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Bird Louse
(Extension, Purdue University)
Common Name: Bird Louse

Order: Mallophaga

Family: Menoponidae

Pest Status: Bird lice can become a pest of poultry, but seldom get on people.

Appearance: These are small, wingless insects, whitish in color, head fairly broad. The body is usually flattened. The last tarsal segments bear claws that cling tightly to the feathers or fur of its host. A louse can be up to 2 mm long.

Life Cycle: Bird lice feed mainly on particles of skin and feathers. Most are confined to one host or a group of closely related host species. May lay 50-100 eggs, cemented to the feathers of the host. Development from egg to adult stage takes about 3-4 weeks. Lice transfer themselves from the adult birds to the fledglings in the nest.

Where to Collect: Bird lice are always found in association with their hosts. They can be collected by extracting them from feathers or fur.