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Passerine birds can be divided into 2 groups – Hardbills (seed based diet) and Softbills (eaters of fruit)

At Vinetree Vets we provide a comprehensive service for all passerine birds. We have specific avian housing and are fully equipped to deal with a wide variety of avian conditions.

We have a full range of diagnostic equipment including x ray, ultrasound, endoscopy and in-house analysis for blood, bodily fluids and urates.

Our purpose built theatre is fully equipped to undertake a wide variety of avian surgical procedures.



Indoor housing

  • The law states the minimum size of a cage must allow the bird to fully extend its wings
  • Cages need to contain perches at different levels and sizes (seek advice regarding nontoxic branches) and raised food and water containers.
  • A removable base will make cleaning easier.

Outdoor housing

  • Aviaries need to be built on a hard standing and be vermin proof
  • Mesh to be a suitable size for the size of bird (2.5 x 1.25 most commonly used)
  • Aviaries need to contain a variety of nontoxic plants to create a more natural environment


Both housing types will need to be regularly inspected for damage and vermin.

Both will need a regular thorough cleaning regime to keep your bird healthy and disease free.




  • Need to eat hard coated seeds e.g. sunflowers, rape, hemp, linseed.
  • It is important diets be supplemented with trace elements and minerals to prevent nutritional deficiencies.
  • Hardbills will also require insects e.g mealworms and some sort of grit to enhance digestion.


Softbills – can further be divided into:-

  • Carnivores – mainly eating invertebrates or meat
  • Omnivores – eat a mixture of invertebrates and fruit
  • Frugivoures – mainly eat fleshy fruit and berries
  • Nectivoures – predominantly nectar feeders


Both type of birds will need to be offered fresh fruit or vegetables in addition to a good quality commercial food.



Some conditions seen can often be cured by a simple diet or environment change.  If you are concerned about your bird please do not hesitate to contact the surgery for initial advice.

Common conditions seen in passerines:-

  • Respiratory disease
  • Gastro-intestinal disease – bird may regurgitate or have abnormal droppings
  • Parasites
  • Feather plucking
  • Aggression and screaming


Respiratory disease may be Chlamydiosis (Psittacosis).   Chlamydiosis is caused by a bacterial parasite spread by inhalation of aerosol faeces and possibly feather dust.   This disease can be  transmitted to humans causing anorexia, nausea, photophobia, chest pain, vomiting, headaches and fever.

This diverse and complex area of psittacine medicine is not covered in great detail in these pages – please contact us for advice on any disorders your bird may experience.

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