madasyernan's picture

Chaffinch (Fringillidea)

Observed: 26th December 2009 By: madasyernanmadasyernan’s reputation in Birdsmadasyernan’s reputation in Birdsmadasyernan’s reputation in Birds
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It might be F.coelebs, but im not sure. What is wrong with its leg. Looks like a plaster cast. Is something wrong? what should I do?

Species interactions

No interactions present.

Species with which Chaffinch (Fringilla coelebs) interacts


RoyW's picture

It may look worse than it is

Your bird is a female Chaffinch (young males look very similar to adult males by this time of year).

The 'plaster cast' is probably due to a papillomavirus infection, which is relatively common in Chaffinches, and causes the growth of warts. An alternative possibilty is that the growth on the leg is a reaction to an infestation of Cnemidocoptes mites, which can cause scaley growths on legs/beaks.

If you are feeding the birds make sure that you keep the feeding area as clean as possible to help prevent possible cross contamination, but otherwise there is little that you can do. Most birds with this problem apparently seem to get by without too much problem, and trying to catch the bird for treatment will just cause it stress.

More information here;

madasyernan's picture

Thank you

Thank you for your comment. I will be cleaning the areas with milton sterilizing fluid (baby bottle cleaning stuff) I hope that is ok, Bleach is to harsh and could cause other problems. they are mostly feeding on the ground at the moment, and this is the first time I have seen females in my garden.

It is horrible to see though, even worse for feeling so helpless.

Sam, Student.

RoyW's picture

Don't always put food down in the same place

There are some general tips on hygiene for bird feeding stations if you scroll down the page in the first link I posted above. The most important thing is to prevent any build up of droppings (and uneaten food), and whenever possible it is a good idea to move the feeding station regularly.
It can be distressing to see birds with problems like this, but unfortunately it's part of life.