John Pilkington's picture

Can Juvenile Birds Grow New Tails?

We rescued a juvenile Blackbird from a cat yesterday; the youngster seems to be alert and active, but appears to have lost most of its tail feathers. It doesn't seem to be bleeding or otherwise damaged.

Local RSPB referred us to RSPCA who, in turn, suggested we contact a wildlife vet, so doing that, but don't know if we have one nearby at present.

Anyone know if it is likely that the juvenile will be able to grow a new tail and thus recover?


Post Script: Initially, the vet wasn't sure whether to transfer the bird to a rescue centre or whether to put it down. A further check today reveals that it was released in its "home town" and flew off, so hopefully it will recover. Will keep an eye open for it.




sophie bagshaw's picture

new tails

i have seen an adult blackbird in my local area on a few occasions, but it doesnt seem to have a tail (hes called stubby now)

ophrys's picture


Yes, they can definitely grow new tail feathers. If they lose them all, they will grow a whole new set; if they just lose a couple, they will regrow those. Of course, they will then moult those new feathers next autumn, when they undergo the post-breeding moult. It is not a problem for them at all, apart from a short period of difficult steering!


My Flickr photos...

John Pilkington's picture

New Tail

Many thanks to both for your feedback; will continue to lookout for him/her; not seen since. John