PBFD: beak and feather disease


PBFD beak and feather diseasebeak and feather disease

This disease is today greatly underestimated in all farms because the PBFD * test is not systematically performed on incoming or outgoing birds.


* [PBFD = Psittacin Beak & Feather Disease or beak and feather disease]



What is true today:


1) All Psittacidae can be affected  , regardless of their age (with a predominance for the 0-3 age group).

2) The viral agent responsible for the infection has only been recognized recently thanks to the development of a specific test.

3) Many birds in captivity and in the wild are affected, including nestlings (about 20% of Australian cockatoos are contaminated). “dormant” virus .


4) The absence of plumage anomalies does not mean that a bird is not infected.


For more information :



A –  Etiology


This infection is due to the smallest   known virus in birds (Circovirus of the Circoviridae group, virus 15 nm * in diameter without envelope). Antigenic variants have been found in pigeons, doves and ostriches.
This disease was described as early as 1888 in Australia, then studied clinically in the 1970s in Australian Cockatoo.
The explosion in international bird trade seems to be the most plausible explanation for its global expansion.

(*) a nanometer is worth a millionth of a millimeter.


B –  The main signs to recognize it are as follows:


– Abnormally significant loss of feathers (especially loss of the primaries of the wings and the tail or of the feathers which withdraw easily).

– Presence of abnormal feathers (thinned, twisted feathers, spinning, shafts with clots), often accompanied by a powdery appearance of the down and the outline of the feathers.

– The Parrot does not lose the sheath of its feathers after a few weeks.

– Abnormal coloration of the feathers (presence of a red coloration on normally gray feathers, yellow coloration of the feathers when they should be green)

– Blood clot at the base of new feathers.

– Anomaly of the beak (elongation of the beak, necrosis of the palatal vault with or without ulceration in very advanced cases).

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