Can Cockatoo Get Human Colds? [What You Need to Know]

We’ve all been there – suffering from a nasty cold and feeling miserable. If you’re a cockatoo owner, you might start to worry: can your feathered friend catch your cold? It’s a valid concern, as we want to keep our pets safe and healthy. In this article, we’ll explore the science behind human colds and whether or not they pose a threat to our beloved cockatoos.

In short, the answer is no. Cockatoos cannot catch human colds. The viruses that cause colds in humans do not affect birds. While this may come as a relief, it’s still essential to dive deeper into the subject to fully understand why this is the case and how to best care for your cockatoo.

So, without further ado, let’s jump into the main article and unravel the relationship between human colds and our pet cockatoos.

Understanding Human Colds

Human colds are primarily caused by the rhinovirus, which is a member of the picornavirus family. These viruses are specifically adapted to infect human cells and typically affect the upper respiratory tract, causing symptoms like a runny nose, sore throat, and coughing.

Cockatoos, on the other hand, are susceptible to different types of viruses that cause diseases similar to colds in birds. One such example is the avian influenza virus. It’s crucial to understand that these viruses are species-specific, meaning they generally don’t cross over between humans and birds.

Why Cockatoos Can’t Catch Human Colds

Multiple factors contribute to why cockatoos cannot catch human colds, including:

  1. Species-specific viruses: As mentioned earlier, human cold viruses are adapted to infect human cells and are generally not compatible with bird cells, making it unlikely for cockatoos to contract these infections.
  2. Body temperature: Birds, including cockatoos, have a higher body temperature than humans, making it difficult for human cold viruses to survive and replicate in their system.
  3. Immune response: Since cockatoos have never been exposed to human cold viruses, they lack the necessary antibodies to recognize and combat these foreign invaders.
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Healthy Practices to Keep Your Cockatoo Safe

While your cockatoo might be safe from your cold, it’s great to practice good hygiene and protect both you and your bird from potential infections. Here are some tips:

  • Wash your hands frequently, especially before handling your cockatoo or its food.
  • Avoid close contact with your bird when you’re sick.
  • Regularly clean and disinfect your cockatoo’s cage and living environment.
  • Schedule regular vet check-ups for your cockatoo.


So, can cockatoos get human colds? The answer is a reassuring no. While our furry and feathered friends have their own set of illnesses to worry about, human colds are not one of them. By maintaining good hygiene practices and keeping a vigilant eye on your cockatoo’s health, you’re on your way to keeping your pet happy and healthy for years to come.


Can my cockatoo catch a cold from another bird?
Yes, birds, including cockatoos, can catch respiratory infections from other birds. These infections are typically caused by different viruses, bacteria, or fungi than human colds. It’s important to monitor your bird’s health and consult your vet if you suspect any illness.

What are the signs of illness in a cockatoo?
Symptoms of illness in a cockatoo may include lethargy, plucked or ruffled feathers, breathing difficulties, nasal discharge, change in droppings, or a decrease in appetite. If you notice any of these symptoms, contact your vet immediately for advice and treatment.

Can I treat a cockatoo’s respiratory infection at home?
Attempting to treat your cockatoo’s respiratory infection at home can be dangerous and potentially life-threatening. It’s essential to seek professional advice from an avian vet to properly diagnose and treat any illnesses affecting your bird.

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How can I keep my cockatoo’s immune system strong?
Provide your cockatoo with a balanced diet, regular exercise, mental stimulation, and a clean environment to keep its immune system strong and better equipped to fight off infections.

What other precautions can I take to prevent the spread of diseases between birds?
Other preventive measures may include quarantining new birds before introducing them to your flock, keeping your pets away from wild birds, and separating sick birds from healthy ones in your household.

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