Louise Darby's picture

Foot diseased chaffinch Warwickshire 09

Observed: 26th August 2009 By: Louise Darby
Foot diseased chaffinch Warwickshire 09
Foot diseased chaffinch Warwickshire 09 1

2009 I observed several of my garden chaffinches with growths on their feet - this one was too sick to resist my photographing it, and later died. I have so few chaffinches at the bird table now, and yet plenty - green & gold finches.
What is the cause? (I asked RSPB but never had a reply, so, glad to hear about ISpot on Radio 4)

  • clubfoot
    Confidence: I'm as sure as I can be.
    Likely ID
    Avian Pox Virus (Avipoxvirus)
    Confidence: It's likely to be this, but I can't be certain.
Species interactions

No interactions present.


Fenwickfield's picture

Me Too

I to asked RSPB and had no response but was told it was not harmful to the birds and did tend to mainly effect Chaffinches,some of mine have it too and some have lost a foot but still seem healthy.There are ispot experts so hopefully they will go into further detail for you.


dshubble's picture

Bird disease

Avian Pox Virus is one possibility that has had quite a bit of media coverage regarding garden birds and the need to clean bird tables etc. The RSPB has a page here http://www.rspb.org.uk/advice/helpingbirds/health/sickbirds/avianpox.aspx

The disease occurs in three main forms: cutaneous and diphtheritic (where lesions occur mainly on the skin or mucous membranes) and septicaemic (rapidly fatal systemic infection). In the cutaneous form (which this example might be - to be 100% sure, pathology tests need to be done), lesions are mainly on the unfeathered parts - face, legs and feet - starting as small blisters and developing into wart-like nodules which, in birds that survive, become lumpy brown scabs that eventually drop off. Though unsightly, affected birds may show few signs of systemic illness and recover fully. Others (e.g. if affected on the face) may have their vision and feeding impeded and so have trouble foraging, and be at greater risk of predation and other infections.

ranon.2011's picture

I would agree that the

I would agree that the possible cause of this is Avian Pox Virus and the importance of cleaning bird tables, water holders and keeping the seeds etc fresh.

Fenwickfield's picture


I think you need to put an observation on as it is now in the unidentified section,put the birds name on and the disease in brackets.