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Ask Dr. Michael Salkin Your Own Question
Dr. Michael Salkin
Dr. Michael Salkin, Veterinarian
Category: Vet
Satisfied Customers: 32739
Experience:  University of California at Davis graduate veterinarian with 45 years of experience.
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Dark spiky feathers above both nostrils. 18 month old male

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Dark spiky feathers above both nostrils. 18 month old male budgie, eats seed, fruit, celery, cucumber, lettuce and millet. Flies free in my flat among 6 perches for 4 to 6 hours a day. Lively and very active. Sleeps 11 or 12 hours daily. Are the dark feathers something to worry about please. Thank you. *****@******.*** ***********
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I suspect that those dark, spiky feathers are pinfeathers - new emerging feathers. The alternative is feathers matted down by discharge from the nostrils but you would have seen moisture and a sick bird if that were the case. Bertie sounds like the picture of health, instead.

Can you upload a photo of Bertie to our conversation? You can use the paperclip icon in the toolbar above your message box (not if you're using the chrome browser) or you can use an external app such as or

I can be more accurate for you if I can see what you're seeing.
Dr. Michael Salkin and 3 other Vet Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Bertie head feathers

Thanks for your reply, Bertie photo attached, hope it is OK

Beautiful bird. Unfortunately, at the size of the image I need to see those feathers, that area is quite blurred. You'll need a macro lens or setting on your camera. I appreciate your efforts and thank you for your kind accept.

Do those feathers look to be enclosed in a keratin sheath - a hollow tube?
Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Sorry about last photo, hope this is better. Colouration changes daily. Giving him vitamins in case he is going for a major moult, up to now he moults a bit all the time. Changing him to pellets slowly. Many many thanks to you from myself and Bertie :-) :}

Thank you! I can't see individual pin feathers in the photo but I suspect that the dark spiky feathers contain blood vessels and, indeed, are pin feathers. Bertie's nostrils are clean and he's not sneezing so I can't blame nasal discharge for the coloration.

Vitamins (particularly vitamin D3) and calcium (mineral mix grit, oyster shells) are important during molting. Pellets are just the ticket! See here:

Give Bertie a kiss for me.