Subject: Some sort of disease in birds [Print This Page] Author: mguy Time: 28/09/2007 20:24 Subject: Some sort of disease in birds
Photos taken over the last couple of weeks in the same proximity on Lamma Island.
All the birds seem to be healthy apart from their bald heads.
Not suggesting is avian flu, but didn't know which forum to post in.
The photo of the red-whiskered is about 2 weeks old........ as of today his head is considerably less bald.
There were about 5 Red-whiskered together with similar problems & they all seem to still be around & ok...... just slightly bald.
The Magpie was with a mate that didn't have the balding problem.
Many other birds in the same area with no problem.
Although disease can never be ruled out, given that the birds in your photos look fairly healthy I would suspect that the baldness is due to squabbling/ aggression/ over preening between nestlings whilst the birds were still in the nest. As the new feathers grow in, the head can look scruffy for some time as it is difficult for the bird to self preen this area to remove the wax covers.
Another possible cause is feather mites infestation, especially in young birds. Look inside any bird nests and you will see they are literally crawling with mites & lice. Once fledged, birds usually keep this in check through preening and good nutrition.
There are also records of individual birds in species such as Mynahs, Jays & Magpies that moult their head feathers all in one go, year after year, with no apparent reason why.