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Why Do Birds Puff Up

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why do birds puff up

Every passionate birder will feel accomplished the moment they see birds visiting in their backyard. The playing and constant movement, sounds, and feeding habits are worth every moment to watch the birds. But sometimes, you will see the bird’s feathers puff up, which is ultimately a unique experience.

So, why do birds puff up? The birds puff up because of behavioral and health reasons. When the birds feel cold, sleepy, or upset, it causes their feathers to fluff up naturally. This article will list different reasons behind puffing up the bird’s feathers.


Why Do Birds Puff Up

Keeping Their Body Warm

If you are asking yourself why is my bird puffed up, the primary reason why the birds puff up is to keep their body warm. This situation usually happens in the colder months or during the winter season. You will see the birds fluffing their feathers to maintain the warmness in the body.

When the birds feel chilly, especially in the winter, puffing is the best way for them to keep warm. When they fluff their feathers, it will trap the air to make them warmer. The more they trap air into their body, the warmer they feel.

When the temperature reaches 40 degrees Fahrenheit, it might be too cold for the birds. Most of these birds will go to a shelter for them to keep a warm body. But they also fluff their feathers to provide extra heating to their body.

You will also see the birds puffing or fluffing their feathers in the wild. When they spread them, it also allows them to regulate their body temperature. The role of the feather is to provide insulation and is usually coated with oil which protects it from the cold.

The Bird is Sick

When the bird is sick, they also tend to puff up. This situation is a more serious reason for the birds to fluff up their feathers. When they are not feeling well, the initial thing they do is puff up their feathers. They might be in serious condition when they just sit throughout the day while puffing up and bobbing their tails.

Typically, birds tend to hide their sickness. However, they sometimes show symptoms when they are not feeling well, such as when the birds fluff their feathers or will not eat the foods that they usually eat.

So, if you feel that the bird is puffing because they are seriously sick, it is best to bring them to the veterinarian immediately. This step is essential to have them receive immediate medical care and prevent the situation from going out of hand.

The Bird Feels Relax or Sleepy

Why do birds fluff their feathers? Birds puff up their feathers because they are trying to relax or prepare to get sleep. This situation usually happens during the night. When the birds look fluffed up, they are ready to take a nap. Also, when they puff up their feathers, they are getting ready to sleep at night.

Birds also usually puff their feathers when they feel drowsy and trying to relax. When they feel excited or feeling anxious, they will try to puff up their feathers to get off the steam and relax. When they puff up when you are with them, it is probably because they are relaxed with you and trying to be affectionate.

Birds Puff Up After Preening or Taking a Bath

why do birds fluff their feathers

The birds will also puff up after preening or taking a bath. They will usually do it to help remove the excess dirt while also eliminating any water left in their body. Their action will also allow them to access their softer feathers which help insulate their body after taking a bath.

After taking a bath, birds also like to be exposed to the sun, especially in the morning. This activity will also cause the birds to fluff up their feathers while exposing themselves to the sun. This action will increase their body temperature while also keeping them insulated.

The Bird is Angry and Feeling Upset

The bird also puffs up when they are angry. It usually happens when the birds are attacked or feel threatened. The fluffing will be more evident since the feathers tend to stick out. Once they do the fluffing, it will serve as a signal that they are on the defensive and will usually make the attackers turn away.

Puffing feathers is also a sign that the pet is upset about something. This action also combines with other body signals, such as the bird’s wings being distant from the body. The birds also twist their tails when they are upset.

The Bird Want to Look Bigger

Sometimes, the bird puffs up when they want to look bigger. This situation usually happens when the birds feel threatened, or there are attackers near them. Trying to look bigger by trying the puff up is typically a form of defense mechanism that they usually do to intimidate predators or even bird competitors.

Other male bird species want to look bigger to attract female birds. This situation usually happens during the mating season. They want to look big in the eyes of the female birds to make an impression as they try to lure the female birds into being their mate.


Why do birds puff up? There are many reasons why it happens, as presented in this article. Knowing these various reasons why it happens will give you an idea of what is happening to your bird. For example, you will know that birds are sick when they puff up. This bird habit will help you learn what the bird feels or what is the bird’s health status.

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