How to Tell if a Birds Neck is Broken? – 5 Popular Signs


Written by

Clinton Atkins



George Dukes

how to tell if a birds neck is broken

Knowing how to tell if a birds neck is broken is a crucial piece of information. You can quickly figure out what to do when you see a pigeon with floppy neck. Is it dead? Is it alive? Can you help? You don’t need to panic and blurt out these questions when faced with the situation.

Any birder and bird lover out there can greatly benefit from knowing the answer to this question. And we are here to present all the answers in one place. Read on.

Ways to Tell if a Birds Neck is Broken

Don’t beat yourself up if you are frustrated about not being able to tell if a bird is injured. Avians naturally try to cover up their injuries, hiding them so predators don’t notice that they are in a weak condition and target them.

But if you look closely, you will notice the telltale signs of a broken neck in birds. It is not easy to conceal this type of injury. Keep an eye out for the following:

1. Not Moving or Stunned


Birds usually fly or skitter away when you approach them, but if it doesn’t, something is certainly wrong. If they are not moving, they might be stunned or dead already.

Observe it for a while and check for other signs. The neck is connected to the avian’s body and can render it motionless when damaged.

2. Strange Neck Position

Does its neck look twisted or awkward? Does it look limp? It could be from a neck injury, or it could be sick from the paramyxovirus that causes the bird floppy neck appearance.

3. Bleeding


Are there noticeable wounds on the neck area? Is it bleeding? That is a definite indicator of a critical neck injury. You should be very gentle when caring for a bleeding neck. Do not make the injury worse.

4. Breathing Problems

Is the bird in distress? Is it having a hard time breathing? Check the sternum. If it’s not rising as it should be after each breath, then it is a sign that the bird is having a hard time breathing.

5. Squinting or Closing Eyes


A slow blinking or squinting can mean the bird is in pain. This behavior, paired with the other signs, can tell you that the bird has a neck injury.

How to Help a Bird With an Injured Neck?


If you find a bird with a bird sitting on ground not moving and showing signs of a broken neck, here’s how you can help.

What you’ll need:

  • Cardboard box
  • Scissor
  • Towel
  • Warm water
  • Mild soap
  • Popsicle sticks or splints
  • Gauze
  • Tape
  • Gloves and mask for protection

You can follow these tips and steps to save the injured bird

  • Evaluate the injuries


What type of injury is the bird suffering from? How severe is it? Check for signs and assess the situation.

  • Take precaution

Is the bird in a state where it can hurt you? Be mindful of their sharp beak, especially if the bird has a long neck. The bird can also carry disease, so better wear rubber gloves and a mask to handle any wild bird.

  • Contact a veterinarian


If you are unsure how to proceed, contacting a veterinarian should be the next step. If you have experience handling birds, you can ask for directions on how to go from there. Otherwise, wait for the medics to arrive.

  • Create a sheltering box

Calm the bird by providing it with a warm and quiet space. Bring a cardboard box with high sides. Poke tiny holes at the side to let the air circulate. Place the towel at the bottom of the box. It will offer the bird the warmth it needs.

  • Clean the wound and stop the bleeding

Lay the bird inside the box. For wounds, clean them with mild soap and warm water. If there is bleeding, apply gentle pressure.

  • Secure the neck


Use the sticks to stop unnecessary neck movements that can worsen the injury. Please put it on both sides of the neck, wrap the gauze, and secure it with tape. Make sure it is tight enough to prevent interrupting bird respiration.

  • Take it to the nearest wildlife sanctuary or veterinarian office.

Find the nearest wildlife sanctuary or vet office. Leave the rest to the professionals and hope for the best.



What are the causes of bird’s neck breaking?

There are several scenarios where a bird can break their neck. It could be any of the following:

  • Fighting with other birds

During the breeding season, birds get intensely territorial. They will fight with any bird that comes close to their nesting ground. They either want to assert their dominance or protect their sanctuary, their food, or their fledglings.

  • Attacked by predators

Birds’ necks are vulnerable to attack. Their predators are aware of this and will often target this area. Another likely scenario would be they ran from a predator and crashed into an object hard enough to break their neck.

  • Window collision

There are many cases of avians colliding with windows, and a bird hit window broken neck is a probable outcome. The impact will often make the birds fall to the ground, and they can recover most of the time. In worst cases, they’ll snap their neck and get paralyzed, and eventually die.

  • Hit by a car or smashed by a windshield

The reflective surface of vehicles and windshield mimics the appearance of a body of water. Birds will unintentionally fly into the path of a moving car. They cannot get out of the way as fast as they should, with the reflection hindering their line of sight.

What happens if a bird has broken its neck?

A bird with broken neck is often a type of injury that leads to immobility or even death. It is unfixable. In this case, euthanasia is the solution to end the bird’s suffering. It might seem like a terrible option, but it is the most humane approach.

However, less severe injuries like a bird with broken wing can heal from resting and sheltering in an area far from predators.

Read more: What should you do if a bird has broken wings?

What to do if a bird has broken its neck?

If you refer to our list of signs and are sure that the bird suffers from a broken neck, you can proceed to the next section for first aid.

If you are not confident in your capability or knowledge to perform it, it would be best to call a veterinarian.

Is it possible to accidentally snap a bird’s neck?

There are a few cases where a bird can accidentally snap its neck broken. It could be from a fight with another bird or a predator, falling off a high place or hitting a car or window.

Can a baby bird survive broken neck?

Growing baby birds can heal fast, especially when given medical attention as soon as possible. They have a high chance of surviving a broken neck injury.

How to tell if a bird is a boy or girl?

To an untrained eye, distinguishing a male bird from a female can be difficult. Experienced birders know how to identify the gender of the bird by observing its appearance and behavior. The first thing you should do is identify the species; then it is easier to conclude the bird’s gender.


Now that you know how to tell if a birds neck is broken, you have the knowledge and skills to identify an injured bird and offer help. If you are unsure of how to help the bird broken back, you can always contact the veterinarian. Quick response is a great help to increase the chances of the bird’s survival.

We hope we have the information you need. If you think we missed something or if you want to add more, let us know in the comment section below. It is always a delight to read your thoughts!

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