Member Login



Auto-login for future visits

Join or Renew Today!

Membership Benefits:

Close Button

Un-opened ear canals

Expert Question

Hello I have a pair of Buffons Macaws they are a year old the female's ear never opened and the male only one ear opened. How common is this in macaws and what needs to be done with this problem? What should be done with this problem in baby macaws? Is any one else seeing this?

Expert Answer

Your question is bringing attention to a problem that is not commonly discussed, but is seen in the large macaws, in pediatric settings. In general, birds that have been stunted or are sub-optimally developed may develop smaller than normal external ear canals. In some circumstances, this may allow for handfeeding materials, keratin or other material to accumulate in the narrow ear canals, potentially setting the stage for secondary infections.

In most cases, there should not be specific intervention required, unless there are repeated secondary problems encountered. In the latter case, under careful operating microscopy and using microsurgical technique, the ear canal can be enlarged.

Brian Speer, DVM
About Brian Speer, DVM

Avian veterinarian Dr. Brian Speer was raised in a small town on California’s coast. He received his BS in Biology from California Polytechnic State University in 1978, and his DVM degree from the University of California at Davis in 1983.

An active member of the Association of Avian Veterinarians (AAV), Dr. Speer is a much sought after guest speaker and has presented at numerous conferences in the avicultural and zoological communities both within the United States and abroad. He is well published in the AAV annual proceedings, has served as guest editor for the journal Seminars in Avian and Exotic Pet Medicine, the Veterinary Clinics of North America, and authored chapters in several recent veterinary medical texts on pet bird, avicultural and ratite medical topics. In 1995 he co-authored the extensive avicultural reference, The Large Macaws, and helped to co-author Birds for Dummies in 1999.

Since 1989, Dr, Speer has run a “bird’s only” practice in the San Francisco Bay area and is the President and Director of The Medical Center for Birds. He is a consultant for The Veterinary Information Network (Avian Medical Boards) and the Maui Animal Rescue and Sanctuary. In 2003 he was the recipient of the Lafeber award for excellence in private practice of avian medicine and surgery and in 2006, was named Speaker of the Year for the North American Veterinary Conference.