Drooling Cape Parrots
© Jean Pattison — The African Queen
I had a bit of a scare awhile back. One of my just weaned baby Capes was noticed sitting on her perch in the evening, with a bit of drool escaping from her lips...er...beak. Of course this is not a "normal" behavior. In all other aspects she seemed fine. Appetite, activity level and droppings all appeared normal. Of course we all know that doesn't mean a thing in our world of birds. I continued to watch her behavior and every so often a bit of drool. I went over to her and caught a bit on my fingertips. I smelled it to see if it smelled sour, and rubbed it between my fingers to see if it was slimy and thick or more like water. It had no odor, and it was the consistency of water. I quickly called my vet and reported to her what had just happened. My vet was planning a trip out here the following week and if she didn't show any other symptoms, she would check on her then. If anything else was out of place she wanted to see the bird immediately.
The following week all appeared normal but we did do blood work, and a culture for bacteria as well as fungi. All tests returned well within the normal range. Since that time I have had two other young Capes display this same behavior, and all is fine with them.
A few weeks ago a local client who had purchased one of my most recent baby Capes called in the late evening, very upset. After work that day, all was normal with her young Cape. She fed him and played with him in their usual routine, and placed him on top of his cage where he just hangs out until bedtime. Shortly before bedtime he usually gets sleepy and tucks his head in his wing on his back. Well this particular evening, he was sitting more upright and the anxious owner noticed a few drops of drool from his mouth every few minutes. I repeated what my vet had said, and explained what some of mine had done and what the results of our test showed. She was relieved, but skeptical as she hung up the phone.
I put a call into my vet again, and then proceeded to call Isabel Taylor. For those of you who don't know, Isabel is past president of the African Parrot Society, and an old time breeder of Poicephalus. A lot of the breeder Capes I have came from her. So Isabel would know if anyone did. Not so. Early the next morning I had a call from Isabel explaining the vet she works for has one of her Capes and she was telling him the story. Her vet listened intently and responded by telling her that when his cape is in its cage at night and when he gets up and turns on the light he has seen his Cape drool also. Nothing seems wrong with his Cape either.