The cere is the fleshy skin just above the beak where your bird’s nostrils (or nares) are located. This waxy skin protects the bird’s nares, which allows the bird to breathe. Not all birds have a cere, but parrots, doves and birds of prey do.
When you take your pet bird to the avian veterinarian, he or she will often check the bird’s cere for signs of inflammation or irritation. The cere can be one of the first indicators of illness, especially respiratory problems. If your pet bird’s cere is chapped, crusty, runny or in any way different than normal, take her to the avian vet for a checkup. Watch for any changes in the appearance of your pet bird’s cere to make sure your pet bird is always healthy and happy.
In some parrots, the cere can help determine sex. For example, in budgies a blue cere indicates it’s a male budgie, and a tan or pinkish cere is typical of a female budgie. The cere can also change colors during mating season. In budgies, females’ ceres tend to change to a crusty brown color. In other birds, you might notice a deepening of the color of the cere, or there might be no change at all.
Fun Fact: The word “cere” comes from the Latin cera, which means “wax.”