Bird Lice

Facts, Identification & Control


What Do They Look Like?

The color and size of bird lice will vary from species to species.

How Did I Get Bird Lice?

Domestic birds, like chickens and parrots, may carry these lice on their feathers and bodies. When the parasites infest pets or wild birds in the house, they may cause problems for homeowners, as well. Nesting sites close to vents and windows or pet cages indoors give bird lice easy access to living spaces.

How Serious Are Bird Lice?

While most bird lice species stay on their avian hosts throughout their lives, residents still have issues with the pests. The parasites sometimes bite people who handle infested birds.


They do not carry diseases dangerous to humans, but severe infestations can be fatal for poultry or pets.

How Do I Get Rid of Bird Lice?

Controlling these pests begins by identifying the source of the infestation. Due to the large number of bird lice species and their rapid rate of infestation, a pest control professional will need to be consulted to manage the population.

Signs of Infestation

Bird lice hosts scratch excessively, exhibiting more grooming and preening than is necessary. Infested feathers can appear normal, and lice are typically too small to be visible to the naked eye.

Life Cycle

Bird lice eggs are laid on the shaft of birds' feathers and hatch after a few days. Young bird lice then develop through several stages before becoming mature adults. Lice cannot survive away from their hosts for more than a few days.