we have a bluetit feeding on our feeders, what is strange is that he/she has a very long beak. bluetits have a very short beak. is this common? i have a picture but it is on my camera, i cant get close enough with my phone.

Hi Stephen,

It's not common but it's not unheard of for blue tits to have deformities in their beaks (either from birth, or due to injuries) which cause them to grow longer than they should. Surprisingly these birds seem to manage to eat ok and can survive. There are some examples of this condition on the RSPB forums here http://www.rspb.org.uk/community/wildli … 67896.aspx and here http://www.rspb.org.uk/community/wildli … 20233.aspx

In addition, this survey from the BTO suggests that blue tits are particularly susceptible to this kind of deformity http://www.bto.org/volunteer-surveys/gb … ults/types

If you could post the picture it would be nice to see it,


Deformities in bird beaks, including unnaturally long or oddly curved beaks, are uncommon (fewer than 1 in 200 individuals), but not unheard of. The deformities have been associated with pollution, disease and nutritional deficiencies. In the UK they are apparently more common in blue tits and blackbirds than other species, but the reason for this is unknown.

The British Trust for Ornithology started a survey on this a little while ago.
You can find more information at the following sites...

Press release: http://www.bto.org/news-events/press-re … beak_watch

http://www.bto.org/volunteer-surveys/gb … jects/bgbw

There's also an article (PDF) produced by the BTO research staff here: https://www.britishbirds.co.uk/wp-conte … 541_NC.pdf