What Does It Mean When Finches Puff Up?

Finches are small, brightly-colored birds that are famous visitors to backyard feeders and are often kept as pets. 

Though they are relatively low-maintenance pets, keeping an eye on their health and well-being is still essential. However, one behavior of finches can be concerning: puffing up. 

So, what does it mean when finches puff up?

When finches puff up, they may mean different meanings. For example, finches puff up mainly to keep themselves warm if the temperature is cold or catch some breeze if the temperature is hot. 

In addition, if your finch feels threatened or agitated, it might also puff up its feathers to look larger and more intimidating. 

Generally speaking, a finch that frequently puffs up its feathers is likely healthy and simply adjusting to its environment. 

However, if you notice your finch puffing up its feathers more than usual, it could signify illness or distress. In this case, it’s best to take your finch to the avian veterinarian.

Now you know what it means when finches puff up. To learn in more detail about why finches puff up their feathers and how to tell if your zebra finch is happy, continue reading!

Why Do Finches Puff Up?

The following are some of the most common reasons why finches puff up their feathers:


As mentioned earlier, one of the most common reasons finches puff up their feathers is to regulate their body temperature. If it’s cold outside, puffing up will help them stay warm by trapping heat close to their bodies. 


To some extent, birds can adapt to temperature variations. However, increasing temperatures or warmer conditions can be stressful for them. Because of that, finches puff up their feathers to catch a breeze and stay cool in hot weather.


Finches also puff up if they have a fever. If your pet bird is puffy and lethargic most of the day, even if the ideal room temperature is between 65°F- 70°F (18°C -21°C), it indicates your finch has a fever. 

In this situation, your feathered friend needs medical attention, and you must immediately take it to your veterinarian.


If your finch feels threatened or agitated, it might also puff up its feathers to look larger and more intimidating.

Egg Bound

Your pet finch may have fluffed-up feathers if it is egg-bound. Egg-binding is a medical emergency that happens when a female bird can’t lay her eggs. If your female finch is puffing up, straining, and restless, it could be an egg-bound sign. 

So, when an egg is egg-bound, it takes longer to pass out of the reproductive tract than usual. Therefore, any delay can also result in death, so you must immediately take her to the avian veterinarian.


When finches want to relax or sleep, they puff up. It’s their way of getting comfortable and feeling relaxed. Also, it helps them to stay warm through the night and sleep well. 

Upset Or Discomfort

Finches also puff up when they feel upset or discomfort. For example, if you just got your finch and it’s still getting used to its new environment, it may puff up its feathers to express discomfort or insecurity. 

Pay attention if this is the situation because they may need your assistance.

Why Do Finches Puff Their Feathers?

In the previous question’s answer, we already discussed possible reasons why finches puff their feathers. 

The most common reason is to regulate their body temperature. If it’s cold outside, they puff up to stay warm by trapping heat close to their bodies. Also, if the temperature is too warm, they puff up to catch some breeze. 

Aside from climate change, there are numerous other reasons for this. 

If your pet finch seems lethargy most of the time, it may be unwell. At the same time, if your finch has been laying eggs, it may be egg-bound. These are both medical emergencies that require professional help. 

The other reasons finches puff up their feathers are when they feel upset or uncomfortable or want to relax or sleep.

Do Zebra Finches Kill Each Other?

How Do You Know When A Finch Is Dying?

Like other birds, finches hide their illness until they die. When you notice your finch is unwell, it’s often too late to save them. 

Here are some signs that indicate your finch is dying:

  • Crumpled or puffed feathers when it is not cold or hot
  • Sleeping more than usual
  • Lack of energy or interest in activities
  • Not eating or drinking
  • Excessive drinking
  • Having trouble breathing or puffing or panting breaths
  • Inability to fly correctly or reluctance to do so
  • Unable to maintain balance
  • Not moving and seems lifeless.
  • Head tilting to one side
  • Molting difficulty
  • Discharge from the mouth, nostrils, or eyes
  • Dull, unfocused eyes
  • Experiencing seizures
  • Vomiting

If you notice these signs, take your finch to the veterinarian immediately. Early diagnosis and treatment are essential for a better chance of recovery. And if you diagnose and treat your pet bird early, you may be able to save it.

If you’re wondering why finches suddenly die, read here

How Do I Know If My Zebra Finch Is Happy?

Zebra finches are friendly and beautiful social creatures. They are also famous for their beautiful and sweet singing voice. So if you hear your zebra finch chirping often, it’s a good sign that it’s happy. 

Here are other signs of a happy zebra finch:

  • Active and Playful:  If your zebra finch is energetic and playful, it’s a good sign that it’s happy and healthy. When finches are so glad, they enjoy flying within their large cages and playing on the perches and other toys kept in their cage.
  • Eating Frequently: If your zebra finch has shiny feathers and a healthy appetite, it is also happy. Because healthy and happy finches are active and have a lot of fun, which causes them to feel more hungry. They may also share food with their cage mates if they are happy.
  • Sleeping Well: When a finch is happy and healthy, it usually sleeps through the night without interruptions. So, if you notice your zebra finch sleeping soundly, it tells you that the bird is happy and healthy.
  • Socializing With You And Its Cage Mates: Zebra finches are social creatures who love interacting with their cage mates and owners. If your zebra finch is happy, it will chirp often and try to get your attention by flying toward you.

It may also perch on your finger or shoulder. Remember, finches are less likely to perch on you if your relationship with them isn’t good.

  • Chirping And Whistling: A zebra finch may be happy if it chirps and whistles more often than usual. Since finches are known for their beautiful singing voices, they often tweet and sing when they’re excited.

Final Words

Hopefully, this article has helped you understand what it means when finches puff up their feathers. 

Remember, there are many reasons for this behavior, and not all are causes for concern. Typically, when a finch puffs up its feathers, it’s a way of regulating its body temperature. 

However, if you notice any other changes in your finch’s behavior or health, it’s always best to consult a veterinarian.