Questions & Answersback

I have seen some birds that are almost naked in my garden – can you explain this?

Answer: You have neglected to mention the time of year or where the birds lack plumage. But the most probable explanation is that you have seen some birds with ‘ruffled’ feathers in August, which is known as the moulting season.

You can read more about this under the question: What do birds do in the course of a day?

Another possibility is that you may have seen certain species of garden bird that are naked on their chest and belly in April/July (the breeding season).
These naked patches are known as brood spots but it is uncommon for brooding birds to leave the nest and eggs in search of food. Usually they sit on the eggs throughout the brooding period and leave it to their mate to feed them.
But there are some species where the adults take turns in sitting on the eggs. A final possibility may be that the naked birds you saw had been attacked by fleas or mites.