External parasites are more common in birds than internal parasites and are usually various species of mites. Regular grooming gives you the chance to check for signs of external parasites.

Any infestation of mites will require a trip to the veterinarian, so keep your bird's cage clean. For smaller cages, completely wash the cage and scrub perches and any corners with a mild bleach or detergent solution. Then rinse repeatedly. If possible, allow the cage to dry in full sunlight.

Common External Bird Parasites

Cere or Knemidocoptic Mites

  • Mainly affect budgies, forming a thick crust around the cere, face, beak, eyelids, legs and feet
  • Burrow into affected areas, creating tiny holes in the surface
  • Refer to veterinarian for treatment

Red or Gray Mites

  • Extensive scratching
  • Generally active at night
  • Feed on the bird's skin
  • Prevent by regular cleaning of cage
  • Refer to veterinarian for treatment

Feather mites

  • Damaged or broken feathers
  • Feather picking
  • Damage feathers by attacking the shafts
  • Refer to veterinarian for treatment