Bird Flapping Wings But Not Flying (6 Reasons Explained)

When you see a bird flapping wings but not flying, you don’t immediately need to be concerned. The bird may flap its wings for exercise, stretching, cooling off its body during summer, seeking attention, and communicating within them.

If you have pet birds at home, you may have seen them flapping their wings without flying.

While the scene can be concerning, flapping the wings without flying is quite normal for birds in most cases. It is even more common among parrots, budgies, etc., and birds.

Why Is Bird Flapping Wings but Not Flying

Have you ever seen birds flapping their wings without flying or even trying to fly? If yes, it can be scary as we expect the bird to fly whenever it flaps its wings.

But, the reality contrasts sharply with our expectations because birds may flap their wings for multiple reasons even when they decide not to fly at all.

Why Is Bird Flapping Wings

So, first of all, you don’t need to be concerned as soon as you see the bird not trying to fly when it flaps its wing. We will discuss why birds flap their wings normally even when they don’t fly in the following sections.

1. Exercising and stretching:

Many birds stretch their body now and then. When they stretch, they extend their feet. Also, they will flap their wings to stretch their body better.

On top of it, ironically, some birds may even exercise to keep their feet. Many budgies and parrots will occasionally flap their wings and shake off their bodies for exercise.

It is common among most birds. So, look closely when they flap their wings. You should find them stretching or exercising comfortably.

2. Improving their circulation:

Birds need the perfect circulation to keep them fit and healthy. More importantly, better circulation is essential because of birds’ increased sensitivity.

As a result, birds will often flap their wings to improve circulation. They will casually flap their wings and improve blood and air circulation.

Yes, by flapping its wings, the bird will let the air pass through its body faster and better. So, it will enjoy improved relaxation.

3. Cooling off technique:

You will see parrots and budgies flapping their wings more in summer than in winter. Have you ever wondered why birds flap their wings more in summer?

Yes, you have guessed it right. They flap their wings to improve air circulation.

Also, it helps them cool off their body. It is essential because birds need to regulate their body balance and movement to fly and hunt safely.

The scenario is seen frequently during summertime and in tropical regions. You don’t need to worry about the cooling technique with wings flapping for the birds.

4. They want attention:

Sometimes birds may flap their wings to seek their owner’s attention.

If you have a pet bird at home and don’t notice it for a long time, it will flap its wings. It is their way of telling you they are bored and need attention.

Yes, pet birds may get bored, although you may not believe it. And when they are bored, they can do weird behaviors. One such weird behavior is to flap the wings to make the sound.

The bird hopes its owner will hear the wings flapping sound and give it attention. When there are different toys inside their cage, birds will need less attention.

5. Communication medium:

Budgies and parrots often communicate with each other by flapping their wings. They may express their excitement or displeasure with each other as they communicate.

The speed and style of flapping the wings will differ depending on their moods. For instance, they may flap their wings faster to express excitement and slower to express displeasure.

Also, they can combine different actions along with the wings flapping to express different meanings. They may twitch their wing while flapping them.

Also, they may even flap the wings repeatedly or have aggressive flapping. Depending on the situation, these different actions of their wings and behavior will have various meanings.

It may include hissing, chasing, guarding, screeching, etc.

6. Nightmares and agitation:

When you see the birds flapping their wings but not flying at night, it signals their agitation.

Maybe they have sensed any predators close to them. Thus, they will feel agitated and start flapping their wings to inform the owners.

Also, when they have seen a nightmare, they will flap their wings. If you continuously see the bird continuously flapping their wings at night, it shows they are stressed.

So, you need to investigate the reason and solve it.

When Is It Concerning To See Birds Flapping Wings But Not Flying?

When Is It Concerning To See Birds Flapping Wings But Not Flying?

Although birds flap their wings normally for different purposes, it can sometimes be worrisome.

If the bird flaps the wings and fails repeatedly or struggles to fly, you need to catch the bird. Then, check if it has any injuries in its wings.

A bird may have injured wings due to a predator’s attack or a sudden hit by stones or shocks. When you see such signals, you must consult with the vet to seek a solution.

You may need to apply antibiotics to the injured wings. You may need to wrap the wounded wings with bandages to safeguard the bird from other struggles.

Do birds like it when we touch them?

Whether or not birds like to be touched depends on the individual bird. Some birds enjoy physical contact and may even seek it out, while others prefer to be left alone. If your bird is relaxed and its feathers are lying flat, it is probably comfortable with being touched.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is my bird flapping its wings in place?

Many young birds flap their wings in the same place without a moment to test their wing power. Also, when they seek attention or need to cool off their body temperature, they often flap their wing.

What is wing flipping?

Wing flipping refers to the birds’ action of continuously dropping and tightening their wings against their body. It is usually involuntary work for the birds.


As the discussion suggests, birds flapping wings but not flying is common. In most cases, there’s nothing to feel worried about when you see the bird flapping its wings in the same place.

But, it would help if you inspected them now and then for any injuries to take immediate action. Also, when birds flap at night repeatedly, it shows they are agitated. So, observe their cages and try to relax them.

Scroll to Top