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Help and Advice - Trichomonosis in wild birds

Trichomonosis has been around since summer 2005 and is caused by a parasite, mainly found in Finches in gardens. Greenfinches seem to be particulary susceptable to it but all finches and House Sparrows can get the disease. Research by the Garden Bird Health Initiative shows that the population of affected species can suffer where there is an outbreak of Trichomonosis. The disease is only found in birds and does not threaten the health of other animals or humans.

Symptoms of Trichomonosis

The Trichomonad parasite lives in the upper digestive tract and it progressively blocks the birds throat and the bird dies from starvation.

Birds that have the disease show signs of illness - fluffed-up plumage, slow to move around and may drool or vomit or show laboured breathing. Their plumage may look matted, or wet around the face and beak and in some cases the neck may look swollen.

The Trichomononad parasite cannot survive for long outside the host bird. The disease is passed from bird to bird during the breeding season when they feed regurgitated food, or they may contract it by saliva deposited in drinking water.

Prevention of spreading Trichomonosis

 If you see signs of Trichomonosis the best thing to do is remove all food and drink from your garden until all signs of sick or dead birds are removed. This seem harsh, but it will discourage the birds interacting and reduce the risk of spreading the disease.

Good hygiene practice around your feeders and water baths is an essential part of looking after garden birds and will help keep your birds healthy and reduce the spread of disease. See our advice page on good hygiene.