Why is My 36-year-old Amazon Showing Dark Feather Patches?

Why is My 36-year-old Amazon Showing Dark Feather Patches?

Last Updated on by Mitch Rezman

Anne relates the condition of her Double Yellow head Amazon

My 36-year-old has started showing these dark patches on feathers. What do you make of it? (see image above)

Dear Anne

Dark-looking feathers can be a result of different things.

Some birds are more sensitive to added colors in the pellets given and thus could come out in newly molted feathers. If this is the issue then switching to natural-colored pellets may help.

Are the feathers fully intact or have they been “barbered? Birds suffering from stress or fear or boredom can be sitting and nibbling off the outer lighter-colored edges of the feathers thus revealing the dark under feather layers.

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This also can be from plucking. If it continues, the next layer to show will be lighter or darker down feathers and then finally skin.

If your bird is suffering from pain inside its body near the darkened feather area, it could be picking at the area and the regrowth may be resulting in the darker feathers.

Check Out Our Articles on Feather Self Destruction

Another possibility is a diet with too much fat and protein. Adding more fresh veggies, some fruit, pellets and less seed can help.

Nothing will correct the feathers once they are grown, molting takes time. Some birds’ feathers molt out once or twice a year, and others take more than a year before being replaced.

The best practice is to take your bird to your avian veterinarian for a check-up and examine its diet.

Please let us know what you find out.

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