Very Scruffy Robin


I have a question regarding a robin that has made our garden his territory. He is by far and a way the scruffiest looking bird I have ever seen. He vaguely resembles a flying tennis ball and appears to be missing a large number of feathers from his head and neck. Apart from that, he seems healthy, surviving the cold, feeding well, seeing off other, better looking, robins etc.

Does anyone here know what could be wrong with his plumage? I've included a photo (I have more which show him preening and reveal a very bare neck).

  • In reply to doggie:

    This robin has certainly looked better. I suspect it has fluffed up to keep warm. As for the skin irritation and subsequent feather loss, I too would suggest mites. These are not directly life-threatening, but can cause the bird some discomfort. These feathers should grow back when the bird next moults as long as the feather follicles are not damaged.


  • In reply to MrsT:

    Thanks for your replies! Is there anything that I can/should do for this bird? He's become a real character in the garden and I'd hate to see him suffer if he need not. Also, if he was fluffed up against the cold wouldn't other robins look the same? Here's another photo showing more of the feather loss and also I believe you can just make out where his other leg is..

  • In reply to doggie:

    He has his own dish of food close to his favourite perch ;)

  • In reply to doggie:

    Yes it looks like a dose of feather mite, I bet he is feeling the cold, as others have said just keep him/her well fed and watered, all the best. Alan

    always many sides to an argument

  • In reply to robin red:

    Poor little thing - he looks in a sorry state but if he keeps turning up and is well fed here's hoping he will go on to flourish.  Keep us posted.  

    See my Flickr photos here


  • In reply to ChristineB:

    Well, the plucky little fellow is still around and still looks just as bad... He survived the snow and is managing to defend his territory without any apparent difficulty. I've just placed a suitable nest box in the garden to see if that will tempt him.

    What a bird!

    Thanks for all the good advice and good wishes.

  • In reply to fishears:

    Thanks for the update fishears - I'm glad to hear he is still surviving - poor little mite!

    See my Flickr photos here


  • OMG!!

    im so pleased to find this, i have exactly the same worries for my little robin, i have started to make sure that he has food all day long, as soon as i put it out he arrives and eats away.  he looks so sorry but has a lovely little song. mine also is puffed out all the time as if he is struggling to stay warm.the missing feathers are an exact replica. thanks for putting this picture on, at least now i know there is hope for him/her.