Scaly Face Or Leg Mite Infection in Birds

By PetMD Editorial on Jul. 1, 2008

Parasites can cause skin problems for birds, just as they do in other animals and humans. Scaly Face or Leg Mite infection is a parasitic skin condition which commonly affects budgies, canaries and finches. In parrots, it is usually only a problem for budgerigars.

Symptoms and Types

Scaly face infections symptoms are displayed near the beak, mouth, nostrils and eyes. Leg mite infections affect the legs and toes.

Infected budgies lose 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 veterinarian will take scrapings from the affected skin and look for the mites, using a microscope.


The Scaly Face or Leg Mite is treated by the veterinarian with antiparasitic medicines orally, or injected into the bird. Beak and leg deformities are common even after treatment. Treating at an early stage can reduce the deformities caused by this parasite.

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