Parakeets puff their feathers for grooming purposes and emotional reasons, such as to eliminate stress and show excitement, as well as when they feel tired and are sick. Being able to identify the various reasons for puffing can help ensure a pet parakeet lives a healthy life.
Preening, or grooming, is a habitual act that birds are often seen doing to maintain their cleanliness. Puffing the feathers during preening exposes dirt and other particles that may be trapped under the feathers, and allows for their easy removal. The process is also important to return the parakeet's feathers back to their natural resting point.
Parakeets are part of the parrot family, and thus are known for their love of socializing and ability to form relationships. Feather fluffing is an expression of their emotions and may take place when the bird is excited or happy, as well as when feeling tense. Spotting the difference between puffing due to happiness and puffing due to stress, is an indicator of the parakeet's well-being.
The birds also puff their feathers when feeling tired. The act assists in regulating the bird's body temperature before it falls asleep. Additionally, parakeets sometimes fluff their feathers for abnormally long periods of time when ill. It is important to seek veterinary attention if feather puffing appears out of the norm as it could point to a physical ailment.