Parrots are primarily arboreal, diurnal birds found in tropical and subtropical regions of the world. Parrots belong to Order Psittaciformes and are divided into three families. There are over 350 species of psittacine birds or parrots. If you are comfortable with the basic principles of avian anatomy and physiology, then you are well on your way to understanding psittacine birds. LafeberVet has listed 16 interesting facts about parrot anatomy and physiology that may serve you well during physical examination, clinical care, and/or necropsy. This post also brief describes the Quaker or monk parrot as well as unique features of the kākāpō.
What are the basics of avian medicine that a novice veterinary health professional should know before laying hands on the companion parrot patient? Upon completion of this learning aid, the participant will have a basic clinical understanding of avian anatomy, psittacine handling and restraint, history and physical examination, zoonotic concerns, nutrition, basic diagnostic and therapeutic techniques, as well as a few select presenting problems.
This live webinar was presented by Lorenzo Crosta, med Vet, PhD, DECZM, EBVS European Veterinary Specialist in Zoo Health Management. The objective of this presentation was to assist the exotic animal practitioner, with little or no experience in avian neonatology and pediatrics. This presentation discussed the logical diagnostic plan in the young bird. The approach to common pediatric conditions, ranging from developmental and orthopedic problems to common traumatic injuries and infectious diseases, was also explored. Practical clinical examples were presented.
LafeberVet’s list of avian medicine links will assist your navigation of some of the avian medicine resources on LafeberVet. Educate yourself before laying hands on the avian patient by reviewing the basics of avian anatomy and physiology as well as important principles of handling and restraint. Then explore content on the examination and history, behavior, housing and nutrition, as well as supportive care techniques, diagnostics, basic therapeutics, and common presenting problems. Start with content listed in the rows titled, “Begin with…”, then expand your knowledge with other sections, such as “Learn more…”.
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The birds of genus Pionus are native to regions of Mexico, Central America, and/or South America. Pionus parrots are often described as “small Amazon parrots” because of their stocky builds and often short, square tails. This information sheet reviews natural history, taxonomy, and conservation status, as well as physical descriptions, husbandry needs, behavior, including the Pionus “snarfle or snuffle”, normal physiologic data and anatomy, restraint, and important medical conditions.
Cardiovascular disease commonly occurs in companion birds and poses a serious threat to the quality of life and longevity of many avian species. This live, interactive, RACE-approved webinar was presented by avian veterinarian, Brenna Fitzgerald. Topics discussed include key features of avian cardiovascular anatomy and physiology, risk factors, as well as specific clinical disease states, including atherosclerosis, congestive heart failure, and pericardial disease and effusion. This lecture also reviewed essential elements of a diagnostic workup, and current treatment approaches that can improve longevity and quality of life for these patients.
Test Your Knowledge: View the RACE-approved webinar recording on “Avian Radiology: Basic Principles, Reference Values & Clinical Cases” by Minh Huynh, DVM, MRCVS, DECZM (Avian), DACZM, then take the brief post-test to earn 1 hour of continuing education credit.
Dr. Petra Schnitzer presented this distance-learning event for the veterinary medical students at the University of Georgia at Athens College of Veterinary Medicine as part of the Lafeber Company Student Program. Stay Tuned: This program is being submitted for approval by the American Association of Veterinary State Boards Registry of Continuing Education for 1 hour of continuing education credit.
Effective treatment of diseases requires accurate diagnose, and infectious diseases in avian medicine present special diagnostic challenges. Molecular diagnostic tools, such as DNA sequencing, are available to aid the urgent medical need to detect and identify all culprits that cause infections. Next-generation DNA sequencing offers the ability to diagnose infections using microbial DNA as the analyte, thus bypassing culture testing along with its deficiencies. This article briefly explains this useful laboratory technique as well as its applications in avian medicine…
Dr. LoraKim Joyner of One Earth Conservation presented this distance-learning event on parrot conservation for the University of Florida College of Veterinary Medicine Wildlife, Zoological, and Avian Animal Medicine Club as part of the Lafeber Company Student Program.
Thank you for attending this RACE-approved webinar “Avian Neonatology & Pediatrics” presented by Dr. Lorenzo Crosta.
Dr. Jason Crean of Saint Xavier University presented this distance-learning event on whole food nutrition in birds for the University of Minnesota College Veterinary Medicine ZEAW Club. This presentation was sponsored by the Lafeber Company Student Program.
Dr. Todd E. Driggers presented this live webinar event on Flight Mechanics, Parrot Welfare, and Ethical Concerns. View the video recording, then take the brief post-test to earn 1 hour of continuing education credit. Feather trimming birds in captivity has been a common practice performed for many reasons, including fear of loss, safety, and the ability to control and tame. If the gold standard for animal welfare is freedom and feather destructive behavior is a reliable indicator of scientifically studied animal welfare, feather trimming impacts how the animal feels, functions, and prohibits natural responses to positive or aversive stimuli. Perhaps it is time to reflect on the benefits and risks of feather trims through the lens of animal welfare. At a minimum, the degrees of severity of the current techniques need redressing when we consider the experience of the bird.
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Dr. Lorenzo Crosta will present this live, interactive, webinar on the clinical perspectives of avian anesthesia. After briefly reviewing clinically relevant avian anatomy and physiology, Dr. Crosta will touch upon injectable anesthesia, then discuss in detail preanesthesia and inhalation anesthesia in clinical practice. The discussion will then move onto monitoring the avian patient, from vital parameters to capnography, doppler, electrocardiography, and pulse oximetry. Dr. Crosta will also discuss analgesia, intra-operative fluid therapy, as well as specific concerns related to avian anesthesia, such as positioning the patient, hypocalcemia, air sac cannulation, as well as management of diving birds. This seminar will conclude with practical tips for safe and uneventful patient recovery.
Dr. Susan Orosz presented this live, interactive webinar event on the clinical perspectives of avian nutrition. How can veterinary health professionals best address the nutritional needs of the companion bird in the exam room?
This 1-hour, R.A.C.E.-approved webinar recording is designed to impart a basic understanding of avian nutrition for the veterinary health professional as well as students in these fields. Viewing of this recorded is strongly recommended before viewing the recording of the live webinar event Clinical Avian Nutrition for Veterinary Health Professionals by Susan Orosz, PhD, DVM, DABVP (Avian Practice), DECZM.
The postmortem examination is a valuable part of the diagnostic work-up. Shared by a veterinary pathologist with a special interest in birds, this guide to avian necropsy provides comprehensive instructions for the avian postmortem exam. This article offers step-by-step guidance on avian necropsy with a variety of photographs and video clips that illustrate useful clinical techniques and normal avian anatomy. Feel confident in your knowledge of avian anatomy? You can also “Test Yourself” by identifying the structures shown in four separate images.
Careful observation of avian body language can provide clues when a bird is receptive to play or handling. Download this client education handout to share helpful advice on interpreting psittacine bird postures and behaviors.
View the recording of this live webinar event, then take the brief quiz. With a passing grade of 70% or higher, you will receive a continuing education certificate for 1 hour of continuing education credit in jurisdictions that recognize American Association of Veterinary State Boards Registry of Approved Continuing Education approval.
This live, interactive webinar was presented by Dr. Alicia McLaughlin, a certified Fear Free™ veterinarian who is spearheading the development of an avian-focused Fear Free™ course. This presentation explores the reasons stress should be minimized during avian veterinary visits and the challenges that must be overcome. Dr. McLaughlin also shares practical tips for clinical implementation as they relate to clinic design, staff training, client education, as well as tips for working with avian patients in an exam room or hospital setting. Alicia has also provided two client education handouts for download that she uses in her daily practice.
Capnometry measures the maximum value of carbon dioxide (CO2) obtained at the end of expiration or end-tidal carbon dioxide (ETCO2). There is good correlation between ETCO2 and arterial CO2 in birds and mammals and capnography can be used as a reliable tool to evaluate the adequacy of ventilation in these species. Capnography can only be used to identify trends in reptiles because of cardiac shunting of blood past the reptilian lungs.
Even the most steadfast and seasoned veterinary anesthetist can find themselves intimidated by exotic animal patients. Standard veterinary anesthesia monitors are not designed to read the extremely high (or extremely low) heart rates and respiratory rates of some exotic animal patients. Despite these challenges, valuable information can be gathered from monitoring tools as well as hands-on techniques. Essential vital signs, such as heart rate and rhythm, respiratory rate and depth, body temperature, and mucous membrane color should all be evaluated.
Arterial blood pressure is a function of heart rate, blood volume, stroke volume, and arterial compliance. Indirect arterial blood pressure is most commonly measured by Doppler ultrasound or non-invasive oscillometric monitors. What are the limitations of indirect blood pressure measurements in exotic animal patients? How is this technique unique in exotic companion mammals when compared to dogs and cats? How is this technique performed in birds and can this procedure be used in reptiles?
Although the principles of emergency medicine critical care are universal for all species, this approach must be balanced with an understanding of the unique aspects of avian medicine. Use this summary page to review the basic approach to the avian patient and select additional links to supplement your knowledge base.
This webinar has been R.A.C.E.-approved for 1 hour of continuing education. Despite parrots being popular pets, much of the information regarding their nutritional and behavioral needs is still unknown. Unlike dogs and cats, most psittacine species are not domesticated and have therefore likely retained most, if not all, of their wild instincts and behavioral needs. In captivity, however, most parrots have little to no opportunity to perform these species-typical behaviors. This will not only reduce their welfare, but can also result in the onset of abnormal repetitive behaviors, including feather damaging behavior, and oral or locomotor stereotypies.
Categories: Avian, Parrot,
The Feather Destructive Behavior in Psittacine Birds webinar was reviewed and approved by the American Association of Veterinary State Boards (AAVSB) Registry of Approved Continuing Education (R.A.C.E.) program for 1 hour of continuing education, in jurisdictions which recognize AAVSB R.A.C.E. approval….
Objects are often not fully visible in everyday life. Human beings are capable of processing the complex visual information related to “incompleteness” because our visual environment is primarily composed of opaque objects that can overlap and partially hide each other. Scientists believe that many nonhuman species are also able to deal with “incompleteness”…
Traumatic orthopedic injuries are relatively common in the avian patient. Although bird bones are strong when intact, they tend to shatter on impact as the cortices are thin and brittle. A lack of abundant soft tissue coverage often leads to open fractures…
As a part of the Encore ICARE 2015 Lafeber Symposium Lecture Series, Dr. Susan Orosz provided an introductory presentation on anatomy and physiology of the avian gastrointestinal tract. View a recording of this AAVSB RACE-approved webinar, then take the brief post-test to earn 1 hour of continuing education credit.
Did you attend the Lafeber Symposium at the 2015 International Conference on Avian heRpetological and Exotic mammal medicine in Paris? View a recording of this encore, web-based seminar: “Medical Management of Psittacines with Bornavirus Ganglioneuritis (PDD)” by Susan Orosz, DVM, DABVP (Avian Practice), DECZM (Avian). This presentation on avian borna virus contains medium to advanced level content. The novice is encouraged to view the first hour of Dr. Orosz’s presentation “Anatomy & Physiology of the Avian Gastrointestinal Tract: Clinical Applications”, which includes a helpful review of avian gastrointestinal anatomy and physiology.
“Griffin”, a grey parrot in Dr. Irene Pepperberg’s animal behavior and avian cognition lab, could wait up to 15 minutes for a better quality reward, even though both treats offered were preferred food items. Griffin displayed delayed gratification for longer than any previously tested avian subject including Goffin’s cockatoos. Fifteen minutes was the longest time evaluated, not necessarily the longest length of time Griffin could wait.
Explore the history of similar research in children and animals as well as the specific results of the study led by Adrienne E. Koepke of Hunter College and Suzanne L. Gray of Harvard University. Also learn more about Dr. Irene Pepperberg and the fascinating work of The Alex Foundation.
The AAVSB R.A.C.E.-approved webinar “Feather Destructive Behavior in Psittacine Birds” was presented by Lynne Seibert, DVM, MS, PhD, Dipl. American College of Veterinary Behaviorists. View a recording of this web-based seminar, then take the post-test to earn 1 hour of continuing education credit.
It is 10 p.m. in your veterinary emergency hospital and a dreaded call comes in. A panicked owner is in tears because their beloved pet is in crisis. In most cases, your team will quickly gather supplies and move swiftly to prepare for the emergent patient. This patient may strike fear in many veterinary professionals, however, because it is the dreaded avian patient presenting to a general veterinary practice.
Released for National Veterinary Technician Week 2014, Tips and Tricks for the Avian Patient is part of an Exotic ICU series that provides advice on the management of birds in a critical care setting.
Proventricular dilatation disease or PDD is one of the most frustrating avian conditions encountered today. The recent discovery of a causal relationship between PDD and avian bornavirus has not simplified the challenges that are faced. The detection of avian bornavirus infection is common in birds with PDD but is also detected in birds with other chronic diseases that are not diagnosed with PDD. Proventricular dilatation disease was first reported in the late 1970s…
Reproductive emergencies are most commonly seen in small psittacine birds like the cockatiel, lovebird and budgerigar parakeet. This article reviews conditions commonly seen on an emergency basis such as dystocia, egg yolk peritonitis, cloacal or oviductal prolapse, and/or chronic egg laying. Pertinent anatomy and physiology as well as case management, including the reproductive history, physical examination, diagnostic imaging, and behavioral modification techniques are also discussed.
The following chart shows the calcium content in 1 cup of selected foods. Select treats for adult rabbits and rodents that are high in fiber, low in calcium, and low in carbohydrates and sugars.
Body condition scoring or BCS is a useful tool for assessment of a patient’s general health status and evaluation of a patient’s food supply. The BCS system described below is based on scores between 1 and 5, with 1 being emaciated and 5 being obese for the “generic” bird. Currently there is no universally agreed upon BCS system for the avian patient due to…
The site visit allows the veterinarian to appreciate intricate facility details. Unless there is an emergency, schedule visits during the non-breeding season and only visit one site daily to prevent potential iatrogenic contamination of facilities. I usually schedule appointments in the morning prior to going to the clinic. An aviary map or blue print of the aviary layout will help you visualize where birds are in relation to each other.
There are a number of potential nutritional problems that can promote renal disease. Excess dietary protein, excess dietary calcium, hypovitaminosis A, or hypervitaminosis D may lead to nephritis or other degenerative renal changes…
The most widespread mineral in the body, calcium is required for normal metabolism and bone mineralization.
Calcium homeostasis is under the control of calcitonin, which is produced by the ultimobranchial gland, vitamin D, and parathyroid hormone. In laying hens, most dietary calcium is used for egg production. Rising estrogen levels promote increased intake of calcium supplements like cuttlefish bone and calcium-rich foods, however the quantity of calcium ingested daily is insufficient for the massive deposition of calcium required for eggshell calcification.
In 1998, an expert committee met to discuss the nutritional needs of companion birds. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss and develop nutrient profiles for companion birds, focusing on profiles for formulated feed.
The expert panel developed maintenance guidelines for two broad groups of birds: psittacines and passerines (regardless of size or genus). These conservative, generalized guidelines are extrapolated from the National Research Council requirements for poultry and…
Pediatrics is one of the most fascinating and rewarding fields of avian medicine. The key to hand raising healthy psittacine chicks is a strong preventive medicine program based on sound husbandry practices. Physical examination is an important part of preventive health care.
Regardless of the initial cause of illness or injury, neonatal psittacine birds often develop secondary bacterial and/or fungal infections that can become serious primary problems. These infections are most commonly encountered within the gastrointestinal tract.
The key to hand raising healthy psittacine chicks is a strong preventive medicine program based on sound husbandry practices. Hygiene, hand feeding protocols, incubation and brooder parameters, environmental temperature in the nursery, and pest control are just a few of the husbandry practices that; if mismanaged, can lead to serious adverse consequences.
Many experienced aviculturists follow strict husbandry protocols that result in few health problems. When problems do arise…
Although Gram-negative bacteria and non-budding yeast can be normal gastrointestinal flora in the psittacine bird, these organisms can quickly overgrow in the debilitated chick. Signs of clinical disease can first manifest as crop stasis or stunting. A wide range of agents can cause problems, however important infectious diseases in the juvenile psittacine bird include avian polyomavirus, psittacine beak and feather disease, and candidiasis.
Behavior is the most direct tool a wild bird has to respond to its environment, and it ultimately determines whether it survives and breeds in its natural environment. There are two functional categories of avian behaviors: self-maintenance behaviors and social behaviors.
Oropharyngeal lesions tend to be asymptomatic until lesions are quite advanced. Clinical signs associated with oropharyngeal disease vary, but may include anorexia, dysphagia, drooling, halitosis, head or food flicking and rubbing the beak. Diffuse disease or large focal lesions or diffuse disease can obstruct the choanal slit and/or glottis leading to wheezing, open-mouth breathing, dyspnea or in extreme cases suffocation…
When Dr. Michelle Hawkins of the Companion Exotic Animal Medicine & Surgery Service of the UC Davis School of Veterinary Medicine expressed interest in an encore presentation of the Grey Parrot Anatomy Project for veterinary medical students, Dr. M. Scott Echols and LafeberVet were happy to oblige. Veterinary medical educators and their students were invited to attend this free, interactive, web-based seminar featuring incredible avian anatomy images, video clips that enhance our understanding of anatomy, and an exciting research update…
Foraging for food is a basic behavioral repertoire for birds in the wild. The lack of opportunities for companion birds to engage in this behavior may play an important role in the development of abnormal behaviors. For example, Snyder et al documented that Puerto Rican Amazon parrots spend approximately 4–6 hour per day foraging and that they routinely travel several miles between sites. In contrast, companion birds in our homes like the orange-winged Amazon parrot spend approximately 30–72 minutes per day eating a pelleted diet without traveling, manipulating food items, and not attempting to balance their own diet. It has been suggested…
Individuals that work or live with birds may be at risk for zoonotic diseases. An average 250 human cases of Chlamydophila psittaci are reported annually in the United States.
Unfortunately the sedentary lifestyle of the companion bird makes obesity one of the most common forms of malnutrition seen in clinical practice. Pet birds are fed too much food or they are fed diets rich in sources of fat, such as sunflower seeds .
An average 250 human cases of Chlamydophila psittaci are reported annually in the United States. Clinical signs typically follows a 5 to 14 day incubation period. Disease ranges from subclinical to systemic illness with severe pneumonia. Most people demonstrate sudden onset fever, headache, malaise, and myalgia with a non-productive cough that can be accompanied by breathing difficulty and chest tightness. Splenomegaly and…
There are two types of seeds fed to pet birds: oil seeds and non-oil seeds. Oil seeds are a rich source of energy and vitamin E. Oil seeds such as sunflower seeds contain at least 50% fat and are low in calcium. Non-oil seeds such as millet are much lower in fat when compared to oil seeds and the energy present is stored as starch.
Normal bird droppings consist of three components: feces, urine, and urates. Urine and urates are the products of the avian kidney. The medullary or mammalian nephron of the bird kidney produces urine. The more numerous cortical or reptilian nephron produces a soluble form of uric acid or…
Detecting a shelled egg on physical examination is not necessarily a problem—birds lay eggs everyday! However palpation of a shelled egg is an important clinical finding that can be associated with dystocia. The egg is shelled in a distal part of the oviduct called the uterus or shell gland. Therefore a shelled egg would normally be palpable in either the…
Rhinitis or sinusitis in the bird can include a host of clinical signs including congestion, sneezing, oculonasal discharge, exophthalmos, as well as non-specific signs of illness such as reduced appetite, lethargy, and weight loss. If disease extends lower into the lower respiratory tract, cough, tachypnea, and…
The crop or ingluvies is a diverticulum of the esophagus present in many but not all, bird species. The crop serves as a food storage organ, regulating the flow of food through the gastrointestinal tract. Food within the crop is also softened by mucus glands. Crop stasis is a common clinical sign in which the crop fails to empty in a timely manner…
“Normal Body Weights in Birds” is a collection of normal reported weights in common companion birds and birds of prey presented in table format. Keep in mind that reported normal body weights for a given species can vary significantly…
Heavy metal poisoning in birds most commonly occurs from ingestion of substances containing lead, or less commonly zinc. Acute heavy metal toxicity is occasionally seen in companion parrots that ingest or chew on objects containing metal because of their curious nature and innate desire to forage. Chronic lead poisoning most frequently affects free-ranging wildlife such as ducks, geese, swans and loons and is most commonly seen during migration in the late fall and early spring. Lead toxicity also occasionally occurs in upland game birds such as mourning doves, wild turkey, pheasants and quail. Lead poisoning has also been reported in raptors, presumably from the ingestion of lead-contaminated prey.
Signs of avian polyomavirus type 1 in the budgerigar parakeet can be quite variable. Feather dystrophy or abnormal feather growth can lead to deformed flight feathers. Affected birds are unable to fly and are called “runners” or “creepers”. “French molt” is a term sometimes used for this slow, debilitating disease in parakeets characterized by progressive development of abnormal feathers. Bleeding is another hallmark of clinical avian polyomavirus infection…
Be prepared for your next bird patient. Review the basic approach to the avian physical examination, including history, review of signalment, and visual examination. Key parts of the exam will vary, but generally include a body weight in grams, the oropharynx, crop, sternum, coelom, and vent. The fundus should be routinely evaluated in trauma patients…
Or “How to Question the Source of Your Future Lifelong Companion”: By the time an owner is ready to select the breeder or shop to purchase their companion parrot, they have hopefully done their homework. Many of the behavioral problems commonly seen in pet birds can be traced back to difficulties encountered during early development like forced weaning and poor socialization. It is essential that the prospective companion parrot owner identifies a breeder or shop that is sincerely concerned with the physical and psychological development of their chicks. How will the prospective owner know? A prospective owner can use this checklist as an aid when interviewing a breeder or shop.
Lories and lorikeets are some of the most colorful members of the parrot family. Native to Australia, Tasmania, and the South Pacific islands, many species are threatened or endangered in the wild due to habitat loss or trapping. This educational handout will help your client understand how to care for and maintain these beautiful birds in captivity. Recommendations for diet, housing, and bathing are described as well as common problems seen in the pet lory and lorikeet.
Lovebirds live in flocks among the woodlands, savannah and forest edges of sub-Saharan Africa and Indian Ocean islands.
Lories and lorikeets live in large flocks in the wild. Depending on the species, lories and lorikeets originate from the southeast Asia archipelago or parts of Australia. These birds will fly from island to island in search of food. Lories and lorikeets will eat coconuts and grapes and they are considered a pest to farmers. The nomadic Rainbow lorikeet follows eucalyptus flowers blooming along the Australian coast. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) lists the conservation status of most lories and lorikeets as “least concern”, although some species are considered vulnerable or “near threatened”. The Red-and-blue lory (Eos histrio), Rimitara lorikeet (Vini kuhlii), and Ultramarine lorikeet (Vini ultramarina) are endangered.
The Eclectus is a native of Australia, Indonesia, Papua New Guinea, and/or the Solomon Islands. This species has also been introduced to Palau. Eclectus parrots have an extremely large range, and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) lists their conservation status as “least concern”.
Most conures are found in regions of the Amazon Basin but some species are from the Caribbean islands. Conures are on Appendix II of the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) list. These species are not necessarily threatened with extinction, but may become so unless their trade is strictly regulated.
Cockatoos are medium to large-sized parrots with thick, heavy bills that range from 30-70 cm in length. There are 18 species of cockatoos in 6 genera. The most common pet cockatoos are the umbrella, sulphur-crested, lesser sulphur-crested, and Moluccan cockatoo.
Cockatiels originate from the non-coastal regions of Australia. The free-ranging population is very large, and the IUCN lists this species’ conservation status of “least concern”. Cockatiels probably represent the smallest of the cockatoos, although there is some controversy surrounding this classification. Cockatiels are common as aviary birds and they make excellent pets.
Amazon parrots originate from a large portion of the Amazon Basin in South America although species-specific ranges vary. Habitats range from savannah, palm grove, scrub forest to rainforest. Wild Amazon parrots are incredibly active, foraging and flying in flocks…
African grey parrots are among the most familiar of all parrots. Originating from central Africa, many African cities now have feral populations. The Timneh grey parrot is localized to the Ivory Coast and Sierra Leone. Habitats for grey parrots include savannahs, coastal mangroves, woodland and edges of forest clearings. African greys are listed under Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) Appendix II, which means these species are not necessarily threatened with extinction, but may become so unless their trade is strictly regulated…
Are you confident in your medical approach to pediatric health problems ranging from constricted toes to omphalitis, but hazy on the details of incubation and hatch? Many avian veterinarians deal with aviculturists only sporadically, which can diminish your ability to extract relevant patient history. Use Aviculture Vocabulary & Concepts to quickly review common breeder concepts and terms, so that you are better able to focus on your patient’s medical care.
Many parrots instinctively strive for a position of dominance within their flock (your household). Many of the behavioral problems that can arise from such a situation, may be prevented when…
Many companion parrot species originate from tropical environments with high humidity in which they bathe often. Even parrots from arid environments enjoy and benefit from bathing. Bathing stimulates preening and is essential for normal feather health. In fact, inadequate bathing and low humidity have often been linked to feather picking. Use this client education handout to explore bird bathing methods as well as Do’s and Don’t’s to encourage the pet bird to bathe or shower.
Psittacosis is an infectious disease of birds and people caused by Chlamydia psittaci. This client education handout discusses types of birds commonly associated with human psittacosis, persons at risk as well as details of psittacosis in humans and birds and measures to prevent disease.
This client education handout provides a checklist for the new bird owner that can be used to smooth the transition for a new baby bird in its new home.
Parrots are extremely intelligent creatures; and toys are one of the most important items we can purchase for our birds. Many avian behaviorists recommend four types of toys…
Pet bird behavior is complex, and it is crucial that bird owners have a realistic understanding of what to expect from their pets…
In the wild, parrots exhibit four main behaviors: social interaction, grooming, foraging, and sleeping. The vast majority of their days are spent foraging or searching for food.
Conversion to a healthy diet will improve the health and feather quality of your pet bird. Before beginning a dietary conversion, your bird should be…
Chronic egg laying is the production of an excessive number of eggs or repeated clutches (or collections) of eggs. Chronic egg laying often occurs in the absence of a normal…
The ideal bird cage should be spacious and clean, with multiple perches and stimulating toys. Specific cage requirements will vary with the species and the amount of time your…
There are a number of medical reasons for feather picking and a complete diagnostic evaluation of your bird’s health status is always recommended. The following techniques may be helpful, however, whether the underlying cause of the feather picking is behavioral or medical.
Avian polyomavirus is one of the most important viral diseases seen in the companion parrot. Avian polyomavirus or APV can cause serious financial losses for aviaries and pet stores as well as considerable heartache for owners. Use this client handout to review susceptible species, clinical disease, and of course prevention.
This Association of Avian Veterinarians client education handout discusses avian bornavirus, which was experimentally confirmed to be the cause of proventricular dilatation disease or PDD in 2008. Avian bornavirus (ABV) infection is one of the most frustrating diseases encountered in avian medicine today. Since its initial recognition in the United States, ABV has been reported worldwide and infection poses a significant threat to the captive breeding of endangered psittacine (parrot) species. At least eight different psittacine bornaviruses have been identified in captive parrot populations worldwide, and researchers around the world are working on learning more about ABV infection.
Although nectar is considered a nutritional reward for pollination, it is probably the most nutrient-dilute food consumed by birds. Nectar meets less than 15% of essential amino acid requirements and is particularly low in methionine. In fact nutrients other than sugars, such as protein, vitamins, trace minerals, and lipids are present in nectar at levels considered inadequate for growth, reproduction, or even maintenance activity…
Foraging, the act of searching for and finding food, makes up a significant part of the wild parrot’s day. In the wild, most animals, including psittacine birds, spend a significant part of their daily activity on foraging. In fact, many free-ranging parrots regularly travel several miles between feeding sites in search of food. Once wild parrots arrive at a feeding site, a wide variety of foraging behaviors are observed including searching, manipulating, as well as consuming food. Depending on the species and the season, time invested on these behaviors can range from…
Reproductive problems are a common problem in many small pet bird species, particularly cockatiels, budgerigars parakeets, lovebirds, finches and canaries. In this client handout donated by Dr. Eric Klaphake, egg laying problems from egg binding and egg yolk peritonitis to chronic egg laying are briefly explained to the companion parrot owner.