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Cere: Bird Term of the Day

Definitions of words used by pet bird enthusiasts with the pet bird slant.

By Angie Hendrickson

A young Derbyan parakeet's cere. 
By Gina Cioli/BowTie Studio/Courtesy Omar's Exotic Birds
The cere is just above the beak, where the bird's nostrils are.

The cere is the fleshy skin just above the beak where your bird’s nostrils (or nares) are located. This waxy skin protects the bird’s nares, which allows the bird to breathe. Not all birds have a cere, but parrots, doves and birds of prey do.

When you take your pet bird to the avian veterinarian, he or she will often check the bird’s cere for signs of inflammation or irritation. The cere can be one of the first indicators of illness, especially respiratory problems. If your pet bird’s cere is chapped, crusty, runny or in any way different than normal, take her to the avian vet for a checkup. Watch for any changes in the appearance of your pet bird’s cere to make sure your pet bird is always healthy and happy.

In some parrots, the cere can help determine sex. For example, in budgies a blue cere indicates it’s a male budgie, and a tan or pinkish cere is typical of a female budgie. The cere can also change colors during mating season. In budgies, females’ ceres tend to change to a crusty brown color. In other birds, you might notice a deepening of the color of the cere, or there might be no change at all.

Fun Fact: The word “cere” comes from the Latin cera, which means “wax.”


Bird Word of the Day

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Cere: Bird Term of the Day

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Reader Comments
Posted: 5/27/2011 12:33:07 PM
Great info! Cool pic!
Mary Ann, Fayetteville, TN
Posted: 5/25/2011 3:09:56 PM
Good information to keep and know.
Barbara, Kerrville, TX
Posted: 5/25/2011 1:39:13 PM
stephanie, north smithfield, RI
Posted: 5/24/2011 4:36:22 PM
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