Index of Bird DiseasesSymptoms and Potential CausesBird Species and Diseases They are Most Susceptible to

Canary with Scaly Leg (age-related)

Scaly Leg or Scaly Face are most commonly caused by Knemidokoptes – also spelled Cnemidocoptes, which are eight-legged microscopic mites that are related to spiders, ticks and scorpions – but obviously much smaller in size. They burrow in the face, feet and leg, vent and wingtips.

Different species of mites affect different species of birds. Knemidokoptes are most frequently found in budgies; however, they have also been reported in other species of birds. In canaries and finches, the same mite causes a condition commonly called ‘Tassle Foot’. It is also likely that some birds are genetically more susceptible to these mites than others.

These mites are very contagious; therefore, if one bird has it, all birds that it came in contact with need to be treated.

Secondary bacterial infection and arthritis may occur.

It is thought that in many instances, these mites are acquired in the nest, with the infection remaining latent for a long period of time. Early signs of this disease may be seen after six to twelve months.


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Scaly LegOther Health Conditions that Could Mimik a Scaly Mite Infection:

  • Any swellings could also be caused by strangulated fibers or insect bites.
  • Age: Scaly legs in canaries can also be a sign of old age (please refer to information below)
  • Nutritional Deficiency: Birds deficient in vitamin A are particularly susceptible to this condition. Seeds are typically low in vitamin A. This vitamin promotes appetite, digestion, and also increases resistance to infection and to some parasites.

    Please refer to “Bird Nutrition” for food items rich in Vitamin A.

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Information contained on this website is provided as general reference only. For application to specific circumstances, professional advice should be sought.


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