Skip to Content

Cockatiel Holding One Wing Out [4 Reasons Explained]

Cockatiel Holding One Wing Out [4 Reasons Explained]

Understanding the body language of your cockatiel is very important as it will make it easy for you to tell when it is healthy or sick. In this article, we will take a look at what it means when your cockatiel lifts one of its wings.

Why does a cockatiel hold one wing out?

Cockatiels will keep on holding one of their wings out due to happiness, ataxia, injury, or infection. You should take your cockatiel to the vet for a proper diagnosis and treatment.

Why is my bird holding up one wing?

Displaying happiness

One of the ways cockatiels show happiness is by spreading their wings and at times lifting one leg. If your cockatiel is happy and healthy it will on most occasions lift one leg and wing, and then alternate lifting its legs and wings as it makes some noises.

Generally, cockatiels will do this when they have bonded with their owners, especially when the owner walks into the room after a prolonged absence.

However, it becomes a concern when cockatiels lift one wing continuously.


Ataxia is a condition that affects the coordination of the musculoskeletal system and nervous system. Ataxia affects the inner ear, brain, or spinal cord in the nervous system.

This affects the ability of the brain to coordinate movement. Additionally, with the damage to the musculoskeletal system, the signals from the brain are not transmitted properly leading to uncoordinated movements.

Damage to the musculoskeletal system leads to poor coordination of the muscles. When a cockatiel is suffering from ataxia you may experience uncoordinated use of its legs or wings.

The good news is ataxia is actually treatable when diagnosed early.

You should take your cockatiel to the vet immediately if you realize it is suffering from coordination of its limbs.

Causes of Ataxia

Ataxia generally is a secondary symptom of an underlying problem affecting the musculoskeletal and nervous systems.

Ataxia is diagnosed as one of the first signs of damage to the spinal cord or nerve damage.

One of the symptoms of damage to the spinal cord is the uncoordinated movement of the affected appendages.

Deficiencies of nutrients such as selenium, calcium, and vitamin E have also been associated with Ataxia.

Injuries or infection

If your cockatiels have been injured either by another cockatiel through a fight. You may notice it lifting one of the hurt wings.

At this point, you should seek the services of a vet, to identify the injured part and offer treatment.

You should also be able to identify the cause of the injury, so as to avoid future injuries.

Another reason your cockatiel could be holding out one wing is an injury to one or more of its feathers such that in the natural position of the feather the cockatiel feels uncomfortable.

Naturally, all the feathers of the cockatiel should be lying parallel to the body, when you notice a sticking feather, you should have a vet take a look at the bird.


There are several possible reasons why your cockatiel could be holding one wing out. Therefore, you should have a vet take a look to determine the cause and the best form of treatment.