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Discussion Starter #1
Hey guys,

Lately, I noticed that Meta's beak abruptly changes colour towards its end. Is that normal? There isn't any change in his behaviour, and for the life of me, I can't remember if he has always had that. Anyway, should I be worried?

 

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I'm not sure but I've seen this change of color in males (from photos).
 

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I'd say he's fine.

It looks in the picture as though the upper and lower beak have the darker coloration you note (on the upper beak at the bottom and the lower beak behind the bottom of the upper beak in the picture). He might have taken a drink shortly before you took that pic - that could have temporarily moisturized the areas in question and can make them look dark for a little while. Or perhaps he was chewing on an oily seed or some other moist food that darkened the areas in which case the darker appearance might last longer.

The beak is alive and always growing and the outer surface will shed, similar to the way our skin grows from underneath and the outer surface sloughs off. This can make the beak look dry and sometimes you will actually see dry looking 'layers' that appear to be peeling off. Preening activity can affect the appearance of the beak's surface due to the feather dust and oils getting on it, too. Also, due to the ongoing growth of the beak your bird will 'grind' his beak at times, making a sandpaper action sound - usually when they are resting and falling off to sleep. That would just be him doing a bit of routine maintenance.

All these things are normal.

(I also looked at your earlier post: http://talkcockatiels.com/showthread.php?t=128529 and don't see anything wrong in the accompanying picture - there's some ordinary color variation but even that may be a lighting effect from when the photo was taken.)
 

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Discussion Starter #4
I looked at the oldest picture I have of him (from August) and he still has that colour change. It's just that he's been shaking for a few weeks now. As far as I can tell, he does it when he's sleepy, and the cage just picks up his vibrations. He has his cage covered from three sides as to preserve heat (it's quite cold around here). Anyway, I'm afraid he'll catch a cold, so everything unusual about him makes me worry.
 

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If he is coughing or throwing up that could show as dampness in the area where the beak is darker, and this would be serious, but you didn't mention any symptoms of illness like that, or say anything about his droppings or weight. Percy's beak looks like your guy's at the moment and he was just eating so that caused it.

Some shivering that vibrates the cage metal a little bit is normal, too, so it's not necessarily a sign of trouble. If it's colder near his cage lately and that's chilling him, then try to make it a bit more comfortable with some more warmth.

If there's any doubt, you should have a vet check him out. It's only possible for any of us to comment based on what you notice about him and report here. Some vets will allow a phone consultation so you don't have to take the bird out in severe weather unless they think he has to be seen. You'll at least have the benefit of a back and forth discussion on the phone as a start.

Edit: Tiels will shake their feathers out sometimes including when they're settling in to sleep. Seems to get the feathers arranged naturally for comfort.

It's good that you are attentive to his behavior and that you're watching for symptoms. Over time you'll learn what's normal & what's not.
 

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The beak color looks totally normal. The shaking may or may not be. It's not terribly unusual for birds to fluff their feathers in a way that looks like shaking or shivering. But if you think it's something new, best to be safe and see a vet.
 
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