Northantsbirds

Hummingbird Tit

Great Tit with deformed bill

Bill deformities are widely recorded in many passerines – and with surprising regularity. Few, though, can be as eye-catching as this Great Tit, which has been visiting a garden bird feeder in Brampton Ash for the last month or so.

Great Tit with deformed bill, Brampton Ash, 14 May 2016 (James Singlehurst)

Bearing a passing resemblence to a hummingbird, it feeds from a seed feeder that enables its whole beak to enter, allowing it to take a sunflower kernels with relative ease and with apparently no detrimental effect to its health. Identical bill deformities have occurred in other Great Tits (for example, see here) and research by the BTO has uncovered abnormalities occurring in local clusters, suggesting a genetic basis or an effect of shared environmental conditions.