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Parrot Beak Color Change

Parrot Beak Color Change – Why it Happens + What It Means!

(Last Updated On: January 16, 2023)

A parrot’s beak color is species-dependent. Due to genetics, each species has pigments responsible for the beak’s color, just as they have different feather colors.

Most of us assume that parrots’ beaks are always black, but they can be pink, red, orange, or grey. However, you may feel concerned if your parrot’s beak changes from one color to another.

It’s normal for the color of a parrot’s beak to start as one color and change to its permanent shade with age. Parrot’s beaks also change color due to diet, malnutrition, fungus, injury, and bruising.

Also, beaks turn white because dead keratin flakes off (sloughing), exposing the color underneath.

What Color Are Parrots’ Beaks?

The American Association for the Advancement of Science stated that a beak’s color is due to carotenoids, specifically red and yellow pigments.

The following parrot species have these beak colors:

Black beak: Some macaws, including the hyacinth, red-shouldered, and blue-and-gold macaws.
Pink beak:Eclectus parrots.
Ivory beak:Green-winged and Catalina macaws.
Red-purple beak:Indian ringneck parrots.
Orange beak:Great-billed parrots.

Why Is My Parrot’s Beak Changing Color?

It’s normal for owners to be concerned that their parrot’s beak color change signifies something’s wrong. However, that’s not always the case. The most likely reasons for a color change are:

Aging

Many parrots’ beaks change color while they’re growing and developing.

Some chicks are born with a jet-black beak that becomes a duller grey as they age. Others have beaks that start lightly colored but gradually get darker.

For example, baby parakeets have a cere above their beak, which changes color as they age. A female’s cere changes to white, brown, tan, or pale blue, while males mostly develop a vivid blue band.

While this is sometimes a cause for concern, it’s normal, signifying that the parrot is growing into its permanent beak color.

Diet

When parrots are fed a diet of pellets, fruits, veggies, seeds, and nuts, their beaks should retain their natural color without flaking or splitting, which can affect the color.

Dull, lifeless beaks are a sign that something’s lacking in your parrot’s diet. For example, the beak may turn black if the parrot’s fed a seed-only diet.

Bruising

If your parrot’s beak turns black or purple, it’s likely due to an injury, such as a bite from another parrot or a knock from a window or hard object. As beaks are made from keratin, they bruise easily.

Similarly, several blood vessels run throughout the beak. If the beak gets injured, the blood vessels may bleed, appearing as an alarming red or purple discoloration. Parrots with lightly colored beaks will show bruising more noticeably than parrots with black, red, or purple beaks.

Bruising is nothing to worry about unless your parrot is in pain or struggles to pick up food and eat. The wound will heal as keratin continuously grows, so any discoloration will grow out.

what color are parrots beaks?

Sloughing

If you notice your parrot’s beak turning white, it’s likely due to sloughing. This is a natural process where the beak’s old, dead layers are shed, exposing a healthy layer of white beak underneath.

Cockatoos and conures are more prone to flaky beaks than other parrot species, but all go through the sloughing process at various stages of their life.

While it’s a normal reason for beak discoloration, too much dryness indicates a vitamin A deficiency or nutritional problem.

Are Beak Color Changes A Sign of A Health Problem?

A healthy beak should be smooth and uniform in color and texture. If not, something is wrong with your parrot’s diet. If the color changes, it could signify:

Malnutrition And Vitamin Deficiencies

Malnutrition is the leading cause of most health problems. Also, most parrots are deficient in vitamin A.

A parrot’s diet should consist of the following:

Avoid feeding your parrot the following foods, as they’re toxic and can cause deficiencies:

As described by Niles Animal Hospital, all parrots’ diets should feature an abundance of vitamin A.

Parrots fed an all-seed diet are most prone to this deficiency. To introduce more vitamin A into your parrot’s diet and avoid beak discoloration, incorporate the following foods:

Also, a beta-carotene supplement is beneficial.

Fungal Infections

Fungal infections can be seen through the beak’s keratin, causing discoloration. A white crust may develop around the infected area where the yeast has overgrown.

The most common causes of fungal infections of the beak include:

  • A weakened immune system
  • Overcrowding
  • Malnutrition
  • Dirt cage
  • Poor ventilation
  • Humid environments

As well as a change to the beak’s coloration, you’ll notice the following:

Fungal infections can be treated with oral medication and sprays.

Keep the cage clean and sanitized, and ensure you feed your parrot a nutritious diet. Where the environment is too humid, use a humidifier to improve the air conditions.

Fighting Parrots

If you have more than one parrot in a cage and regularly notice discoloration (bruising) on their beaks, the parrots are likely fighting. The dominant parrot may be bullying the submissive parrot.

Several factors can cause parrots in the same cage to fight, including:

  • Jealousy
  • Tiredness
  • Poor cage conditions
  • A noisy environment
  • Lack of food
  • Insufficient space

They’ll use their beaks as weapons, pecking and biting at the other, causing trauma. If your parrots start fighting regularly, you’ll need to separate them into cages until they’re ready to be reintroduced.

parrot beak turning black

How To Maintain A Healthy Beak

A beak is a parrot’s most useful tool, as it’s used for eating, preening, drinking, climbing, and more. When the beak changes color, it could signify that a health condition is taking hold.

Consider the following factors to ensure your parrot’s beak stays healthy:

Dietary Improvements

Improving your parrot’s diet is the best way to ensure keratin doesn’t flake away. This is one of the leading causes of beak discoloration and is one of the most neglected aspects of ownership.

Provide Accessories

Because parrots’ beaks are continuously growing and go through the sloughing process, which changes the color, parrots’ must keep them filed down. With the right tools, they can do this themselves.

However, parrots need conditioning perches, cuttlebones, and chew toys. Parrots will rub and tap their beaks against them, removing the dead layers of keratin.

Mineral and wooden blocks, ropes, beads, and coconut pieces are best for your parrot’s beak because they have enough texture to exfoliate the flaking keratin.

Keep The Cage Risk-Free

Parrots rub their beaks against their perches, so keeping them in good condition will minimize the risk of cuts and scrapes. Also, broken toys can chip and break the beak, causing the beak to change color.

The beak may feel sore for a few days, but the injury should clear up. However, all wounds risk bacterial infections, requiring antibiotics to clear up.