It can be alarming if your budgie suddenly develops black spots on its head.
Some owners even worry that this is a sign of mites, fleas, or another kind of parasite. However, this isn’t the case. Black spots are entirely natural and happen to all budgies.
Budgies develop black spots when molting. Some budgies molt up to 3 times a year, but once is more normal. The molting process can happen at any time of year, so there’s no predictable schedule.
During this period, black spots (keratin sheaths) appear and develop into white, sharp stubs that later become pin feathers. Your budgie’s head will take on an odd, spiky-looking appearance.
You’ll notice other signs shortly after, such as the feathers looking more ragged than normal. Then, certain feathers will be missing temporarily.
Once the molting period is over, your budgie’s head will return to normal. It should take 2-3 weeks before the pin feathers have grown and your budgie has new, vibrant plumage.
Don’t be concerned if you notice your parakeet has black dots on its head.
As stated, it’s a normal part of molting, and this is a healthy process that takes place at least once a year. However, some budgies can molt up to 3 times annually.
Molting involves the shedding of feathers, which new feathers gradually replace. The process happens gradually to ensure the budgie can keep warm and fly. However, it’ll find it more difficult to do both.
As the budgie replaces old feathers, the new feathers appear as white, sharp stubs known as pin feathers. This gives a budgie’s head a spiky appearance, which is normal and should fade over time.
However, you need to be wary of bald spots on your budgie’s head during molting, as this may signify illness or stress. Balding isn’t a normal part of a budgie’s normal molting process.
How Long Do Budgies Have Black Spots?
The molt usually lasts 2-3 weeks, and no feather is spared during this crucial process. So, black spots should only last for this amount of time.
When the budgie starts to lose its primary feathers, it’ll be less confident about flying.
So, don’t be surprised if your budgie stays perched much longer than normal. If your budgie likes to fly around your living room, you may suddenly notice that it prefers quiet time in its cage.
Likewise, it’s natural for budgies to lose many feathers. For instance, if your budgie stays in its cage, you may find a pile of feathers gathering at the bottom.
Similarly, you’ll notice smaller feathers drifting across your house more frequently. While this is common, you should expect to do more cleaning when your budgie is molting.
This shouldn’t be cause for alarm, as it doesn’t mean the black dots have somehow made your budgie ill. Instead, it means that your budgie is taking time to regenerate its feathers.
According to the Journal of Biosciences, molting is a biological process that requires significant energy. You should ensure that your budgie receives ample food supplemented by a mineral block or cuttlebone at all times.
Fresh vegetables and grains are some of the best foods for molting as they provide the nutrition that the budgie needs to grow strong and healthy new feathers.
Black Spots on Budgie’s Feathers
So, it’s normal to find black dots on a parakeet’s head. What about elsewhere on the body?
The process of molting can stall if your budgie is malnourished or stressed. When this happens, its head and neck will appear threadbare, and newly grown pin feathers may have brown or black tips.
Molting serves the evolutionary purpose of making the budgie’s feathers more colorful and vibrant.
This helps them attract mates and increase their chances of breeding. The University of California found that molting and breeding overlap in some species of budgies, particularly in the tropics.
It allows budgies to shed worn-out feathers and replace them with new, stronger feathers. Something is wrong if your budgie doesn’t come out of a molt looking more vibrant than before.
Usually, when the molt is caused by illness or a parasite, the budgie may be stuck in the cycle until the underlying issue is resolved.
So, any abnormal molting must be diagnosed and resolved early in the process.
The molting period can be an uncomfortable time for all budgies.
As the new pin feathers emerge, they’ll feel itchy and uncomfortable. You may notice your budgie preening or rubbing its body against objects more often to temporarily ease discomfort.
Its personality may change drastically, and you’ll observe that it’s crankier, irritable, and less patient with humans. So, avoid grasping the budgie during this period, as this can lead to aggression and biting.
Instead, give the budgie more time and space, and comfort it with toys to keep it occupied.
Give your budgie access to a bath. Budgies enjoy bathing and will likely choose to do so more frequently than usual. Alternatively, consider misting your budgie with a spray bottle more frequently.
How To Get Rid of Black Spots on Budgie
There’s no need to intervene when you notice black spots on your budgie’s head, as this is a part of a natural process that will soon run its course.
However, you can take action if you notice the spots staying longer than they should, and the budgie appears to have stalled in its molt.
A varied diet can boost the quality of the budgie’s molt and distract it from any feelings of discomfort.
You should provide your budgie with a diet rich in calcium, magnesium, vitamin A, and vitamin D. Also, ensure that your budgie gets additional exposure to sunlight to aid Vitamin D3 (cholecalciferol) synthesis.
This will enable your budgie to start molting again and ensure it molts healthily in the future.
With the right nutrients, your budgie will finish its molt normally, and the black spots will disappear within 3 weeks as the new old feathers fall out and the new feathers grow in.