Goldfinch abnormality?

Hello! First time poster long time lurker here, I just had to post these pictures after we spotted it on our feeder over the last couple of days

As you can see the back of the head and neck area is hugely inflated! Although s/he struggles slightly to bend down to reach food when perched on the feeder, it does manage to feed and appears otherwise healthy (although seems to be missing some feathers on the back between the closed wings). It even has a begging chick in the tree that we think s/he is managing to feed without issue.

Now, we have had a few finches in the past which we are 90% sure had the "fat finch" Trichomonas disease, but have not spotted any so far this year. This abnormality doesn't appear to fit the usual description for birds with Trichomonas but am not ruling it out. The head swelling is just so apparent especially on the first photo

Any ideas what is wrong with it? Tumour or other growth perhaps? Sorry about image quality, it's on smartphone through binoculars, a technique I think I have perfected



  • One more photo, she is on there right now posing for me. This one highlights it even more I think. Quite strange, poor thing

  • Oh it does look very odd. How long have you been observing it for? I wonder if it's had a run in with a wasp or bee


    Cin J

  • In reply to Germain:

    We first spotted it Tuesday this week, so not very long. We were away from home Friday til Monday though, but definitely nothing before that. We generally have a good handle on our garden visitors and would have definitely remembered seeing this..

    Good shout on insect sting - I hadn't thought of that. Or some other injury rather than something genetic or chronic