Do you know why my bird would drop dead after no signs of being sick?

Birds hide their symptoms so in actuality there may have been some underlying illness.

Birds also have heart attacks and stroke – they have a lot of heart disease, and that may be what happened.

Without a necropsy (autopsy) there is no way to know what caused the death.

Answered by Cathy Johnson-Delaney, DVM, Dipl. ABVP-Avian Practice, Dipl. ABVP-Exotic Companion Mammals. 


  1. In the case of a sudden death in your flock, I would immediately quarantine any birds who have come into contact with them and remove the one who has passed away for a later necropsy.

    I know that all hobbyists who experience this want to ensure that it doesn’t happen again. There are many possibilities as Dr. Cathy has said above and the only way to be sure is to have the bird checked.

    Here is an excerpt from a LGF article regarding sudden deaths in Finches:
    “Any of the following could cause sudden death: night frights, poisoning, heatstroke, acute disease, coccidiosis, collision in flight with a larger bird, heart attack, stroke, lack of water or food due to introducing a new bird to unfamiliar surroundings late in the day.”

    Other causes I have heard of or seen first-hand include lack of proper nutrients, extreme depression or stress leading to a lack of appetite/mobility. Reasons for this may include the loss of a mate or companion.

    Something else to think about – inbreeding will also cause early hatchling death or sudden death in a juvenile or young Zebra Finch. “Inbreeding typically reduces fitness. Related partners may fail to reproduce and any inbred offspring may die early or fail to reproduce themselves. Here we show that inbreeding causes early death in the zebra finch Taeniopygia guttata, and among inbred individuals of the same inbreeding coefficient (F), those that die early are more homozygous (estimated from single nucleotide polymorphisms) than those that survive to adulthood.”

  2. Pingback: Sudden Finch Death ~ A Surprisingly Common Issue | The White Finch Aviary

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Jessica Kenley

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