This sounds like a louse-fly, family Hippoboscidae. They are a family of
specialised dipterans, flat leathery blood-sucking things which live among
the hair of a few mammals, the feathers of many birds, and the clothing of
many bird-banders. For a splendid chapter of bed-time reading about bird
ectoparasites, it is worth keeping an eye out 'Fleas, flukes and cuckoos' by
Miriam Rothschild and Theresa Clay - published in 1952 and long out of
print, but cheap copies turn up in second-hand bookshops from time to time.
At 05:56 PM 30/01/99 +1030, Atriplex Services wrote:
>This is an RFI re a flying insect(?) that I've seen emerging from and
>disappearing under the feathers of a semi-wild Sulphur Crested Cockatoo
>that visits us for a free feed. Its about the size of a "bush fly" but
>is gives the impression of being somewhat flattened, dorsi-ventrally.
>It's very quick and only stays visible for a matter of seconds but
>definitely flies from one part of the bird to another. It definitely
>annoys the cockie sometimes but is it a parasite (if so what) or simply
>sheltering and possibly feeding on feather dust etc?
>Thanks in advance for any helpful comments from the "experts"!
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