Author Archives: wenbirds

Parrots vomit due to a fungal infection and cured by fluconazole

I have seven budgerigars (the budgerigar is a small parrot, originated in Australia), and four of them were found with symptom of vomiting, accompanied by mental exhaustion and emaciation. The serious situation is the birds flung the saliva and even got their heads all wet. (Finally, fluconazole worked for this symptom.)

The parrot infected with Candida

At first, I used garlic water and cephalosporin, which occasionally played a role. The birds became energetic and no longer emaciated, but soon returned to their before sicked state. After searching and reading some posts, such a symptom may be caused by Candida / Candida albicans which is a fungal infection.

I tried nystatin – an antifungal medication first, but it didn’t work at all. In theory nystatin should work to eliminate Candida / Candida albicans. But it’s because nystatin only works in gastrointestinal System, it didn’t go into the blood circulation and the Candida may have developed into the blood circulation of the birds. Then I tried fluconazole which can enter the blood circulation to eliminate the Candida. I ground one pill of fluconazole into powder and put about 1/10 of the powder into a plastic cap of cola bottle,drip feeding forcibly the 4 sicked birds. 2 times per day. It worked very quickly and 3 days later the birds have no the symptoms. Only the oldest one died one month later because its body was too weak due to the long-lasting suffering from illness and might have some complications even the original sickness has been cured. Yes, I am so sorry it’s too late when I used the right drug – fluconazole for it.

Treat the “hard crop” of a baby parrot

A crop (croup/craw/ingluvies) is a thin-walled expanded portion of the alimentary tract used for the storage of food prior to digestion. Due to some reasons,  the food stop inside the corp and accumuate to make the crop become big and hard, then we call it “hard crop” which often happens on parrots. Hard crop is often seen on a baby bird. Once you find your baby bird’s crop getting hard and such a symptom last to the next day, your bird may be very possible to get a “hard crop”. If it’s not treated immediately, the bird will die soon (in 3-7 days).

Parrot with hard crop

Treatments for “hard crop” of a baby parrot

  • Stop feeding food to the bird immediately, but to feed with electrolytes and/or glucose water to supplement energy and regulate body fluid balance,better to add with some probiotics.
  • Massage the crop gently after feeding with electrolytes and/or glucose water to soften the accumulated food and make it go down into digestive tract or just vomit it out.
  • Mild symptom of crop infection does not need to be treated with medicine (probiotics and electrolytes are not medicine).
  •  When the symptoms are obvious (the crop is big and hard), you can consider giving a very small amount of antibiotics (If you are not sure about the dosage of antibiotics, or you worried about the harm of antibiotics, you can attempt to use garlic water instead.).

Why “hard crop” happens

  • The baby bird constantly asks for food, and bird owner overfeeds, resulting in a indigestion problem and accumulation of food reidues in crop. Normally, it is not easy to suffer from indigestion when being fed by the parent birds who digests food firstly, but the artificial feeding is not the same thing!
  • In the cold season, when the temperature is not well controlled, especially in the evening when the temperature drops down quickly. The bird owner feeds the bird in late night, due to the continuous decrease of temperature, the digestion activity is weakened, the before food is not digested completely, and the new food covers over, bacteria are produced by fermentation, thus the accumulated food becomes hard and blocks the digestive tract.
  • Factor of feeding temperature. The crop and esophageal wall have mucous membrane which is very delicate. Hot or cold food will damage the mucous membrane which will be infected. And then the secretion of digestive fluid is insufficient to cause food accumulation due to poor digestion.

Prevention of “hard crop”

  • Do not overfeed.
  • Keep warm both for food and baby bird.

Help the baby bird get out of the egg

Normally a budgerigar baby will get out of the egg shell at the 18th day if the mother bird has a good motherhood and no external interference. But if the baby bird hasn’t come out after 18-19 days, it may be due to the inappropriate temperature and humidity. At this situation, we should observe and
intervene it manually if necessary.

(Please be noted here we are talking about the budgerigar’s incubation time, different birds have different incubation times.)

At the 17th-18th day, put the egg to your ear and you will hear the sound of the baby bird pecking at the egg shell. If the baby bird cannot break out of the egg shell in 24-48 hours, especially if the baby bird fails to come out in 12 hours after breaking a small hole, it’s very likely that the baby birds is too weak to come out (you can hear the sound of the baby bird pecking at the eggshell becomes weaker comparing with before), when broken hole exists too long, the moisture contentinside the egg may dissipate and make the baby bird dry and stick to the inside eggshell.

In such a situation, a manual intervention should be conducted. Peel the eggshell carefully along the hole (or use the flashlight to penetrate the egg with strong light for locating the baby bird inside the egg, and break a hole in the blank place). Be careful not to hurt the baby bird. The baby bird’s skin may stick to the inner shell due to the low humidity. Carefully grasp its feet or wings and try to pull it out with slight force, but if fail to get the baby out, the baby’s skin should stick to the inside egg shell. We can use warm water (hand feel to the body temperature) to drop it at the junction between the skin and the inner shell, and wait for a few seconds, it will be easy to drag the baby bird out. Be careful not to let the baby bird get cold from the wind. Dry the baby bird right away with a dry cloth or a tissue. Then put the baby bird back into the nest.

help the baby bird get out of the egg

Generally, the baby birds that are hard to get out of the shell are often the smallest ones for their mothers are busy to feed the first babies without giving the rest eggs a normal  incubation temperature . Also they are far from the first baby birds in body size. They are likely to be often stepped on by their parents, brothers and sisters, and they are even hard to compete for food with the other bigger baby birds (That’s why in the wild, the first babies are the strongest and the late borns oftenly died.). It’s better to feed it alone for some days. After five or six days, when the baby’s size can catch up with the others, we can put it back to the nest (I fed the baby bird with Nestle infant rice powder.)


Identify a budgie male or female by its cere’s color

As a pet budgie’s owner, you need to identify its sex firstly if you want to pair it with an opposite sex. The most simple and common way to identify a budgie’s sex is to observe its nose cere’s color. But budgies at different age have different colors.


A budgie’s sex difference with color difference on their ceres

An adult budgie who has pure white or dark blue or purple cere is surely a male, and an adult budgie who has a brown or giner yellow cere is surely a female. But the young budgie may be a little hard to indentify the sex for its cere’s color is not that pure/obvious , generally when the young budgie’s cere is while / pink and has a white cycle around the nostril should be a female, otherwise it’s a male.

The hard case is the cere appears white mainly with light blue at lower area, it’s often white around the nostril and then you judge it’s a female, but one or two months later, the blue on its cere may become darker, and then your judgement has to change. Actually it’s a male budgie, its “white” cere become blue because it grow up. And you can see the budgie often do head bobbing that looks like vomiting, this is a male parrot’s sexual behavior. So we can judge a budgie’s sex not only on its cere’s color, but also on its behaviors when he grow up to be an adult bird. Now let’s come back to the point: the cere appears white but with ligh blue at bottom is more possible a female actually, but you still need to wait one or two months to see its color changing and also put attention on its behaviors.

The below is more about the cere’s color at different situation to judge a budgie’s sex.

The adult female budgerigars in estrus.

The adult female budgerigars in estrus.

The adult female budgerigars in estrus.


The adult male budgerigars in estrus.

The adult male-budgerigars in estrus

The adult male-budgerigars in estrus


The adult female budgerigars who are still not in estrus.

The adult female budgerigars who are still not in estrus.

The adult female budgerigars who are still not in estrus.


The adult male budgerigars who are not in estrus yet

The adult male budgerigars who are not in estrus yet.

The adult male budgerigars who are not in estrus yet.

The young male budgerigars who are not adult yet.

The young male budgerigars who are not adult yet.

The young male budgerigars who are not adult yet.


The young female budgerigars who are not adult yet. The ceres are white or white with the lower area are light blue, the area around the nostril is surely white. Please be noted that the budgies with ceres are basically white but the lower area are light blue, such budgies may need one or two more months to observe, see if the cere will turn into blue or dark blue to be male actually.

The young female budgerigars who are not adult yet.

The young female budgerigars who are not adult yet.


The hummingbird-like moth : Hummingbird Hawk-moth

Hummingbird Hawk-moth is a moth that looks very much like a hummingbird in flying and appearance. In many areas that are not the inhabits of hummingbirds, many people met hummingbird hawk-moths surprisingly and misjudged them as hummingbirds. Some of them took photos on the moths and posted on some forums with a very confirmed claim that they met a real hummingbird even others told him it’s actually a moth.

The differences between hawk-moths and hummingbirds:

  • The moths are usually 1-2 inches in body length, much smaller than hummingbirds who are mostly 3-4 inches in length. Some birders may regard hummingbird moths as baby hummingbirds, but baby hummingbirds do not fly.
  • The moths have two antennas while birds don’t have.
  • The moths’s wings are transparent while birds’ wings are solid with feathers.
  • The birds have a needle-like long beak, the tongue stretch out of the beak into the flowers to get the nectar. The moths don’t have a beak but a long tongue, the tongue is curled up when the moth is not taking nectar.

Hummingbirds live only in america, but hummingbird hawk-moth are reported widely in Europe, Asia and America. Hummingbird moths are rare in North America, there are 4 species of hummingbird moths reported in North America. For people who are interested in these tiny wonders, if you notice in your backyard or garden some flying creatures look like hummingbirds but in half size of hummingbirds, they are very possible hummingbird hawk-moths. And you may meet them again in the same place the same time of next day.

Below are some photos for the lovely creatures: hummingbird hawk-moths.

Hummingbird Hawk-moth-1

Hummingbird Hawk-moth-2

Hummingbird Hawk-moth-3

Hummingbird Hawk-moth-4

Hummingbird Hawk-moth-5

Hummingbird Hawk-moth-6

The parrot’s beak is peeling / flaking

Peeling beak of a parrot is a common sign, it’s natural and normal for most beak peeling cases.

Beak peeling of parrot

A parrot’s beak serves not only in eating, but also as a “hand” in climbing on the cage or tree branches. Like our nails, birds’ peaks are made of keratin and keep growing all the life time of the birds. There is always the new beak tissue growth under the existing beak and cause the old outer of the beak is being sloughed off, this is the most common reason we see the flaky beak of a parrot. Actually you may see a parrot hurry the process of outer beak peeling by rubbing its beak against hard surfaces.

Sometimes a poor diet will cause problems to birds’ beaks. Vitamin A deficiency and/or Riboflavin (Vitamin B2) deficiency may result in beak malformations and/or beak peeling. This is a problem that can easily be remedied by offering a variety of fresh foods and high quality multi-vitamins/minerals supplements.

A good tip is to provide a piece of cuttlebone to your pet parrot for its beak grinding, this will not only for the parrot ‘s intake of calcium, but also help to prevent the beak from overgrowing.

For the symptoms like broken beak with large pieces peeling off or serious deformed beak, the parrot owners are supposed to ask help from a vet immediately.

The simple ways to distinguish a cockatiel male or female

If you want a pair of cockatiels to give birth to baby cockatiels, you need to put a male cockatiel and a female cockatel together.

There are two simple and direct ways to distinguish the sex: observe the dotting marks on the feathers and touch feel the distance of two bones around the cloaca (the ass hole).

Observe the dotting marks on the feather under the wings.

The dotting markings on the feathers can help to tell the sex. But it’s different for a adult bird and a young bird that just grew up from a baby bird.

For a adult cockatiel:

Female cockatiels have dotting marks on the feathers under its wings, while male cockatiels don’t have such dotting marks.

the female yellow cockatiel has dotting marks under the wings

the male yellow cockatiel has no dotting marks under the wings

the female black cockatiel has dotting marks under the wings the male black cockatiel has no dotting marks under the wings

For a young cockatiel.

When a baby cockatiel just has feathers, no matter it’s male or female, the feathers under wings have dotting marks. But the male cockatiel has no dotting marks on the new feathers.

the young female cockatiel still has dotting makrs on the new feathers under the wings the young male cockatiel has no dotting makrs on the new feathers under the wings

Judge by touching the distance between two bones around the cloaca.

The distance is as large as a peanut between two bones around the cloaca for the female cockatiel, while it’s as small as a rice between two bones around the cloaca for the male cockatiel.

The female cockatiel - Distance is as large as a peanut between two bones around the cloaca The male cockatiel - Distance is as small as a rice between two bones around the cloaca

About stress bars that are found on birds’ feathers

Stress bars are usually seen on the wings and tails of birds as thin, horizontal lines that go across the feather shaft. They can be caused by environmental factors, poor nutritional factors, medical issues or mental issues that are affecting the birds’ hormones during the time the feather is growing.  So these stress bars actually reflect the bird’s healthy condition at the time of the feathers’ growth. Keep your eyes on the show up of the stress bars will help you take better care of your pet birds.

stress bar stress bar

The additional vein marks on the feathers are called stress bars because they are caused by stressful events during the growth of the feathers.

  • Poor nutrition or diet change
  • Reduction or addition of a new family member
  • The cage is too small or not clean to make the bird uncomfortable
  • Medical illness
  • Mental disorder – Depression

If the bars are at the end of the feathers and the other part of the feathers appear healthy, or new feathers have no stress bars, then the cause(s) of the stress have probably been eliminated.

If feathers contain multiple stress bars, or new feathers still have stress bars, that mean the stressful event(s) are ongoing and we should pay more attention to find out if there are bad things happened to our birds and take steps to eliminate the cause(s) that are affecting the bird’s health.

The Parrot’s Mental Disorder – Depression

Pet birds will also suffer depression. Most cases of depressed pet birds were found on parrots because parrots are high intelligent and extremely emotional among birds, also parrots are the most popular pet birds that people raise. People won’t sense a wild bird depressed.

What will a parrot do when it’s depressed?

  • The depressed parrots will pluck their feathers. This is the most easily recognizable sign that a bird is depressed when it doesn’t have a pal and you just ignore him recently.
  • The parrot bob his head up and down all a day.
  • The parrot presents an appetite loss.
  • Stress bars show up on the feathers.

Fully check your parrot and make certain that there isn’t a medical issue in play with the above symptoms, then you pet bird may be very possible to get depressed.

Why does a parrot get depressed?

Most of the depressed bird cases indicate that a parrot get depressed mainly because of being lonely. A parrot is put alone in a place without a pal or the bird owner doesn’t play with him often, then it may get depressed. In addition, the poor living environment will also cause the depression of a parrot.

How to cure a parrot’s depression?

We need to handle the parrot in three aspects: Medicine, psycho therapy and living environment。

  • The medicine most for curing the depression of a parrot is called Clomicalm. This is an animal version of Prozac. Usually we feed the parrot a twice-daily dose, and the dose should be according to the instruction strictly for over-dose will be poisonous to your pet birds
  • The owner should play with the parrot more often and better to buy it another parrot as a pal. It’s a good idea to provide your parrot with some new and interesting toys.  These are not only to cure the parrot’s depression, but also a prevention.
  • Check if your parrot’s cage and living area are clean and comfortable with enough space. Many cases show the bird’s depression can be caused by an uncomfortable living environment.

The below is a case about a depressed parrot

The parrot gets depressed to bit off its feathers because his companion has gone.

The parrot get depressed to bit off its feathers because his companion has gone

The owner is comforting the depressed parrot.

The owner is comforting the depressed parrot

The owner even has a pet dog to be with the lonely parrot.

The owner even has a pet dog to be with the lonely parrot

The parrot dislike the dog and the owner decide to buy another parrot to be its new companion.

The parrot dislike the dog and the owner decide to buy another parrot to be its new companion

Skills And Tools For Bird Watching

Bird watching is basically a simple job that you can just start your watching with a binocular. But if you want to enjoy more fun in watching birds, you need to prepare more skills and tools for the bird watching trip.

bird watching

Field guide

You need a book of field guide to birds that help you to know what types of birds you can watch and identify the birds you are watching. If you have some guys to be a team to watch birds, you can consider to hire a local field guide who can help to find the birds in a short time.

A Binocular or a spotting scope

It depends on the distance of the birds you are watching. If not too far away, a light portable binocular is capable and easy to carry with. If the birds are 100 meters or further away from you, or actually you want a more detailed observation, you may need a spotting scope that delivers much larger magnification to you.

Dressing outdoor and not in a bright color

Bird watching is an outdoor activity, so you should dress like an hiker. But don’t dress in too bright that would scare the wild birds away. Especially avoid dressing in bright white as white is a color that indicates danger to most of wildlife.

Whistling can attract some songbirds

Whistling by exhaling through your rounded lips does attract some songbirds to come close to you. But sounding too loudly or many people whistle at the same time to make actual noise will scare the birds off.

A notebook or a digital camera mounted on your telescope to record what you are observing

As a professional bird watcher, you need a notebook to make notes on its appearance and behavior.

  • What is it doing?
  • What size, shape and color is it?
  • Does it have wing bars, an eye line, a long tail, and any other prominent mark?

You can also mount a digital camera or your cellphone camera to the Binocular or the spotting scope via an adapter, watch and record the birds at the same time with photos/videos. Then make notes in your computer with these photos/videos.