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If your pet bird is coughing, she is probably mimicking you.

Margaret A. Wissman, DVM
Posted: December 14, 2013, 11:30 p.m. PST


Since birds do not possess a diaphragm or vocal cords, it is technically impossible for them to cough. A cough requires a deep breath in followed by the vocal cords being closed and along with other processes, the diaphragm contracts before the vocal cords are then opened, releasing the air and unwanted mucus or other foreign material.


Woman with kitten
By Gina Cioli/BowTie Studio/Courtesy Jennifer Ketchersid
If your bird is making a coughing sound, it is probably mimicking you.
What sounds like a cough coming from your bird is likely a mimic of a cough that the bird picked up from someone in the household. For information on more serious health problems that may resemble coughing, refer to the section on choking.

Disclaimer:’s Bird Health Index is intended for educational purposes only. It is not meant to replace the expertise and experience of a professional veterinarian. Do not use the information presented here to make decisions about your bird’s health if you suspect your pet is sick. If your pet is showing signs of illness or you notice changes in your bird’s behavior, take your pet to the nearest veterinarian or an emergency pet clinic as soon as possible.

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