I had a friend over the other day, and he’s always been a bit of a clean freak.
We got chatting about my Senegal parrots, and he said that as much as he enjoys their company, he doesn’t think he could have one around himself because of all the dust they produce.
This puzzled me a little bit, as I had never really experienced any dust from my Senegal parrots.
I knew that this was a thing with some birds, but was it with Senegal parrots, and I just hadn’t noticed?
I decided to look into it.
So, are Senegal parrots dusty?
No, Senegal parrots are not dusty. They do not have dust-based feathers. That said, all parrots produce some amount of dust—and Senegals are no exception. However, as dusty parrots go, they are certainly far from the worst offenders. If a clean house is what you want, then a Senegal parrot could be the right choice.
So, it’s important to stress that all parrots, Senegal parrots included, produce some amount of dust.
I’ll get into exactly what this dust is and how it works, but Senegal parrots are far less dusty than other species.
But they aren’t dust-free.
Let’s look further into this.
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What is dust from parrots?
All parrots produce some amount of feather dust, which is also known as parrot dander.
When they preen their wings or flap them, secretions from a gland at the base of their tail cover the feathers in order to clean them.
It also keeps the wings soft and silky.
This powder is composed of keratin protein.
All parrots have some amount of this dust in their feathers, and the amount they have depends on the region they originate from.
Senegal parrots, living in western Africa, do not have dust-based feathers.
African greys, on the other hand, living in drier, and more arid regions, do produce a lot of dust in their feathers.
Either way, it is an adaptation to help keep their feathers clean and free of the problems that arise from their particular environment.
Parrots either have dust or oil-based feathers, but either way, they will produce some amount of dust.
So, let’s look at how much dust Senegal parrots produce.
Do Senegal parrots produce dust?
Yes, they do.
As I said, all parrots produce some amount of dust.
It’s essential to keep the feathers clean, smooth, and silky—it’s almost like self-exfoliation!
However, they produce far less dust than other species, as I said.
Their feathers are oil-based, and so most of the cleaning of their feathers goes to the oils rather than the dust.
Still, if you pet the parrot, you’re likely to get some of the oils on your hand.
That said, they do still produce dust, and a noticeable amount.
This dust is still vital for keeping them healthy, so you’ll have to prepare yourself to deal with that.
You’ll notice the areas it hangs out getting dustier over time, and you should always be careful to wash your hands after handling them.
You should also be careful of how much and how roughly you handle them, as you can strip away these essential dusts and oils with your hands.
Which parrots are the least dusty, then, if this is a problem for you?
What are the least dusty parrots?
There are many species of parrot that produce very little dust.
Often cited as the least dusty and most hypoallergenic species is the Eclectus parrot.
Because of the warm climates where these parrots live, their feathers are almost entirely oil-based.
That said, they still produce some dust.
Amazon parrots, too, live in hot, humid climates, and so their feathers are also oil-based rather than dust-based.
You can also get powder-based parrots, like the pionus parrot.
They are dustier than oil-based species, but still not the dustiest.
Other powder-based species, like cockatoos and African greys, are far dustier.
So, generally speaking, if you’re looking for a less dusty parrot, then you want a species that originates in a very hot, very humid climate.
In drier, dustier climates, using dust to clean your feathers makes a lot more sense, as you can strip your feathers of the foreign dust.
With oil-based feathers, it is more likely to become stuck.
The other big question is about allergies.
Can Senegal parrots give you allergies?
It depends on the sensitivity of the allergy.
They cannot give you allergies in the sense that they produce allergies that were not already there.
That said, for someone who has a sensitivity to the dust, to begin with, they can be just as allergenic as cats or dogs.
If the allergy is not terribly sensitive, though, Senegal parrots should not cause much of a problem.
As I said, they don’t produce as much dust and so maybe a better choice.
Parrots in general are allergenic, so you should be aware of this before getting one.
Consult a doctor if you aren’t sure.
Parrot dust is one of the lesser-known issues with raising parrots.
It can be problematic for allergenic reasons, so if you are thinking of buying a Senegal parrot or any parrot, be sure that you and your household are capable of dealing with the dust they produce.
Senegals are, as I said, far less dusty than other species.
That said, they will still produce some amount of dust as all parrots do.
As long as you’re prepared for that, you shouldn’t have a problem.