Can Birds Have Down Syndrome? Do They Get Depressed

Every bird has certain behavior that they exhibit throughout their lives. The behavior signifies the state of their health physically and mentally. 

When birds behave quite unusually or different from their normal behavior, people may wonder about many reasons that may relate to it. The two among all is- Can birds have down syndrome? Or Do they get depressed?

Can Birds Have Down Syndrome?

Birds might appear disabled or not have an absolute cognitive function. But it is not due to down syndrome in birds as birds cannot have down syndrome. 

Down syndrome is solely related to humans and cannot be found in animals or birds. You may see similar symptoms in birds to that of the symptoms of down syndrome in humans but, birds can’t have down syndrome. 

The signs that usually are seen in birds include:

  • Physical disability
  • Digestive issues
  • Inability to produce sound
  • Weak muscle tone
  • A different way of eating
  • Decreased cognitive function
  • Inability to respond

These signs may occur due to different reasons. Thus, it’s important to understand what the bird is going through and then find the solution. Taking it to a vet is most important for birds’ recovery. Good care will help the bird to recover soon.

Why can’t birds have Down Syndrome?

Birds cannot have Down Syndrome because of different genetic composition and build up than humans. The number of chromosomes in birds is 80 which is far more than the number of chromosomes humans have. 

The genetic makeup of birds has many other differences that make it impossible for birds to have down syndrome. Down syndrome in humans is a condition that occurs when the abnormal cell division results in the extra copy of their chromosome 21.  

Even if there is an abnormality in the cell division of birds, the effect cannot be the same as humans. Therefore, it cannot be considered as Down Syndrome. 

Do birds get depressed? 

Birds are capable of getting depression similarly to humans. Depression in birds and even other animals is quite common. Depression is as harmful to their health as it is for humans. 

Prolonged depression in birds even leads to their death or severe health problems. Birds are capable of understanding emotions. When anything troubles their mental sanity, they become depressed and less lively. 

However, depression in birds can be cured by taking proper guidance from an avian veterinarian. The small changes can make the birds happy and cheerful again.

What causes depression in birds? 

There are many causes of depression in birds which can be physical and mental. The most common mental stresses include environmental changes such as moving into a new habitat, threatening and loud noises, the color of their surroundings, or change of the location of pet birds’ cage.

The other causes that can cause stress to birds are illness, boredom, death of a partner, or anything that changes their normal routine. When birds do not get something according to their habit, become depressed or unhappy.

Related Read: Can You Keep Birds In Cages? | Birds In Cages | Are There Any Exceptions?

What are the symptoms of depression in birds?

The symptoms of depression in birds include changes in their usual activity. You can compare the behavior of birds with the symptoms to know whether the bird is depressed or not. Here’s a list of symptoms of depression that are common in birds.

  • Aggression
  • Stress bars on their feathers
  • Decreased appetite
  • Change in droppings
  • Change in vocalizations 
  • Feather picking
  • Self-mutilation
  • Fluffed feathers
  • Screaming 
  • Constant head bobbing

The signs of stress can be similar to those of other diseases. Hence, it is better to visit an avian veterinarian to find the root cause of these symptoms in the bird. 

How to help a stressed bird? 

There are several ways to help a stressed bird. Once you find the cause of their stress, it becomes easier to help the bird get back to its chirpy self. To know the cause, the essential thing to do foremost is to visit an avian veterinarian. 

The other ways to help a stressed bird are as follows:

  • The position of their cage can be changed if it is placed in a dark or deserted area. 
  • Provide birds with new toys frequently for their adequate mental stimulation. 
  • Make sure that the bird gets your attention promptly and spend some time out of the cage every day. You can play with the bird or simply a walk on your shoulder is enough to make your bird happy. 
  • Clean your bird’s cage properly and make sure to provide them with clean food and water.
  • Getting a companion bird can help your bird to come out of the blues.
  • Make sure that the bird’s cage is away from the windows as loud noises may disturb or frighten birds.


Birds may not have a proper cognitive function or be born disabled but they cannot have Down Syndrome. These complicated and smart creatures may behave unusually if they get depression. Recognizing the symptoms and then visiting a vet is necessary to bring them back to their normal self. Taking good care and giving attention helps in the bird’s depression.

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