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Blood feather
A new feather that has not finished growing in and still has a blood supply.

Waxy or fleshy protuberance at the base of the bill of some birds

The common chamber into which digestive and urinary wastes discharge.


The long feathers on the head that raise or lower according to mood. Cockatiels and cockatoos are the best known examples of parrots with crests.


Thin-walled, elastic sac in the esophagus where food is temporarily stored and can be regurgitated to feed chicks. In parrot chicks that have just been fed, the crop is an obvious rounded, distended pouch.

Egg bound
Potentially fatal condition in which a hen is unable to expel an egg that has become lodged in lower oviduct or cloaca. Poor nutrition, stress or laying too young are thought to be possible causes.

Feather picking (or plucking)
Removal of feathers by the parrot, usually attributed to boredom, stress or dietary deficiencies.

Young bird that has feathered but is still being fed by its parents.

Flight feathers
Specialized contour feathers found on wings and tail. Long, primary flight feathers are attached to what would be the equivalent of our hand area; shorter, secondary flight feathers are attached to the "forearm" area.

Going light
Commonly used to describe unexplained weight loss in a bird.

Hospital cage
Relatively small, temporary, specially-equipped box to isolate and warm a sick bird. Usually completely enclosed by solid walls except for the front and equipped with a built-in heat lamp for keeping the temperature between 85 degrees and 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

Periodic shedding of feathers, which are subsequently replaced by new ones.

An infectious, herpes-like virus that usually appears as a small, raised pink or grey cauliflower-like mass in the vent, mouth or throat.

Colorful, tropical bird characterized by the ability to mimic; a stout, hooked bill; thick, tubular tongue; two toes pointing forward and two backward for climbing; and presence of powder down. Most of the 300-plus species of parrots in the world today originate in Indonesia, Central and South Americas, and the Caribbean.

Psittacine beak and feather disease. An infectious virus that strikes mainly young parrots and kills the cells of the feather and beak. Infected birds grow deformed feathers and may succumb to secondary infections, including hepatitis.


A feather just emerging through the skin.

Pinning and flashing
Commonly used to describe the rapid alternate shrinking and dilation of a parrot's pupils when it sees something highly interesting to it.

Powder down
Specially modified down feathers that grow continually during a bird's life, the outer edge disintegrating into a fine talc-like powder.

Preen gland
Gland at the base of the tail that a bird "dips into" during preening to oil its feathers. Also thought to be a source of vitamin D.


Using the beak to smooth and restore to position flight feathers that have become separated.

Of or relating to parrots.

A curable infectious bacterial disease of birds marked by diarrhea and wasting. Also known as parrot fever, chlamydiosis, and ornithosis. Infected birds can be cured with tetracycline or another broad-spectrum antibiotic. Psittacosis can be passed to humans where it results in flu- or pneumonia-like symptoms.

Scaly face
Inflammation and rough, scaly growths caused by a parasitical mite that burrows the skin area around the beak and eyes, and occasionally on the legs and toes. Most common in budgerigars and can deform beaks if left untreated.

Spray millet
Branch of a small-seeded grass often sold as a parrot treat.

The external opening of the cloaca.


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