Home » Why Is There Blood in My Parrot’s Poop? (Melena in Birds)
why do parrots poop blood?

Why Is There Blood in My Parrot’s Poop? (Melena in Birds)

(Last Updated On: June 9, 2023)

The color and consistency of a parrot’s droppings are health indicative and should be monitored daily. Birds’ droppings comprise 3 parts (green fecal matter, off-white urates, and urine).

While a parrot’s droppings and frequency of waste passage are diet-dependent, sudden changes to poop can be a warning sign of illness and disease (if they persist).

Bloody poop in parrots is called melena. Black stools occur due to dried blood from gastrointestinal bleeding. Blood moves through the intestines before leaving the body during bowel movements.

Bloody stools can also occur due to egg binding, hookworms, bacterial infection, intestinal blockages, and heavy metal ingestion. Sometimes, bleeding is due to tumors in the upper GI tract.

Veterinary attention should be sought if the symptoms persist for 24 hours. Provide information on diet and lifestyle changes and when you first noticed dark-colored waste.

Fecal testing and bloodwork will be performed to determine the cause. Treatment is cause-specific, from dietary modifications to prescription medications to surgery and hospitalization.

What Is Melena in Parrots?

Melena is the scientific term for blood in the stool, often due to bleeding in the gastrointestinal tract. The blood is digested and ends up in the stool, observed post-elimination.

Healthy parrot poop is olive green, while a bird with melena will have black, tar-like poop. The waste from parrots with melena is often looser than normal feces but can sometimes be firm.

The following changes are warning signs of internal bleeding in parrots:

  • Dark-colored stools.
  • Reluctance to eat.
  • Anaemia.
  • Breathing distress.
  • Dizziness and disorientation.
  • Low energy levels.
  • Unhappiness.

Black droppings in a parrot’s cage don’t always mean a bird has melena, as there are other explanations.

Food can temporarily change the color of parrots’ waste. For example, fruits and vegetables, like blueberries, blackberries, and beetroot, can change parrots’ droppings from green to red, brown, or black.

signs of internal bleeding in parrots

Why Do Parrots Poop Blood?

Seeing blood in the stool (or black poop) can be a concerning symptom, so you’ll understandably ask, “What does it mean when a parrot poops blood?”

While internal bleeding is the likeliest cause of blood in the poop, other medical explanations exist.

Here are other common causes of bloody poop in parrots:

Damaged Skin

Before concluding that a parrot has internal bleeding from the GI tract, check the problem isn’t external.

A parrot bleeding from the bottom may have a damaged pinfeather following a recent molt or dry. It could also have cracked skin near the vent, exacerbated by a cut or flesh wound.

Pinfeathers are also called blood feathers. These immature feathers resemble needles on the parrot’s skin and have a direct blood supply. If a pin feather is harmed, it can bleed heavily.

Blood could enter the feces if a pinfeather is located near the cloaca.

Dry skin beneath the feathers, including the area around the cloaca, could crack and bleed. Common explanations for dry skin in birds include the following:

  • Nutritional shortfalls and imbalances, like hypovitaminosis A.
  • Hot, low humidity environments.
  • Allergic reactions.
  • Parasites (mites, lice, fleas, etc.)

If a parrot scratches dry skin around its bottom with its sharp claws, it may break the skin and bleed.

Egg Binding (Dystocia)

If a bird shows nesting behaviors, she’s ready to lay eggs. Female parrots can produce eggs without a male, but the eggs will be unfertile. If a parrot can’t lay eggs, she may be egg-bound.

A parrot is eggbound when the egg is trapped in the lower oviduct. According to the Journal of Avian Medicine and Surgery, dystocia could be due to torsion of the oviduct.

Alternatively, the egg may not have developed properly due to a calcium deficiency (hypocalcemia). This can be due to a lack of calcium or vitamin D3 (due to insufficient sunshine or UV rays).

If an egg is stuck, it can rupture blood vessels in the vent, the outer segment of the cloaca. Spotting or blood in the stool can then follow. Other signs that a parrot is egg-bound include:

  • Constant straining to lay an egg.
  • Distended (swollen) abdomen.
  • Fluffed-up feathers.
  • Constipation or diarrhea.
  • Sitting on the cage floor.
  • Bobbing the tail.
  • Vomiting
  • Paralysis of one or both legs due to pressure on the nerves.

Egg binding is life-threatening to parrots, so a vet must quickly resolve the condition.

Heavy Metal Toxicosis

Parrots with heavy metal toxicity (due to zinc, lead, copper, and iron) can experience adverse symptoms, including bloody stools. Household items that may contain heavy metals include:

  • Batteries.
  • Coins.
  • Ink.
  • Paint.
  • Insecticides.
  • Jewelry.
  • Keys and chains.
  • Toys.
  • Wire.

If a parrot has consumed toxins, a vet will flush them from the body with intravenous fluids. Any foreign objects lodged in the digestive tract must be removed, sometimes surgically.

Bacterial Infections

A bacterial infection from a contaminated food or water source can lead to bloody diarrhea. Bacterial infections can spread rapidly and must be treated with vet-prescribed antibiotics.

Ensure the parrot’s cage is spot-cleaned daily and deep-cleaned weekly. Also, avoid leaving heat-sensitive food in the parrot’s cage post-mealtime because bacteria breed and multiply quickly.


Hookworms are less common than roundworms or tapeworms, but the Journal of Biology, Agriculture, and Healthcare stated that they can arise in bird species.

Hookworms derive their name from the shape of their head, which hooks at the front of the body.

If hookworms overwhelm the parrot’s digestive system, they attach themselves to the intestinal wall. Hookworms feed on a parrot’s blood and cause melena when shed in feces.

Hookworms can be prevented and treated with over-the-counter worming medication. Regardless, pet birds should always be wormed every 6-12 months.

what does it mean when a parrot poops blood?

Gastrointestinal Blockages And Tumors

Issues with the upper gastrointestinal (GI) tract often cause internal bleeding. Then, blood will enter the parrot’s digestive system and present itself through black or discolored feces.

Here are the main reasons why a parrot can bleed from the GI tract:


If a parrot swallows something inedible, it’ll remain trapped in the intestines and could cause a blockage. This can lead to melena because food and waste can’t pass through the bowels.

A vet must remove foreign bodies from the digestive tract under local anesthetic. The warning signs of a gastric blockage include food refusal, constipation or diarrhea, and lethargy.


According to Avian Diseases, tumors can cause ulcers in the digestive tract, leading to internal bleeding.

These are called neoplasms and result from tissue masses that expand and divide inside the body. Neoplasms require extensive tests to determine if the tumors are benign or malignant.

If a parrot has cancerous tumors within the GI tract, these must be urgently treated. A vet surgically removes the tumor or uses chemotherapy to destroy the malignant tissue.