Currawong Foot Problems

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NullaBirdman's picture
Currawong Foot Problems

Hi and first post.
Just wondering if there's anything I can do for some of the Currawongs that come and visit. At least 50% have scaly growths to at least one foot, leg or both. I've tried to look for what it might be with no luck but most signs point to a fungal infection? It varies in degree to each individual.
Any ideas as to what it may be?


Hi Nullabirdman,
Tough first post, i did a bit of googling and found some interesting sites. Could the problem be Scaly leg mite (cnemidocoptic mites). Found some interesting sites with photos that you might be able to look at which might help identify the problem. Here is two sites that might help.
The second site has some photos that might help.

NullaBirdman's picture

Hi and thanks for the response.

I've included a couple of pics that show the problem.
The first is the most extreme example I've seen and the second is fairly typical.

It doesn't appear to bother them. No irritation etc.
All very strange!!


Hope it works

NullaBirdman's picture

Ill try that again...sorry!

double hope that works!!!

NullaBirdman's picture


BryanT's picture

Agreed with Cathshane, it's Scaly Leg (or Tasslefoot) caused by Cnemidocoptes mite. Affect species like Lorikeets and Currawongs.
Treatment isn't easy, need oral antiparasitic medication, antibiotics, and bathe the feet in diluted iodine.
Actually the condition is very painful.
Might be better to contact any local wildlife organisation for help.


NullaBirdman's picture

Hi and thanks for all your help.

It's such a shame as it seems to be fairly common in this area and you really feel for them.

I'll let the local WIRES know and see what they say.



leezaliza's picture

Hi,  I have at times from 12 to 20 Currawongs in trees around my house and hang around my backyard.  I have noticed that most of them have very chunky (for want of another word) feet.  I have found out that it may be leg mites.  There is no way that I could catch one or all of them to treat them.  I was wondering what will be the outcome for them, or if I could help them.  I also have a pet quaker parrot that is kept inside and was wondering is this disease is contagious to him?  I also have Magpies, Butcher Birds, Miner birds and Rainbow Lorokeetes that hand around also, are they in any danger?  I live on the Gold Coast in Queensland, Australia.  Thanks and looking forward to your advice, Lee-ann

BirdWatcher's picture

I've got a lot of currawongs in my area and they appear to have a foot fungus, which is a scaly growth, greyish and can cover the whole foot and up to the first joint. It looks uncomfortable as those who have it squat a lot.

The healthy appearance of a bird without is skinny feet and legs, blackish skin, shiny and 'fresh' looking. Those birds seem able to walk better than those with the scaly growth.

I was thinking that a bath in condy's crystals (anti-fungal) could fix it and a bath could be organised this way:

Place a large pizza pan with shallow water and condy's crystals mixture and in the center put a low stand with bowl of food. They have to wade through the water/crystals and stand in it to feed.

They'll have purple feet for a while which could become quite the trend amongst them!

What do you think?

Woko's picture

Worth trying, BirdWatcher, but you might want to check the procedure with your local, friendly wildlife authorities first. 

I'm wondering if this is another disease spread at artificial feeding tables. 

jude_s's picture

Hi I have a currawong that visits me every morning and he has only one foot. He has been coming in for about 8 months now and seems very happy. Hops around on one leg very easily uses his wing to balance when eating.

BirdWatcher's picture

Currawongs seem to cope with their injuries. I have one here that has a bent wing. It sits, when folded, just a little away from his body and has a bent look to it. Another has a portion of his beak missing at the top, about 5 mm (about 1/5th inch), but he eats ok. The one-eyed currawongs are always very shy of the others and will move away very quickly when approached by another, I suppose in fear of losing the last eye. Seagulls with one eye behave identically. There is one currawong with one eye who can catch food from me, when thrown, perfectly. He has no problem judging the distance and path of the food and catches it in his beak every time. I have the impression those with one eye don't last long as I don't see them for a long time, like the others. Has anyone seen a fight between lorikeets and currawongs? The lorikeets will win every time and send the much larger currawongs fleeing!

BirdWatcher's picture

Did you see my post about the use of Condy's Crystals? Do you think something like that would work? Some currawongs are hugely affected while (in my area, Sydney north shore) only the young ones seem unaffected. Do you know how it transmits? Also, the currawongs and magpies seem to perodically just disappear. At feeding I've had as many as 20, but lately again, for the last few weeks, 1 or 2 or none. This has happened twice now since I've been here, about 3 years apart. Any help is good.

Woko's picture

Hi Birdwatcher. It's hard to be specific but so often the movement of birds is determined by the availability of resources - food, water, breeding places, mates. Seasonal migration can also be a key factor but I'm not sure that there's a lot of this sort of behaviour among Currawongs & Magpies. 

BirdWatcher's picture

Thanks for your reply Woko, there's no currawongs, magpies at all now. Completely dead. It is so surprising. I know the currawongs will move to a new area en-masse, I've seen them do it, but the magpies are gone except for an occassional sighting. Puzzling (and a bit alarming). The magpies would come inside and sit beside my chair while typing and watch me, just 50 cm away!! hahahaha, love them.

Carola's picture

hi cathshane, just to let you know your first website link doesn't work (

my vet recommends the vaseline for leg mites as it is non toxic but may have to be applied for quite a while.

the ivermectin mentioned in one of the messages above is a cattle medication & the dosage has never been scientifcally calculated for birds, it's a guesstimate only & my vet told me (last week) get the dosage wrong & the bird dies.

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