How Do Birds Get Rid of Excess Heat?

Birds rely on methods other than sweating to keep their bodies cool.
Birds rely on methods other than sweating to keep their bodies cool. (Image: Photodisc/Photodisc/Getty Images)

Unlike humans, birds do not have sweat glands to help expel heat from their feathery bodies. Fortunately, birds have other ways to keep cool when temperatures rise during the scorching months of summer. And with a little extra help from you, your bird can stay content and relaxed at a comfortable temperature.


A bird, much like a dog, will pant to rid his body of excess heat. When a bird breathes rapidly, he inhales cooler air into his lungs and exhales hot air away from his body. If you see your bird sitting with his mouth open when temperatures in his environment are higher, he probably is panting to cool himself. You also might notice an increased respiratory rate.

Feathers and Wings

A bird might puff out his feathers in order to let cool air reach his skin when he's feeling hot. Birds like to do this when there is a cool breeze in the air. Another way a bird will rid his body of excess heat is by taking a refreshing bath in water. The water helps keep the feathers and skin cool.

A bird also might hold his wings away from his body when he is hot, which helps to lower his body temperature and allows cool air to reach the skin under his wings.

Body Temperature

The normal body temperature of a bird is about 107 degrees, which is higher than the body temperature of most mammals. They are better suited to warmer climates than many people might expect.

Birds do not do well in extreme temperature changes, however. If a bird is suddenly removed from an air-conditioned home and put outdoors in very hot conditions, he might not be able to adjust to the extreme temperature change well. If a bird is left to adjust gradually to his environmental temperatures, it is possible that he might be able to withstand warmer environments.

Human Help

Provide shade for your bird, especially if he stays in an outdoor aviary. If your bird stays indoors, do not place him in a window with direct sunlight from which he cannot get relief.

Provide your bird with a shallow dish in the bottom of his cage for bathing. You also can mist him with a spray bottle filled with water. You don't need to soak his feathers, just dampen them. You can let him dry between misting sessions. Watch for signs that he is hot, such as panting, to know when you should mist him again.

An air-conditioned home is the best method for keeping a bird at a comfortable temperature in hot weather. If you don't have air-conditioning in your home, provide a fan for your bird.

Misting your bird with water from a spray bottle will help keep him cool.
Misting your bird with water from a spray bottle will help keep him cool. (Image: Comstock/Comstock/Getty Images)

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