had kept pretty stable throughout, even all the way until December.

Remember to always monitor your bird’s general behaviour. Regardless of whether you weigh them weekly or daily, don’t rely on their weights alone. Eating habits, activity level, and behavior also tell a lot about a bird’s health. Weighing them is an added advantage when monitoring your bird’s progress.

Keel Bone as an Indicator of Healthy Weight

Weight is never an accurate determination of whether a parrot is healthy or not. Much like humans, parrots come in various sizes even if they don’t look like it. For example, through research I would find out that typical weights of Indian ringneck parakeets are around 120g, however my own ringneck, Freya, had been stuck at 95g for the longest time. She most probably had a stunted growth as the vet had determined malnutrition in her.

In addition to making sure her weight was fairly consistent (to indicate that she is eating regularly), I checked her keel bone condition to see if she is overweight, underweight, or just right. And in her case, it was just right, so it gives me peace of mind that her weight was just an indicative number and not the absolute factor to consider when determining her weight.

Assessing the keel bone is one of the best ways to tell if your parrot is carrying an appropriate amount of weight. Apart from the numerical value of a parrot’s weight, the keel bone needs to be taken into consideration when assessing the health condition of the bird. In a healthy, full-feathered parrot, the keel bone should not be visible through the feathers!

What is a Keel Bone

A keel bone is a part of a bird’s musculoskeletal system and it is located within its chest, running vertically down its body. It is an extension of its breastbone and is where their wing muscles are attached. It is a very important part of a bird’s body that helps a bird move – in flighted birds, it provides support for them to fly, and in flightless birds like penguins, it helps them to swim. In other flightless birds, the keel bone might not be very developed.

The blue part indicates the keel bone of a bird. Image source: Wikipedia. Image by I, Toony and is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license

How to Examine the Keel Bone

To assess the keel, hold the bird on its back using one hand. Run your fingers over the keel to feel the flesh. Move your fingers from side to side to feel the edge of the bone. Part the feathers of your bird and examine the flesh on either side separated by the keel bone.

The keel protrudes clearly if your bird is underweight. Your bird will feel bony and sharp along the keel and the flesh and muscles on each side of the bone tapers off sharply rather than feel round and fleshy, as in the case of a healthy bird.

You will find it difficult to feel the keel if your bird is too fat. Instead of feeling the keel, you will come across a cleavage. You can further examine your bird to ascertain if its really obese by parting the feathers to observe the keel area visually.

I found this particularly well-made and helpful visual guide on the keel bone and subcutaneous fats and muscles which should give you a good idea of what to expect when assessing your bird’s body condition. This image is not mine and is the work of a budding veterinarian.

Body condition chart by Raptors and Poultry on Tumblr.

Remember that not all birds with prominent keel bones depict sickness. Small birds including those who have just been weaned are skinny. Their keel bones are clearly visible. In this case, you should be aware of your bird’s age with your main goal of ensuring that it’s in a good condition. Nevertheless, the keel bone should not be overly projecting beyond the skin surface.

How Much Weight Loss is Too Much in a Parrot?

More than 2-3% weight loss indicates that your bird is unwell and you should start investigating the cause of weight change. It becomes a serious situation when your parrot loses more than 5% weight. You should then seek immediate help from a qualified veterinarian.

Knowing your parrot’s average weight helps you keep the bird healthy. You’ll be in a better position to realize any significant changes that require you to take action. Weight loss is usually more of a problem often caused by the following factors:

  • Lack of enough exercise. If your parrot does not exercise, the body won’t be able to control or maintain metabolism leading to weight loss.
  • Illness. A sick parrot loses weight and tries to hide it because it’s in their nature. So, it’s upon you to determine any health problems if you find out that your bird has lost weight. Initiate treatment immediately.
  • Improper diet. Your parrot will lose so much weight if you give him an imbalanced diet. Avoid meals lacking in variety, and don’t give your bird too- small quantity of food.

Parrots generally eat ½ to ¼ of their body weights each day. Give larger parrots ½ a cup of pellets per day while smaller parrots can handle ¼ cup of pellets every day. Don’t give them all the food at once. It’s important that you feed them adlib, that is you should give them small portions at a time.

Supplement your parrot with other varieties of food as well. Feed them bird seeds but do not exceed 2 teaspoons. Give them a dietary supplement of vegetables, fruits, and any protein source. Be careful not to underfeed. As much as you’re trying to help them gain weight, you should also be aware of potential weight gain overtime.

Too Much weight Loss is Harmful to Your Parrots

A little weight variation may not harm your parrot. However, failing to notice too much weight loss in your parrots is now the real danger. You cannot easily spot weight changes with a naked eye. You’ll need to weigh your birds consistently. Not all bird owners weigh their birds though.

According to most people, weight changes are something they can easily observe. Unfortunately, they only realize extreme weight loss when it’s already at a more worrying level making it difficult to save the bird.

Your parrot may not have the ability to find a solution to serious weight loss. Which is why the bird needs you to resolve it. Weight loss resulting from severe malnutrition or illness could lead to the following adverse effects:

  • Damage of the bird’s essential organs
  • The bird may feel uneasy as he’s in pain
  • Leads to further sicknesses
  • May cause death

How to Know if a Bird is Losing Too Much Weight

There are some other aspects you can check for to determine if your bird is losing weight. These features include:

  • General body weakness – e.g. unable to perch or balance itself properly, looking lethargic and not wanting to engage much
  • Breathing difficulties – e.g. breathing with its beak open, even when it is resting
  • Fluffed feathers – there are many reasons for fluffed feathers, not all of which are due to illness, but if your bird is fluffed up and lethargic most of the time, it’s not a good sign.
  • The bird becomes skinny – this should be observed via the keel bone rather than visually.

You can come up with a more accurate conclusion if you combine these signs with a weighing scale. Take heed of sudden weight loss. While gradual weight loss should be noted and checked, sudden weight loss portrays danger. It tells you that your parrot:

  • Is not eating
  • Is likely ill
  • Is not digesting properly the nutrients you provide

A bird exposed to some sort of stress undergoes gradual weight loss. Poor quality of food also leads to gradual loss of weight in birds.

Things that Can Affect Parrot Weight Measurements

Just like any other measurements, parrot weight measurements are also subject to errors. The errors could be random or methodical. Here are some of the things that causes weight variations in birds:

  • Feeding – Particularly with baby birds, their weights can be affected significantly after feeding. When I fed Freya (indian ringneck parakeet) during her fledging days, her weight could differ as much as 7-8 grams after feeding.
  • Breeding – Hens (female parrots) exhibit higher weights just before breeding and lower weights after breeding. Therefore, you pay attention to their breeding cycles.
  • Illness – Sickness affects weight measurements. A sick bird weighs less than usual as it might be eating less due to poor appetite, or too weak to climb over to its food bowl to eat. You’ll need to observe your bird closely as birds do have a habit of hiding illnesses.
  • Clipped Feathers – Birds with short feathers are generally slightly lighter in weight, although the difference should be minimal.
  • Bird is missing a body part – e.g. my conure, Bibi, has an amputated foot, which inevitably makes him a couple of grams lighter than a normal bird.
  • Time of weighing – Inconsistent time of weighing affects bird weight measurements, especially if you weigh them before meals and sometimes after meals.
  • Old weighing scale – With time, scales lose accuracy due to overuse resulting in wear and tear. An old weighing scale will give you different readings of parrot weight measurements unless you buy a new one.
  • Weighing scale is not laid flat – This will give you inaccurate readings as the parrot will move around in an attempt to gain stability; therefore, shifting the scale back and forth in the process.
  • Foreign objects on the weighing scale. Dirty scales that are not regularly cleaned build up weight due to foreign objects that can affect parrot weight measurements. Ensure your weighing scale is free from dirt and objects before weighing your parrot.
  • The accuracy of the weighing scale – Most weighing scales indicate their margin of error, for example, a large kitchen scale might be able to weigh down to 1 gram, but with an error margin of 2 grams. For large birds like macaws and cockatoos, this 2 grams difference would not be a huge impact. However, 2 grams in a parrotlet or budgie makes quite a notable difference. As my parrots are all medium or small-sized, I am using digital kitchen scales that weigh down to 0.1 grams with an error of 0.5 grams.
  • Improper alignment of the parrot on the weighing scale – Make sure that your parrot is well-positioned on the weighing scale every other time to avoid generating inaccurate readings. For example, if your parrot has only one foot on the scale, it does not place its full body weight on it.

Typical Parrot Weight Ranges (in grams, ounces and pounds)

Below is a table of typical weight ranges of more than 90 parrot species, listed in grams, ounces, and pounds, so you can choose your most familiar unit of measurement. These ranges are those of typical adult birds, so if you are finding that your young parrot falls below the range, don’t worry too much! Also, as mentioned earlier, weights are just numbers for references, so even if your fully-grown adult parrot does not fall within the range indicated, you will need to assess other aspects such as keel bone, etc. to determine if it is really underweight.

Parrot weights below were mostly obtained from World Parrot Trust.

AFRICAN GREY Congo African Grey Psittacus erithacus 380-554 g 13.4-19.5 oz 0.838-1.221 lbs
AFRICAN GREY Timneh African Grey Psittacus timneh 300-360 g 10.6-12.7 oz 0.661-0.794 lbs
AMAZON Puerto Rican Amazon Amazona vittata 250-300 g 8.8-10.6 oz 0.551-0.661 lbs
AMAZON St Vincent Amazon Amazona guildingii 580-700 g 20.5-24.7 oz 1.279-1.543 lbs
AMAZON Turquoise fronted/blue fronted Amazon Amazona aestiva 375-450 g 13.1-15.75 oz 0.827-0.992 lbs
AMAZON Yellow crowned Amazon Amazona ochrocephala 380-500 g 13.3-17.5 oz 0.838-1.102 lbs
AMAZON Yellow headed Amazon Amazona oratrix 500-540 g 17.6-19.0 oz 1.102-1.191 lbs
AMAZON Yellow naped Amazon Amazona auropalliata 480-550 g 17.0-19.5 oz 1.058-1.213 lbs
CAIQUE Black headed Caique Pionites melanocephalus 145-170 g 5.1-6.0 oz 0.320-0.375 lbs
CAIQUE White bellied Caique Pionites leucogaster 160-170 g 5.6-6.0 oz 0.353-0.375 lbs
COCKATIEL Cockatiel Nymphicus hollandicus 72-108 g 2.6-3.8 oz 0.159-0.238 lbs
COCKATOO Blue eyed Cockatoo Cacatua ophthalmica 500-570 g 17.5-19.9 oz 1.102-1.257 lbs
COCKATOO Galah Cockatoo Eolophus roseicapilla 270-400 g 9.5-14 oz 0.595-0.882 lbs
COCKATOO Lesser Sulfur crested/Yellow Cockatoo Cacatua sulphurea 308-380 g 10.8-13.3 oz 0.679-0.838 lbs
COCKATOO Major Mitchell's/Pink Cockatoo Lophochroa leadbeateri 340-425 g 12.0-14.9 oz 0.750-0.937 lbs
COCKATOO Moluccan/Salmon crested Cockatoo Cacatua moluccensis 775-935 g 27.1-32.7 oz 1.709-2.061 lbs
COCKATOO Palm Cockatoo Probosciger aterrimus 910-1200 g 31.8-42.0 oz 2.006-2.646 lbs
COCKATOO Sulfur crested Cockatoo Cacatua galerita 815-975 g 28.5-34.1 oz 1.800-2.150 lbs
COCKATOO White/Umbrella Cockatoo Cacatua alba around 550 g� around 19.25 oz around 1.213 lbs
CONURE Red masked Conure Psittacara erythrogenys 165-200 g 5.8-7.0 oz 0.364-0.441 lbs
CONURE Black capped/Rock Conure Pyrrhura rupicola around 70 g around 2.45 oz around 0.154 lbs
CONURE Blue crowned Conure Aratinga acuticaudata 160-170 g 5.6-6.0 oz 0.353-0.375 lbs
CONURE Crimson bellied Conure Pyrrhura perlata 85-94 g 3.0-3.3 oz 0.187-0.207 lbs
CONURE Dusky headed Conure Aratinga weddellii 95-115 g 3.3-4.0 oz 0.209-0.254 lbs
CONURE Golden/Queen of Bavaria Conure Guaruba guarouba around 270 g around 9.5 oz around 0.595 lbs
CONURE Golden capped/Golden headed Conure Aratinga auricapillus 140-150g 4.9-5.3 oz 0.309-0.331 lbs
CONURE Green cheeked Conure Pyrrhura molinae 60-80 g 2.1-2.8 oz 0.132-0.176 lbs
CONURE Jenday/Jandaya Conure Aratinga jandaya 125-140 g 4.3-4.9 oz 0.276-0.309 lbs
CONURE Half moon/Orange fronted Conure Eupsittula canicularis 70-75 g 2.4-2.6 oz 0.154-0.165 lbs
CONURE Maroon bellied Conure Pyrrhura frontalis 72-94 g 2.5-3.3 oz 0.159-0.207 lbs
CONURE Mitred Conure Psittacara mitratus 200-240 g 7.0-8.4 oz 0.441-0.529 lbs
CONURE Nanday Conure Aratinga nenday around 140 g around 5.0 oz around 0.309 lbs
CONURE Painted Conure Pyrrhura picta 54-70 g 1.9-2.5 oz 0.119-0.154 lbs
CONURE Patagonian Conure Cyanoliseus patagonus patagonus 256-281 g 9.0-10.0 oz 0.564-0.619 lbs
CONURE Greater Patagonian Conure Cyanoliseus patagonus bloxami 315-390 g 11.0-13.6 oz 0.694-0.860 lbs
CONURE Pearly Conure Pyrrhura lepida around 70 g around 2.4 oz around 0.154 lbs
CONURE Sun Conure Aratinga solstitialis 120-130 g 4.2-4.5 oz 0.265-0.287 lbs
CONURE White eyed Conure Psittacara leucophthalmus 140-170 g 5.0-6.0 oz 0.276-0.375 lbs
CORELLA Little/Bare eyed Corella Cacatua sanguinea 350-530 g 12.25-18.5 oz 0.772-1.168 lbs
CORELLA Tanimbar/Goffin's Corella Cacatua goffiniana around 300 g around 10.5 oz around 0.661 lbs
CORELLA Western Corella Cacatua pastinator 700-860 g 24.5-30.1 oz 1.543-1.896 lbs
KAKARIKI Red fronted/Red crowned Kakariki Cyanoramphus�novaezelandiae 90-110 g 3.2-3.9 oz 0.198-0.243 lbs
KEA Kea Nestor notabilis 950-1050 g 33.5-37 oz 2.094-2.315 lbs
LORIKEET Rainbow Lorikeet Trichoglossus moluccanus 120-140 g 4.2-4.9 oz 0.265-0.309 lbs
LORY Blue streaked Lory Eos reticulata 155-165 g 5.5-5.8 oz 0.342-0.364 lbs
LORY Chattering Lory Lorius garrulus 180-220 g 6.3-7.8 oz 0.397-0.485 lbs
LORY Dusky Lory Pseudeos fuscata 150-160 g 5.3-5.6 oz 0.331-0.353 lbs
LORY Red Lory Eos bornea 168-172 g 5.9-6.1 oz 0.370-0.379 lbs
LOVEBIRD Fischer's Lovebird Agapornis fischeri 48-52 g 1.7-1.8 oz 0.106-0.115 lbs
LOVEBIRD Madagascar/Grey headed Lovebird Agapornis canus 30-36 g 1.1-1.3 oz 0.066-0.079 lbs
LOVEBIRD Masked/Yellow collared Lovebird Agapornis personatus 50-68 g 1.8-2.4 oz 0.110-0.150 lbs
LOVEBIRD Peach faced/Rosy faced Lovebird Agapornis roseicollis 45-70 g 1.6-2.5 oz 0.099-0.154 lbs
MACAW Blue and yellow/Blue and gold Macaw Ara ararauna 1040-1286 g 36.4-45 oz 2.293-2.835 lbs
MACAW Blue throated Macaw Ara glaucogularis around 750 g around 26.2 oz around 1.653 lbs
MACAW Blue winged/Illiger's Macaw Primolius maracana around 265 g around 9.2 oz around 0.584 lbs
MACAW Hahn's/Red shouldered Macaw Diopsittaca nobilis 130-170 g 4.5-6.0 oz 0.287-0.375 lbs
MACAW Hyacinth Macaw Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus 1200-1450 g 42.0-50.6 oz 2.646-3.197 lbs
MACAW Little Blue/Spix's Macaw Cyanopsitta spixii around 360 g around 12.6 oz around 0.794 lbs
MACAW Military Macaw Ara militaris around 900 g around 31.5 oz around 1.984 lbs
MACAW Red and green/Green winged Macaw Ara chloropterus 1050-1320 g 36.75-46.2 oz 2.315-2.91 lbs
MACAW Scarlet Macaw Ara macao 1060-1123 g 37.1-39.3 oz 2.337-2.476 lbs
MACAW Severe/Chestnut fronted Macaw Ara severa 307-387 g 10.7-13.5 oz 0.677-0.853 lbs
PARROT (OTHER) Meyer's Parrot Poicephalus meyeri 120-132 g 4.2-4.7 oz 0.265-0.291 lbs
PARROT (OTHER) Brown headed Parrot Poicephalus cryptoxanthus 120-130 g 4.2-4.6 oz 0.265-0.287 lbs
PARROT (OTHER) Cape Parrot Poicephalus robustus 125-137 g 4.4-4.8 oz 0.276-0.302 lbs
PARROT (OTHER) Great billed/Moluccan Parrot Tanygnathus megalorynchos 248-272 g 8.7-9.6 oz 0.547-0.600 lbs
PARROT (OTHER) Greater Vasa Parrot Coracopsis vasa 462-498 g 16.3-17.6 oz 1.019-1.098 lbs
PARROT (OTHER) Hawk headed/Red fan Parrot Deroptyus accipitrinus 220-280 g 7.8-9.9 oz 0.485-0.617 lbs
PARROT (OTHER) Jardine's/Red fronted Parrot Poicephalus gulielmi 180-220 g 6.3-7.8 oz 0.397-0.485 lbs
PARROT (OTHER) Lesser Vasa Parrot Coracopsis nigra 268-292 g 9.5-10.3 oz 0.591-0.644 lbs
PARROT (OTHER) Pesquet?s Parrot Psittrichas fulgidus 672-728 g 23.7-25.7 oz 1.482-1.605 lbs
PARROT (OTHER) Red bellied Parrot Poicephalus rufiventris 120-130 g 4.2-4.6 oz 0.265-0.287 lbs
PARROT (OTHER) Senegal Parrot Poicephalus senegalus 110-130 g 3.9-4.6 oz 0.243-0.287 lbs
PARAKEET African Ringneck Parakeet Psittacula krameri 100-110 g 3.5-3.9 oz 0.220-0.243 lbs
PARAKEET Alexandrine Parakeet Psittacula eupatria 240-260 g 8.5-9.2 oz 0.529-0.573 lbs
PARAKEET Barraband's/Superb Parakeet Polytelis swainsonii 140-152 g 4.9-5.4 oz 0.309-0.335 lbs
PARAKEET Bourke?s Parakeet Neophema bourkii 50-75 g 1.8-2.6 oz 0.110-0.165 lbs
PARAKEET Budgerigar Parakeet Melopsittacus undulatus 25-60 g 0.9-2.1 oz 0.055-0.132 lbs
PARAKEET Canary winged Parakeet Brotogeris versicoluris 70-85 g 2.5-3.0 oz 0.154-0.187 lbs
PARAKEET Crimson Rosella Parakeet Platycercus elegans 145-155 g 5.1-5.5 oz 0.320-0.342 lbs
PARAKEET Derbyan Parakeet Psittacula derbiana 320-350 g 11.3-12.3 oz 0.705-0.772 lbs
PARAKEET Golden mantled rosella/Eastern rosella Parakeet Platycercus eximius 900-1100 g 31.7-38.8 oz 1.984-2.425 lbs
PARAKEET Grey cheeked Parakeet Brotogeris pyrrhoptera 45-60 g 1.6-2.1 oz 0.099-0.132 lbs
PARAKEET Indian Ringneck/Rose ringed Parakeet Psittacula krameri 110-120 g 3.9-4.2 oz 0.243-0.265 lbs
PARAKEET Monk/Quaker Parakeet Myiopsitta monachus 90-150 g 3.2-5.3 oz 0.198-0.331 lbs
PARAKEET Moustache Parakeet Psittacula alexandri alexandri 110-140 g 3.9-4.9 oz 0.243-0.309 lbs
PARAKEET Plum headed Parakeet Psittacula cyanocephala 85-95 g 3.0-3.4 oz 0.187-0.209 lbs
PARAKEET Red rumped Parakeet Psephotus haematonotus 50-70 g 1.8-2.5 oz 0.110-0.154 lbs
PARAKEET Scarlet chested Parakeet Neophema splendida 40-52 g 1.4-1.8 oz 0.088-0.115 lbs
PARROTLET Pacific Parrotlet Forpus coelestis 31-34 g 1.1-1.2 oz 0.068-0.075 lbs
PIONUS Blue headed Pionus Pionus menstruus 230-260 g 8.1-9.2 oz 0.507-0.573 lbs
PIONUS Bronze winged Pionus Pionus chalcopterus 210 -240 g 7.4-8.5 oz 0.463-0.529 lbs
PIONUS Dusky Pionus Pionus fuscus 190-210 g 6.7-7.4 oz 0.419-0.463 lbs
PIONUS White capped Pionus Pionus senilis 180-200 g 6.3-7.1 oz 0.397-0.441 lbs

Why is My Parrot So Skinny?

It’s important to always check the keel bone to keep an eye on the weight of your bird. Having realized that your parrot is so skinny is a good observation on your part, that shows you’re closely monitoring him. Here are three possible causes of parrot’s underweight that you might want to look into.

1. Malnutrition

Birds become malnourished when:

  • They are underfed – A parrot that is not fed enough food each day becomes skinny. This disrupts the bird’s metabolism, which in turn causes the body to have insufficient nutrients needed for the parrot to stay healthy.
  • They are given an imbalanced diet – Many parrot owners still rely on an all-seed diet. If you feed them seeds entirely, the bird will not be able to get all the essential nutrients he requires. A parrot should be fed a variety of nutrients that consist of vegetables, fruits, pellets, and grains. Change the diet if you notice lower rate consumption.
  • They are offered heavily processed foods. Too much processed foods leads to serious health issues in birds. Apart from potential toxins in such foods, if the bird is full from eating unhealthy junk food, it might not be interested to eat its fresh greens and pellets anymore. The bird ends up getting an incorrectly balanced diet resulting in poor growth and development.
  • They are given food with many available options – A parrot will choose what it wants. They know nothing about a balanced diet. If you notice your parrot favoring only certain types of food in its bowl, consider mixing the food ratios up a bit to encourage it to eat healthier options.
  • They are offered a diet with too many nutrients – Some people think it’s more advantageous to the birds if you supplement excess nutrients such as vitamins and minerals. Unfortunately, the body does not process the extra nutrients and the bird ends up losing weight due to improper digestion. The digestive tract is unable to extract the necessary nutrients due to the overload its experiencing from too many ingested nutrients. This leads to the imbalances of gut bacteria required during the digestion process, or worse, toxicities as a result of abnormally high levels of vitamins or minerals.

2. Illnesses

Many diseases may lead to weight loss in birds. A sick bird does not feed well; therefore, loses a lot of weight. Birds are good at hiding how they feel, so you should always take note of their weight changes even if it’s slight.

Some birds will continue eating normally even when sick. But they’d still look skinny. This is evident with avian tuberculosis, a disease that transmits through bird’s dropping. There’s no treatment for avian tuberculosis. You’ll only have to accord your sick bird some special care and separate the infected ones from the uninfected.

The good thing is that you can prevent the disease through constant cleaning of the cage and proper disposal of the droppings. Avoid letting your parrot interact with wild birds by all means.

Apart from loss of weight, the following are some of the signs you should look for if you suspect that your bird is skinny due to sickness.

  • Changes in eating habits
  • Poor water intake
  • More sleep
  • Drooping feathers
  • General body weakness
  • The bird is more irritable than before
  • Dull feathers

Always remember that improper diet highly contributes to most of the bird’s sicknesses. Make sure you supplement a quality diet to promote health and growth. Consult with your veterinarian if you’re unsure of what your bird is suffering from.

Illnesses develop rapidly, so don’t delay. There’s a possibility your vet may be able to diagnose and save your bird if you consult with him earlier than later

3. Birds become skinny when scared

Birds pull their feathers close to their bodies when nervous making them look skinny. They use body language to communicate to us what’s going on. In the picture below, Loki looks rather chubby normally (left), but her feathers flatten against her skin when she is afraid, making her look instantly skinny (right)!

Left – Loki in “neutral” relaxed mode. Right – Loki in “skinny” fearful mode. I don’t remember what happened that day which made her so afraid.

4. Temperature changes

Birds tend to hold out their wings when it’s too hot, in an attempt to cool their bodies. This gives them a skinny look which can surprise some owners. It might also look like he’s exhibiting open mouth breathing . The bird may look stressed out and if you don’t observe him carefully, you’d think the bird is really sick.

In the photo below, Freya, as with typical Indian ringneck parakeets, has a relatively long torso. The image on the left shows her in a neutral posture, perching on the stand. The image on the right shows Freya after flying several laps around the house on a hot and humid day, coupled with a rather unflattering camera angle! With no context, someone might have thought that she was malnourished! In that image, her beak was slightly open as she was panting from the workout, her feathers are pressed tightly against her body, making her look even slimmer than usual, and her wings are slightly held away from her body, as she is attempting to cool herself down.

Left – Freya in “neutral” mode, right – Freya in “post-workout” mode on a hot day

How to Make My Bird Lose Weight

Fat birds do exist. Just like in human beings, being overweight in birds can be debilitating. How a bird becomes too fat is quite simple, too many calories, too little exercising and you could be looking at a greater risk of obesity.

Genetics is also another major factor when it comes to overweight birds. Some birds, such as cockatoos, parakateers, and amazon parrots, are more likely to gain more weight as compared to the rest.

Obesity is quite risky to birds as it can lead to serious health problems. Here’s what you can do to prevent your bird from becoming overweight or reverse obesity.

1. Increase the level of your bird’s activity

You can enhance the activity of the birds by:

  • Increasing the size of the cage to ensure that your birds get an opportunity to exercise more.
  • Plan for activities outside the cage, be it free flying time around the house (with windows and doors shut, of course), free flying outside the house (if your bird is properly trained to return to you upon command), or having a large outdoor aviary where they can fly freely and safely within it.
  • Buying toys for birds to play with. Change the toys once in a while to provide novelty and discourage boredom. Some toys that require the bird to hang sideways or upside down can help them train their grip and muscles.
  • Place their food on the furthest corner of the cage from where the bird usually perches. The bird will be forced to move around the cage to feed. Only make sure that your bird finds where you placed his food.

2. Change the bird’s diet

Change from a regular diet to a specially formulated one, such as low fat pellets. This won’t be easy, especially for those birds used to foods rich in fats. Introduce the formulated diet gradually by decreasing the ratio of existing food over time, and increasing the ratio of the new, low-fat option accordingly.

Homemade mixes such as fresh “chops” (chopped fruits and veggies) is also recommended. Rather than feeding your bird an all-seed diet, you can mix a well-balanced food for him. Seek advice from an avian nutritionist before attempting any dietary changes that involve complex formulations or supplements. Also keep in mind what are safe or unsafe foods for your bird when offering them a wide variety of options.

How to Know if Your Bird is Recovering from Overweight

The recovery of obese birds varies based on the breed, their age, other general health problems, and how long the bird has been overweight. The best way to know if your bird is recovering from obesity is by weighing him.

Feeling the keel bone also helps a lot in determining the obesity of the bird. In an obese bird, the keel bone is often not palpable but rather, fleshy masses are more prominent. As the bird gradually loses weight, you may be able to start feeling a hint of the keel bone, and the chest muscles on either side of the keel will reduce in size.

Check if your bird still gets out of breath while exercising. If he doesn’t then it is likely that it has gotten healthier and has better stamina!

How to Make my Bird Gain Weight

There are quite a lot of things you can do to help your bird gain weight, but first you need to find out why he’s losing weight in the first place. You should take your bird to an avian vet for a full check-up to identify the reason for weight loss.

Chances are, your vet may be able to identify the cause of bird weight loss and would recommend some few things other than just medication. Just as mentioned earlier, most birds lose weight due to illnesses and malnutrition.

Here’s how you can help your parrot gain weight:

1. Change your bird’s diet

You may not have to change the entire diet, but you can introduce various nutrients that are rich in calories. Some of the foods that have been proven to help birds gain weight include:

  • Nuts – Including nuts in a bird’s diet ensure that the birds get enough proteins and calories. Calories improve energy levels needed for weight gain. As much as you want to help your bird gain weight, you should be careful not to overfeed it with nuts as it may lead to nutritional deficiencies. Always avoid salted nuts. Too much salt is harmful to birds. Salt can affect the balance of fluids in parrot’s bodies leading to extreme dehydration.
  • Seeds, such as millets, sunflower seeds, safflower seeds, etc. – Offer your bird some extra seeds either as part of the diet or as one of the treats. Seeds are packed with proteins and fats, and will enable your bird to gain additional weight over time. Some seeds, such as sunflower seeds, also contain various elements, such as vitamins and magnesium that helps in further absorption of nutrients.
  • Sprouted seeds – Even better, sprout the seeds and offer them to your bird. Many seed addicts have been trained to accept fresh vegetables in this way. Sprouted seeds are highly nutritious, as a lot of the fat stored in the seed’s reserves have been converted to other forms when the seed is sprouting. If your bird finds only seeds palatable, offering them sprouted seeds offers a higher chance of the bird accepting to eat them, while not risking unhealthy weight gain via a high-fat diet.

2. Exercise Your Bird

An inactive bird consistently loses weight even with the new diet. Allow your bird to exercise to facilitate balanced metabolism of fatty acids. Physical activity also plays a key role in digestion. More exercises enhance breakdown of nutrients for absorption.

Parrots may lose weight despite not being sick. Such birds require the right amount of exercise in addition to proper nutrition in order for them to get back to their ideal weights. Weigh your bird daily or twice a week to make sure he’s right on track. Consult with your vet if your bird is not gaining weight at all.

Final Notes

In conclusion, weighing your bird regularly is always a good practice to monitor their body condition. You should:

  • Use a digital scale with appropriate error ranges according to the size of your bird
  • Weigh your bird regularly – once a week is my personal recommendation
  • Weigh your bird daily if it is a baby bird as you need to monitor its growth, or if it is an adult but you suspect some potential health issues
  • Keep a record of measured weights and the dates measured in case reference needs to be made later on
  • Be aware of typical weight ranges of your bird’s species, but not overly rely on it to judge whether your bird is healthy or not

However, it is not the one and only way to determine a bird’s health. In combination with other observations, such as keel bone observations, behavior, feeding habits, and even regular vet visits, knowing your bird’s weight can provide an all-rounded picture of your bird’s body condition.


Clubb, S., Velez, J., Zaias, J., Garner, M. M., & Cray, C. (2015). Health and Reproductive Assessment Of Selected Puerto Rican Parrots (Amazona Vittata). AFA Watchbird, 43(1 & 2), 12-23.

Forshaw, J. M. PARROTS IN PROFILE the Scarletchested Parrot. AFA Watchbird, 28(4), 4-5+.

Harrington, M. (2014). Speaking of psittacine research. Lab animal, 43(10), 343-343.

Jones, C. (2016). Care of psittacine birds: advice on basic principles part.

Petzinger, C., Heatley, J. J., & Bauer, J. E. (2015). Growth curves and their implications in hand-fed Monk parrots (Myiopsittamonachus). Veterinary Medicine: Research and Reports, 6, 321.

Ravich, M., Cray, C., Hess, L., &Arheart, K. L. (2014). Lipid panel reference intervals for Amazon parrots (Amazona species). Journal of avian medicine and surgery, 28(3), 209-215. Vapniarsky, N., Barr, B. C., & Murphy, B. (2012). Systemic Coxiella-like infection with myocarditis and hepatitis in an eclectus parrot (Eclectusroratus). Veterinary pathology, 49(4), 717-722.

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