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Can Birds Get Fleas: [Answered and Prevention Tips]

Owning a bird can be a truly rewarding experience, but this isn’t to say that it isn’t a lot of work as well. In fact, birds can be a whole hand full. This is especially true if they come down with illnesses or experience other problems. Most pet owners probably know that cats and dogs get fleas.

They are probably even somewhat familiar with fleas and how to deal with them. Well, birds aren’t exactly immune to this problem either. And, this is a fact that frightens a lot of birds owners. So, can birds get fleas?

Fleas can infect your birds just like fleas would a cat or dog and thrive off their blood. This can be a huge problem for birds, especially smaller birds. This is why it is more important than ever to understand everything you can about bird fleas and how to deal when them when the problem arises.

What Exactly Is A Bird Flea

Bird fleas are just one of the many species of fleas. In fact, there are a number of flea species around and they can cause extreme irritations in their hosts. Most bird fleas will have eyes and antennas as well as mouths that can pierce the skin of the host.

The major difference between bird fleas and other species is that they are usually brown in color. Not only are they brown in color, but they can grow to be as big as 5/16ths of an inch or 0.79 centimeters.

[Related Article: Where Do Birds Go To Die: [Complete Guide]

The Reproduction Process Of Bird Fleas

You will find that bird fleas are mostly present during the spring months. This will be when birds are outside building their nests and raising their young. During these months this is when the larva will feed on the organic material found in bird’s nests.

When this occurs can autumn arrives the fleas will now be in the adult stage. Of course, the bird’s movement throughout the nest will only speed up the hatching process by making vibrations that disturb the cocoon.

When the adults arise from the cocoon they will immediately come out seeking the nearest host, which more than likely will be the mama or baby birds.

Bird Flea Traveling

Bird fleas are much like other fleas when it comes to traveling. Most fleas use jumping as a means of travel and this is exactly what bird fleas do as well. Jumping is not only how they get from place to place, but it is how they will also eventually reach their host.

Bird flea’s jumps are usually triggered by shadow. When these creatures see a shadow, whether it be a human or a bird, they will take that leap of faith in hopes of landing on a suitable host. If they miss they will just simply hide and wait for another shadow to come along.

As you can see, it wouldn’t be impractical to think that fleas could travel from an outdoor bird nest to an indoor environment. Not only this, but they can attach to laundry, chimneys, roofs, or other nearby attractions.

Of course, this is probably going to depend on where the nest is located, but it is easy to see how any of these scenarios are possible.

Caution always needs to be aired when cleaning nest boxes. It is during the cleaning that you will more than likely expose yourself to these creatures. This is why it is best if the box cleaning is done during the wintertime when the fleas and birds aren’t around.

Indoor Birds And Fleas

It wouldn’t be unfeasible to imagine that your indoor bird could get fleas when you consider the above scenarios. However, the chances of these scenarios are highly unlikely. That being said, many pet owners with indoor birds have sworn up and down that their pets have developed fleas.

Well, it is not uncommon for birds to experience excessive scratching. Sure, this is a common symptom associated with fleas, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that your indoor bird has fleas when he or she starts scratching.

This might be a good indication that your bird is suffering from some kind of parasites like lice or mites. Always look for bites on yourself and your pet bird when you are trying to discover if your bird has fleas or a parasite.

If bites are present there is a good chance you are dealing with fleas rather than parasites.

Bird Flea Problems

You learned earlier that bird fleas are extremely dangerous for smaller species of birds. This is because if smaller birds are infested with enough fleas it can eventually lead to anemiaOpens in a new tab. or even death by the loss of blood.

However, the same exact thing can happen to adult birds if the flea infestation isn’t taken care of immediately.

This probably won’t be a major problem when dealing with captive birds that aren’t already pre-exposed to a flea problem. Bird breeders, on the other hand, will always need to be vigilant when monitoring their nursery.

The presence of bird fleas is always going to be annoying and potentially dangerous to both humans and birds. This is because some bites are not only potentially painful, but they might even set off skin reactions.

There have been many situations where a single flea bit leads to major skin irritations in cats and dogs as well as birds.

Preventing Bird Fleas

If your bird comes down with flea symptoms the very first thing you need to do is take them to the vet. However, it is best to prevent the situation in the first place.

The best possible way to do this is by investing in a commercial solution that can help eliminate fleas.

You can also turn to a professional exterminator, as they are capable of handling such infestations. Also, remember to always avoid bringing any nest boxes in the home.


So, can birds get fleas? You can see that bird fleas could be a major problem for both you and your pets. Indoor birds are by no means immune to this condition either, but it is less likely that they will develop fleas.

As long as you stick to the information provided in this short guide, you shouldn’t have a problem identifying, avoiding, and eliminating bird flea problems.

Brian Koller

Growing up on a farm in eastern PA, I’ve grown fond of wildlife and the woods and learning about the critters and firewood and everything else in-between. I made this site to share my experiences and knowledge.

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