Help! My male budgie's cere has gotten dark, is this normal?

Griffith Ackerman

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Dec 11, 2023
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I have a male budgie named Griffith, he's 1 year old. recently his beak started becoming darker & rough.

This is how he used to look normally.
IMG_5774.jpg


This is how he looked on 3rd this month. it's already kinda dark here.
IMG_7761.jpg


This is how he looks today. It's a lot darker.
IMG_7896.jpg


My other male budgie (Levi) is 2 years old, his cere looks blue and smooth, it's noticably different. Their cere used to look almost the same.
IMG_7899.jpg


They live together and share food. Their diet is mainly seeds, sometimes fresh celery and fruits, dried vegetables. I also add calcium in their water sometimes.

His poop is normal and he acts the same as usual. Though I noticed some unusual small noises when he flaps his wings since yesterday, not sure why.

I've been googling it and trying to get as much info as I can about cere color changes & how hormone changes affect them. For male budgies, it seems likely that a testicular tumor is causing it. Most cases occur between 4~7 years old, though.

I'm really worried. does this look normal? Is this the early stage of cancer or something else? Is there any way to treat it?
 
Last edited:

Jcas

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As you found online, testicular cancer is one cause of the cere changing color. However, I can see in the pictures that your budgie is clearly molting right now. A hard molt can cause a lot of stress for a bird and their body can react in a number of ways. Hopefully other budgie owners will weigh in, but if it were my bird, as long as it wasnโ€™t getting significantly worse, I would probably wait until the molt was over and see if his cere returns to normal. Let us know how heโ€™s doing โค๏ธ.
 

DonnaBudgie

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As you found online, testicular cancer is one cause of the cere changing color. However, I can see in the pictures that your budgie is clearly molting right now. A hard molt can cause a lot of stress for a bird and their body can react in a number of ways. Hopefully other budgie owners will weigh in, but if it were my bird, as long as it wasnโ€™t getting significantly worse, I would probably wait until the molt was over and see if his cere returns to normal. Let us know how heโ€™s doing โค๏ธ.
I had a male budgie that developed a testicular tumor at about four years old that caused his cere to turn brown. When he was over 10 years old his cere slowly turned back to lavender (he was a recessive pied male and their ceres are always lavender). When he died if kidney failure at 13 his vet asked to do a necropsy and found the shriveled up remnants of the tumor.
Your males cere is still blue but a very deep shade. I don't think he has a testicular tumor because they feminize the male. The blue of a male budgie's cere can be different shades of blue. I think he's normal.
If there IS a tumor there is nothing that can be done about it and it's not necessarily life threatening.
 
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Griffith Ackerman

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As you found online, testicular cancer is one cause of the cere changing color. However, I can see in the pictures that your budgie is clearly molting right now. A hard molt can cause a lot of stress for a bird and their body can react in a number of ways. Hopefully other budgie owners will weigh in, but if it were my bird, as long as it wasnโ€™t getting significantly worse, I would probably wait until the molt was over and see if his cere returns to normal. Let us know how heโ€™s doing โค๏ธ.
I didn't know that molting would affect birds so much. My birds always seem like happy idiots during molting. I've only had them for 2 years, and I have never seen their cere change color this much. This is actually the first molting of Griffith's adulthood, maybe it's harder for him? I will keep an eye on him and update this post. Thank you!
 
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Griffith Ackerman

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I had a male budgie that developed a testicular tumor at about four years old that caused his cere to turn brown. When he was over 10 years old his cere slowly turned back to lavender (he was a recessive pied male and their ceres are always lavender). When he died if kidney failure at 13 his vet asked to do a necropsy and found the shriveled up remnants of the tumor.
Your males cere is still blue but a very deep shade. I don't think he has a testicular tumor because they feminize the male. The blue of a male budgie's cere can be different shades of blue. I think he's normal.
If there IS a tumor there is nothing that can be done about it and it's not necessarily life threatening.
I thought a brown cere meant that the bird only has 1~2 years left to live. Your bird lived a full life with a tumor, it's wonderful! How did you take care of him?

I'm worried because his cere used to be a different kind of blue. I just checked him again today, it seems like old skin falling off.
 

DonnaBudgie

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I thought a brown cere meant that the bird only has 1~2 years left to live. Your bird lived a full life with a tumor, it's wonderful! How did you take care of him?

I'm worried because his cere used to be a different kind of blue. I just checked him again today, it seems like old skin falling off.
I didn't provide him any special care because there was none to provide. The vet told me he had a testicular tumor because his cere changed color to tan, but he was never "sick" from the tumor- just had a gender identity problem. When his cere turned back to male color the vet told me that some tumors outgrow their own blood supply and die without killing the host. For his last two years he looked male again but he finally died of kidney failure which he had for a couple years. His vet was very interested in performing a necropsy on my "geriatric budgie" so I let him. He also had cataracts. I thought it was good for science to have his body examined.
Buddy was one tough little budgie to survive to 13 with all his medical problems. All he ever ate was budgie seed. Go figure.

I wouldn't worry too much about your cute little guy. He may have a hormone issue or perhaps he just has dry skin. Female budgies' ceres are often very flaky and rough. Normal Cockatiel ceres are also dry and rough looking. As long as he acts healthy I wouldn't fret.
 

BirdyBee

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I have a male budgie named Griffith, he's 1 year old. recently his beak started becoming darker & rough.

This is how he used to look normally.
View attachment 56574

This is how he looked on 3rd this month. it's already kinda dark here.
IMG_7761.jpg


This is how he looks today. It's a lot darker.
IMG_7896.jpg


My other male budgie (Levi) is 2 years old, his cere looks blue and smooth, it's noticably different. Their cere used to look almost the same.
IMG_7899.jpg


They live together and share food. Their diet is mainly seeds, sometimes fresh celery and fruits, dried vegetables. I also add calcium in their water sometimes.

His poop is normal and he acts the same as usual. Though I noticed some unusual small noises when he flaps his wings since yesterday, not sure why.

I've been googling it and trying to get as much info as I can about cere color changes & how hormone changes affect them. For male budgies, it seems likely that a testicular tumor is causing it. Most cases occur between 4~7 years old, though.

I'm really worried. does this look normal? Is this the early stage of cancer or something else? Is there any way to treat it?
I wouldn't worry too much. Sometimes a budgie's cere changes colour based on hormones, stress, or other factors. If he starts acting abnormally or show any signs of illness, or if his cere turns brown, then I'd say it's a reason to be concerned. But from what you described, he seems to be healthy
 
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Griffith Ackerman

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I didn't provide him any special care because there was none to provide. The vet told me he had a testicular tumor because his cere changed color to tan, but he was never "sick" from the tumor- just had a gender identity problem. When his cere turned back to male color the vet told me that some tumors outgrow their own blood supply and die without killing the host. For his last two years he looked male again but he finally died of kidney failure which he had for a couple years. His vet was very interested in performing a necropsy on my "geriatric budgie" so I let him. He also had cataracts. I thought it was good for science to have his body examined.
Buddy was one tough little budgie to survive to 13 with all his medical problems. All he ever ate was budgie seed. Go figure.

I wouldn't worry too much about your cute little guy. He may have a hormone issue or perhaps he just has dry skin. Female budgies' ceres are often very flaky and rough. Normal Cockatiel ceres are also dry and rough looking. As long as he acts healthy I wouldn't fret.
Your bird was such a strong little guy. He was lucky to have you as his owner! I hope my birds live as long as your Buddy. I will try my best.
You are right, it does seem like dry skin. After 2 days, the skin fell off even more, and I can see the blue cere behind it, just as blue as usual. Thank you for your experience!
 
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Griffith Ackerman

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I wouldn't worry too much. Sometimes a budgie's cere changes colour based on hormones, stress, or other factors. If he starts acting abnormally or show any signs of illness, or if his cere turns brown, then I'd say it's a reason to be concerned. But from what you described, he seems to be healthy
Yeah, I'm sure that he's healthy now cause it's just dry skin from the looks of it.
I find birds really fragile, from what I've been reading online they tend to hide their disease and minor problems kill them quickly, so I often get worried and prepare for the worst when I notice something unusual. I have never experienced this cere problem, it's good to learn from it.
Thanks!
 
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Griffith Ackerman

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By the way, this is how he looks today. The dry skin peeling is more obvious here.
I will update again when his cere is completely back to normal. Hope it helps other owners who encounter the same situation.

1702534083766.jpeg
 

BirdyBee

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Yeah, I'm sure that he's healthy now cause it's just dry skin from the looks of it.
I find birds really fragile, from what I've been reading online they tend to hide their disease and minor problems kill them quickly, so I often get worried and prepare for the worst when I notice something unusual. I have never experienced this cere problem, it's good to learn from it.
I totally get that. It's easy to worry about our birds.
Anytime :)
 

BirdyBee

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Current birds:
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Snowy
Pippen

Past birds:
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Sunny
Griffen
Jeff
Gertjie
By the way, this is how he looks today. The dry skin peeling is more obvious here.
I will update again when his cere is completely back to normal. Hope it helps other owners who encounter the same situation.

View attachment 56621
You can add some coconut oil to a q-tip and gently rub it on his cere. It helps moisturise the skin.
 
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Griffith Ackerman

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You can add some coconut oil to a q-tip and gently rub it on his cere. It helps moisturise the skin.
Just tried it, the coconut oil is very useful. It seems to be good for bird skin care, whenever their cere and claws get dry.
 
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Griffith Ackerman

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This is how he looks today, after applying the coconut oil. I think he will be totally recovered tomorrow. Thank y'all!

IMG_8090.jpg
 

Krehard

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Hi there! Iโ€™m dealing with something similar with my budgie at the moment and am worrying myself sick about him! :( Griffith, how is your little guy doing now? Your photo looks most similar to how mine looks, so I was waiting things out a bit to see if we needed avian vet intervention just yet or if it was due to molting/hormones/normal stress. I attached a photo with a monthโ€™s difference of my Ernieโ€™s cere color changes. Thank you!
 

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Jcas

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Hi there! Iโ€™m dealing with something similar with my budgie at the moment and am worrying myself sick about him! :( Griffith, how is your little guy doing now? Your photo looks most similar to how mine looks, so I was waiting things out a bit to see if we needed avian vet intervention just yet or if it was due to molting/hormones/normal stress. I attached a photo with a monthโ€™s difference of my Ernieโ€™s cere color changes. Thank you!
Krehard, your cute little guyโ€™s cere looks okay to me; just the slight dullness or being โ€œ out of season.โ€
 

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