Parrot beak color change

Why Is My Parrot’s Beak Changing Color?

The original color of a parrot’s beak can vary based on the species and individual color mutations. Once the parrot matures, it is generally expected to remain consistent throughout its life.

So it can be strange to see your parrot’s beak change color from what you’re used to seeing every day. A sudden change may occur due to factors such as bruising, vitamin deficiencies, or underlying health conditions.

What Are Normal Parrot Beak Colors?

The pigments in the parrot’s body give rise to its natural colors. However, these colors can differ per species of parrot. These are the beak colors associated with some common species of parrots:

Beak ColorParrot Species
Black/Dark Grey BeakAfrican Greys, Cockatoos, Amazon Parrots, Conures, Eclectus Parrots, and some species of Macaws.
Red BeakIndian Ringnecks, Lorikeets
Orange BeakEclectus Parrots
Ivory BeakGreen-winged and Catalina macaws.
This table shows the normal beak colors for different parrot species.

Why Is My Parrot’s Beak Changing Color?

A sudden change in the beak color can be alarming for parrot owners. It may indicate potential health concerns for the parrot, though some of the reasons for change can also be benign. These are the commonly found reasons for a change in beak coloration:

Maturation & Aging

Parrots undergo various changes as they age, especially in the first year. The beaks as well as their feathers change in color as they mature. 

Certain species of parrots might have a lighter shade of what their beak would originally look like once they grow up. For example, Indian ringnecks have light red colored beak when they’re babies which turns into bright red color on maturation. 

Color Mutations

A parrot’s color genetics determine what color beak it is going to have when it grows up.  Parrot breeders usually experiment with different colored parrots, trying to create new and unique combinations. If you got the parrot from a breeder and know its background, you can try to find out if there were any special genetic factors that could explain the beak color change.

Nutritional Deficiencies

According to Behavioral Ecology, the color of the beak is influenced by the presence of carotenoids in both living and dead tissues, and it can change rapidly as carotenoids are deposited or withdrawn from the beak.

Carotenoids are needed to produce the beak colors, and if the parrot doesn’t have enough of it in its diet, its beak can begin to lose its normal color. Beta carotene which is a type of carotenoid is also the precursor to Vitamin A – an essential nutrient for parrots. So make sure to add dietary carotenoids for a healthier and more vibrant-looking beak. 


A black spot on your parrot’s beak can be caused by a trauma, following an injury or accident. A parrot’s beak has many blood vessels, most of which are close to the head. When these blood vessels get damaged, it can lead to bleeding beneath the keratin layer, which can make the beak appear black, purple, or dark brown in color. 

The bruising is usually concentrated in the region where the injury occurred, rather than covering the entire surface of the beak. Also, the bruising marks are more prominent and noticeable on parrots with light-colored beaks, compared to those with darker-colored beaks.

Image by Peter Békési

Fatty Liver Disease

Fatty liver disease is quite common in parrots, especially those that are primarily fed seeds. In this condition, the blood doesn’t clot properly, which can cause the parrot to bruise easily.

In some cases, the entire beak may turn black or darker in color. Parrots with fatty liver disease may also be overweight and also have abnormal beak and toenail growth. 

However, it is difficult to diagnose fatty liver in birds without a proper diagnosis from a vet. If you suspect your parrot may possibly have this condition, you should get an immediate checkup to avoid further fat buildup in the organs. Parrots in the early stages of fatty liver disease have a good chance of recovering.

Cyanosis In Birds

Cyanosis is a medical term used to describe a condition where the skin, foot, and beak of the bird appear bluish or purplish in color. It usually starts with the parrot’s beak and feet turning blue and may further progress to the skin as well as the tongue. 

Cyanosis usually occurs when there is not sufficient oxygen in the blood. This can happen when the bird has respiratory disorders, heart problems, shock, or other conditions that may restrict the flow of oxygen to the body.

If you see that your parrot beak is turning blue, along with signs such as labored breathing, loss of appetite, and watery eyes, it could have a respiratory infection. Respiratory infections in parrots can be serious and require veterinary attention. 

The avian vet would asses the conditions and prescribe medication accordingly. If the parrot is treated early, the beak should return to its usual color within a few days. 

Beak Peeling

If your parrot’s beak appears to be turning white, it can be due to flaking. Parrots’ beaks undergo a natural process where the outer layers of the beak gradually peel off, getting replaced with new layers underneath.

Sometimes, the parrot may also rub its beak on things to shed the old layer faster. This creates white flakes and lines across the parrot’s beak.

In cockatoos, the beak may look like it is covered by a white powder as they are generally more dusty birds.

Nevertheless, beek peeling is a completely normal process for parrots. In fact, you would more often find that your parrot’s beak is peeling as the keratin is continually being replaced.   


Parrots usually get an infection from unsanitary living conditions such as dirty water bowls, bad food, etc. These infections can sometimes lead to beak discoloration by disrupting normal bodily functions. 

Bacterial and fungal infections can lead to the alteration of pigmentation in the beak. They can hinder the body’s ability to produce necessary pigments and cause discoloration of the beak. They may also cause dullness and unusual patches among other beak problems.

Scaly Face Or Leg Mites

Knemidokoptes pilae or scaly mites is a genus of parasitic mites that affects the face, legs, and other areas of a bird’s body.

These mites burrow under the skin, causing crusting and thickening of the affected area. The crusts can form around the beak and eyes of the parrot, however, it may not cause itching. 

This condition most commonly affects budgerigars though it may happen to other parrots as well. If left untreated, it can lead to deformities of the leg and beak.

To treat scaly face and leg mites in parrots, veterinarians usually prescribe topical medications such as Avimec. Depending on the severity of the infestation, treatment may take a few weeks to months.  

Psittacine Beak And Feather Disease

Psittacine beak and feather disease (PBFD) is a serious health condition that affects the immune function in parrots. Parrots affected by PBFD  experience feather loss and discoloration of their beaks. 

Currently, there is no effective treatment available for PBFD. It is also a highly infectious disease, so it is important to keep the infected bird in a separate cage. 

Squamous Cell Carcinoma

Squamous Cell Carcinoma is a type of cancer that typically affects the skin of parrots. While it doesn’t directly affect the beak itself, you may notice tumor-like growths encircling the beak and eye region. 

This condition is relatively rare in pet birds like parrots because they are not usually exposed to sunlight quite as much. The primary cause of Squamous Cell Carcinoma is overexposure the ultraviolet (UV) rays.

Birds that spend a significant amount of time outdoors, exposed to direct sunlight, are more prone to developing this type of cancer.

How To Care For Your Parrot’s Beak?

A parrot’s beak is an important tool for them, used in various tasks throughout the day like eating, preening, and exploring. The beak needs to be cared for in order for a parrot to be healthy and strong.

Proper Nutrition 

One of the primary causes of unhealthy beaks is poor nutrition. When the parrot’s meals lack important nutrients necessary for the creation of new keratin layers and natural colors, it will begin to show on its beak.

Make sure to feed your parrot a balanced diet that includes a variety of vitamins and minerals. Protein should be a big part of the diet since it plays a key role in the formation of keratin. 

Likewise, you should also let your parrot have sunlight to get its daily intake of Vitamin D. Additionally, you should also include foods high in carotenoids such as carrots, leafy greens, broccoli, and orange bell peppers.  

Wooden Chew Toys

Parrots scratch and wipe their beaks on hard surfaces for many different reasons, including to sharpen them. This habit helps them always keep their beak ready for use. But they need appropriate toys and objects in their surroundings to effectively trim their beaks.  

As a general rule, you should keep as many wooden toys, perches, and other abrasive surfaces in your parrot’s cage. These objects are meant to simulate the tree branches in their natural environment. You should not get your parrot a dowel perch or any other perch that has a smooth surface. Those can be 

Safe Environment

As parrots play and fly outside their cages, there’s always a chance they can occasionally get themselves hurt. So when you’re putting them back in their cages, check for any bruises or scrapes. Make sure your parrot didn’t pick up any major injury by bumping into a foreign object. 

Small cracks and chips are usually fine and heal themselves when the beak grows as normal. However, beaks fruatures and tears cannot be repaired.

So you should take preventative measures around the house for a safer flight indoors.

Remove objects that may harm your parrot and don’t let them fly near a window or mirror as they cannot see through them.

Regular Beak Examinations 

It is good to check your parrot’s beak every now and then. When a parrot is able to use its beak for routine functions with ease such as eating, or cracking hard foods like nuts, it usually means the beak is in good health.

However, if your notice any unusual changes in your parrot’s beak whether it is related to coloration, firmness, or shape, it is better to get it examined by a professional.  

Dorson Joseph
Dorson Joseph

I'm Dorson, a bird enthusiast who's had a lifelong fascination for the avian world. I am a parent to my beloved Senegal parrot and budgie, which has deepened my love for avian creatures and taught me a lot over the years. I co-run a bird store and care center with my friends, where we work with experienced professionals to care for our flock. Now, I find great joy in sharing my knowledge with others, hoping to assist fellow bird keepers and enthusiasts in understanding birds and helping them live happy lives.

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