Peacock's tongue is swolen with something yellow on it???


9 Years
Sep 16, 2010
Pensacola, FL
I was on the phone the other day with a peafowl breeder telling her that my Imperator peacock Raptor has something weird going on with his tongue. I was away on a week long trip and my Dad was feeding the peafowl for me. While away I was texted by my Mom saying that my Dad witnessed Raptor kill a very small baby rat and he ran all around the aviary with it. He didn't see him eat it, but I figure that he did. Anyways, when I returned home and fed the peafowl, I noticed Raptor was smacking his beak a little as if something was stuck in his mouth. I looked inside and saw that his tongue looked oddly large as I could not see the back of his throat. His mouth also smelled bad, kinda like something rotting. There was also something yellow on the side of his tongue. I walked up to another peafowl and opened her mouth to see what a normal mouth looked like for a quick comparison. Her tongue fit flatly in her beak, just like I thought it should. Raptor's tongue of course did not look like this. I figured the baby rat he ate must have bitten his tongue and that it would heal. My Dad even said perhaps the baby rat had ants on it and the ants bit him. I figured the yellowish looking stuff was his skin.

Today I told Blue Creek that I was getting my Dad to come help me check Raptor's mouth because I have given his mouth plenty of time to heal but I haven't noticed a huge difference. The swelling has gone down a lot from what it once was, but he still has slight trouble eating and the yellow area is still there. My Dad held Raptor while I looked in his beak. I used some tweezers to pull at the yellow area gently. Raptor was making unhappy noises when I did this, so I figured it was his own skin. I asked my Dad what he thought, but he was puzzled too. I took some photos (unfortunately they are blurry) but I will show those here. Blue Creek told me based on the yellow it could be a canker, which he said is usually found in pigeons. I google image searched it and noticed it shows up in chickens sometimes. Some of the photos looked similar to what I saw, but I didn't see anything as severe as most of the photos I am finding. Also, most photos show the canker on the side of the bird's mouth and not actually on the tongue.

So here are the photos I took of Raptor's mouth:
It is hard to see but to the right you can see the yellow stuff.

Here is a side view of the stuff on his tongue. It is wrinkly and looks like his own skin, but the more I am looking up photos of cankers the more I think that is what he has.

Many of the photos on the internet of cankers I am finding seem really extreme, but I found one that looks the most like what my Dad and I saw:
So this one is in a chicken's mouth, but you can see how it is yellow and wrinkled looking. This looks very similar to what we saw.

I guess at this point I figure this is what Raptor has, but I just want to be sure because I was reading about cankers here:

So we are planning on going to the vet and getting a prescription for medicine to treat Raptor's mouth for a canker, but I just wanted other opinions on the matter and to see if you all have seen something like this. We have been thinking perhaps the baby rat he ate was dirty and he got something from it, or perhaps one of the wild birds that fly into their pen contaminated the water, who knows. I am so tired of weird things happening to my birds when I am NOT home because then it makes it all the more confusing.
Canker can come from contaminated water sources or predation. Just about all birds can get canker. Common sign of canker is the white or yellow lesions in the mouth. My guess is canker. Hopefully the vet will be able to find out and help Raptor out.
I had a pigeon with canker:

Treatment is usually something like metronidazole, ronidazole or dimetridazole.

So if Raptor has it does that mean that the other peafowl could get it from him?

Kathy that photo you took looks very similar to what I saw in Raptor's mouth too.

Thanks for the replies.

Is this something I should just try treating on my own or is it still a good idea to go in and see the vet about getting the medicine?
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So if Raptor has it does that mean that the other peafowl could get it from him?

Kathy that photo you took looks very similar to what I saw in Raptor's mouth too.

Thanks for the replies.
If that's what he has he is contagious and will be a carrier of it for life. Your vet should be able to explain it. It's also possible that it's a bacterial infection or wet pox, so do go to the vet a get him looked at before doing anything drastic.

I would get a vet to officially diagnose them. The medicines Kathy suggested are commonly used by vets to treat canker.

Wait a second. It stays with them for life? Canker is caused by a Protozoal parasite. I thought only viral infections stay for life. Just like Chicken Pox with us. We keep it for life but we don't show it.

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