Is Your Parrot’s Peeling Beak Normal?

Posted by Patty on

A bird’s beak serves more purpose that just about any other part of its outer anatomy. Aside from its obvious function during meals, it is used for climbing and it acts as a “hand” as it explores its world. It can snap a tree branch in half and then gently feed a chick in the nest. A bird would surely struggle without its beak.

Like our nails, a beak is made of keratin. And like our nails, beak tissue is continually growing. Normally, if a bird is on a good diet, a healthy beak will take care of itself. As it navigates its cage and chews on wooden toys, the beak is naturally groomed and any overgrowth is worn down.

There is always a fresh supply of new beak growth just under the existing beak, and it makes its way to the surface by sloughing off the old outer growth. This means that sometimes the visible part of the beak begins to peel away.

In fact, you will more often see a peeling appearance in your bird’s beak than not. Sometimes it looks extreme, but it is all part of the normal growth process. It is not unusual for a bird to try to hurry the process by rubbing its beak against hard surfaces. I try to gently discourage this behavior when I see it happen. I have seen birds wear grooves into their beaks from the cage bars when they become obsessive in this activity.

If there is ever any question that your bird’s beak appearance may be the result an injury or an illness, you should definitely have your vet take a look. Deep gouges, cracks and crevises should not be considered normal.

Hyacinth macaw – NORMAL peeling


Mitred conure – NORMAL peeling


Goffins cockatoo – NORMAL peeling



Greenwing macaw – NORMAL peeling



Scarlet macaw – even this degree of chipping can be NORMAL- photo by parrot and conure world

The photos below are ABNORMAL beaks due to disease, parasitical infestation or injury:

Wild Cape parrot with PBFD photo by Rodnick Biljon


Budgie with mites infestation photo by

Amazon beak injury – photo by Anna Sloan


I should also mention that, in a cockatoo, a perfect, shiny beak is strong indicator of PBFD. The cockatoo beak should always be coated in a fine white powder.

Umbrella cockatoo, Linus – NORMAL (Well, the beak is normal)

Watch this video to learn how you can adjust your bird’s diet to prevent many beak ailments naturally:

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  • What about cracking in the middle straight across both my conures have this

    Roneita on
  • OMG! Thanx so much for the pics!…cuz my 7 yr old Golden Capped Conure has the exact pattern of beak peeling on his lower beak left side…I’m all freaked out today until I read this article!…or perhaps I never thought a little flaking was my bird’s beak regenerating new keratin!

    Leila Hooser on
  • Hi there, I have lovebirds, and no ‘experts’ I asked about my birds beak knew this!!! Thank you thi pics are very helpful. I am a little concerned tho as there are very small dark patches on a couple of the birds beaks, located quite centrally, could these be infections? the birds look healthy otherwise. One has akind of crack coming from the nostril, I could attach pics as again nobody could tell me what was going on here Thank you Leslie :-)

    Leslie on
  • recently i rescued a small parrot in which half of the lower beaks got broken when it fought with crow and it will grow normally ?

    sriprasanna on
  • recently i rescued a small parrot in which half of the lower beaks got broken when it fought with crow and it will grow normally ?

    sriprasanna on

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