Any bird with a curved or hooked upper beak is considered a parrot. This includes small birds like Parrotlets, Budgies, Lovebirds, Cockatiels, Lories/Lorikeets and Conures. It also includes medium to large birds like African Grey Parrots, Eclectus Parrots, Amazon Parrots, Cockatoos and Macaws. With the exception of Lories and Lorikeets, who are fruit and nectar feeders, all of these birds have strong beaks designed to crack open the hard shells of seeds and nuts. However, seeds should not make up a large part of the diet, as in the wild, these birds eat a wide variety of foods to balance out their diet. Too many seeds can lead to serious health problems in parrots. We recommend that these birds eat a pellet based diet, with fresh foods and limited seeds to round out their diets.
Songbirds include aviary birds and commonly kept companions like Canaries and Finches. While songbirds often eat more seeds in their diet, fresh fruits and greens along with pellets are vital to achieving optimal health.
Husbandry issues such as poor diet, not enough bathing, poor socialization, poor hygiene, lack of sleep, inappropriate toys, toxins and many other factors often cause illness in our bird companions. By maintaining good husbandry practices, we can minimize illness in our feathered friends. It is critically important that food and water are changed daily, and that stool production is monitored daily. This helps maintain optimum hygiene practices and aid in detecting early signs of illness which often include subtle changes in appetite and stool production. Food should be measured out daily and the animal not overfed, so appropriate food consumption can be monitored and changes rapidly noticed. Changing water daily ensures fresh clean water and allows you to monitor how much water the pet consumed during the day. Evaluating and changing the cage substrate daily allows you to notice any changes in stool size, shape, consistency and odor. Because birds hide signs of illness, these daily habits will often make the difference in the health and longevity of your bird.
Some common parrot and songbird diseases include:
Eye infections and cataracts
Fatty liver disease
Heavy metal toxicosis
Foriegn object ingestion
Viral diseases (such as PDD, PBFD, Polyoma Virus)