Nanday Conure Forum

Message #2699. This is a followup to #2693.

Date:Tuesday March 1, 2005 2:26:57 pm MST
Subject:Re: Narcolepsy in birds?
Message:Birds feet lock when they perch. They can't fall off a perch when they sleep.

Narcolepsy is a neurological disorder though and birds can have neurological disorders. I've heard of canine narcolepsy but I've never heard of avian narcolepsy. Narcolepsy is genetic and they have found the gene that causes it in humans and in dogs, but I don't think there has been any scientific proof that birds can suffer from narcolepsy too. I'd like to know how that vet ruled out other illness when he came up with this diagnosis.

Falling off a perch can be a symptom of illness in a pet bird, an illness which may affect the neurological system. Healthy birds rarely fall from their perch, although young birds can be clumsy at times. Nervous system disorders can arise from a variety of things including decreased liver function such as if your bird was suffering from hepatic lipidosis (fatty liver disease, often from a seed only diet), as well as tumors, infections, avian flu or heavy metal toxicity. Loss of balance is a symptom that your bird is sick.

Most likely there is an underlying reason that your bird is losing its balance and I'd bet that narcolepsy isn't the underlying cause. I would make an effort to find an avian vet and discuss your bird's health with them. You can try contacting a local bird club for a referral to a trusted avian vet or you can try finding one who has registered with the Association of Avian Veterinarians (

Good luck to you and your bird.

Ike's mom wrote:
> Hi there:)
> My bird Ike has a strange habit of falling asleep and falling off his
> perch. He also sometimes falls asleep on his back at the bottom of the
> cage. The pet store I got him from said that their vet says he has
> narcolepsy. I wasn't aware that birds could even get narcolepsy.
> Has anyone ever heard of this or had a bird with this condition? Any
> help would be great!
> Thanks!
> Kat

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