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Articles - Scaly Face or Leg Mite in Your Feathered Friend

Scaly Face or Leg Mite in Your Feathered Friend

Scaly Face or Leg Mite in Your Feathered Friend

Parasites can cause skin problems for birds, and other animals.

Scaly Face or Leg Mite is a burrowing parasite (Knemidokoptes) which commonly affects budgies, canaries and finches. In parrots, it is usually only a problem for budgerigars.

Infected budgies loose feathers in the affected area, a condition which resembles mange. White crusts develop around the corners of the beak, nostrils, and around the eyes and legs; however, there is no itching. The legs and beak may also become deformed and crooked if the infection is not treated in time. Even after treatment, the deformities can remain.

Canaries and finches are affected differently by Scaly Face and Leg Mite parasites. Among the symptoms, the birds can develop white crusts on the legs and toe surfaces (tassel foot disease). There is also no itching.

The mite burrows into the tissue around the cere and eventually makes its way down the break.

If left untreated the burrowing mites cause severe deformities of the beak, to the point that eating and drinking become very difficult and birds can actually starve to death.

As the burrowing mites only live on the body, it is not necessary to treat the cage itself with a mite-spray.


Scaly Face can be treated using an over the counter spot on treatment such as Scaly Face and Leg Mite Treatment by Aristopet. Treating at an early stage can reduce the deformities caused by this parasite.

At Brontosaurus, we will be able to assist you to identify Scaly Face mite, however we don’t suggest bringing your bird into store, take a picture and bring that along instead!

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