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Bird Parasites

Bird parasites can include both internal and external parasites. By definition, a parasite is an organism that lives on another organism; often the parasite benefits while the host organism suffers in some way. In the case of bird parasites, external parasites are usually more common than internal ones. Imported birds are much more likely to suffer from parasites than domestically raised birds.

Common types of external bird parasites are different species of mites. These can include feather mites, red or gray mites, and cere or knemidocoptic mites. Feather mites damage the bird’s feathers by attacking the feather shafts. Some signs of feather mites include broken or damaged feathers and excessive picking at the feathers. Red and gray mites feed on the skin of the bird and are usually most active at night. This means that nighttime is when you are most likely to see behaviors like excessive scratching. Cere and knemidocoptic mites affect budgies more often than other birds and burrow into the fleshy past above the bird’s beak (the cere). Other affected areas can include the eyelids, legs, feet, and other areas of the face and beak.